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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"Our philosophy is very simple - if you get the best people in the industry to fit into your culture and you motivate them properly, then you're going to be an industry leader."

- John Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems, in September 1997.


In 1995, global networking major, Cisco, found that despite hiring an average of 1,000 people every three months during the year, the company still had hundreds of openings. The recruitment pressure further increased the following year, when Cisco hired more than 1,000 employees every quarter - around 10% of the total jobs generated through the Internet in Silicon Valley1. When Cisco's sales soared to $ 6.4 billion in fiscal 1997 and profits to $ 1.4 billion, (a 53% increase over the previous year), the company had to double its workforce and at the same time hire the best people. The Cisco management realized that it had to adopt innovative recruitment measures to get the best people and remain the leader in the Internet era.

Foremost among these was the first of its kind online recruitment called the 'Friends program'. Michael McNeal, Director, Corporate Employment said, "Friends is designed to put some grace into the hiring process." Cisco recruiters also began to target passive job seekers, who were content and successful in their existing jobs.

Analysts said that Cisco had maintained its lead in the global infotech industry, largely due to its streamlined and modernized recruitment policies.

In 2001, the company recruited around 40-50% of its employees through 'Make a friend@Cisco' online program and other such initiatives.

Background Note

Cisco was founded in 1984 by a group of computer scientists at Stanford, who designed an operating software called IOS (Internet Operating System).

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1] A nickname for the region south of San Francisco that has a high number of computer companies. Silicon is the most common semiconductor material used to produce computer chips, and hence the name.

2] Acronym for File Transfer Protocol. The most common way to download and upload (get and put) files on the Internet. When you download something from a shareware page, you are connected to an FTP site, and your computer and the server use the FTP to send you the file.


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