A deluge of 'GradSpam' from unsuitable job applicants has been blamed for a massive slump in the use of the internet as a recruitment tool by employers.
Research by IT services firm Parity has found that a mere five per cent of organisations in the UK used the web to find staff last year, down from a third in 2001.
This is despite a steady increase in the number of applicants looking for jobs online – the most recent National Internet User survey found that a quarter of web users now search and apply for jobs online.
The reasons for such a sharp decline are two-fold. First, the increase in the number of students attending university has led to a deluge of unsolicited job applications. But at least half of these are rejected because they have been bulk-mailed to multiple companies, have no covering message, are addressed to the wrong company or are littered with spelling mistakes.
Compounding the ‘GradSpam’ problem, both employers and online recruitment operations have been slow to adopt mechanisms to assess the quality of applicants rather than simply generating more (and more unsuitable) applications.
As Parity’s Stewart Coia pointed out, the internet recruitment needs to do much more to bring together the requirements of employers with those of job seekers.
"Many recruiters have abandoned the internet due to the sheer volume of online applications. However, since jobseekers are turning increasingly to the internet, this is not the answer,” he said.
"The ideal solution is to reduce the number of applications and raise the quality of candidates. Online psychometric testing and competency interviewing can be used to screen candidates before they apply for jobs. CV scanning software can also be used to filter out applications that don’t meet basic criteria.
"Applications that make it through initial screening can then be managed using applicant tracking systems which manage the entire hiring process through to interview,” he added.