Until quite recently, most companies relied on recruitment agencies and adverts in the local or national press to fill staff vacancies.
However, the emergence of a range of low-cost IT tools, including some designed specifically for help in hiring staff, has changed the recruitment process for most companies forever.
Smaller firms in particular can benefit from these developments, as they allow SMEs to design and manage innovative recruitment campaigns that equal in reach and quality to those organised by much larger corporations.
Recruitment: Advertising positions
Many companies now use the internet to recruit new staff. Company websites can include a Jobs/Careers section, where vacancies can be posted. Online recruitment sites such as Jobs.ie or RecruitIreland.com can be relatively inexpensive ways to advertise vacancies, allowing companies to upload job ads to a website where they can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection, while specialist jobs sites such as GreenJobs.ie or LifeScience.ie can help with finding staff with particular skills or experience.
Social and business networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can also help companies get the word out that they are hiring. Twitter’s retweet function enables news of a vacancy to be spread very quickly across a wide number of people. Companies with their own LinkedIn or Facebook presence can easily advertise new jobs online, or get their staff to do so, thus quickly alerting contacts and friends to potential opportunities.
Advertising positions online generally means a certain amount of work for the manager in charge of the process, and can sometimes lead to lots of enquiries from unsuitable candidates. However, applications arriving through social networks can often be interesting to employers, as these candidates may already have built up relationships with the company or its staff members.
Recruitment: Researching candidates
Most individuals now have some kind of personal internet presence, ranging from professional profiles on their current employer’s website to potentially embarrassing photos on Facebook. The first thing many managers do when considering a candidate’s CV is type the person’s name into an internet search engine.
Some candidates will have built up their own public profile as an expert in their particular area – perhaps having blogged about issues, posted opinions on industry websites, or appeared at conferences or events. Many professionals now use their LinkedIn profile as a form of online CV, listing their previous work experience, educational background and professional interests. In fact, LinkedIn’s (paid-for) ‘Recruiter’ functionality can be used to find potential candidates with particular qualifications or experience, and allows employers to approach these candidates directly via email.
Given that Facebook and Twitter were not primarily designed for professional use, recruiters do not tend to delve too deeply into these when researching potential hires. However, candidates displaying unprofessional photos or comments on their publicly available social media page risk making a negative impact on potential employers, especially as social media sites rank high in search engine results.
Recruitment: Streamlining processes
A wide range of new recruitment technologies have emerged recently, which companies can use to streamline the various processes involved in hiring new staff. Larger companies that regularly take on new staff might consider investing in a full candidate management system, such as that recently launched by Kildare company Kala Technologies. Its web-based eRecruitment product allows firms to add a ‘Careers’ element to their own website, automate application processing and manage communication with candidates.
Another option is the web-based video interview tool offered by Wexford-based Sonru. This technology allows managers to watch interviews with potential candidates remotely in a secure and convenient manner. Standardised interview questions are sent by email to the candidate, who then records video responses on their own PC or laptop. These are then viewed by the manager and can be shared with colleagues.
Smaller companies might not be able to spend much on IT tools to help with recruitment. However, those recruiting on a budget can utilise free services such as Skype, with its video calling functionality, for remote interviewing. Services such as Google Docs can also be useful for sharing documents – such as CVs – with colleagues.
Recruitment: Blended approach
While IT recruitment tools can be helpful when filling vacancies, it would be folly for most companies to dump the traditional methods of recruitment altogether.
For more senior roles, a reputable recruitment agency might be a more suitable way of finding the right candidate, while some firms may not want to broadly advertise particular vacancies for reasons of competitive sensitivity or internal office politics. Staff tasked with recruitment will also need to learn how to make the best use of the various technologies, tools and techniques to source particular candidates.
However, used intelligently, and where suitable, the latest recruitment tools are a tremendous resource for any company looking to hire new staff.
This article originally appeared in the eBusiness Live newsletter from Enterprise Ireland’s eMarketing Unit and was written by ENNclick.