Based on the problems faced in the traditional recruitment process, the MoCS introduced a new system of recruitment which used the Short Message Service of the mobile phone. In the Sultanate of Oman, the mobile penetration rate is about 120% and it is the most successful form of communication today given the vast area of the country.
In August 2007, the new recruitment system using SMS was introduced. Job seekers can apply for jobs in the Civil Service by sending an SMS with their Manpower Registration Number and the corresponding job identification number published in the advertisements. Through integration with the Ministry of Manpower, National Manpower System, the system validates the applicants’ data in seconds. The job seekers can apply for jobs in the Civil Service anytime, anyway, eliminating the need to travel to the capital just to submit the applications and sit for the entrance examinations.
The applicants’ qualification is verified electronically via the HRMS and records from the Ministry of Manpower. Qualified applicants then go through a computer based examination to test their aptitude and knowledge at designed regional centres nearest their home. The examination system contains a database of more than 9000 questions in different fields with different levels. The test is graded by the computer-based system and the individual score is given directly to the applicant immediately after the exam via a big screen in the waiting area and also the notice board. The best 5 candidates will be channeled to the interview on the same day. This is increases transparency, there will be no complains of favoritism as the test is electronically graded and applicants knows how they fare.
An integrated interview system is then used to record interview evaluations by 2 members (one from Ministry of Civil Service and one from Unit requesting the job). Candidates will be able to know if they are nominated after the interview. The Hiring Unit will be notified of the nominated candidate through the Human Resources Management System.
From an initial 11 months time frame, the whole process is shortened to less than a month and less than a week, from testing to nomination. This is a huge saving of 40 weeks plus the eradication of having to travel, queue for approval and anxiety in waiting for examination results.
Apart from time savings, the frenzy during each recruitment exercises is totally eliminated and now HR Departments in the respective units and in MoCS can focus on quality manpower planning and management. As such the morale of the staff are increased.
This also saved the MoCS about OMR 459,172 and the rest of the recruiting Ministry OMR 707,553 yearly from cost of advertisements, transportation and manpower. Total saving is OMR 1,166,725 or US$ 3,033,485 yearly.
While the objective of the system is not profit generation, the SMS service is bringing in revenue for MoCS which is then reinvested in new upgrades to the system. This is because the service is done in a Public Private Partnership model which revenue generated from the SMS is split between the MoCS and the vendors. Based on the latest statics there are 62,274 subscribers to the service.