The health service is the latest in a long line of organisations to bring its recruitment process into the 21st century, as Dominique Hammond reports
Each month more than a million people in the UK use the Internet to look for a job, National Opinion Poll research found earlier this year. And a growing number of companies are concentrating their recruitment efforts on their web sites. According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters, 83 per cent of their members are using or plan to use the Internet to advertise vacancies.
Internet recruitment can save time, money and paperwork. As access spreads with the advent of digital television, the number of people using it to look for jobs will continue to grow.
The NHS is the latest employer to see the potential of the Net as a recruitment tool. Earlier this month it announced plans to set up a one-stop jobs billboard to advertise all NHS vacancies from consultants to hospital porters all over England (Personnel Today, 22 August). The NHS is the largest employer in Europe, has more than a million staff and advertises about 100,000 jobs a year. It spends £30m a year on recruitment advertising alone.
The aim of the site, which will target NHS staff and the public, is to reach the widest possible audience while cutting back the paperwork that plagues health service HR professionals and reducing the amount of money the service is forced to spend advertising in specialist journals.
The decision to launch the site, which the DoH says will be running by spring 2001, is timely, coming just weeks after the Government announced that an extra 35,000 professionals will be recruited to the service as part of the modernisation drive.
Marion Forrest, director of personnel for mental health services in Salford, is keen to use technology to aid recruitment. But like other people in her position the one big hurdle she sees is that, despite the media obsession, many people still do not use the Internet. In many cases people do not have access to it, while others are simply not interested.
Forrest says her own attempts to find staff through the Web were more successful for some posts than others. Using some of the general recruitment sites, including monster.com and StepStone, she got a good response from doctors, especially from overseas, but found hardly any nurses.
Roy Davis, head of communications at psychometric test developer SHL, which i