The Benefits of Online Hiring

The Benefits of Online Hiring

Greg Cannon writes for – a Ms.Money partner.

From the fledgling Internet start-up to the industry powerhouse, filling key posts and staffing critical projects demands unprecedented speed and efficiency in the search for the best and brightest candidate.

As with so many functions in business, companies are turning more and more to the Internet for that competitive edge. Online hiring is yielding increasing savings of both time and money for employers.

“Everybody’s trying to get to the person with the most talent the fastest,” says Row Henson, vice president for global human resource systems strategy at PeopleSoft, Inc., the Pleasanton, California-based maker of human resource management software. “The number one reason today people don’t get their candidate of choice is because they’re too slow.”

Thanks to the Internet, PeopleSoft has cut the number of steps in its typical hiring process almost in half – from 54 to less than 30 – according to Henson. Companies with superior recruiting sites can use them to save as much as $8,000 per hire and reduce the hiring cycle by 60 days compared to traditional hiring methods, according to Creative Good, a New York City consulting and research firm. Experts say a similar dynamic applies to short-term contract hires made using an effective Web site.

Long term or short term Whether the need is for a short-term marketing consultant to help launch an e-commerce Web site or a long-term freelance technical writer to develop software user manuals, the Internet gives employers the ability to reach a limitless pool of talent while being more efficient.

“We’ve eliminated the newspaper (as a recruiting resource),” says Glenn Gow, President and CEO of Crimson Consulting Group, a Los Altos, California-based e-commerce consulting firm that posts extensive consulting jobs on its own Web site as well as other Internet job boards. “The newspaper is no longer cost effective.”

The reason? Thanks to intelligent search agents and online applications, no resource except the Internet gives recruiters the extensive ability to filter potential applicants and ensure that each contact will be worthwhile.

Perhaps nowhere is the need for speed more acute than in filling contract jobs. By their very nature, these openings are often unanticipated and can be particularly time sensitive. Again, the Internet can trim days and dollars off the task of matching employers and contractors, according to professional recruiters.

Even professional search firms, which put a premium on face-to-face evaluations, recognize the Internet’s potential to shave time and costs off the task of bringing the right person on board.

“Do I think there’s a distinct advantage to advertising online and even working on-line?” asks Jim King, vice president of recruiting for Complimate, a Sunnyvale, California-based IT recruiting firm. “Absolutely. There are great benefits to doing that.”

Now conducting the entire relationship between employer and contractor online, from initial contact to finished product, is becoming more common, says King.

Tangible benefits But how does the employer benefit exactly? For example, King offers, there is a huge savings from not having to provide work space for a technical writer who gets her raw data and submits a finished product all online.

Other recruiters echo King. “The benefits to us are obvious,” says Leslie Stevens, Southern California regional sales manager for RHI Consulting, the technology recruiting division of Robert Half International. First among them: speed. “It has an instantaneous function,” Stevens says. “It allows us to see an higher volume of resumes.”

The company’s Web site gets 50,000 hits a week, bringing in 7,000 resumes, a volume that Stevens says would be “too cumbersome” to deal with through traditional means. “It really makes you a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week recruiter.”

With the Internet, Stevens says, the front-end task of identifying the top candidates “goes from days to minutes.” At software giant Novell, savings from Internet-based hiring can amount to 20-30 percent and even as much as 40-50 percent of a position’s salary, according to the company’s staffing manager, Robert DeMartini.

“You can reduce the cost tremendously using the Internet,” DeMartini says. The company is so committed to online hiring that even when it does run print ads, it includes not a mailing address but instead a Web address so applicants are introduced to the company online.

Adds Harvey Frank, Novell’s director of staffing: “What you used to pay for a spread in (a newspaper) for two days and a local audience now gets you a year’s subscription to an Internet job site and a worldwide audience.”

What’s more, the Internet dramatically reduces the number of half-serious applicants that draw valuable time and effort from finding the right person for the job. As Crimson’s Gow says: “That’s an expensive, painful process, as opposed to the Web which is an inexpensive, pain-free process.