Contributed Column

Personnel Points

by Dave Mount, Westaff

What About Internet Recruiting?

I listen to Satellite radio in my car most of the time. It is an old habit from when I traveled around New York and New England visiting our company’s offices. Lately, there have been ads for Internet recruiting sites that, with one click, can connect you with 50 or 60 recruiting websites. It sounds so easy.

So what about that? Does it work? Why would you want to be connected to 50 or more websites anyway?

This is an evolving and ever-changing field. We certainly have used Internet sites to source candidates for years, but 50 or 60? Is that overkill or is it just leaving no stone unturned looking for the best person? To help, I wanted to pass on some of my experiences and words of wisdom on the subject.

I would classify Internet sites into three categories. There may be a number of sub-categories, but I will give you three:

• Catch-all sites. There are two with real significance here: Monster and Career Builder. The former stands alone; the latter is owned by a number of newspapers and its price is frequently coupled with a newspaper ad.

• Profession-specific sites. These are usually part of larger professional organizations such as those serving engineers or accountants, and will have only people in those professions looking at them.

• Local sites. We have a few specific sites for Vermont and/or the Champlain Valley, and they narrow the number of respondents to an opening. Craig’s List may also fall into this category.

I think the Internet is a great way to recruit. When we were first in business, in the early 1980s, we relied on our local newspapers. The process was slow, and we needed lead time to prepare and place our ad. The minimum lead time was about 12 hours, and sometimes the Sunday edition ads needed to be into the newspaper by Thursday afternoon.

On the other hand, I have seen Internet ads yield results within minutes. I think the record I have seen is nine minutes, but who’s counting?

The problem with all Internet advertising is that it is the World Wide Web. Your ad will be seen wherever the Web is active, so you may have responses from the Far East, Europe, or downtown Burlington. I always found a need to find ways to restrict responses, so I made some rules for myself that may be helpful.

I would place an ad in one of the two catchall sites. The wording of the ad was specific so that there might be a limited response from places where I was not interested in hearing from candidates (most places that are not local). That does not eliminate the foreign respondents, but it does cut the number down considerably.

I would normally bypass the profession-specific sites unless I was looking for someone really esoteric.

Then I would use at least one local site. Many people have an alarm on their computers notifying them of an interesting opportunity, so your responses will come quite quickly.

Then comes the challenge of receiving and screening the resumes. Years ago, resumes were actually on paper, but today, they are almost all electronic. We like to be “green,” so we want to avoid printing them unless they make the final cut. Reviewing resumes electronically is just as easy as reviewing the paper versions except there is no way to make notes on the resume itself. If the document is in a format you use regularly, you can use marginal notations or you can take out a pad of paper and do it the old-fashioned way.

Now, where did I put that pencil? •

Dave Mount is the founder of Westaff in Burlington.

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