Knowing the ’Net Featured

7:03am EDT July 29, 2006
Internet recruiting used to be essentially an electronic version of the newspaper help want ads. Job-seekers saw an ad and responded to it.

But the role of Internet recruiting is changing, says Nancy Schillig, manager of recruitment technology and vendor relations for KeyBank.

KeyBank uses a combination of the career section of its Web site and third-party job recruiting networks to recruit online. Its Web site allows KeyBank to give a detailed rundown of job offerings, benefits and the company’s structure, while many third-party job boards offer the advantage of high coverage within a market.

However, the nature of job boards is changing, Schillig says. Online job boards that place the job-seeker in the driver’s seat are losing popularity, she says. Taking their place are job referral networks, which refer companies to matching candidates who have submitted their credentials and contact information.

“That whole idea of posting is changing,” she says. “We don’t necessarily use the Internet to go after just active candidates. We also go after passive candidates who might not be actively searching for a job.”

The networks, which are subscription-based, allow companies to be more proactive in seeking out talent, rather than posting a job ad and waiting for responses, Schillig says.

Internet recruiting is growing in popularity, according to the 2006 Workplace Trends survey of Northeast Ohio companies by Smart Business and ERC. According to the survey, 71 percent of companies are using the Internet as part of their recruiting strategy, an increase of 2.7 percentage points over 2005 and an increase of 15 percentage points over 2004.

The Internet has been an effective tool for KeyBank — it’s recruited an estimated 15 percent of its 20,000 employees via the Internet — second only to employee referrals in generating new hires. But it’s not a magical sourcing solution, Schillig says. An HR director should be well-educated on the ups and downs of Internet recruiting before placing his or her company’s name in cyberspace.

Schillig says there are several things HR directors should keep in mind as they prepare to use the Internet for recruiting.

  • Know which jobs are going to have the best potential return.

“Don’t jump in to it all at once and put all your positions out there,” Shillig says. “Take a small piece of your business and determine what positions are going to get the best return from the Internet.

  • Research a job board before relying on it.

“There are tons of job boards out there,” Shillig says. “Watch out for the free ones, because you get what you pay for. Sometimes, free-subscription job boards don’t have the biggest advertising budget and won’t reach a large number of candidates.”

  • Make sure your company’s job site is up-to-date and easily navigable.

“If you have a company job site, make sure your careers are linked from the front page so that they can be easily accessed,” she says.

  • Make the online application process user-friendly.

“Most of the people who are going to be filling out the application, at least those that you will probably want to target, are going to be at work. They’re not going to spend a million hours on the Internet filling out an application. It has to be quick, fast and easy.”

  • Make your branding consistent across the Internet.

“If you have your own job site and then you are going to use a third-party site, make sure you are using the same language,” Shillig says. “Also, remember that selling a job is the same as selling a product. Don’t use company lingo and acronyms when describing a job.

“Be very cognizant of how the job is being presented. We in HR have a tendency to want to describe the essential functions of a position, but we also have to sell the candidate on why a company like KeyBank is a great place to work. And that’s very important.”

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