Online Recruiting Evolves

Remember the days when Internet recruiting meant posting an opening on an online career center in lieu of a print ad? In those days, recruitment technology meant resume storage and retrieval, and maybe correspondence management. The few existing vendors were limited to mainframe and client server platforms. But as the recruiting profession has evolved, so has recruiting technology. And as recruitment technology and the Internet have intersected, the options available have become limitless. Now that the dust has settled and the next generation of recruitment technology is firmly in place, we have learned two important lessons:

  1. While technology can positively impact a recruiter’s productivity and save time, recruiter’s must develop a broader business sense and link activities to organizational goals.
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  3. It’s imperative to understand that technology, while advancing rapidly, cannot take the place of human interaction when it comes to a candidate making a career decision.

Forrester Research expects online recruiting will fall into three categories by the year 2005: 1) online recruitment advertising, 2) human resources applications, and 3) online assessment and training. In other words, there are numerous ways technology ó and specifically the Internet ó can positively impact a recruiter’s success. But with so many options available, recruiters must begin to consider ways to integrate technology into the recruitment practices to increase their efficiencies and improve strategies. Online Recruitment Advertising Online recruitment advertising reaches way beyond posting to a job board. If job boards are currently within your strategy, don’t ignore the power of niche sites, a rapidly growing market segment. The key is to determine the best way to reach your target audience. Fortunately, with the availability of posting tools, the tedium of posting to multiple sites is significantly reduced. Also included under the online advertising umbrella is permission marketing: that is, pushing your jobs directly to a prospective candidate versus waiting to pull them to the online posting. Chances are you’ve made a significant investment of time and money to acquire the data in your recruitment database. Use it. The technology exists to simplify this process, and our team for one has seen astounding results. Finally, employee referral programs can be executed online, easing the administrative burden and increasing communication with both employees and their referrals. Studies show that employee referrals tend to cost less and retention rates are higher. The technology exists and can even be used to help employees reach beyond their immediate networks to increase referrals. Human Resources Applications Forrester lists human resources applications as the second major category of online recruiting. In addition to the traditional HRIM tools, this group includes the automation of numerous processes, including talent relationship management, EEO/affirmative action tracking and planning, candidate staffing, workflow management, and comprehensive reporting. Often times these components can even be incorporated into your recruitment management system. Talent relationship management is something that came up repeatedly at the ER Expo in San Diego last month. The tools are there to help with not only succession planning and competency management, but also employee development and training administration. According to Gary Becker, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, 65%-70% of all capital in a highly evolved economy is human capital. If this is the case, and human capital impacts shareholder value, than the management of the existing workforce should take a prominent role ó and the investment in technology to aide in this endeavor is justifiable. Online Assessment and Training Online assessment and training plays different roles in different organizations. This can be in the form of personality assessment or skills testing, for example. Upfront screening can also be built into the online application process by asking some of basic questions like, “Are you interested in relocating?” Training delivery and administration can also fall into this category. All of these can be automated through technology and managed via the web with the right tools in place. Navigating this maze of recruitment technology tools has grown into its own specialty. The key to making the best choices is in first understanding the overall business objectives, then identifying ways recruiting can impact those objectives, and finally considering how technology can make the job easier. In today’s economy, it’s almost become cliche to call recruiters “talent managers,” but I think we can all agree that recruiting plays a major role in attracting and retaining key talent, and will continue to so as technology evolves.

Kimberly Bedore (kimberlybedore@earthlink.net) is a consultant and public speaker who develops and implements staffing solutions for clients, resulting in increased efficiencies and significant cost savings. She uses her wide range of recruiting experience to provide companies with a wealth of information related to sourcing and sourcing strategies, recruitment training, and the implementation of solutions and metrics that enable a higher degree of staffing effectiveness.

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