Internet Recruiting on a Shoestring ? 5 Tips to Success

The evolution of the Internet as an everyday tool for communication, information, education and business is having as significant impact on the way we manage our lives, as did the invention of electricity and the telegraph. It is not going away, it will only be enhanced. With that in mind, the Internet has changed the way we recruit, today, and forever more. I recently read a study by IDC research indicating, ?By 2001, 96% of all companies will use the Internet for their recruitment needs.? Forrester Research supports these claims adding, ?By 2005, expenditures on Internet-based recruitment advertising, tools, professional services and infrastructure will be $7 billion.? Enough said. Now the question is how do you do this on a shoestring? First, I define shoestring as limited time and limited budget. We all learned in economics 101, there is no such thing as a free lunch. However there is such a thing as a ?value? meal. This is true for Internet recruiting as well. While you can?t accomplish everything for free — you can develop a strategy that is a great value. The following are tips to maximize your Internet recruiting efforts within tight budget and time constraints. Tip 1: Budget Allocation ? Posting Fees

Allocate $1,000 to each open ?position profile.? You may need to hire 2-3 people within each profile so your dollars will go farther for positions with multi-hire needs. With the $1,000 allocation, you will be able to post a position to several top sites for at least 2 months. If you need to hire more than 8-10 people under the same profile, I recommend doubling your allocation to $2,000 and increasing it by $1,000 for each additional 8 people you need under that particular profile. The extra money will allow you to broaden your reach and allow you to repost for additional months on each site. For perspective, if you have 50 unique position profiles in a year, and need to fill 150 openings, your total budget for Internet posting fees should be between $50,000 – $60,000. If responses to the Internet postings allow you to fill ? (75) of those openings ? then your Advertising cost per hire is between $670 and $800. You may include other variables into your total cost per hire, however, as far as the advertising components are concerned ? this is very economical and a great ?value.? Tip 2: Time Allocation
1 hour per position posted to actually execute the posting. This will allow you to post to 3 sites per position and more if you are really efficient. Posting to the job boards can be very time intensive and somewhat cumbersome. Depending on the sites to which you post and the information they require, you can easily post to 3 sites in one hour. To repost the second month, you typically do not have to re-enter all of the information for a second time. If you have more time, assuming no additional funding, you should consider posting to additional free sites. Tip 3: Site Selection

Your goal is to make your $1,000 per profile allocation work best for you. To do this I recommend the following site selection strategy.

  1. Select 1 large general board like Career Mosaic,, etc.. and invest in a package. Most packages are designed to give you ?volume? discount pricing. For instance, a single posting on is now at $275. However, with their package pricing, depending on the size of the package purchased, the posting price can drop to as low as $125 per posting or less.
  2. Select 1 targeted site: There are specialty sites for every imaginable occupation. In addition to the targeted career boards, there are also many associations that allow job postings on their site. To determine which targeted site is best for your needs I recommend several resources: CareerXroads Book — this book reviews 500 of the top recruiting sites on the web; RecruiterResources; RileyGuide; Airsdirectory. These sites all have links to many Internet recruiting resources and all have sections dedicated to targeted sites.
  3. Post to 1 major free board., on which postings are still free, is one of your best overall reach free job boards. We have found that the response rate is high, and the quality is fairly good. Now, with the agreement between Yahoo and Webhire, the quality of response should only continue to increase. For the more technical positions, I would consider posting to one of the sites. I understand that they may start charging to post to this site but the fees are nominal ? maximum $40. Again, the resources mentioned above will give you a listing of free sites.

If you have more time, consider posting to as many free sites as you can. While the response rate/quality of response is typically not as strong as some of the fee based sites, you will get a few great candidates — for free. The $1,000 is meant to post each position for two months, $500/month. If your posting costs per month are less than $500 and you have time to post to additional sites, consider adding more fee based sites to your list. For technical positions consider including, Dice, or JobOptions. You may be able to negotiate some good ?volume? discounts to make your funds go that much farther. Tip 4: Resume Databases

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In addition to your posting strategy, it is important to actively source candidates from the Internet. I recommend allocating $15,000 per year to purchase access to the resume databases for some of the more popular sites. Many sites will allow you to purchase access to the database even if you do not post to their site or only post periodically. Annual access fees range from about $3,000 to as high as $10,000. Remember, if you hire just 8 people per year from the resume databases, your ?advertising? cost is less than $2,000 per hire. This is very cost effective. Allocate 1-3 hours a week to mine the resume databases. The best time to do this is first thing on Monday morning. Candidates often enter their resumes into the databases over the weekend when they have time to do it at home. You want to be the first to reach them so Monday morning is best. Tip 5: Reviewing the Responses

This can be one of the most time consuming responsibilities associated with Internet recruiting. However, it is one of the most critical. Since time to hire is critical, you must allocate time each day to review the candidate responses received from each posting. From our experience, usually 50% are not worth contacting based on a sight review of the resume. Once you find the 50% that are worth contacting, do so immediately, either by e-mail or telephone. They have expressed interest in your company. The quicker you follow-up with them, the faster they can get hired. Candidates feel more positive towards companies that follow-up quickly. It is to your advantage to be one of those companies. In summary, it is possible to launch a successful Internet recruiting campaign on a shoestring. In the example above, the company that needs to hire 150 new employees in a year, is only spending $75,000 on Internet advertising or $500 per hire needed. Their strategy includes reaching candidates that search the large boards and candidates that search targeted sites. They also have a robust an active sourcing strategy to reach those not actively searching the boards but who have submitted their resume to a database. In total, this strategy is both time and cost efficient. Good luck!

Karen Osofsky ( is a co-founder of, an e-recruiting consulting firm that provides outsourced recruiting solutions to rapidly growing companies and new ventures. The firm provides a broad range of recruiting consulting, sourcing, screening, and strategy development services to help companies manage the front-end recruiting process. Tiburon Group is a Certified AIRS Solutions Partner.


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