What is the future of online hiring?

job-seeking is growing at four times the speed of Internet use in general but
what is its future potential? Five major players in the recruitment market
offer their insights into the future of online recruitment

traditional recruiter
By Paul Wilson, managing director, Michael Page Human Resources

30 million people change jobs in Europe each year. But gone are the days when
they  just searched magazines and
newspapers to find employment opportunities – they are now heading for the Net.
In the UK, 14.3 million people have access to the Internet with an estimated
5.4 million using it specifically to look for work. So does this mean the end
of traditional recruitment consultancy?

has been one of the largest growth areas online and, as a sector, has created
hundreds of new businesses offering online recruitment services or career
portals. The common perception is that the Internet lowers the barriers of
entry into business.

a sense this is true, but the real need for recruitment sites to create brand
awareness at a time when proliferation has resulted in crashing prices for
online advertising, creates a huge financial hurdle at which most Internet-only
recruitment companies will fall. If a company of News International’s stature
rebrands its career portal Revolver to Sunday Times Online after only four
months, what hope is there for the Internet-only brands of recruitment site?
Clearly online consolidation is overdue.

new venture can gain strong brand awareness by riding on the back of a
traditional business or ploughing millions of pounds into advertising. But new
brands that haven’t adopted the advertising route run the risk of operating
without a strong enough brand equity to be an online success. So, brand
awareness is everything. It is interesting to note that in the UK the Michael
Page Website generates about 15,000 applications a month without any publicity

Internet has also changed a client’s direct interface with candidates. At first
this seems the instant solution for big employers. Unfortunately, again, mass
access spoils the result. Major employers now approach traditional
consultancies to handle their own Internet applications. This is because they
are not geared to manage the volumes of applications produced, most of which
may not be relevant.

brings me to the crucial point. Recruitment consultancies are there to
understand companies, roles and candidates and to interpret and match them
accordingly. That is the added value of a consultancy, saving companies time
and money and giving them access to the best employees. HR candidates and
clients alike continually stress the need forculture and personality fit, and
this is the defining point for successful executive recruitment. The
face-to-face interview, consultancy and intimate knowledge of the marketplace
by the recruiters are key factors in securing a successful match.

will be very few Internet-only recruitment models that survive. What we are
already finding is that recruitment companies who can combine offline delivery
with online presence will prosper. In retail, companies such as Tesco, which
can combine Net innovation with the combination of funding, financial stability
and an established infrastructure, are winning against the plethora of pure
e-tailers. The same will happen in recruitment. It is perhaps ironic that one
of the leading recruitment Websites turned to Michael Page Human Resources to
successfully recruit its own HR manager recently.

conclusion, the technology will continue to evolve. However, this will not
replace the need for traditional consultancies. The question for future
recruitment businesses is not how can I run a business solely on the Internet
but rather, how can I use the Internet to enhance my existing business and
service offering?

network (the employee’s perspective)
By Tim Elkington, head of research, workthing.com

The online recruitment market is continuing to grow and evolve and has seen
some significant developments over the past six months, as highlighted by
workthing’s latest Online Recruitment and Employment Survey.

is the largest piece of research into recruitment and the Internet, sampling
more than 3,000 Internet users every six months. This gives us an invaluable
insight into the trends and issues affecting the online recruitment market.

growth of Internet use in this country has been documented at length, and it is
a fact that more and more people are going online. What is not so well
documented is that online job-seeking is growing ahead of the curve, four times
faster than Internet use in general. This emphasises the suitability of the
recruitment industry to this channel.

spring 2000, there were more than 4 million online job-seekers. In the past six
months, this has grown to 5.4 million people using the Internet to look for
jobs, showing that online recruiting is a natural activity for this new
Internet audience.

the UK Internet population has grown by 900,000 in six months and online job
seeking is growing at a faster rate than Internet use in general. The Internet
has proved an indispensable way to reach people from all geographical and
demographic spectra.

Internet is ideally suited to sifting applications and matching candidates to
jobs but the leading online recruiters are attracting consumers by offering
more than just a jobs board, they are also forming online communities for
different sectors. Our research reveals that browsing for jobs in specific
industry sectors is the most popular activity on recruitment Websites and a
third of visitors to recruitment sites use them for industry sector news.

than a third of visitors to recruitment sites have also obtained training
information from the sites. This is the value-added service that we can provide
to job seekers and which encourage them to return to the site.

attitudes to online recruitment have been discussed in Personnel Today in the
past. For example, a common assumption is that consumers are wary of online
recruitment as they do not get the human touch, even though many recruitment
Websites offer personal contact with job-seekers. Those sites with superior
search engines allow candidates and job postings to be accurately and
efficiently categorised, but many online recruiters also try to retain a more
intimate connection with their candidates by sending them personal e-mails,
having helplines in place and by allowing them to personalise their experience.

publication has also debated whether job seekers trust the Internet enough as a
medium to post their personal information. Our research has tackled this issue
head-on and found that consumers are placing more and more faith in the
security of the Internet.

job seekers tend to differ from general web users in terms of confidence and
Internet experience. More and more are using sophisticated features online, and
users are saving their CVs online and have overcome worries about security.

is clear the Internet is an effective and increasingly popular medium, the
potential strength of this evolving medium is demonstrated by a prediction for
the future from ORES – more than 2 million users expect to obtain their next
job via the Internet, which is more than those who expect to find their next
job via national and trade press and recruitment agencies.

online tester
By Richard Alberg, chief executive of PSL

At a recent presentation given by the head of graduate recruitment at one of
the "Big Five" accountancy firms, many people were struck by his
opening remarks. He stated that the firm’s online recruitment process is
state-of-the-art, offering speed and quality benefits over its competitors. But
he was certain that all of the major graduate recruiters would soon be
employing similar systems.

logic was simple. We are experiencing a buoyant economy and this exacerbates
the problems in attracting high-calibre personnel – it is currently a buyer’s
market. His firm’s new processes provided significant advantages and,
therefore, it was obvious the firm’s competitors would need to invest in
similar systems. If the Big Five went down this route, then investment banks
and other financial institutions would follow. This, in turn, would prompt
similar moves by major corporates. No-one argued with that logic.

is nothing new. What is new is the level of advantage provided by technology
and the speed with which increasingly sophisticated processes are being
introduced. Whereas in the past recruiters would have been satisfied with minor
tweaks from year to year, with an occasional overhaul, the pace of change is
now so rapid. Recruiters need to be continually aware of new developments.

of online recruitment typically cite four core benefits:

Speed – the complete campaign (from origination to processing) happens faster

Cost – electronic processes that do not involve print, manual distribution and,
crucially, administrative staff, inevitably cost less, particularly in volume

Effectiveness – a properly designed electronic process eliminates elements of
human error inherent in manual processing

Exposure – the key strength of the Internet is its ability to reach audiences
who may not be captured via traditional media platforms.

these procedural benefits are significant, but the key strength of online
recruitment is its ability to combine processing with a highly sophisticated,
psychometrically-based investigation of a candidate’s suitability for a
particular post – or, in other words, allowing the candidate to put their
personality and competencies into the process.

as with other providers of specialist psychometric testing, has been developing
Internet-based screening tools directed at improving the quality of the sifting
process – a job that becomes overwhelming when organisations are running volume
recruitment campaigns.

structured online questionnaire – standalone, integrated with recruitment
Websites or linked to bulletin boards – helps businesses match candidates’ skills,
abilities, attitudes and experience against their own required competencies and
corporate values "fit". Many of the applicants may appear, via their
accompanying CVs, to meet the criteria for the job, but are they genuinely
suited to the post and, equally important, to the organisation?

benefit of using an online questionnaire is that it can be linked directly to a
grading system whereby an individual candidate’s suitability can be measured
against specific criteria identified by the recruiter. Moreover, the campaign
manager can get an instant fix on the range of candidates applying for the job
and their relative strengths. For example, the manager can identify – in real
time – say, the top 10 per cent of candidates and invite them immediately for an
interview, thus ensuring that good people receive a quick response.

short, the linkage of online recruitment procedures and intelligent tools such
as psychometric instruments delivers a fundamental benefit to the campaign
manager and is the basis for a sustained future for online recruitment. Instead
of spending valuable time eliminating the vast majority of candidates who are
unsuitable, the manager can concentrate on the minority of candidates who meet
the brief. This ensures those who go forward to the next round are the right

and bricks” model
By Chris Hermannsen, chief executive, UK, Ireland & Nordic Region ,
TMP Worldwide eResourcing

The arrival of the Internet has radically changed the way the world does
business. Faster, smarter, cheaper, further – the Internet gives companies the
opportunity to really push the boundaries of how business is done. Although you
would not believe it from the way some companies do business, today’s economy
is global. The players who succeed, indeed dominate in this environment, will
be those who can offer truly global solutions.

is no exception. The arrival of the Internet means that finding, assessing and
hiring the right executives, no matter where they are, is a reality not a

500 computer programmers yesterday? No problem. Whether they are located in
Bombay or Boston, the Internet empowers recruitment businesses to find these
people. KPMG recently announced it is moving all of its recruitment online –
testament indeed to the value of the Net in the recruitment process.

course, it would be foolish to suggest that the Internet is the only way to
provide solutions in the global economy or even to say it is the best way to
provide them. What it can do is provide solutions more quickly and at a reduced
cost compared to traditional recruitment methods.

a choice is critical. The human capital businesses that dominate the 21st
century will be those which can offer truly harmonised "bricks and
clicks" solutions. There will always be a place for the personal,
"high-touch" services, offered by traditional recruitment methods.
Clients will often desire these and they will often be the right service to
meet their needs. Online recruitment is not the be-all and end-all.

for us at TMP Worldwide, the Internet is the foundation of everything we do. If
one of our consultants is not asking himself every day, "How can I best
use the Internet to help my clients?", he is not doing his job. In
particular this means how they can best leverage the resource that is
Monster.com, the world’s leading global online career network and, fortunately
for us, a TMP Worldwide company.

has been made recently of the dotcom shakeout, where literally hundreds of
online businesses have gone to the wall or hit serious problems. Online
recruiters have not been immune to this – StepStone recently announced it is to
cut nearly 400 jobs following a £45.75m loss in the first quarter of this year.
Monster.com on the other hand, has gone from strength to strength. This is not
only because it has been supported by the "bricks" element of TMP
Worldwide’s business but also because it has focused on achieving one crucial
factor for success: critical mass.

has more than 10 million CVs registered online and 500,000 job vacancies. Its
Media Metrix "power ranking" (audience reach multiplied by the number
of unique pages per visitor per month) is greater than the sum of the power
rankings of its 10 closest competitors. To make an analogy, if Monster.com were
a soft drinks manufacturer, it would have more market share than Coca-Cola and
there would be no Pepsi to compete with it.

is the future of online recruitment – only the strongest and the largest will
survive in an environment that demands size and reach as criteria for success.
What we will see is the creation of a cluster of online "superbrands"
that will act as online recruitment hubs for the growing number of virtual CVs.

the number of Web-savvy "knowledge workers" in the global economy increases,
more and more individuals will be posting their CVs online. We estimate that by
the end of this decade there will be more than 100 million CVs in cyberspace,
forming a massive online CV "tank" to be tapped by employers and
recruiters. The place of online recruitment in the marketplace is quite assured.

online recruitment site (the employer’s perspective)
By Andrew Findlater, business analyst, and Keith Robinson, managing
director of totaljobs.com

our recently published bi-annual poll examining the e-recruitment practices of
leading employers such as IBM and KPMG has shown, most organisations are using
jobsites to advertise positions and almost half predict an increase in
expenditure on jobsites over the next 12 months.

this growing confidence, our research points to an air of realism about
e-recruitment, with most employers predicting that it is set to become a major
channel in the next three or five years rather than overnight.

totaljobs we recognised early on that the concept of e-recruitment is an
evolving one and have embarked on a comprehensive research programme to
facilitate a better understanding of recruiters’ needs, while at the same time
creating a learning platform for ourselves. It is this ongoing commitment to
education through usability testing of totaljobs and employer focus groups that
is serving as the basis of our future growth and success.

on our expertise and heritage as publishers, as part of the Reed Elsevier
Group, we recognise that many of the same rules apply in the online
environment. From the recruiter’s perspective, it is the ability to measure
performance that is set to become a key driver in selecting e-recruitment
solutions. Indeed, in much the same way that employers scrutinise the audience reach
and make-up of mediums in the offline world, they will demand the same
information from an online environment. Those jobsites which simply continue to
hide behind generic application figures and unique visitor numbers are exposing
themselves to failure in the future.

monitoring the behaviour of our employer panel it has also become clear that
patterns of e-recruitment behaviour vary according to the sector – again this
is the same for offline publishers. For example, a higher proportion of
organisations in the public sector, media and IT use their corporate sites
compared with jobsites, while in retail, education and financial services a
higher proportion use external jobsites sites compared with corporate sites.
Thus, rather than seeking a broadbrush strategy for all, it seems important
players understand how to tailor their approach to different industry sectors.

is also striking that a huge opportunity exists for e-recruiters to work
alongside traditional channels. In recognising the role of the Internet as
complementary to their existing channels, the stated intention of many
employers is to reduce their dependence on recruitment agencies. But it is the
agencies themselves which have been some of the earliest adopters of
e-recruitment, recognising that aspects of contingency recruitment work done by
them, such as identifying, filtering candidates and even first interview, will
begin to be automated using the Web.

what of the future of e-recruitment? The past year has witnessed the beginning
of e-recruitment’s "coming of age" in the UK. But as employers begin
to formulate real strategies to evaluate and use online recruitment, the key
opportunity in moving forward is in developing a research-led offering that
will focus on the needs of employers as well job seekers. Within this our end
goal is to encourage employers to move from a mindset which regards the
Internet as just another recruitment advertising media to incorporating it as
part of the whole hiring process.

Comments are closed.