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Internet redraws the recruiting equation

Posted: 01 Apr 2001 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:consulting service? network engineer? web programmer? network test?

The Internet has shortened recruiting cycle times, says Kim Butler of Greywolf Consulting Services
The Internet has become a potent tool in the rush to help employers find engineers and other technologists who might want to switch jobs. But who is most fit to winnow out the likely candidatescorporate HR teams or the breed of outside recruiters commonly known as headhunters?

Placement professionals point out that the headhunter worth his fee is often better connected and more nimble than in-house teams. However, HR teams are growing more empowered by the Web and with access to much of the same information as headhunters, are innovating and changing the way recruiting is done.

"There are great things about Internet recruiting," said Kim Butler of Greywolf Consulting Services, an Austin, Texas, technical-staffing house. "You can get your opportunities out there. It allows companies to have very broad-based exposure and get access to resume databases."

For some companies, the Internet has made it possible to trim back the number of outside recruiters. "We have very, very positive relationships with a couple of different search firms," said Justin Hall, staffing manager for Intel Corp.'s network communications group (Sacramento, California), who uses three placement companies on a regular basis. "Combine that with the Internet and you've got a wonderful means to be able to find candidates."

Other tech companies are betting that they can bring new employees onto their teams primarily by using the Web. "My strategy is to put nearly all of our eggs in the Internet basket. I'm going to try to minimize agency recruiting and control it better," said Joe Javorski, director of worldwide staffing for Analog Devices Inc. (Norwood, Massachusetts).

One way to find people is the job boards. Monster.com, the Internet's leading job database, charges $275 to list a single position for 60 days, said Dean Rosingana, a spokesman for the company. HotJobs.com, which fancies itself more of a full-service site, will list 20 openings, in six different categories, for $700 a month, said Simon Goddard, vice president of sales at the "e-cruiting" concern.

"Recruiters and most ad agencies recommend spending 10 to 15 percent of a recruitment budget on Internet [efforts]," said Brian Weis, president of the Association of Internet Recruiters. "We usually recommend that companies post on a variety of sites, including national ones like HotJobs and Monster, as well as industry-specific sites" such as those dedicated to IT and engineering.

Is the money well spent? It can be, Weis said. A recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that the cost per hire for companies that rely on newspaper ads was nearly $4,000, against only $1,400 for those who use the Internet. Javorski says using a search firm is four to five times more expensive than using the Web and doing the legwork yourself.

"The greatest impact of the Internet on the recruiting world has been to shorten cycle times," said Greywolf's Butler, the former director of worldwide staffing at Applied Materials. "In the late '80s and early '90s, if you wanted to reach someone you had to do it by phone, mail or fax. Now you just drop a text document into an e-mail and the guy's got a signed offer on his computer."

From Weis' perspective, the Internet and recruiting "is a match that needs to be made." Despite the slowdown, few dispute that the early 2000s are so far seeing a continuation of last decade's buyer's market in high-tech employment. And that trend has created a savvier population of workers.

At the same time, he said, the flowering of the Web has given companies a place to market themselvesboth to customers and, as a sideline, to prospective employees. One need only go to the "work at" pages of any Fortune 500 company to see how eager these businesses are to differentiate their lunch rooms from those of their competitors.

Adam Marcus
CMP Media




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