Recruiting - The Cisco Way

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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB014
Case Length : 08 Pages
Period : 1995 - 2001
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Cisco
Industry : Computer Networking
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Recruitment at Cisco

Cisco sources revealed that the company had a policy of attracting the 'top 10-15%' people in the networking industry. It believed that if it could get the best people in the industry and retain them, it would remain the industry leader. According to Cisco's vision statement, "Attracting, growing and retaining great talent is critical to sustaining Cisco's competitive advantage."

Thus, effective recruitment was used as a powerful strategic weapon by the company. The company began to use revolutionary techniques like the 'build-the-buzz' strategy, which was centered on the primary market for its products, i.e. the Internet.

Cisco's recruiting team identified the candidates whom they felt the company 'should hire,' and then figured out the way those potential candidates did their job hunting and designed hiring processes to attract them to the company.

Cisco recruiters targeted even passive job seekers - people who were happy and successful in their current jobs. Barbara Beck (Beck), Vice President, Human Resources said, "The top 10% are not typically found in the first round of layoffs from other companies, and they usually aren't cruising through the want ads." Since the most sought after employees were not accessible, Cisco deviced a strategy to lure them.

As part of its strategy to attract the best talent, Cisco changed the way it used wanted advertisements in newspapers...

Reaping the Benefits

Cisco believed that its new recruitment philosophy should also be made a part of the overall corporate culture. By late 1999, Cisco's job page was recording around 500,000 hits per month. The company generated a stream of reports about who visited the site and fine-tuned its strategy accordingly. By the time the new recruitment initiatives were established, Cisco, which was hiring approximately 8,000 people a year, received 81% of the resumes were from the web. Eventually, 66% of the new recruitments were from the candidates who had sent their resumes through the Cisco website.

It was also reported that about 45% of company's new recruits came from the Amazing People program...


Exhibit I: The Need for a New Approach Towards Recruitment


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