Online recruitment still wide of the mark

Jul 01 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Employers still don’t seem to be getting it right when it comes to online recruitment. Corporate websites are still not giving jobseekers the information they want while companies are missing out on the potential cost savings of recruitment technology.

Research by online recruitment site Workthing has revealed a startling disparity between between jobseekers' use and expectations of the web and what is actually provided by employers.

Nearly nine out of ten HR professionals believe employer branding is an important issue for their business, but most execute it poorly online. Many seem to forget the most basic principles of marketing - such as giving your target audience the information they want.

Jobseekers say their top three criteria when looking for a new employer are a secure financial footing, good career prospects and competitive packages. But recruiters say that fewer than four out of ten of their company websites refer to financial performance, only one in three discuss career progression and less than half mention employee benefits.

Another major frustration is online applications. Despite the fact that online application forms have been around since the mid-1990s and some 5.8 million people in the UK have used the web to apply for a job, nearly six out of ten organisations still do not provide such a facility - a quite astonishing figure given the now-ubiquitous use of the internet for almost every other type of transaction.

Potential candidates have no qualms about placing their CVs online, with three-quarters of jobseekers interviewed happy to do so.

This neglect of the online channel for applications is even more surprising when the potential cost savings for employers are taken into consideration. But according to the survey, more than six out of ten recruiters feel they spend too much time on application processing, and a whopping 85 per cent still sort CVs by hand.

Fewer than two out of ten employers use time-saving tools which could sort through applications electronically enabling them to respond more quickly to candidates.

Employers also appear to have little concept of the way that jobseekers use corporate web sites to look for information and vacancies. Although Workthing claims that 6.3m people in the UK have looked for jobs on corporate web sites, just over half of recruiters seem to think that their company’s site is not an important destination for jobseekers.

In addition, when asked how they thought candidates would rate their corporate site, almost one in three recruiters said they didn't know.

Andy Baker, Managing Director of Workthing, said that the findings highlight how a poor web presence can damage an employer’s brand.

“To impress internet jobseekers, companies need to understand how their design, content, usability and response handling processes online play a critical role in forming these candidates' opinion of their business as a place to work,” He said.

"If they don't act, recruiters risk continual candidate attraction problems and the undermining of their employer brands."

Despite this disconnect between candidates and employers, Workthing claim that there are now 11.1m online jobseekers in the UK, with nearly seven out of ten classified as ABC1. A staggering 9.7m people - equivalent to over one quarter of the entire UK workforce - expect to get their next job online.

Almost half of recruiters plan to increase their online spend over the next 12 months, says Workthing. But judging from the survey, employers need to make much more of an effort if they want to attract the best people.