E-Cruiting can help companies attract sophisticated applicants

When David Coward started posting jobs to the Web he hoped to pay back his efforts with four hires. What he got instead was a better calibre of Internet-savvy candidates and more than 160 hires to date.

Coward, the human resources manager at Mackenzie Financial in Toronto, was surprised to find that he was more likely to hire a candidate who applied over the Internet than one who applied through the traditional routes. Whereas the hire-rate for candidates recruited over the Web was 56 per cent, it was only 30 per cent for other candidates. These numbers have been garnered since Mackenzie started using Ottawa-based E-Cruiter.com to post jobs on the ‘net in September.

Coward was also surprised to find candidates applying for clerical jobs over the Internet were likely to score higher on the tests Mackenzie gave them than other candidates.

“I think the type of person who sees it in their best interest to go on the Internet and look for jobs is probably a little more sophisticated than somebody who just waits for an ad to come in the paper and does mass mailings,” Coward said.

Mackenzie uses E-Cruiter Enterprise to automatically post jobs to 10 IT-related job sites and 25 newsgroups.

“It takes the pain out of Internet recruiting. And a couple of the pain points have been that if you wanted to post a job to more than one job board on the Internet, you had to rewrite the job every time because there was no standard formatting out there. We’ve eliminated that,” said E-Cruiter’s president, CEO and founder Gerry Stanton.

Mackenzie also used E-Cruiter’s career site builder to create and host its own career site.

“E-Cruiter houses it. We don’t have to worry about an upgrade. We don’t have to worry about viruses getting in, or buying disk space, or any of the technical stuff. We’re an HR department and we’re fairly low on the IT department’s service list,” Coward said.

Although the E-Cruiter software is designed for the IT vertical, Coward uses it for all his hires. He has even hired a few senior-level candidates – a vice-president and some managers – using the software.

“There’s a war for talent,” said Jenny Gonzalez, a senior consultant at the international management consulting firm Sibson and Company in Toronto.

Today’s employers have to look beyond the traditional methods if they want to attract employees to their company. “You’ve got to be able to reach people. This is where some of the benefits of on-line recruiting generally come into play. If you can multiply the ability you have to reach people to whom you can make a pitch to join you as a prospective employee, it’s like reaching a market with a product, where your product is your company,” Gonzalez said.

In addition to reaching a larger pool of people, employers can use the Internet to make a case for their companies, she added.

Mackenzie Financial does just that. Their career site includes a list of 10 reasons the company is a good place to work.

This helps both the company and the prospective applicant.

“As a candidate, you’re coming in more prepared. You can decide is it the type of place I want to work, what is it I need to know about these people? And if you’re not doing that, you’re at a disadvantage, because everyone else is,” Coward said.

Although the cost of posting jobs to the Internet is significantly lower than placing ads in the paper, Coward is not considering giving up on print ads or agencies.

“I think that would be a mistake – putting all your eggs in one basket. We take an integrated approach,” he said.

Since he started using E-Cruiter, he uses print ads to drive job-seekers to Mackenzie’s career site, making it possible to advertise more jobs in one ad than before.

One of the concerns that Coward had was being inundated by more r