Web Enhanced Recruiting: Integrating the Internet Into Your Staffing Process

    February 25, 2004

The web can vastly expand an organization’s ability to search for talent and present itself as an employer. The web has enabled us to put more company information and job information in the hands of job seekers. Just has job seekers want to present themselves in a favorable way towards employers, so do the companies.

Is the web being used effectively for recruiting and staffing by employers? Employers are complaining that the web has dramatically increased applicant pools with the misconception that the entire nation is the relevant labor market, which it is not. Bigger is not always better, and many authors pride themselves on telling employers to post jobs in more than one job board and to process thousands of applicants. The key to effective recruiting is to use the Internet as the enabling technology as it is. Not to rely on it.

Are you tired of receiving thousands of resumes for a single open position? The answer is NOT to post jobs online. I’ll use an example of how I recruit for employees. If I have an opening for an account executive position, and I am located in Fort Lauderdale, I place a “print only” ad in the local newspaper with a link to my company web site for three days. The applicants would visit my company web site for information about the a job and to apply online. No resumes are accepted! Only application forms! Application is stored in my database and I am notified of the new applications by e-mail. Similar to the way an e-commerce site is notified that an order has been placed. This way I am able to keep my total number applicants to 20 or 30 for an open position. That is more manageable than 1,000 that the 120,000 companies doing online recruiting are receiving. No wonder you see a lot of companies saying “no phone calls.”

There is a misconception that companies need to post their jobs online on as many job boards as possible. That is not what the Internet is supposed to do. The Internet is an enabling technology to help companies streamline administrative processes. Companies need to focus on their “relevant labor market.” The relavant labor market is the area that you are “physically” doing business in. For example, if you are located in Fort Lauderdale, your relevant labor market is Broward County. Not everyone in Broward County is qualified to be a sales person, and not every sales person is qualified to be an outside sales person. Therefore, the ad that is placed in the local newspaper is designed with a realistic job preview of what the job entails with a link to the company web site for a complete job description and online application. This process is what I termed “web enhanced recruiting.” Recruiting is impacted by the Internet, but is not solely relied upon as is the case with most companies today.

I still rely on reading resumes as they come in rather then having a computer make my selection decision for me. It has been proven, that over reliance on computers will cause more problems. Two examples come to mind, the BCS college football rankings and Apple One’s recruitment software. Both use web technology to make people decisions for them. Apple One is one that comes to mind since I am a Human Resource professional. When you submit a resume online to Apple One, it goes directly into their recruitment database. In the words of one of their recruiters:

“Your resume has been added to our matching system, and if our computer determines that you match for this position or any of the thousands of positions we are currently working to fill, we will contact you as soon as possible.”

Notice that it said if the computer determines if you match this position. This is an example of over reliance on web technology and the Internet. This is not what the Internet is meant to be.

Reducing the applicant pool to 20 or 30 will allow companies to provide better customer service towards applicants. The way an applicant is treated in the hiring process presents an image of how companies treat their employees and their customers. A hiring process where applicants feel it is impersonal will be more likely to decline job offers than those that provide the same high quality of customer service to applicants. At Webitude eBusiness, it is our policy to allow applicants to feel free to contact the company at anytime to ask questions, even to check on the status of their application. This shows me that they are interested in working for my company. It also provides me with ample opportunity to provide superior customer service to job seekers who apply for employment.

You need to keep the human component in your hiring process. Applicants reactions are a crucial component in whether to accept a job offer with a company. Also, if you provide poor customer to your job applicants, it will spill over to regular customers. I still believe in the two word phrase “human being.” Integrate web technology with the traditional way of doing business rather than relying on it.

Nick Roy is the Owner and Director of Human Resources for Webitude eBusiness, a web development company that specializes in the developing web sites for small to mid-size businesses. He currently holds an MBA in E-Business and MA in Human Resource Management from Hawaii Pacific University. He can be reached at 954-529-7579 or by e-mail at owner@webitudeversionone.com