Why go for online recruitments?

With more and more Indian businesses, including small and medium businesses, adopting information and communication technologies (ICTs), HR managers in India are increasingly resorting to online hiring. The benefits of online recruitment are many although there are a few problem areas as well. This article takes a look at the costs and benefits of online recruitment.

The first and most important advantage of online recruitment is, of course, cost savings. Employing headhunters or advertising in the print media involves high costs. While print media advertising costs are in theory position-neutral – you pay the same column-centimeter rate whether you are advertising for top positions or for lower and middle level positions – in practice, recruiters tend to spend somewhat more on higher level recruitments and relatively less on lower and middle level positions mainly because they opt for better display ads for higher positions compared to lower and midle level positions.

On the other hand, costs of hiring headhunters is directly related to the position you are advertising as headhunters charge on a commission-on-salary basis so that the higher the position and salary the higher the costs. A recent report in The Economic Times points out that these costs can be as “high as Rs 35-40 lakh”:http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Head-hunting_cos_rake_in_moolah_with_CXOs/articleshow/2413993.cms on a single CXO-level search. And, with the talent war hotting up making it increasingly difficulty to find the perfect chief executive officer, international search firms have begun to enter the arena. This is expected to push up costs even further.

In contrast, online recruitment usually almost costs nothing compared to either print media advertising or hiring of headhunters and employers can achieve savings of upto 80% by recruiting through online methods.

For example, when Kolkata-based Globsyn Technologies bought out Mumbai-based Synergy Log-in Systems, the Globsyn chief Bikram Dasgupta had a major problem on his hands. He needed a chief operating office and he needed him fast. But Dasgupta simply didn’t have the kind of money needed to either go for print media advertising or hiring a headhunter. He chose to advertise in his preferred business networking site LinkedIn at a cost of only $160. “And, bingo! He got his man in almost no time.”:http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ET_Cetera/Find_a_COO_without_spending_a_bomb/articleshow/2411000.cms
Online hiring has several other benefits as well. For one, online recruiters can get access to a far larger talent pool. For example, according to a “report in Express Computer,”:http://www.expresscomputeronline.com/20050418/technologylife01.shtml a Bangalore-based software major was in urgent need of professionals with a unique set of skills to develop a financial planning package.

Initially, headhunters were approached, and recruitment ads were placed in newspapers. The response was discouraging and the company was able to meet only a handful of people in India, who matched the requisite skill mix. It decided to opt for an alternative – posting the job on its website and online databases. The result was instantaneous, the company was inundated with applications from across the country and other geographies (people were willing to relocate to India).

Second, online recruitment facilitates just-in-time hiring. When an organization needs a candidate it can access the database of job portals, screen resumes and send a mass mail. It can also shortlist people based on skills, location, salary and availability and move on to the interview stage.

Third, online recruitment offers candidates the advantage of knowing the job profile, responsibilities expected and the nature of the organization, which are well defined at the outset. Regular communication with potential employees in the manual recruitment process is almost nil, whereas communication with job seekers and within the team is seamless in online recruitment.

According to Monster.com, some of the benefits of online recruitment can be summarized as follows:
* It is much faster than traditional modes of recruitment.
* One can post a job online in just 20 minutes and receive resumes within minutes of the job going live.
* Access an online pool of resumes on a 24X7 basis.
* It allows the hiring manager to screen out unqualified candidates in an automated way, which saves over 65 percent of the hiring time.
* One can track the progress that the candidate is making in various stages of the hiring process.

But online recruitment has its downside. Through the e-recruitment process, employers are inundated with millions of resumes. Consequently, screening and checking the authenticity of resumes are two major problem areas. Socio-economic and cultural factors also stand in the way of companies adopting e-recruitment in a bigger way. One factor is low level of Internet penetration in many locations and organizations are often hesitant to completely switch over to an online recruitment process because of this.

A significant cultural drawback of the evolution of technology is the loss of human interaction, which is applicable to the online recruitment process. In India, the cultural shift is a challenge in the e-recruitment space, as organizations prefer to deal with people rather than e-mails.

The benefits of online recruitment, however, far outweigh its disadvantages and it is just a matter of time before most companies routinely go for e-recruitment.

While opting for online recruitment HR managers must, however, keep the following points in mind:
* To measure the effectiveness of online recruitment, set up the metrics for recruitment spending.
* A detailed job description should be given while posting jobs to attract candidates with the right skill sets.
* Give a precise and unambiguous questionnaire to reduce time in searching for a suitable candidate.
* Ensure that all the approaches related to recruitment are linked to and centered on your own recruitment site.
* Integrate e-recruitment into your overall recruitment strategy.
* Applicant tracking system should be of a high quality and should be integrated with the back-office.
* Develop a comprehensive website to receive and process job applications whether through direct or online advertising.

E-recruitment is coming of age in India. IT industry association “Nasscom reports”:http://www.nasscom.in/Nasscom/templates/NormalPage.aspx?id=51776 that a 2006 study by the Internet and Mobile Association (IAMAI) of India, on the online recruitment industry indicates that since 2004-05 the number of Internet users seeking jobs online has increased by 71 percent, jumping from 3.8 million in 2004-05 to 6.5 million in 2005-06 and is estimated to have crossed 9.2 million in 2006-07.

The estimated market size of the Indian online recruitment industry has also grown by a little over 66% from about Rs 145 crore in 2005-06 to as much as Rs 241 crore in 2006-07. The industry is likely to maintain a growth of over 60 percent year-on-year, the study says.

No wonder then that portals such as timesjobs.com, Rediff jobsearch, monster.com, naukri.com, jobsahead.com, among a host of others, are gaining in popularity and being sought by people to find the right placements. And these portals are also aggressively marketing themselves. In fact, a “study of ad spends on the Internet”:http://www.iamai.in/iamai_rep_060926_final_for_web02.pdf shows job portals occupy two out of the three top ranks of online ad spenders in India.

If you are still not into online hiring in a big way, it is high time you asked yourself: why?

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