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Staffing Management: The New Domain

Stephenie Overman   7/1/2007
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Vol. 3, No. 3

As e-recruiting overtakes traditional want ads in popularity, is your company taking full advantage of all that the Internet has to offer?

Can you hear the sound of the scales tipping? Already the majority of job candidates come from e-recruiting and soon fully half of new hires will come from online sources.

The more people are recruited and hired online, the more important it is to get the technology right, says Deb Cohen, Ph.D., SPHR, chief knowledge officer for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Cohen is a member of the team that produced a new report based on the results of a SHRM 2007 survey on e-recruiting.

“One of the things that’s traditionally tried-and-true with staffing is that you need to make sure that the candidate has a positive impression of your organization all through the process. You never know who’s going to be the gem and who’s going to be the fool’s gold,” says Cohen.

With e-recruiting, that means allowing potential candidates to see what they need to see as quickly as possible and helping them navigate the company web site effectively, she says. “ If you believe the Internet is a strong source, then you want to make it easier” to use.

Plus, “ you still have to get back to people quickly. It doesn’t negate the importance of staying on top of things,” Cohen says. “ It still speaks to the policy and process and posture that an organization takes toward recruiting and keeping people engaged.”

The SHRM report, 2007 Advances in E-Recruiting: Leveraging the .jobs Domain, finds that organizations with a .jobs domain have more-effective recruiting practices across a range of areas. While there is a direct relationship between having a .jobs domain and having more-effective recruiting practices, Cohen points out, it is important to note that it does not mean there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

More-effective recruiting is not simply a consequence of having a .jobs domain. The use of additional recruitment methods, in conjunction with tools like a .jobs domain, helps improve the efficiency of recruiting.

Navigation Aid

The .jobs domain is a top-level domain (TLD) that helps people navigate to particular Internet destinations. SHRM is a partner in a venture that gained approval for the domain. Other commonly known TLDs are .com, .net, .org, .edu and .gov. The .jobs domain is unique because organizations register part of their corporate name in the .jobs domain, for example,

The report concludes that having a .jobs domain provides job seekers with a simple, fast and consistent destination, and calls it “ a valuable tool that can positively impact the effectiveness of an organization’s recruiting efforts.”

Acquiring a .jobs domain is inexpensive, Cohen notes— $150 or less—so cost is not the barrier.

“ What is holding organizations back from getting .jobs is a lack of awareness and perhaps a misunderstanding. They think ‘I don’t have a technological base,’ but, if they have any type of web site people can go to, it’s still valuable. Any company that has a web site can have a page. It doesn’t have to have bells and whistles. Some people think ‘well, I don’t have a pretty site,’ but, as long as you can put up jobs, that’s what matters.”

The report notes that few organizations have all the “ bells and whistles,” such as giving candidates the ability to apply for multiple jobs or to customize resumes.

“ E-recruiting will no doubt grow more sophisticated and hopefully bring even greater efficiency to the recruitment process,” the report concludes. “ Trends in e-recruitment are likely to aim to achieve a few key goals: to increase the number of quality candidates that recruiters are able to tap while simultaneously filtering out unqualified job candidates, to improve job matching and to continue to make improvements in searchability and ease of use.”

The report also finds that:

  • Trends such as the growing importance of niche job boards as well as the increased importance of social networking sites and other new technologies such as video resumes are likely to be important.
  • As recruiters become more focused on finding certified professionals or other highly educated workers with specialized skills, it could drive the need for integrated technologies that are able to search a number of data sources to come up with detailed supporting information that may not appear on resumes or standard applications. The increased use of social networking sites as a part of the recruitment process is related to this trend.
  • Many recruitment specialists view the use of social and professional networking sites as one of the most important trends in e-recruiting. The report cites two reasons for this: first, these types of sites can be used as a way to establish employer brand, especially among young people and, second, recruiters can obtain more-detailed information about candidates and find potential job matches through the social and professional connections that form the basis of such networking services.
  • The increased ease of use is likely to continue to be a developing feature of recruitment technologies. So while e-recruiting may now be focusing on increasing the depth of information about job fit, it is also likely to continue to lead to a wider span of access to technology-based recruitment services for employers, whether or not they have a dedicated HR department. The report notes that one tried-andtrue technique—the employee referral— is still extremely effective in attracting both quantity and quality of job candidates. Cohen urges companies to “ capitalize on that with technology. Make [employee referrals] part of the e-recruiting process.”

Along with its many benefits, there are concerns that some recruiters mention when looking to the future of e-recruiting, according to the report. Privacy will continue to be an ongoing issue, especially where data collected extends beyond traditional resume information such as video resumes and information gathered from social networking sites.

Another concern is the danger of becoming too dependent on technology to make the best job matches.

But “ it’s not just an issue of relying too much on technology,” Cohen says. “ You don’t want to rely on just one source,” whatever that source is. “ You want to source different places and measure results so you know if modifications need to be made.”

Five years from now, Cohen predicts, companies will provide potential candidates with much more information before they even apply for jobs to ensure better fits and filter out unqualified candidates.

“ You may want to encourage people to look more at the organization. Give candidates information about things such as how much travel is expected, what career paths are available, what opportunities there are for professional development. The more realistic you are, the more likely you are to have somebody who not only is a good fit, but is more likely to stay because the person will know what it’s really like to work for the company.”

And, Cohen predicts that organizations will do more to allow potential candidates “ to branch out to different pages,” using as an example Toyota, which has a as well as a domain.

“ You can be more granular in how you focus,” she says.

Stephenie Overman is editor of STAFFING MANAGEMENT.

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 SHRM Webcast

'Dot Jobs': What Have We Learned About Internet Recruiting in the Past Five Years?
View this webcast featuring Debra Cohen, Ph.D., SPHR, Chief Knowledge Officer.

 Surveys Findings


Organizations with a .jobs domain, compared to companies without such domains, were signifi cantly more likely to:

  • Offer direct navigation in their advertising campaigns.
  • Monitor the average number of clicks it takes for job candidates to fi nd the career section on their organization’s web site.
  • Have an applicant tracking system.
  • Use search engines to review information posted online by a job candidate.
  • Use social networking sites to review information posted by a job candidate.
  • Have received candidates through online diversity job boards or niche web sites.
  • Indicate that it was “ easy” or “ very easy” for job seekers to apply for a job.
  • Report that they expected their 2007 recruiting costs to decrease compared with 2006. Respondents from high-tech organizations and large-staff-sized organizations were more likely to have a .jobs domain, suggesting that these types of organizations may be at the forefront of embracing new technologies. SHRM conducted its e-recruiting survey in March 2007, asking U.S. respondents who indicated they had responsibility for planning, implementing or managing recruitment activities about experiences with Internet recruiting at their organizations


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