Bright future for online recruitment

The Interactive Advertising Bur-eau’s latest figures show that more than 53m was spent on online recruitment advertising in the first half of 2004.

If a similar level of spending is achieved during the second half of the year, a total annual spend of 107m would mean that the internet will have accounted for roughly 10 per cent of all recruitment advertising.

Developments in technology and a maturing online recruitment market mean that this 10 per cent share will increase in the future, and the internet will have an even greater impact on traditional recruitment techniques.

Impact of broadband
First, the increased uptake of broadband among internet users means that online jobseekers will surf for longer and have more engaging interactions with employers online.

Communications regulator Ofcom currently estimates that a third of all UK internet users access the internet through broadband, and it reported that the average monthly price of a high-speed connection fell from 45 in 2002 to 22 last year.

If this price reduction continues – and there is no reason to suggest that it won’t – then broadband will shortly become the most popular way of connecting to the internet.

The faster connection speeds offered by broadband will allow employers to communicate more effectively with candidates.

Corporate recruitment website features that are now regarded as advanced – such as employee video profiles, virtual office tours, online presentations and interactive tests – will become standard.

Employers will be faced with the challenge of how to best use these interactive features to communicate employer brands and engage and educate candidates before their competitors do.

Speakers at the ‘Online Recruitment – the Next 10 Years’ event in London last month, organised by Enhance Media, also focused on the changing nature of suppliers within the recruitment industry.

For example, when online recruitment began in 1995, the Guardian newspaper offered advertisers the chance to place recruitment advertisements within the newspaper’s different recruitment sections.

Ten years later, the paper has rebranded its offering as ‘Guardian Recruitment Solutions’.

It provides recruiters with an expanded range of options from print recruitment advertising to online advertising, and even offers to design, build and host careers sites.

These developments show that the traditional boundaries that existed between print media owners, jobs boards, recruitment advertising agencies, recruitment consultancies and technology companies, are breaking down.

Future developments
In the future, a new breed of ‘super suppliers’ will develop within the recruitment industry, offering employers a range of resourcing solutions, rather than just concentrating on a particular niche.

The challenge for recruitment advertisers will be how best to utilise these new suppliers to implement integrated strategies that draw from the best elements of online and offline solutions.

The impact of these developments on jobs boards was also discussed at the online recruitment event.

There was speculation that the ‘paid for advertising’ model currently used by job boards would be replaced by a more ‘placements orientated’ model, where recruiters only pay for results.

Speakers also agreed that the transparency offered by the internet in terms of assessing the effectiveness of online advertising would finally be brought to bear, and that jobs boards would feature ‘eBay-style’ effectiveness assessments, rather than traditional testimonials and client comments.

These changes will have an impact on the print recruitment sections of national newspapers, such as the Sunday Times, and there was some discussion regarding the long-term future of offline recruitment solutions.

Some believe that the future will be uncertain for print recruitment sections, citing the decline in print recruitment advertising within the IT market, while others believe there will always be a demand for offline recruitment advertising.

However, there was agreement that in 1995, no one would have predicted that the development of online recruitment would have such a huge impact on the way that employers recruit and pay for candidates.

A six-point guide to online recruitment

Step 1: Assess your current progress
You need to find out how ‘web savvy’ your company is right now. Once you have established your level of online recruitment sophistication, then you’ll know where to start.

Step 2: Identify the right processes
Next, you need to look at the recruitment process itself. Ensure recruitment is integrated with business goals for workforce planning. You need to be able to measure the effectiveness of online recruitment so set up the metrics for measuring recruitment spending.

Step 3: Identify the skills you need in your recruitment function
The new breed of recruiter needs to use sales and marketing skills in a broader way. It is no longer enough for the recruiter to advertise/post a job ad and wait for the ideal candidate to walk through the door. Today’s recruiters must create an image and brand for their organisation.

Step 4: Plan and research your online strategy
Develop a ‘recruitment brand’ – a clear, concise, consistent and targeted message about your organisation. Based on your candidate research, target your message, advertising medium and location to reach the online jobseeker. Ensure that all approaches are linked to and centred on your own recruitment site. Integrate e-recruitment into your overall recruitment strategy.

Step 5: Understand the technology infrastructure for recruiting online
The candidate management/applicant tracking system is crucial because if you do not put in place an efficient, technically capable and integrated back-office facility, all the good work you will have done to locate, attract and interview those great candidates will be lost.

Step 6: Develop your corporate website
The corporate website is the most important communication vehicle to receive and process job applications whether through direct or online advertising.

This information is adapted from the Personnel Today Management Resources one-stop guide to Online Recruitment.
To order your copy, telephone 01371 810433, e-mail:, or go to

Tim Elkington is managing director of online recruitment and research consultancy Enhance Media.

Enhance Media is responsible for the National Online Recruitment Audience Survey (Noras) – an independent and audited source of information on the users of online recruitment sites.

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