Look before you leap into Web recruitment: Page 2

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But be careful what you wish for--you might get inundated with replies. And just like in the traditional recruiting field, only 10% of the responses you receive will result in a hire. You need to be sure you have a system in place to deal with the flood of resumes you'll undoubtedly receive.

Lessons learned about Internet recruiting
Here are a few tips from the experts to get you started:

The Internet is better for filling ongoing, repetitive hires than for filling needed-it-yesterday specialty hires. Expect a 90-day ramp-up time when posting a job before you begin to see a steady flow of resumes, says Carl Kutsmode, president of the Tiburon Group.

Not everything is as it appears to be on the Web. Some job seekers seed the Internet with information about themselves in order to appear to be a happily employed "passive" job candidate rather than a "desperately seeking" one. To avoid being deceived, create a personal Web page and include a sample resume. "An intelligent search agent will find you if you've included the right key words," says Kevin Wheeler, principal consultant for Global Learning Systems.

Be very descriptive when posting jobs on the Web. Be sure the job title clearly identifies the key job responsibilities and location, Kutsmode says. For example, don't say "Database Specialist." Say "Sr. Oracle DBA." You could even include the state abbreviation in front.

Consider advertising on job boards that focus on a particular skill set or profession, such as HTML or Java programmers, Wheeler says. Job boards such as Careermosaic.com and Monster.com are starting to go the niche route.

Don't rely on the Internet to be your only recruiting resource, Kutsmode says. Print advertising, job fairs, and referrals should continue to fill out your comprehensive strategy. Companies with successful Web recruiting efforts claim that an average of 15% to 20% of their total hires are from the Internet, he says.

At one company, a Web recruitment effort resulted in the firm's 100 recruiters receiving 7,000 resumes a month. "They were scared to open their e-mail," says Carl Kutsmode, president of the Tiburon Group, a recruitment solutions firm in Chicago. Worse, all the resumes were automatically dropped into the main database with no screening, which lowered the quality of the database. Since then, the company has hired Kutsmode's firm to manually screen and pre-qualify the resumes before sending them on to recruiters.

Perhaps in addition to saving money, you also want to speed up your hiring process. In that case, think about bulking up the recruitment section of your corporate Web site. That's what Tellabs did, by partnering with a company called World.hire.com in Austin, Texas.

"We needed an interactive site to help candidates sort through 150 openings we had on the Web," Sellers says. Before, candidates would have to scroll down the list of openings and then fax or mail in their resume. Now, they type in their preferred location, their discipline level, and several key words. The site responds with a list of positions that meet those criteria, complete with a job description. When candidates click on a particular requisition, their information is automatically sent to the hiring manager and is also added to a central database, which is accessible by anyone at Tellabs. Candidates are also asked a series of prescreening questions, such as willingness to relocate and salary requirements. In one case, a candidate was hired in less than two weeks, from the time he visited the site to the job offer.

"On top of that, it reduced our costs-per-hire because we're not spending money on agency fees or travel," Sellers says.

Stalking the passive job candidate

A third common goal of Internet recruitment is capturing the ever-elusive "passive candidates"--people who are highly valued by their current employers and have no reason to actively seek a new job but are open to the right offer. In order to find those people, it takes some advanced Internet searching techniques. "Job boards are low tech--most people can figure that out," Wheeler says. "Sourcing, though, is becoming more and more of a skill."

If you want to delve into this area, training is of the utmost importance. A company called Advanced Internet Recruitment Strategies (AIRS) in Hanover, N.H. is well known for its in-depth Internet recruiting seminars. What many companies can't quite swallow, however, is the time commitment involved. In fact, some recruiters who attend AIRS seminars later find they don't have the resources to use what they've learned, Kutsmode says.

"You can generate a list of 100 people who can do the job, and the quality factor is (very high), but it's more time-intensive to get the results," Kutsmode says. "Corporate management has to understand that if they want to employ advanced techniques, they shouldn't expect them to work miracles within a normal work day."

Select one or two people to become electronic-sourcing gurus, and let them spend all their time on the Internet, Wheeler says. "Let them have time to play and use their imagination in how they look for people," he says.

lot of companies may have trouble finding money in the budget to hire dedicated Internet recruiters. But, Kutsmode points out, if you can make one hire without a search firm, that's $15,000 to $30,000 you've just saved in search fees. A good rule of thumb for Internet recruitment budgeting is to set aside $25,000 to $35,000 per office just for the tools, technologies, career-site fees, and training of recruiters, Kutsmode says.

And with the fast pace of change on the Internet, your efforts won't stop there. According to Wheeler, "the whole world of the Internet as a tool for recruiting is in turmoil." //

Mary Brandel is a freelance writer in Norfolk, Mass., specializing in business applications of technology. She can be reached at brandel@cwix.com.

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