Letters of the week: you can’t ignore cyber revolution

Reading John Frye’s Opinion (On-line recruitment is not always right, 10 October) I was reminded of the Commissioner of US Patents who, in 1899 claimed, "everything that can be invented has been invented".

With something like 19 million people now on-line in the UK (from l2.5 million this time last year), over 30 per cent of whom are using the Net to manage their career, we dismiss this powerful new recruitment tool at our peril.

The recruitment world has changed. The old question was, "What can you bring to our organisation?" The new question is, "What can you (the employer) do for me (the employee)?" These demanding free agents have taken control of their careers and are doing it in cyberspace.

That said, good, old-fashioned recruitment practice must always drive the whizzy technology. If you are receiving timewasting CVs and wading through scores of on-line applications, that says more about how you have identified and targeted the talent you are seeking. Technology can enable you to target specific individuals and weed out those who do not fit the bill – something that’s not possible in even the most creative press ads.

In a jobs market where knowledge is a scare resource, you must be engaging candidates in a way and in a location that meets their needs, not yours. Welcome to cyberspace, John.

Paul Masterman

TMP Worldwide


New ideas don’t always save time

I am writing in response to your article on DfEE Award for Age Diversity (Awards, 24 October), with particular regard to Nationwide Building Society.

My partner recently took part in Nationwide’s telephone interview for a customer adviser position. This technique is supposed to sift out unsuitable candidates.

My partner has had two customer adviser jobs in the past 11 years and thus has experience and qualifications within the field. Despite this, he failed to meet the "skills criteria".

I therefore wonder whether Nationwide is asking the right questions.

I agree with the company’s equal opportunities policy to attract a wider age range, but the skills criteria should be looked at more closely so the questions ask for the right information.

Miss C Beacher

Belvedere, Kent

Does CIPD know what we think?

Your article about the CIPD’s decision to become more political and more actively involved in lobbying government raises the question of how the it knows members’ views (News, 14 November).

Unlike virtually any other professional body, the CIPD does not elect its council and officers by a ballot of the members – we are far less democratic than, say, the British Medical Association or the Law Society.

If the CIPD wishes to become more political, its first step should be to reform its procedures – it is ironic that the CIPD, which talks about involvement and empowerment, does not pursue this in its own internal arrangements.

Simon McGrath

UK HR director



Regulation alone is not the answer

The European Industrial Relations Review recommends introducing the regulation of working time to improve conditions in UK call centres (News, 3 October).

Many factors contribute to stress. In this type of environment, a structured employee assistance programme can be effective, involving corporate training and individual counselling.

Feedback to the employer identifies issues that impact on the business and allows these to be addressed, while offering focused support to the employee. In my opinion, introducing regulation in isolation is unlikely to resolve the issue of call centre stress.

Dr Angela Hetherington

Clinical director

Personal Performance Consultants

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