THE INTERNET REPLACE RECRUITERS?
by: DOUG BEABOUT, CPC
This next New Years
day holds a great deal of hope while for some, great concern about the future of the
recruiting business. Many people are
proclaiming that technologys demise lies just after midnight New Years Eve. Some recruiters believe that their
clients are running in droves to their PCs because they have abandoned their
belief in the value or advantages of the traditional recruiter.
There always seems someone
is yelling the sky is falling! Adjectives
such as cheaper, faster and easier are being applied by some client companies to the
process of Internet based recruiting. Recent
articles and media proclamations extol the incredible benefits of candidate
courting in Cyberspace. Applicants are far
more educated now about surfing the web than just a few years ago. The river of resumes
flowing through the Internet is huge. Many
companies have their own web sites where they commonly post openings. Professional societies and associations all have
their own dot-com or dot-org.
I think our paper carrier even has his own website.
All this technology and information access is reported to be destined to destroy
our personnel services industry.
This recruiter believes
that the doomsayers and their predictions of our demise at the hands of the
Web are dead wrong. The Internet
itself is not a malevolent force destined to bring about the end of the search industry. It simply offers an added pathway to identifying
people ready to explore a better opportunity. The
lies in exploiting the advantages offered by information technology while not falling prey
to them. Lets examine what the Internet
really represents and how we can thrive in its presence.
What advantages does the
Internet offer to our clients recruiting efforts?
It offers easy access to an advertising medium.
They can post openings and easily access emailed responses and resumes from
interested parties. It provides, via a
company website, a techno-sexy means of putting their companies desired image in front of
the public. The cost of electronic
advertising for applicants is considerably less than an advertisement in the printed media
of their choice. The company can modify or
delete a Internet based job posting at the click of a mouse. Web posting of openings and its perceived benefits
are usually attractive to the human resources department.
This is particularly true when the Internet posting is compared to calling the
local newspaper or the Wall Street Journal and hustling to beat the classified deadlines
of the paper.
While our clients are
extolling the revolutionary wonders of the Internet, professional recruiters need to give
them a reality check on a few issues. First,
the same applicants who answered the ads a few years ago are now surfing the Web and
answering even more job postings. When we
take into account the fact that we are experiencing the lowest unemployment rate in
decades, it is not surprising that the respondents to cyber-ads are often among the
walking wounded unemployed or worse, terminally unemployable. Secondly, the companies of a few years ago had
much larger departments. These departments,
when faced with an opening, simply went about the standard procedures of filling the job. They had the luxury of taking their time to find a
fit. Today that department is
seriously short-handed. When an employee
leaves it is a crisis management situation. The
instant gratification of posting a job opening on the companys website may seem like
a miracle cure but it often fails to locate the type of candidate our clients
require. Thirdly, when a company seeks a
highly skilled and multi-talented candidate with competitive knowledge, that person is not
likely to coincidentally surf to their website (or yours!). That critically required candidate is best found
by a professional recruiter providing a skilled and value-added search process of
recruiting proven to provide top talent.
The employment agencies of
the past commonly called companies on Monday morning regarding the classified ads they ran
to attract applicants. Then the agencies
would race to the nearby newspapers with ads for the job orders they received
from the companies. They were given these
job orders as a result of their promise of producing a better candidate by
recruiting versus the results from client advertising.
It is true! We can and should be selling our unique abilities
to recruit the best-qualified candidates. Our
actions should never reinforce the negative stereotype of the agencies of the past. We should be careful though to protect our
reputation as professional recruiters. We
exclaim to our clients our unique ability to penetrate source companies and recruit people
who are below the radar screen of their ads and beyond their limited sourcing skills. I
submit that if we turn our website into electronic classified ad boards we can appear to
be resorting to the very tactics we commonly condemn.
Client contacts are disturbed when paying a substantial fee to a recruiter and
discovering later the candidates were not directly recruited but rather answered an
electronic Ad. This practice is
so extensively abused and used as an easier path to candidates that many clients are
demanding to review any such job postings, whether on our website, or any of the other
major sites designed to attract applicants. Discretely
posting selected openings on a website can produce placements. However, it is highly advisable that you keep your
client aware of your actions rather than letting them learn of the posting by other means.
There are many advantages
on the Net and by virtue of computerization. First,
we should share our searches and candidates with one another, both electronically and
personally. Technology has made the sharing
process a truly profitable practice. The two
building blocks of what recruiters have to sell are time and information. Technological advances in information management
and our rapid access to current information have been a wonderful advantage to the
recruiting business. Through our own website,
we can project a desired image of ourselves. A
few years ago, our efforts to build a reputation and image were limited to the people we
The Internet does offer
many advantages to achieving excellence and competitive results in direct recruiting. Company websites are tremendously helpful in both
client development and recruiting. Our
website can offer us a great platform for attracting clients and developing an image of a
preferred provider. The resources on the
Internet are nearly unlimited. They can aid
us in rapidly obtaining relocation data, cost of living, technological insights and many
other areas of information. The Internet is
and should be a great repository of information to be shared by all. It also offers a unique forum for developing our
professional image and brand identity. I
strongly support its exploitation as a resource and advantage. There is no replacement yet for the process of
professional recruiting and executive search. The
most important positions in our client companies will continue to be filled by preferred
providers of value-added recruiting services. Sure,
companies will fill positions by surfing the Net, but these are often the same positions
filled in the past by conventional advertising means.
The Internet is not a
threat to our business. We will continue to
be the choice for recruiting top talent and the results the best-qualified candidates can
bring to our clients if we avoid the path of least resistance by surfing versus