The rapid increase in usage of the internet has been accompanied by a growing awareness of its poten...
The rapid increase in usage of the internet has been accompanied by a growing awareness of its potential as a recruiting medium. As the backgrounds of its users have been analysed, several recruiting organisations realised the particular relevance of internet users to their own recruitment needs. One such group is IFAs.
Almost one third of the UK population has access to the internet, either domestically or through employment. The proportion is higher in the US and its use is growing throughout the developed world.
Users tend to be young (average age 33) and male (62%) but older users are far from rare and women increasingly use the medium. The class profile (predominantly ABC1) is also favour-able for employers seeking certain skills and qualifications in the financial field.
By the end of 1999, about one-third of UK employers recruited through the internet (over 20% more than in 1997).
Conversely, an average of well over one million UK residents every month were seeking jobs by this means, as evidenced by the frequency with which the words 'employment' and 'jobs' appeared on internet searches.
Of course the jobs being offered or sought covered a wide range, not all of them ideally suited for internet promotion. For IFAs, and those seeking jobs with them, however, the internet provides an admirable medium for recruitment. Indeed, the lack of an internet presence severely limits the choice of both employer and prospective employee.
Here are some of the advantages: Jobs can be advertised instantly all over the world, not just in one or two publications in one particular country.
They can thus be publicised to UK nationals living abroad, and to nationals of other countries wishing to work in the UK. (English is the language of the internet, and its users must be assumed to have, or know someone who has, some basic knowledge of it).
Company names can become familiar to a wider spread of those not contemplating an immediate job change, while employers and job-finding agencies can enlarge their register of possible future employees.
Jobs can be advertised repeatedly, for many weeks if necessary, without limitations on available space and at minimal extra cost.
Job seekers can submit CVs and job applications quickly and easily. They can easily access more detailed information about companies offering jobs, giving them an accurate picture of their activities and more detailed evidence as to their desirability as employers. Companies are increasingly willing to provide such background information, or it can be obtained through internet recruitment firms.
Of special interest to recruitment organisations is the ability to add or delete vacancies on a daily basis at a total cost lower than that of a print-based campaign. Also available is a blocking device for unsuitable applications whereby each reply is required to provide certain basic details in order to be eligible for consideration. Applications lacking such details are immediately rejected, enabling unsuitable applications (perhaps numbering hundreds) to be swiftly weeded out. The process of filling vacancies can thus be speeded up - an important factor given the high cost of unfilled vacancies.
Recruiting via the internet, despite its advantages, can have its impact reduced if it retains the defects of a print-based approach. Most job seekers are interested in the job on offer rather than elegance in design and layout of the advertisement. In general, however, recruitment via the internet produces a positive response. The ease of reply will tend to attract no-hopers, many of whom might not reply to a printed advertisement. But lower and moderately paid jobs - most of the jobs advertised - will usually attract talented and experienced applicants.
The more applications of this type the better, provided they are speedily processed. (More choice is available for employers, and many names can be added to the databanks of the recruitment agencies). Problems might arise where employers are seeking to recruit executives at the top end of the market, many of whom may not want to change jobs and may need to be headhunted (they may even resent being approached).
It is in this area, too, that leadership and other skills are required which are not easily conveyed by the internet. For this type of post the personal knowledge of individual partners in internet job finding agencies will prove invaluable.
Jo Allam is a director of Recruit-u.com
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