Case Study: ASP Model Streamlines Recruiting Process

For many businesses, the process of online employment recruiting can distract from core business and place unnecessary, expensive burdens on IT to come up with solutions. Here's what one job placement firm did to overcome those problems.
While staffing up its new virtual administrative assistant services, Chicago-based Virtual Consulting Corp. encountered a corporate nightmare. Office telephones were ringing constantly with as many as 200 inquiries a day about job opportunities, distracting the 100-person company from serving clients, and spiking phone lines to capacity.

"We needed a Web site to work for itself so our applicants could have a place to go to," said Paris Thigpen, Virtual Consulting's vice president of operations. The year-old company, soon to be growing by 80 people a month, was stressed to the max.

For any business doing employment recruiting without some kind of applicant tracking or at least a Web jobs posting system, the process can be an incredible distraction from core business. It can also place unnecessary and expensive burdens on IT to come up with solutions. But a new ASP model for job postings provides an affordable, viable, and temporary solution to lift the pressure off of the technology groups while allowing businesses to continue servicing clients.

At as little as $49 a month, looks particularly appealing in light of the expense of other, more full-featured Human Resource Information Systems or applicant tracking tools with Web job listing capabilities.

The Competition

Best-of-breed solutions, such as ASP tools Recruitsoft, Peopleclick and have well-coordinated modules that allow companies to store and do key-word searches on resumes as well as track applicants through the hiring process. But they can run $125,000 to $200,000 a year, according to Gartner Inc. vice president and research director Diane Morello.

Obviously such solutions, regardless of their full-service attributes, are financially well out of reach for most small and medium sized business.

Product Features offers relief from recruiting pressures as well as significant cost-savings in terms of individual Job listings. In a matter of 10 minutes, a company can have a customized Web solution that lets them do a number of things that ordinarily might cost up to $10,000 for a custom solution, according to research analyst Allan Schweyer with, a resource for human resources professionals. The site lets companies:

  • Build their own recruiting Web site with a color palette and corporate logo in under 10 minutes, without any HTML knowledge;
  • Customize job categories;
  • Highlight specific job openings;
  • Post and remove job listings on the fly;
  • Customize the look and feel of job listings;
  • Post employee benefits;
  • And collect the email addresses of job candidates and notify them by email of new opportunities.
  • Once a company builds its Web recruiting site on, it needs to simply add the link to its own Web page.

    Soon, according to founder and president Doug Berg, who previously founded the popular job board, the site will be able to broadcast the job listings from clients out to job boards, providing even broader visibility for employment positions.

    For executives concerned about the viability of, which opened for business in December 2002, Berg says the company has virtually no overhead and all systems -- Compaq servers running multi-tiered client server applications built in Cold Fusion and SQL -- are paid for. Clients own the content they post, which is protected from tempering via a firewall and traditional security measures.

    "We were profitable from the first day we started," said Berg, who attracted more than 50 clients in the first month of business. "At $49 a month, what have you got to lose?"

    Not a solution for Fortune 500s

    Berg acknowledges, and analysts are quick to point out, that Fortune 500 companies won't find the tool sufficiently powerful to suit their needs. But for small or rapidly expanding companies like Virtual Consulting Corp. the solution, when coupled with a simple Excel spreadsheet to track the applicants, fits the bill in a number of ways.

    It reduces the need to manually coordinate resumes and lets IT people, recruiters, and other staff focus on higher-level business tasks, said Morello.

    ROI also comes from being able to source job candidates much less expensively than per-job listings in newspapers or on Web sites, noted Schweyer.

    "If you've got traffic coming to it, and sufficient number of applicants, then you're getting listings for almost free," he said. Web listings on job boards can start at $275 for a single, month-long job posting on to several thousand dollars for a package of jobs on

    To drive traffic to Virtual Consulting's recruiting site, Thigpen simply places ads in newspapers and includes the companies URL as the single point of contact. It's been a quick fix to the otherwise painful problem of answering candidate questions. The phone traffic now goes to Virtual Consulting's Web site, which gets 5,000 hits a day.

    "The hits are going to the Web site, and not hitting our phones with questions about employment," said Thigpen. "That's not where we want to focus our time."

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