Using the Internet to Find Jobs

Recruiting on-line is fast, cheap and becoming more advanced through new technology

A good high-tech employee -- especially because technology changes so fast -- is becoming harder to find.

So corporations are no longer exclusively depending on traditional newspaper help-wanted ads, headhunters and referrals to reach an educated, experienced pool of people. As the Internet has exploded as a communications tool, it has also taken off as a new and cost-effective way of recruiting.

Over the past year, corporate on-line recruiting has increased by 20 percent, according to estimates from Virtual Resources, Ann Arbor, Mich., which runs CareerSite, a job search service on the Internet. Most colleges also use the on-line method to help students find jobs, according to Colleen McDonald-Burroughs, spokesperson for Virtual Resources. The company is also talking to newspapers about putting entire classified sections on its site, she said.

Part of the boom can be attributed to companies' difficulty in attracting qualified employees. Nearly half of the CEOs at America's fastest growing companies say it is such a severe problem that it will slow company growth in 1996, according to a study released this month by Coopers & Lybrand.

Electronic Data Systems Corp., Intel Corp. and Dun & Bradstreet all have turned to the Internet to attract potential employees and inform them about their business and job openings. Posting jobs on-line is a relatively inexpensive recruiting strategy, many company officials say. For example, companies pay $395 a year to have a presence on CareerSite. Each posting costs another $95.

Another popular recruiting site, Career Mosaic, which links to numerous other job search pages, receives 5 to 6 million hits on its server every month. Career Mosaic is published by Bernard Hodes Advertising, New York, which specializes in recruitment ads.

While some career sites on the World Wide Web are a link from a specific company's home page that lists only that business' opportunities, others serve as an umbrella for one industry or for many companies that pay for the exposure. McDonald-Burroughs said many of her clients use Virtual Resources' page as an initial screening process to weed out unqualified applicants.

CareerSite, which acts as a clearinghouse for many companies, last month took the process a step further by introducing "agent technology." Job seekers are matched with appropriate openings from their answers to a series of questions in the areas of occupation, industry, location, education and skills. The site's "Virtual Agent" automatically sends an e-mail to people that match new postings.

The site gets 40,000 hits a week, according to Owen Medd, vice president of Virtual Resources, which developed the page. "Thousands of companies are using it as a recruiting tool," he said. "It's just a natural fit in our society where people are ambitious, mobile and eager to find that perfect job that may be on the other side of the country."

Geography plays an important role in job searches on the Internet. Employers can reach many more potential applicants via the Internet than in a city newspaper, and individuals don't have to travel to check out opportunities.

Especially in the technology field, too, employers are seeking Internet-savvy workers. "People who are comfortable logging into the Web are the kind of open and innovative applicants that most companies say will be valuable contributors to future success," said Medd.

Also true is that many Internet users are looking for technology jobs, which continue to dominate the career postings on the Web. The CEOs interviewed in the Coopers & Lybrand study said information technology skills are the most desired abilities they look for in potential employees. At the same time, qualified programmers, systems and networking professionals, and skilled computer personnel are the most difficult employees to find. "The lack of availability is a problem," said Pete Collins, director of entrepreneurial advisory services at Coopers & Lybrand. "A lot of companies are going to have to make do with less."

Virtual Resources last month also signed a deal to do a specific recruitment project for an alliance of 167 hospitals in Michigan. When a hospital is looking for a medical technician or a nurse, it will immediately be able to find a cache of qualified candidates on the site, said Steve O'Connor, manager of professional search services for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association Service Corp. "We think this is going to revolutionize employment practices for hospitals," said O'Connor.

Looking for a job on the Internet can be a problem when an applicant is already employed. For example, an executive reviewing a group of resumes may spot a current employee in the batch.

Virtual Resources avoids that problem by deleting the name and personal details of a candidate profile as it is sent to a potential employer. If interested, then the employer can request a full resume.

As more people use the Internet to find and post jobs, the technologies are becoming more specific to the process.

Resumix, Santa Clara, Calif., in June unveiled software (available on its Web site at that integrates the Internet, intranets and on-line job boards such as Career Mosaic and The Monster Board, which lists 55,000 jobs and is run by TMP Worldwide, an advertising firm in New York.

Resumix, a human resource management company, uses technology such as artificial intelligence, image processing and client/server to improve its client's hiring process. The company's software consists of three parts: ReqBuilder, which allows hiring managers to create job requisitions and send them to their intranet for approval; JobPost, which lets Resumix users advertise jobs on either the Internet or intranets; and ResumeBuilder, which helps job seekers develop resumes.

Even the government has jumped on the Internet recruiting bandwagon. The U.S. Department of Labor runs America's Job Bank (http://www.ajb.dnius/), which contains 250,000 job listings, 95 percent of which are in the private sector. The site is funded by unemployment insurance taxes paid by employers. Users can search by occupation, state, keyword or code (such as military or government job number). The bank also has links to placement agencies and individual employer Web sites.

Intel, for example, maintains its own job page. Jobs are posted for 30 days; new ones are listed every week. Potential employees can search by location and career category, such as sales or engineering.

Dun and Bradstreet's site includes the usual postings as well as sections on job trends, such as the types of jobs showing the highest potential in the future; five tips to help conduct a successful job search; and geographic comparisons (New Jersey showed the highest growth of computer science jobs in America, according to the site. Georgia is lowest.)

As the Internet becomes more prevalent in everyone's lives, it seems likely that more recruitment will be done this way. Perhaps the next step will be interviews over the computer.

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