IT Recruiters, Job Seekers Turn to Web for 'Help Wanted'

IT Recruiters, Job Seekers Turn to Web for 'Help Wanted'<@VM>Top 15 Career Sites

By Gail Repsher, Staff Writer

Job seekers and recruiters agree: The balance of power has shifted from the employer to the job seeker, and with this shift has come a corresponding change in the advertising marketplace, where recruitment advertising is growing faster on the Internet than it is in print.

In other words, the Web is becoming king of the job search, particularly in the information technology field.

Steve Pogorzelski, executive vice president of global new business development for leading online job site Monster.com, attributes much of his 7-year-old company's success to the increasing power of job seekers.

"Employees know they have to be responsible for their own career progression," he said. And online job sites help nurture this sense of responsibility and control.

"I think most people are not necessarily active or passive [job seekers], but they're always looking for career management advice," Pogorzelski said.

Enter Monster.com, which lists more than 400,000 jobs, holds 4 million resumes in its online database, boasts 8.6 million registered job seekers and features tech career tools such as IT message boards, free online classes and certification information.

The Maynard, Mass., site logged 4.3 million unique visits in June, making it the most visited career management Web site, according to Media Metrix Inc. of New York. Only America Online's proprietary WorkPlace channel had more visitors, at 5.5 million.

Monster.com's competitors include JobsOnline.com, with 3.7 million unique visitors, and HotJobs.com, with 1.7 million. Headhunter.net, a source also frequented by high-tech recruiters and job seekers, made the list at No. 5, with 1.2 million. The IT job site Dice.com, the only niche site to make the list, logged in at No. 9, with 386,000.

Online recruiting appears to be taking a bite out of print advertising revenue, according to Forrester Research Inc. of Cambridge, Mass. A survey of 3,000 online consumers and 50 recruiters published in February by Forrester found that recruiters will decrease their spending on print advertising by 31 percent by 2004, while they will increase spending on online advertising by 52 percent.

Forrester also found that 37 percent of online job seekers wanted technology jobs, the most in any category, and that 60 percent of recruiters found the Internet most effective in filling technical jobs.

Despite the growth of Web-based recruiting, the Web method has a lot of growing room, said Web site executives and recruiters.

"The explosion of e-recruiting has really been within the last five or six years. Anybody who is really savvy would know it's still in its infancy," said Jean Callahan, director of recruiting for Booz-Allen & Hamilton, a management and technology consulting firm headquartered in McLean, Va.

Callahan said the number of national Web job sites likely will decrease, while regional sites will grow the fastest. She also expects that sites will develop better filters and searching capabilities and more automated functions, such as correspondence to candidates.

Jeff Dickey-Chasins, vice president of marketing for Dice.com of Des Moines, Iowa, said his company is "still in an early growth phase." Dice.com, the first bulletin board for IT jobs, was founded in 1990 and moved to the Web in 1995.

"We're also in a segment of population that's very comfortable being online and using an online job site," he added. "Typically, someone will use our site once, and then will come back over and over and over again in the following months."

Indeed, acceptance of the Internet as a job search tool among Web-savvy workers has been a driving force behind the growth of online recruiting.

A June study of 2,000 adults by the Newspaper Association of America found that while 77 percent of all job seekers consult newspaper ads, use of Internet ads increases steadily with length of Internet experience, and newspaper usage decreases until it stabilizes with three to five years Internet experience.

But don't count out newspapers or other means of advertising. While online job recruiting is growing at print's expense, the amount of money spent on newspaper advertising still dwarfs online revenue.

Classified ad revenue was $8 billion last year, compared to $602 million in online recruitment revenue, said Charlie Diederich, the NAA's director of recruitment advertising.

The Vienna, Va., nonprofit group represents more than 2,000 newspapers in the United States and Canada.

"Has any revenue gone online? Probably. Is it a significant amount? Probably not," Diederich said. "With this tight labor market, money is going to radio, TV, billboards, direct mail, you name it. And if we weren't in such a tight labor market, you wouldn't see any of that. Employers are trying anything they can to find that scarce resource of that one qualified applicant."

Still, Diederich said recruiting is changing.

"Now, the high-tech worker is the one in the driver's seat," he said. "The employer can no longer say: 'We want, you must have.' Now, savvy employers are saying: 'We offer, and you will get.' "

"And those employers who don't get it, their responses, whether in print or online, will be minimal," Diederich said. "The best and the brightest now have options and, like all of us, they want to know what's in it for [them]."

Employers and job seekers must be savvy users of the Internet, seeking out sites that cater to their professions. Also, neither should rely exclusively on Web-based recruiting, Dice.com's Dickey-Chasins said.

"The most sophisticated [recruiters] will use us, newspapers, their own sites, networking and sometimes even recruiters. It comes back to hedging your bets ? whatever works," he said. "Job seekers should never rely exclusively on online. It's an important component of a job search, but it's not the only one. You should network, look at the newspaper."

Mike Frey, vice president of resource operations for Systems Integration Solutions in San Francisco, said he still advertises in the newspaper, but his expenditures have flip-flopped from print to the Web in recent years.

Frey said he allocates up to 85 percent of his $70,000 annual advertising budget to the Web and the remainder to newspapers. Three years ago, the figures were nearly opposite.

Internet advertising is more cost effective, Frey said, because IT professionals respond more often to Web ads, and because the company can post jobs more frequently there.

In fact, Frey said he posts 100 jobs a month on Dice.com for the cost of advertising one weekend in the newspaper.

Frequent job postings are key for the company, which employs about 400 contract workers.

"It's a continual turnover," Frey said. "The best way to touch as many people as possible is via the Internet."

Job seeker Lee Weisenberg used the newspaper and several Web sites.

"I did look in the newspaper, and it just seemed the opportunities on Monster were so much greater," the software salesman said.

Within a week of posting his resume on Dice.com, Weisenberg was contacted by a headhunter. Several e-mails later, he had an interview at Savvion Inc., an e-business software developer in Santa Clara, Calif. Within a month, he had a job.

"The Internet is revolutionizing the way people look for jobs, because everything is there," he said.



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