Sunday, May 2, 2010

Recruitment Solutions and Social Networking

A major feature that separates the recruitment business functionality from other HR business areas is the fact that it interacts heavily with people outside the organisation through external job postings, career sites, job boards etc. Reaching out to the right candidates with information regarding open positions is thus a strategic challenge for the recruitment function. With the almost cultural assimilation of social networking tools across the world, it would be anachronistic to stick to the old world strategy of posting job openings in career sites and job portals alone. The use of social networking tools in recruitment is well documented and more and more organisations are relying on LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogger and Orkut to zero in on desired candidates.
I strongly believe that software used for recruitment should have a strong social networking component to it for organisations to truly achieve a higher ROI on their investments. It's imperative that the organisation reaches out to potential candidates through this channel and further utilize the wealth of information that is present in these tools to screen candidates further.
I want to present two ideas I have in this regard and hope that organisations will be able to build further on them to achieve higher ROI on their recruitment systems:

1. Job postings to Twitter: In a latest survey, a whopping 87% of Americans have heard of Twitter! Another staggering fact is that close to 50 million (yes you heard it right!) tweets are generated each day (that is close to 600 tweets in a second). Another significant statistic is that close to 50% of Twitter users are from USA. Considering all of this and especially if your company is look at talent in the US, your organisation has to seriously look at leveraging Twitter to reach out to potential applicants. Now, how does it all relate to Peoplesoft? Well, if you are using Peoplesoft Recruitment solutions then I propose that you integrate that with Twitter to enable external job postings created in Peoplesoft to be posted as tweets. This should be part of a larger recruitment marketing strategy of using Social Networking sites to position your organisation as a preffered employer. There are a number of APIs (including this Javascript API that can be utilized in Peoplesoft) that can be utilized to integrate Peoplesoft and Twitter. The simplest start though is to use Twitter Mail (a third party application that posts emails as tweets) which your Peoplesoft technical team should be able to implement in quick time.

2. Enterprise Applicant profile aggregation tool: I envisage a tool that will crawl various social networking sites to aggregate a 'social networking' profile of a candidate which can be further utilized in the selection process. In an excellent paper, Sam Gosling of the Department of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin and others have claimed that Online Social Networking Website (OSNW) profiles provide more information regarding the personality of an individual than most other sources, including physically meeting the individual. I am convinced that an aggregated social networking profile of an individual will greatly help organisations assess the fit of the person to the ethos of the company and make more accurate hiring decisions. It would be wonderful to have a tool (which can further be embedded in the recruitment module) that will create such a profile and may be even draw up personality traits of individuals from the profile information. There are arguments against the use of OSNW profiles to select/reject candidates, but I am of the opinion that an aggregator written for enterprise use can be used as a decision enabler in the recruitment process. (A number of social networking aggregators exist in the market, but I do not think any of them can be utilized for enterprise use. The ideal enterprise aggregator should not just be a mashup product, but should utilize research in social psychology, human behaviour etc. to identify patterns and personality traits through social networking profiles).

A typical issue with large ERP products like Oracle Peoplesoft is it's lack of flexibility to adapt to changing business environments (well a new release comes out just once in two years or more!!) and any call for large scale customizations would again create issues with upgrade! But, while the entire industry is caught in that conundrum, I see no point in being rigid and missing critical opportunities to take your business to the next level. Are you getting the right ROI on your HR systems or is it a large clumsy dino?

Invalid Date in function AddToDate - A common T&L error

A common error you encounter in a fresh environment while accessing T&L pages is shown below:

This error occurs due to the T&L Dates table and T&L Calendar tables not being built for the period in question.
Use the Build Time Period Calendar process available in the following navigation to build calendars for the concerned date:
Setup HRMS --> Product Releated --> Time and Labor --> Periods --> Build Time Period Calendar. After the calendars are built, you can check the View Time Calendar link to see the dates for which the calendars have been created.

Also ensure that the Load Dates process has been run. For this, go to Setup HRMS --> Installation --> Product and Country Specific --> Time and Labor installation. Go to the second tab in the T&L installation page and click on the link called Load Dates.

These are mandatory checks while setting up T&L for a fresh environment. While we are on this topic, let me also mention that it will be required to create TimeZone offsets for the Time Administration process to run correctly.
This can be done via: Peopletools --> International --> Timezones --> Click on the button called Generate Query Offsets.

As noted in this post - add the above setups into your annual maintenance checklist for T&L. These tables will have to be updated for the product to work correctly.