The basics of online recruitment

Finding job candidates online need not fill you with fear or cost you the
earth. Our six-point guide by leading authority on online recruitment Alan
Whitford outlines why

The use of the internet in recruitment has grown hugely in the last two
years, but it is often difficult to get beyond the hype and the jargon that
surrounds internet recruitment to gain an understanding of how it works in
practice. There is little to be afraid of as long as you follow the six basic
steps that any organisation must take to fully exploit e-recruitment’s benefits
and prevent competitors from netting all the best talent in the industry or

Step 1 Assess your current progress

You need to find out how ‘web savvy’ your company is right now. Have you only
got the basics of online recruitment in place – for example, e-mail, a
corporate website, a registered domain name and contact details on every page
of your website? Or are you leading edge? If you are the latter, you will know
who is visiting your site (through registration or log analysis), use e-mail to
keep in contact with a network of candidates and recruitment agencies, post job
searches on other websites and search internet CV databases for candidates.
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. Do you have a
Workflow diagram of your current processes? Are there different processes for
different hires? Have you diagrammed the candidate process? How adaptable and
flexible are these processes for the changes that internet recruitment and
communications entail?

Keep these key points in mind: First, ensure recruitment is integrated with
business goals for workforce planning. One approach is to use internal tools to
assess the demographics, skills and workload of existing employees to develop
key indicators for future workforce requirements. Another is to establish and
stick to hiring timeline objectives and performance measures for your
recruitment team and for line managers, and to make sure that you have a
dedicated communications budget. Making effective use of matching and database
technologies is also advisable. 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

Recruiters need to become business and relationship managers. In other
words, 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

After thoroughly assessing your employer brand, or what differentiates you
from organisations competing with you for staff, you are ready to develop your
marketing plan. Develop a ‘recruitment brand’ – a clear, concise, consistent
and targeted message about your organisation. Use this to underpin your entire
recruitment activity, which we look at later on in discussions on branding and
candidate attraction. Based on your candidate research, target your message,
advertising medium and location to reach the online job seeker.

Ensure that all approaches are linked to and centred on your own recruitment
site. Integrate e-recruitment into your overall recruitment strategy.

You can now take the information on candidates you have gathered and your
marketing plan to build a complete recruitment strategy.

Step 5 Understand the technology infrastructure for recruiting online

The basic framework can be broken into two broad areas: internal systems and
candidate management systems.

The internal system is your primary HR management system. Many of these
systems are adding online recruitment functionality, but it should be
remembered that recruitment is not the core competency of these companies or
their systems.

The candidate management/applicant tracking system is crucial because if you
do not put in place an efficient, technically capable and integrated
back-office capability, all the good work you 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, offline or online
advertising. Your goals are to source and process candidates, project the
employer brand and build relationships. Corporate sites are developing from job
listings to using functionality to develop relationships with jobseekers.

This means usability is vital. However much a jobseeker wants to work for
your company, if they can’t find what they need they will quickly give up and
go elsewhere.

A first principle is to ensure the content of your website offers the
visitor value.

Important factors in site promotion include:

– Make sure the content is relevant to the site

– Code ‘meta tags’ into the site

– Promote your site to the search engines

– List your site with all the directories and lists where job seekers might

Check list…

– Market and sell the organisation and the functions within it

– Become masters of identifying and tapping diverse sources of

– Understand the power of competitive intelligence

– Focus on the relationships and candidate experience to build
talent pools or communities for the future

– Measure the impact of what you do

Action points…

– Press advertising should reflect online advertising and be
used to drive traffic to your site

– Enhance your referral scheme and feed the resulting
information into your candidate management system

– Set up an internal search capability and become leads driven,
rather than CV-centric

– Develop re-hiring programmes by using your candidate
management system to maintain contact with talented leavers

– Integrate the internet with your intranet to increase your
internal recruitment

Manage your recruitment suppliers via the internet and your
recruitment site

This article is adapted from
Personnel today’s one stop guide to Online Recruitment.

Online Recruitment is designed to

– Save you hours of research time by pulling together all you
need to know in one place

– Cut through the jargon and answer all your questions in plain

Online Recruitment is the first in a
series of One Stop Guides from Personnel Today Management Resources.

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