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Use the Web To Automate Recruiting

March 1, 1997
Related Topics: Internet, Candidate Sourcing, Featured Article
For most departments, exploiting the full potential of the Web has become a head-scratching, mind-bending challenge. Although virtually all major companies now have Web sites—with product information, marketing news, investor data and more—few have figured out how to use the medium to boost sales or find new customers. Yet, while the gurus in marketing and finance continue to grope with these issues, HR already has found the killer application: recruiting.

Handling resumes electronically speeds up the process. Today, college grads and professionals are just as likely to send in an electronic resume as a traditional paper-based document. And HR departments often squirrel the information in a database, such as Resumix or Restrac, which allows them to later search for applicants based on specific criteria—education or skill sets, for example. The entire process—without paper, mail and filing—is faster and far more efficient.

"The Web is an interactive medium that's perfectly suited for recruiting," says Barb Ruess, director of marketing for Indianapolis-based E-Span, an online recruiting service. "And it's no longer limited to computer programmers and electrical engineers." Marketing, management and sales are now the three most common search terms.

All recruitment sites aren't created equal. With the competition growing-it's estimated that more than 9.5 million Internet hosts and 350,000 domains exist (with the number having doubled every year during the 1990s)-it's clear that for a site to succeed, it has to garner attention.

Eric Lane, director of worldwide staffing for Silicon Graphics knows this well. Since the Mountain View, California, manufacturer of computer workstations went live with its Internet site in November 1995 (http://www.sgi. com), it has managed to collect 4,000 to 12,000 resumes each month. More than one-quarter of new hires now come to the organization through cyberspace.

The Silicon Graphics site hasn't achieved such impressive results by simply posting jobs and waiting for applicants to e-mail resumes. It has created a site that's enticing and useful. To begin with, there's plenty of snazzy graphics and games. There's also a benefits page that details what the company has to offer. And a "College Connection" page includes a resume builder (which helps those who don't have a resume create one), a list of job fairs, and a thorough explanation of the company's philosophy and culture.

The key is to provide a service that keeps people coming back. Other companies also have discovered that one part entertainment and one part useful information often equals a successful formula. Armonk, New York-based IBM's CyberBlue site offers searchable job postings, job fair information for college students, benefits information, a resume builder-and also a page that links to some of the most entertaining sites on the Web, including Calvin and Hobbes and The Dilbert Zone. Dallas-based Texas Instruments' (TI) site soon will include video clips of various divisions.

Of course, not every company operates its own recruiting page. Many have found that services such as E-Span, Career Mosaic, IntelliMatch, JobTrak, JobWeb, and the Monster Board provide quick ways to get job postings on the Web—and at sites that are guaranteed to generate traffic. With salary calculators, cost-of-living indexes and information on moving services, thousands of job seekers click onto the sites every day.

And more sophisticated services are popping up all the time. For instance, Resumix Online, a recent offering from Sunnyvale, California-based Resumix, a recruiting software company, offers a slew of sophisticated capabilities, including the ability to receive notification when new resumes are posted that match specific criteria.

The end result of all this? Companies that use the Web are finding top-notch applicants more quickly and efficiently than ever before.

Workforce, March 1997, Vol. 76, No. 3, p. 78.

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