The Technology of RECRUITING TODAY

New technology demands new HR skills.  Has the Internet changed the way that companies recruit employees? Does an effective recruiter in 1998 need to have different skills than were required just a few years ago? Are candidates seeking new positions in different ways than they have in the past? The answer to all of these questions is an unequivocal, "Yes!". 
     Human resource professionals have earned the reputation of being technophobic. For a profession that is often charged with implementing organizational change it is ironic that the HR function is often the last to change itself. If it were not for the sense of urgency created by record low unemployment across the nation, it is possible that the profession would still be using their PCs as fancy paperweights. Today’s HR professional must be able to harness the new and evolving technologies in order to perform their jobs to a satisfactory level today and to be able to do it at all in the future. 
     Companies must understand that their target audience uses the Internet when searching for a variety of information, including a new job.  Individuals who are on the Internet are more likely to have email access than graphical Web-browsing abilities, yet most companies focus only on establishing an Internet website when developing an online recruitment effort.  It would be a mistake to focus solely on the creation of an appealing corporate Website, however. Be sure to incorporate a method of communicating job vacancies to the "non-browsing" email-only candidates, not only those individuals that can view your wonderful website. 
     Companies that do not feel ready to establish an online presence, but would like to post their job vacancies online, can do so.  Contact your local employment division office and ask how to add future job postings to America’s Job Bank. Your print ads can direct applicants to the America’s Job Bank Website, in addition to your current hiring locations. This site is a great first step into the wonderful world of online recruiting. For the really intrepid recruiters, the site allows for direct entry of job postings. 
     Company Websites need to have a button on the initial screen that will whisk potential candidates off to the job posting section of the site. There, the candidate should be encouraged to leave their email address and other relevant information so that they can receive automatic notification as new positions in their area of interest and qualification are posted. This is the most basic form of what is now known as Internet "Push" technology. 
     Although resumes adorned with bolding, underlining, bulleting, and other formatting features may look nice in print, they are not always that way when they come to the recruiter’s desk as an email attachment. Encourage candidates to send their resumes in the body of their emails (assuming you allow the submission of resumes via that method) rather than having them send attached files. Incompatible encoding and decoding of the email file attachments too often result in an otherwise attractive document coming to the recruiter’s desk in an unreadable fashion. 
     Mark Mehler, co-author of CareerXroads (MMC Group, 1996), offers three basic rules for online recruiters: 
     "When in doubt "Point and Click."  Make a decision regarding using the Web for recruiting; do not procrastinate. 
     "Follow the Job Seeker."   Many corporate sites today are filled with marketing information, graphics that are very slow to download, and written from the standpoint of the public relations department. Recruiters need to get a "jobs" button on the home page of their corporate site. 
     "Whoever owns the most emails wins."   If you can collect college graduates' emails, two years from now they will have become experienced professionals. Why not save these, and once a year send them a broadcast email with your current openings?   It is just as easy to send one email as 10,000. 
     Although, in the past an organization could seek candidates when they needed them, today’s recruiter needs to be more proactive. The Internet demands new forms of candidate sourcing to take place.  "Coupled with an unemployment figure at an all-time low, [companies are moving] to a style of recruiting that is focused on continuous relationship building -- "personal courting" versus simply "filling the requirements."" according to Dave Evans, a vice president at Bernard Hodes Advertising.  He adds that customized direct marketing needs to target individuals who have the requisite skills for future organizational needs. No longer can an organization simply put out a classified advertisement and hope that the right candidate will come. 
     Internet recruiting is here to stay. To be successful you must start doing it today.  Internet recruiting offers, "increased exposure and bang for your buck," according to Margaret Dikel, founder of the Internet’s The Riley Guide Website.  What's more, it offers the ability "to run a very targeted campaign and look for the best of the best online."
Be patient. It will take time for you to develop skills at using this evolving tool to enhance your organization’s recruitment efforts. But begin now.

ERIC R. WILSON, SPHR, is president of HR Integrated Solutions, Inc., a human resources consulting firm based in Portland, Ore., which specializes in the effective use of technology within organizations. Reprint #9229

Reprinted by permission of the publisher, from HR FOCUS APRIL 1998 1998.  American Management Association, New York. All rights reserved.

Last Updated March 04, 2001
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