Online recruitment

Douglas Rosen of HVS Executive Search looks at what questions to ask when recruiting online and what information helps employers select the most appropriate recruitment web site

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  October 3, 2005

|~|recruitL.jpg|~|Using a recruitment web site means you save time sifting through endless CVs and application letters.|~|Employers looking to advertise on a recruitment web site in today’s market can face a daunting task. With so many sites available and new ones popping up every week, how can one know which site to use? Do you select one that is generalist or industry-specific? On how many boards should you be posting open positions? Are you getting the best results for the money you are spending? There are several key questions you can ask the service provider to determine if that job board is right for your company’s needs.

In order to ask the job board provider the right questions, you first need to determine your recruitment needs. This can differ greatly based upon company, segment and region. An HR person for a luxury property in Muscat, Oman, will have different needs from a corporate recruiter for a limited service chain with 120 properties acros the MENA region. So ask yourself the following: How many positions do I have open during any given month? Do I usually recruit for line level or middle management positions? What position historically has been the most difficult to fill?

Narrowing your focus will help you ask better questions as different sites have different strengths. One site you can utilise if it is strong in a particular region; another you can go to if it offers more food & beverage candidates (a restaurant specific board for example). You also need to determine if you will just be posting jobs or searching a resume database as well.

To get the best information, you need to ask a series of questions and then continually qualify the answers. The first question you should ask is: How many candidates/resumes do you currently have in your database? A reputable recruitment site will give you the hard numbers and directly answer your questions. Keep in mind that a site like monster.com will have a far greater number than an industry-specific website. With a generalist board, it is more important to know the number of hospitality-specific candidates, not the total number on the site. This is an important distinction if you have a need for a front office manager, which is a position unique to the hotel industry.

However, there may be times that you would want to pull someone from outside the industry (i.e. for a marketing position), and a generalist or other site may be a fit. What you really want to know is: How many people do you have in the database that are qualified for the position, who live or will relocate to the area where they are needed. If your greatest need is usually in sales, you should then ask: What percentage of those candidates are in sales positions? As a site geared more toward the culinary segment would not be as good a fit. Lastly, you will want to find out: Which geographic markets have the most candidates? If most of your company’s properties are located in the UAE, you would want to know where most of the candidates in the database reside. You may want to take a looking at region-specific sites (many local newspapers have their own recruitment site now) and use it in conjunction with a hospitality industry-specific site.

If you are using the site for a one-time posting, the questions above will get you enough information to make a decision. However, if you are entering into a monthly or yearly contract, continue to press on. You don’t want to seek the same job seekers in November that you viewed in February. Ask: What are you doing to attract new candidates to your website and, on average, how many new resumes are posted each month? Strategies may differ somewhat (most sites rely heavily on search engine rankings), but you will want to see new and qualified candidates as you continue to have openings for your properties.

Now that we have examined questions that will elicit the information we need to make educated decisions, let us look at a question that is always asked (or a fact a job board may tout) that really isn’t that significant: What are the number of website hits? Website hits used to be the data point that carried the most weight in the dotcom world. After the bubble burst, people realised that just because a website had a lot of traffic, it didn’t mean the people viewing them were buying anything.

Similarly, the number of hits a job board gets could be a result of a pool of lower quality, out of work job seekers on the site everyday searching for and applying to multiple positions. The “A” candidate typically is passively seeking another opportunity and will visit the site less frequently (the better boards will offer matching systems that will e-mail candidates when a new job is posted that fits criteria that they pre-selected). A better measure is looking at “unique visitors” because that will indicate how many different people are coming to the site. Also, it doesn’t matter how “old” a resume is (remember, the “A” players are doing their jobs, not updating their resumes), it is important that the site ensure that the candidate’s contact information is valid.

Depending on your needs other questions can include: Can the web site sync with my corporate job board or other boards? (This will allow you to save time by posting in one place.) How long has your site been live? Are there any other services your site offers (i.e. assessments or background checks)?

In the final analysis, the results after the first use will be very telling. The focus should be on quality not quantity. Try to get a free posting or trial period if you are a first-time user. Check out what other companies post jobs on the site because it can be a good indication of the types of candidates it attracts. Asking the right questions in the beginning will yield you the best results when recruiting online.||**||

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