Web helps HR with hiring

The Internet is helping HR professionals develop the capability to fulfil most of their recruitment needs themselves rather than depend on agencies and consultancies to do it for them.

This was the controversial message delivered to an audience of recruitment specialists by Vance Kearney, vice-president of HR at Oracle, last week.

But Kearney warned that many HR professionals lack the skills to take on the full role as in-house recruiters and there is a long way to go before margins in the recruitment industry would be seriously under pressure.

“Oracle has taken on 15 recruiters from the recruitment industry because we find them more effective than HR people,” he said. “They are more energetic, customer-focused and work harder than traditional HR.”

Kearney sees technology automating basic personnel tasks and freeing up HR departments to add more value to the business by concentrating on recruitment, retention and career development issues using the Web. Too many employers, however, have been slow to make this change because HR struggles to get the investment for new systems.

Kearney believes that as HR gets better at e-resourcing, e-career matching, on-line training and development it will improve retention levels and there will be less need for recruitment.

Oracle’s turnover of IT staff a couple of years ago was as high as 25 per cent at a time when the company was trying to double the size of its business. That is changing now and it has made huge savings by standardising systems worldwide and cutting staff. Web recruitment has never been a major problem for Oracle anyway because it is an established brand.

“Oracle will never be bigger than it is today in terms of numbers of people,” said Kearney. “Anyone sticking their head in the sand and saying the Internet stuff won’t affect them is crazy.”

Jane King reports from the Recruitment Consultancy Matters conference, London, 12 September

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