Internet Speeds Up Recruiting and Staffing

The Internet’s promise of increased speed and efficiency is redefining expectations and strategies in the recruiting market, according to a report by International Data Corp. (IDC).

IDC found clients are demanding quicker turnaround and increased efficiencies, whether they are seeking senior executives or temporary employees. And to meet these heightened expectations, traditional recruiters are transitioning their brick-and-mortar practices to click-and-mortars.

“Traditional recruiters can no longer ignore the impact of the Internet or online competition on their business,” said Christopher Boone, lead analyst for IDC’s eRecruiting research program. “Brick-and-mortar recruiters shouldn’t be threatened by the Internet, however. Instead, they should view it as a new channel to augment their services. The integration of online services with traditional operations will make these recruiting firms stronger competitors and better businesses.”

IDC believes executive search firms, which have been slow to move online for fear of losing their “personal touch,” should emphasize their “high-touch” approach as a core strength as they move online.

“The ability to work closely with clients to establish candidate-search strategies will continue to separate traditional executive search firms from online recruiters,” Boone said. “In fact, as traditional executive search firms increase their reliance on the Internet, they’ll be able to increase their personalized approach because they’ll be able to automate many of their administrative tasks.”

Staffing firms have been more willing than executive recruiters to put their business on the Web. “Staffing firms rely on volume, and many have realized the value of reaching more candidates and regions with less overhead via the Internet,” Boone said.

According to IDC, brick-and-mortar staffing firms’ extensive networks will likely give them an advantage over their pure-play online brethren. With offices in many domestic and international locations, they can meet candidates face-to-face, interview them, and assess their skills. Additionally, they have a base of loyal customers, with whom they have personal relationships and an intimate understanding of their processes and needs.

“A huge differentiation between staffing firms and e-recruiting companies is the staffing firms’ ability to establish customer-intimate relationships,” Boone said. “Staffing firms should use online services as an extension of these relationships, not a replacement.”

According to a survey of nearly 1,000 recruiters by AIRS, a provider of Internet recruitment training and information services, the vast majority (73 percent) of recruiters are on the Internet every day looking for candidates. Seventeen percent turn to the Net once a week, 7 percent use the Net once a month and only 3 percent do not source from the Internet.

The AIRS survey also found that Internet sourcing is a relatively new concept for corporations and recruiters. Two-thirds of recruiters have less than two years of e-recruiting experience and only 34 percent of recruiters had between two and five years of Internet expertise.

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