Article date: Fri, 29 Apr 2011 14:37:43 GMT
The rise of the internet and the integral role it now plays in the recruitment market
has made jobseekers lazy and given rise to applications from time-wasting candidates.
As the Office for National Statistics released figures that showed youth unemployment still worryingly close to the one million milestone, a group of recruitment experts discussed the benefits and the drawbacks that the internet has brought to the recruitment industry.
Gathering at a round table event organised by internet hosting specialist UKFast, the panellists agreed that the internet has helped to reduce costs, extend reach and increase speed in the recruitment sector but, they said, it hasn't necessarily improved the efficiency of the recruitment process.
Gary Chaplin, director of Stark Brooks, said: "Unfortunately the people that are utilising a web-based CV database are those that are trying to minimise their efforts in finding a job so it's pandering to the lazy jobseeker and the lazy recruiter at the same time.
"Twenty years ago people left school or university, scoured the yellow pages for potential recruiters, printed out hundreds of CVs and covering letters, bought hundreds of stamps and sent those out, hoping that if you sent enough, you'd get at least one bite. Ten years ago, that was replaced with email, which reduced the leg work significantly and allowed jobseekers to take a blanket approach to job hunting. Now, it's even easier than that. Someone can hit 'apply now' once and apply for 4,000 jobs or more."
John Salt, director of leading jobs board totaljobs.com, dismissed the idea that the internet could replace human intervention in the recruitment process. He said: "It's one of the biggest myths out there that job boards would be the death of newspapers and the death of recruitment consultants.
"You cannot replicate that human involvement. You need to meet the people you are hiring for and meet the people you are hiring for them and you can't replicate that in a technical system. You can do things to help the efficiencies surrounding that and you can do things to drive down cost, but actually, if you want good quality people responding to an advert - whether it's on your own website, on a job board or on Twitter - you need to write good copy that reflects the role you are hiring for and the company you are hiring for that will attract the right people."
Salt said the driving down of the cost of advertising jobs has created a culture whereby recruiters think sloppy adverts are acceptable. "They think if they are paying £99 for an advert that a few bullet points will do the job. But they will reap what they sow. They will probably be the people that say they are not getting the right people responding to their adverts. That low cost and the speed has almost driven away that quality advert."
Dawn Everton, founder and managing director of The Legal Place - a Manchester-based legal recruitment agency - agreed that entirely automated systems posed no significant threat to traditional recruiters.
She said: "I meet all of my candidates face to face to ascertain whether they are right for the role, but also to determine whether they will fit the firm that I'm looking to place them with. Law firms in Manchester are so different - one candidate might fit a larger firm but be inappropriate for a smaller firm due to any number of factors. It's important for me to meet everybody and that's what I do to ensure I get the quality I promise to my clients."
Asked if an entirely web-based system could change her views, she said: "No, it's something you know instinctively when you meet someone - you know your client, you know what they are looking for and you use that to gauge whether your candidate will be successful or not."
The panel debated the idea that the increasing role of the web in the recruitment sector is causing employers to miss out on potentially business-changing recruits.
Chaplin continued: "In trying to fully automate a recruitment process you can improve certain aspects and automate a lot of it but there will always be that missing link - someone who can spot what we call 'the spunk factor'. That candidate who might not have been to the best universities, they might have done a Branson and left school at the first opportunity, they've worked for lots of start-ups, half of which have failed - no search engine is ever going to pick that up. In search engine terms that candidate is a failure but on meeting them, you see that spark. You can't quantify that online without a human interface. And the more crucial the appointment, the bigger the scope of that appointment, the bigger that human interface has to be."
Other panellists included: Frank Varela of MyPeopleBiz, Steve Logan of Eclipse Software, Mike Taylor of Web-based Recruitment, Geoff Newman of Recruitment Genius and William Fischer, TheSocialCV.com.
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