Bank goes all out for online recruitment

Outsourcing its requirement for a recruitment web site takes the strain off National Commercial Bank as it enters a phase of rapid expansion.

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By  Patrick Phelvin Published  January 4, 2004

|~|group_M.jpg|~|Taking recruitment online has increased the speed at which NCB can hire staff, particularly at graduate and junior levels.|~|The National Commercial Bank (NCB) in Saudi Arabia is the latest Middle East organisation to outsource its online recruitment portal. The bank, which opted for an integrated application service provision (ASP) service from local online recruitment agency, has already used the site to cut costs and reduce the administrative burden of hiring staff. “It was proving difficult, using traditional methods, to keep up with the growth rates we are experiencing in recruitment. So in order to speed up the process and make it more efficient we took it online. We have so far been very pleased with the results,” says Zain Alabdin Fallatah, NCB’s management information systems & online recruitment manager. Bayt’s service has been designed to integrate flawlessly with NCB’s own web site. The design, typefaces and style of the recruitment portal are an exact match to the rest of the site, despite the recruitment side of the service being hosted and managed by Bayt. The Dubai-based recruitment firm says there are a number of advantages for companies wishing to adopt an ASP model. In this instance, jobseekers can search NCB vacancies online, narrowing search parameters by choosing from 25 different job categories and more than 80 regions throughout the Kingdom. In addition, human resources (HR) managers at NCB can search for qualified candidates from Bayt’s database of job seekers without having to wait for those candidates to apply. With the job seeker database, positions can be filled without being posted. For NCB, this means hiring managers save time and resources because they manage their recruiting needs more effectively. Previous systems meant bank staff had to spend hours sifting through résumés. Now, candidates who do not fulfil job requirements are automatically excluded from the selection process. Both these factors remove a significant workload from the HR department, which can direct all queries to the site while concentrating its efforts on shortlisting candidates that meet the bank’s requirements and caring for existing staff. Despite the advantages offered by outsourcing its recruitment function, NCB fully evaluated the model before committing to it. “We got feedback from some big companies in the region which were using online recruitment, such as Proctor & Gamble, on the pros and cons of online recruitment,” says Fallatah. “They told us how it works, what its weaknesses are. We have found it is weakest when recruiting at senior levels and most efficient at the junior and graduate levels,” he adds. Despite the positive experience of NCB and the general hype surrounding outsourced recruitment, a report from the independent Institute for Employment Studies (IES) suggests that if not implemented correctly, online recruitment is neither as cost effective, nor as fast, as traditional methods. It suggests that getting the most out of an internet-based system requires considerable commitment, both financially and culturally. “Online recruitment promises huge cost savings and avoidance of paperwork in the pursuit of more targeted candidates. Whether the technology really works in today’s complex organisations is another matter,” says report author Máire Kerrin. “Delivering successful e-recruitment is about developing the capability of HR to make the whole system really work for the organisation. A technical website is not enough,” she argues. Regardless of such observations, the online recruitment model is proving successful in the Middle East and particularly in Saudi, where Bayt advertises between 300 and 400 jobs per month. “In the Middle East, the trend toward having a recruitment section as part of the corporate website is growing. By shifting their recruiting online, these companies reduce paper processes and streamline their hiring process to make it more efficient,” says Akram Assaf, Bayt’s chief technology officer. ||**||

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