The Evolution of On Line Recruiting
From Network Computing Magazine Vol 13 No 06- October 2004
With the number of on-line recruiting services growing daily on the web, the employer of IT and Networking professionals appears to be spoilt for choice. But are these services delivering real value to employers and are they fundamentally changing the recruiting process for the better? Graham Galbraith of Compnet Jobs casts an opinion.
On-line recruiting is now a well established way of sourcing candidates for vacancies in most UK companies. With apparently much lower hiring costs compared to the more traditional methods, access to thousands or even millions of candidates and the appeal of immediate advertising, it is easy to understand why this trend continues. Does this mean that employers of technical staff are now enjoying the benefits of lower hiring costs, are they gaining access to the high quality, skilled and certified individuals that they require every time? The answer that appears to be emerging is no, and it is triggering an evolution in the business models of on line recruitment service providers.
As little as 15 years ago, the options for sourcing candidates were limited to the traditional newspaper adverts in national newspapers or trade journals. The Specialist IT Recruitment agency became an increasingly attractive alternative, however with this followed a dramatic increase in the cost of human involvement in the process.
Around 10 years ago, as the availability and presence of the Internet exploded, the first wave of on-line services appeared in the form of “Job Boards” which were little more than electronic newspapers. The immediate appeal of these services appeared to be the significantly lower costs for the employer, but the problem of large volumes of candidate applications and the lack of specific matching between candidate and job profiles soon became obvious.
These were quickly superseded by 2nd Generation Job Boards, which attempted to address the problems of their previous generation by introducing the concept of CV keyword matching. Suitable candidates could be searched by the existence and frequency of key words defining the right skill or experience required by the employer. In recent years, this method has been refined by the mass market Job Boards such as Monster by introducing a profile capability to augment CV’s and facilitate searching for specific skills.
With these services available, why are the seemingly outdated specialist recruiters not out of business? The answer is that despite the advancement in the technology, Job Boards are still not able to provide value as a result of the sheer volume of individuals in their databases. It’s also clear that many high quality candidates perceive job boards to be impersonal or intimidating and may never end up registering. Like many employers, they want the recruitment process to be personalised.
In recent years there has been an increasing number of Niche Job Boards appearing on the market, particularly in IT. These business models are generally the same as their mass market cousins whereby their clients pay for advertising space and candidate database searching. The ability of these service providers to provide good quality candidates through a search process, is increased somewhat due to their specialisation and reduced candidate volume.
The next step in this evolution is now taking shape with the emergence of “Niche Career Sites” which use the focused market concept of Niche Job boards, include the latest “Matching” technology and most importantly, take the critical step of introducing a significantly higher level of human involvement in the process. These services focus on sourcing high quality candidates and encourage them to register even if they are “passive” job seekers, the aim being to offer a career management service as opposed to a one off job finding resource.
So what does this all mean to the employer? Direct advertising methods are convenient but expensive and are increasingly being used for very senior positions. The Recruitment Agency is a safe but again, expensive option. The mass-market job boards and spin off niche sites have their low cost appeal, but the downsides of volume compromising quality while lacking human interaction. The newly emerging Niche IT Career sites offer a compromise solution of high quality recruitment and personalised interaction at an affordable price. They may just be the answer to finally making on-line recruitment work for employers of IT Professionals.
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