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by Bob Brooke

Change is happening faster than ever these days. Changes in the global business environment, changes in the economy, changes in technology, and changes in recruitment. Today, job recruiting via the Internet is fast replacing the classified ad. This should help businesses find good employees quickly. But statistics show that fewer employers post jobs on Internet job sites than might be expected.

In January, 1998 17 percent of Fortune 500 companies actively recruited employees via the Net, according to the research firm in Ottawa, Canada. Just a year later, that figure jumped to 45 percent. Forrester Research of Cambridge, Massachusetts, projects that employer spending for online recruiting will mushroom to $1.7 billion in 2003Ėroughly triple the projections Forrester made in 1997. Already an estimated 2.5 million resumes have been posted to 28,500 job boards, such as,, and, bringing employers and job seekers together in the first step of the job process.

Forrester predicts the Net will eliminate classifieds as we know them, with online recruiting affecting millions of people who change jobs each year.

Web sites on jobs have long been an Internet staple, although the early ones were mostly electronic classified ads. But the Career Network mirrors the Web's emerging transformation of the ways employers, job-seekers and placement organizations find and fill jobs.

Advertise on Job Sites
For those employers who havenít tried online recruiting, the first step is to advertise on job sites such as There are many out there, and prices vary, but professional looking sites that are easy to find prove most effective. Checking search engines like Yahoo using keywords like "job" and "your city" will help employers find local sites that specialize in advertising their jobs. Remember, the easier it is for an employer to find a site, the easier it will be for job seekers, too.

Low cost, high speed, and a wide reach are the main advantages of recruiting online.

Citibank, Hasbro, Lucent Technologies, Marriott International, Prudential, and Universal Studios advertise positions on the Net. But that doesnít mean smaller businesses donít have a chance. In fact, the playing field is leveled on the Net, so everyone benefits.

The most important statistical difference in online recruiting versus regular channels is the number of days it takes to fill a job. A study by indicates that, on average, using the Net shaves 20 days off a companyís hiring cycle. For any company, thatís precious time.

Does the hugeness of these job boardsĖ posts over 200,000 resumes-- make them less valuable to employers, burying job opening among thousands of others? And whatís the point of coast-to-coast geographic scope when most job seekers still want something close to home?

While those are good questions, an explosion of niche sites on the Net now enables employers to post to specific vertical categories within the larger job boards. currently has 15 of these vertical sites and is planning to add 14 more soon. In addition, employers can post to independent niche sites like,,,,, and just plain There are sites for casino workers (, black engineers (, models (, finance types (, project managers (, MBAs(, Asian-language speakers (, and morticians (

However, this new job marketplace also requires truth, and resumes are notoriously untruthful. Which means that there still is a need for human contact. On many of the job boards, employers can conduct virtual interviews with job candidates through public forums, as well as private chat rooms.

Using the Net
In their desperation, some employers arenít content to post openings on job boards and wait for resumes to roll in. Instead, they venture forth and stalk the Web seeking potential candidates. Itís becoming almost as clandestine as the CIA. As people interact with each other online, they leave traces that recruiters can find. Some recruiters lurk on Internet newsgroups, where employees gather to discuss everything from database administration to dating. They watch to see who says the smartest stuff, then approach that person by E-mail.

Others use the Net to track workers around the globe. Hewlett-Packard has created technology to process resumes written in many languages.

The Web site of Inacom, a 12,000-employee computer-services firm in Omaha, Nebraska, features a game called the TechnoChallenge, which combines flashy graphics with a series at technical questions. To play, contestants must enter their name, profession, and contact informationĖostensibly to quality for a drawing for a $1,500 prize if they score 100,000 points or more. What most donít know is that theyíre also being screened for potential employment at Inacom.

More aggressive than any online employer is Cisco Systems. This $10-billion-a-year networking company hires 66 percent of its people and receives 81 percent of its resumes via the Net. Its Web site is a Venus flytrap of attractions. Visitors can fill a shopping cart with job openings that interest them or join the Make Friends @ Cisco program, which connects them with a real-life person from the department in which they want to work. If they donít have a resume handy, Ciscoís Profiler is a simple, humorous interface that helps them build one. And because roughly 90 percent of the "suspects" log in from their current employer, thereís a Oh No! My Boss is Coming button, which quickly fills the screen with "Seven Habits of a Successful Employee."

Companies like Cisco pursue online recruiting aggressively. It has software that tracks where visitors to its Web site go after leaving. It then places employment banner ads on those sites. Ciscoís banners incorporate a domain-name reader, so that they appear only on the browsers of people who might be interested in working at Cisco, for instance, engineers at companies like Lucent Technologies. Of course, Cisco also subscribes to a number of job boards.

Besides Internet job boards, employers can use their own Web sites to advertise available positions. Their employment link, directing visitors to available positions, should be directly on their site's main page. If itís difficult to find on their Web site, their results wonít be as effective. Itís a good idea that their employment link be near the middle of their main page, either on the left or the right. Their employment section should be easy to navigate with current listings.

Adding a resume response form to an employment section allows employers to receive comprehensive information from their applicants, as opposed to the general information sent in by E-mail.

Getting visitors, who are looking for jobs, is the key to a Web siteís recruiting success. Adding keywords such as "your city" and "sales representative" will enable job seekers using search engines to find the site.

Itís not hard to imagine a future in which employers electronically screen candidatesí "soft" attributes, direct potential hires to a special Web site for skills testing, conduct background checks over the Net,. interview candidates via a videolink, and manage it all with Web-based software. Itís not too hard to imagine, because all those services currently exist, or will very soon--FutureStep for screening, for testing, PeopleWise for background checks, and SearchLINC for video.

Forrest of noted that the Net is dramatically more effective than any medium ever known. "The Web is the future of recruiting."

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