Prospecting the Web

The Internet-as-resource has arrived for job seekers, according to Evelyn Ledsham.

“The use of the Internet as a job-seeking tool has gone from IT to all seekers,” Ledsham told a group at the recent Finding and Recruiting Passive Job Seekers conference in Toronto. “During the last year more Internet savvy users are using the Internet to seek jobs outside IT, like sales, health care and engineers.”

For example, the vice-president of sales and services for said between Sept. 1998 and July 1999 24 per cent of people searching for jobs on the Internet were looking for administrative positions.

She noted job seekers are beginning to use corporate sites more when hunting and predicted they would be just as crucial to on-line job-seeking in the next year as are posting boards now. Ledsham added 66 per cent of HR professionals used the Internet as a recruiting tool in 1999.

She suggested to business leaders that having an easily-accessible job site attached to the corporate site would draw the best people. “Think about a single source creating a very qualified database.”

seeking the non-seekers

In a later interview Ledsham noted on-line job posting draws out passive job seekers by giving them two-click access to information. “The passive job seeker will no longer be truly passive. That part of the market may seem to disappear.”

However, she stated the new employee does not always have the longevity he or she once had.

“If you think about it, just because you accept a job one day doesn’t mean you aren’t looking for a different one almost right away,” Ledsham said. “Because of this employers need to be continuously recruiting.”

There is a tremendous need to maximize the performance of the hiring cycle, Ledsham said. “If you take two to three weeks to even be able to decide which candidates to contact for a potential interview, it is very possible they will already have started their new job.”

And she stressed Web recruiting is a quick and inexpensive way for employers to do that and it can reduce the time to hire.

She noted that a recent iLogos survey indicated that the Internet seems to attract a higher calibre of employees.

“In fact, 80 per cent said the Internet produced higher-calibre applicants than other methods of recruiting. Some of the reasons given for this were the Internet is accessed by a wider spectrum of candidates, users tend to be more technically inclined and from a broader geographical range, and that the Internet can attract applications from passive job seekers.”

some Advice

She suggested people ensure their sites are engaging to the potential employee by adding resources such as a career counselling program or a career agent, which will notify people if a job suited for their qualifications is available.

“Consider ease of search and layout,” she said, pointing out that one in of four potential job seekers will decide not to apply to a company because of poor site design.

Ledsham reminded the group of the rules of sales. “For every great experience, a person will tell five people. For every bad experience, a person will tell a minimum of 15 people.”

She stressed Web site recruitment should spill over into all aspects of business and marketing.

“Be sure to include a www Web site on every piece of advertising information that you send out. Put it on your letterhead. Put the Web site address on your trucks and on your automated voice message on the phone, have them say, ‘For more information visit our Web site.'”

Regardless of recruitment method, however, finding the right people is getting harder. “In the ’80s it was mostly about how can we get trained candidates for the newest software packages? Well, today it is about how can we attract and retain the best talent for each and every department in our organization? And, finding great people is only going to get tougher.”

She noted the technology sector is growing dramatically and this has led to a shortage of labour. “Industry sources estimate that there were approximately 400,000 unfilled tech positions in Canada in 1999.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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