An organisation has extremely little, to no, control over its external environment, the aspects of which are too numerous to list. The external environment influences HRM practices, thus influencing HR activities, both directly and indirectly. In other words, an aspect of the organisation’s external environment may directly affect the processes of employee recruitment and selection through influencing HRM practices, but at the same time it will influence the organisation’s internal environment, hence affecting the processes through strategic alignment.
One major external environmental influence may be politics. The state of politics may affect the processes of employee recruitment and selection in various ways. For example, political instability has had a dramatic influence on the practices of employee recruitment in Algeria (Mellahi & Wood, 1996). This study addresses the impact the civil war has had on recruitment practices, among other things. An interesting discovery was that the lengthy political crisis led small and medium sized firms away from ‘rationalistic’, strategically driven practices and forced them into, what is referred to as, a ‘coping mode’. The ‘coping mode’ is reactive, as apposed to pro-active, fostering a ‘stay alive’ strategy; hence greatly affecting the management of human resources both directly and indirectly.
Laws and regulations may also influence the HR activities of employee recruitment and selection. Changes in legislation could be seen as an indirect influence, in that an organisation’s objectives and strategy may have to be reconsidered due to restricting business opportunities or increasing competition as a result of the changes (Stone, 2002:17). Laws and regulations regarding equal employment opportunity, affirmative action, sexual harassment, privacy and terminations, however, prove to have a more direct influence, in that they have facilitated the creation of new jobs such as sex equity expert, gender bias officer and harassment facilitator (Lehn, 1997). The creation of new jobs requires the recruitment and selection of new employees, whether they are from outside or within the organisation; hence the direct influence.
The process of employee selection is influenced in particular by equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action (AA) legislation (Sullivan, 1998), which require fair treatment for all members of the community and the elimination of discrimination. These factors play a major role in shaping the selection criteria and although they remain the same with respect to time, unlike other aspects of the external environment, they must still be considered a direct influence.
The environmental influence of the labour market may also affect employee recruitment and selection. According to Doverspike, Taylor, Shultz and McKay (2002) “U.S. employers say they simply cannot find enough employees, let alone skilled employees”. This is due to the growth of the U.S. economy and the decrease of unemployment. This study explores various contributing factors of the shortage of job applicants in the U.S., which is a significant problem for both private and public sectors. One such contributing factor is the changing demographic makeup of the workforce. Doverspike et al. (2002) explains that it is necessary to focus recruiting methods...