Finding staff that click

Now, more than ever, candidates and recruiters are meeting each other in the online space. HRM looks at the latest changes in AsiaÕs internet jobs market

Across the world, newspapers are falling in importance; many are being forced to fold altogether. Rupert Murdoch, Chairman of News Corporation, once described classified advertising as a “river of gold” for print media, but those days are long gone now. The flow has slowed to perhaps a simple stream, with schools of advertisers switching to the vast and open seas of the internet. Job seekers, still looking for the best chance of a big catch, are naturally following them by the flotilla.

It’s not a temporary phenomenon either. If HR hasn’t yet caught on to this changing job advertising landscape, it will need to take the open water plunge sooner rather than later. The best recruitment experts are now building sophisticated campaigns around the internet and its unique tools, while also maintaining an existence in traditional media to get blanket, but still targeted, coverage.


All around the world

One of the key strategic values of the Worldwide Web is in that first word. If the planet wasn’t already coming closer together, the advent of the internet has rapidly accelerated the magnetic pull. It means a knowledge worker in a rural US community can actively, and seriously, search for jobs in the dense urban jungles of Shanghai or Tokyo.

Tay Kok Choon, Head of Strategic Sales Development, JobStreet Singapore says online recruiting is now seen as a “mainstream” recruitment avenue, particularly in the world’s most developed job markets. “The endorsement for online recruitment is definitely high in the US and UK, even given the high jobless rate and challenging economy,” he says. “Businesses are trying their best to keep costs low and still garner the best talent.”

That, together with the ease of entry that new players encounter, has brought a number of smaller, niche providers into the online job markets of North America and Europe. Tay says this in turn has reduced the lead rates for many online ads, further enhancing its image as the preferred recruitment avenue.

The situation is very different in Japan, where authorities have managed to keep significant barriers of entry to the market. Prices tend to be higher, but recruiters still consider it a strong-value proposition, Tay says.

In Singapore, it’s a case of ever forward and upward. Mark Lim, Web Editor, JobsDB, says it means big business for the Asia-wide network. “We believe that there is an ever expanding market for online recruitment in Singapore,” he says. “Currently, over 10 million unique users visit our web sites monthly, and we help our clients to tap from and recruit the best talent available.”

The world’s emerging giants are also seeing an explosion in internet job advertising. “As for China and India, the growth of online recruitment has been phenomenal,” Tay says.


New tools

It’s not just a case of publishing an ad online and waiting for the résumés to roll in. Not anymore. Online job sites are now leveraging on the second part of the World Wide Web – the web part – to greatly improve and expand the offerings they can provide their clients.

JobsDB, for example, offers a complete recruitment management “solution” for its clients. Lim says this “extremely convenient, efficient and cost-effective” tool allows hiring managers to sort applications according to very specific data and criteria. A similar “matching” system for jobseekers means specific skills can be specifically targeted.

The network also offers “JobsDB Dimension” which allows larger clients to conduct end-to-end recruitment through their own websites. “Many leading organisations in both the public and private sector have incorporated (this) as part of their HR strategy,” Lim says.

Tay encourages HR to look even further into the web for the answers to longer-term recruitment challenges. He notes the rise of social networking sites in particular, saying these create opportunities for HR to “meet” candidates long before an employment opportunity arises. “Social networking sites are one important tool to facilitate the building of relationships even before talking about a job.”

He says HR can also leverage Web 2.0 technologies in a similar way: “These help to build and personalise a relationship to overcome the faceless world of the internet.”

Importantly, HR should work to take advantage of a wide range of tools to enhance and individualise their recruitment strategies. They should look at both what the job portals themselves are offering, but also use other web-enabled tools for finding, meeting and attracting high-calibre candidates.

“No one tool provides all the advantage; organisations need to utilise the composite of them to meet their objectives,” Tay says. “Typically, we advise them to make these tools a part of their recruitment environments and, most importantly, build creditability using them.”

That integrity is an important point, one that can easily be lost in the urgency to get online and networking. If an organisation has a corporate Facebook account, for example, Tay says it is important to make sure there is a dedicated person in charge of maintaining and updating it. An online presence needs to be live, and users will realise quickly if the information contained there is old or stale.


Best in value

For many online recruitment providers, the biggest drawcard to their services is still the strong value they can provide to advertising clients. Done right, an online recruitment notice can reach not just more people, but more of the right people – those talent with the skills, experience and interest that the recruiter needs. At the same time, that simple and targeted ad can often represent a far lower bill for participating companies.

Tay says employers can save up to a third of their recruitment costs by moving exclusively to the internet. “For a class of companies with a large workforce and recruitment taking place all year round, the cost of online recruitment could be 30% of their typical recruitment costs using traditional channels,” he said.

Lim says money is also saved through streamlined administration and reduced paperwork. By advertising online, a greater majority of applications are received through email or the portal itself. This saves both physical space and time but also gives the hirer access to all of the data-mining and sorting tools available both through the job portals and externally.

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