Dell’s mission is to be the most successful computer company in the world at delivering the best customer experience in markets we serve. In doing so, Dell will meet customer expectations of:
Individual and company accountability
Best-in-class service and support
Flexible customization capability
Superior corporate citizenship
-Dell Mission Statement
Dell’s vision of excellence through quality, innovation, pricing, accountability, service and support, customization, corporate citizenship and financial stability is clear. This mission statement is clear and easy to understand. Producing quality work that leads to the achievement of these lofty goals becomes much more complicated than writing a simple mission statement. One thing is clear, the core capabilities of any business stem from the employees that comprise it.
With over 36,000 employees, Dell is a member of the rapidly changing and expanding computer technology industry. This industry had achieved enormous growth in the last decade. Dell’s stock rose 29,000 percent in the 1990’s and as of the second quarter in 1999; Dell was tied for first place in the market. Dell faces stiff competition from technology giants such as IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Compaq. With such robust expansion in the technology industry and the economy, it is becoming increasing difficult for companies such as Dell, who experienced a 56 percent growth in workforce in 1999, to fill positions with quality applicants. Dell is currently seeking applicants for positions in sales, corporate finance, engineering, manufacturing, and most especially, information technology. Dell currently hires approximately 2000 employees a quarter. With such rapid growth and expansion the temptation surfaces to simply fill a position with a body. “Unless you have a good process in place, you run the risk of not always hiring the best people. There can be a tendency to say ‘We need people so badly, a fresh body is better than no body,’” as summed up by Steve Price, vice president of human resources for Dell’s Public and Americas International Group. To avoid this scenario, Dell has created a web-based Organizational Human Resource Planning (OHRP) process. These processes help a business unit focus on and anticipate growth and staffing needs. In addition the OHRP process allows managers to do their own succession planning, identify key jobs, and formulate competency planning and employee development. The OHRP process also tries to pick out qualities new employees will need by analyzing the skills and qualities of current top performers. This program has been highly successful as Dell’s profitability increased 59 percent in the same period that the workforce grew by 56 percent.
Analysis of current recruiting practices
Dell’s rapid growth and expansion requires recruiting processes to seek out and retain large numbers of qualified applicants. Dell begins its on campus recruitment at selected schools in the fall. The on campus recruitment takes place primarily at schools in the midwest, (Big 10), and southeast, (ACC). Dell typically makes three on campus visits to selected schools and when possible spreads these visits out over the term of the recruitment process. First round interviews take place on campus and prospects are notified with 48 hours if they are selected for a second interview. All second round interviews are conducted at Dell’s headquarters in Austin, Texas. Prospects are typically notified within 48 hours if Dell intends to offer them a position. Applicants who attend schools where Dell does not conduct on campus recruiting may apply on Dells website. Applicants submit a cover letter and resume to the website. Resumes and cover letters are then entered into a database where they are looked over by a Dell recruiter. Acceptable applicants are then contacted via phone for and initial interview. Applicants will be notified within 48 hours if a second interview is requested. Again all second round interviews are conducted in Austin and applicants that Dell intends to hire are notified within 48 hours.
Either recruiting specialists or rotational recruiters who come from specific departments, such as the IT department, generally conduct interviews. Specialists from specific departments are generally used in time of peak hiring demand. These specialists are able to use their knowledge and experience to give a unique prospective, as they are the ones who are actually doing the critical jobs.
Dell recruiters expect that interviewees have knowledge of the company and the industry in which they compete. All the information applicants is available on the Dell website and prospects are strongly encouraged to look this information over. Dell uses a competency based interviewing process. Interviewees are asked to draw on past personal experiences and comment on how the situation was handled and what was taken away from the experience. Dell feels that this allows interviewers to get a good feel for the individuals fit to the jobs required competencies. Dell looks for individuals who posses strong internet and computing skills. They look for individuals who are self-motivated and can thrive in a fast paced, results oriented environment. Dell has a very relaxed structure and very few concrete policies or ways of doing things. Some individuals to not work well in this setting and the interview process seeks to week those candidates out.
Dell attempts to retain the best personnel in the industry by offering industry competitive compensation and perks. Compensation includes: Industry competitive salary, lucrative health benefits packages, 401k programs, profit sharing and bonuses, stock purchase plans and continuing education. Some of the perks of working for Dell include: On-site health clubs, employee deals on computers, and services to help them manage some of the chores in their personal lives. All of these perks are intended to make it easier for the individuals to concentrate on their role at Dell.
Dell feels that workforce diversity is crucial to the success of the company. They feel that diversity is more than just a catch phrase or the right thing to do. They feel that true workforce diversity is a business strategy that fosters creativity and innovation. Dell actively recruits at many culturally sponsored job fares and events. Through this attitude and these policies, Dell has been successful in creating a diverse workforce, and a strong corporate culture.
Throughout the last decade, Dell has experienced staggering growth in the computer industry. They have emerged from an 18-employee basement operation to the leading supplier of computers in the world. During this time of rapid expansion, Dell has maintained a quality workforce that has made great strides in becoming the company envisioned my Michael Dell. While past recruiting practices have been largely successful, I feel specific areas are open for improvement. It is my recommendation that Dell expand its on campus recruiting efforts to include more schools in the United States, and abroad. I advise that Dell should launch an on campus advertising campaign to promote recruitment through their website for schools without scheduled campus visits. Lastly, I recommend that Dell increase its use of rotational recruiters to provide a better prospective on interviewing.
To meet anticipated demand, I feel that Dell should increase the number of prospects by increasing the number of schools it visits. Recruiting efforts are largely focused on midwestern and southeastern schools, primarily Big 10 and ACC schools. I feel that the company should branch out and extend on campus visits across the country to include Big 12 and Pac 10 schools. These schools are untapped resources for prospective employees. To promote this expansion without dramatically increasing costs, I recommend that Dell cut the number of on campus visits of selected schools from three to two. I feel that this provides adequate exposure to these markets while allowing staff to visit more schools.
In addition to expanding on campus recruiting in the United States, I feel that Dell should expand its recruiting efforts to major universities abroad. Dell feels that diversity is a major competitive advantage that fosters new ideas. I feel that this diversity can be vastly improved by overseas recruiting. I recommend that Dell expand its recruiting efforts to areas such as Europe, India and South East Asia.
In addition to gaining exposure through broadening on campus visits, I recommend that Dell launch an on campus advertising program promoting recruitment through the company website. Simple advertising techniques to increase knowledge of the web presence could include: Contacting on campus job placement offices and providing them with company information and web instructions, on campus distribution of flyers and posters to be places on or around commonly read bulletin boards or boards with job information. Some advertising could be done in school newspapers and magazines as well. I feel that increasing web-recruitment awareness is the most important aspect of my plan to increase correspondence with eligible applicants.
To attract and retain eligible applicants, Dell should broaden it use of a rotational recruiting staff. A rotational recruiting staff places individuals in industry fields in the recruiting market. This provides prospective applicants with insight on the actual requirements and demands of the job, reducing turnover and increasing job fit.
For Dell to continue as a leader in the rapidly expanding technology industry, they will have to maintain their recruiting advantage. I feel that the recommendations presented in this paper will keep Dell at the forefront of the technology industry.