Getting The Best From Online And Offline Recruiting

Updated: Jun 29 2002, 05:30am hrs
About two years back, with the internet boom, it was time for online recruiters to emerge as the new medium of talent induction. Suddenly, for a large number of companies and thousands of job seekers, online recruitment offered a host of of advantages that the professionals could leverage. Getting online meant obtaining the right set of resumes that could match up to the critical eligibility parameters that have been outlined, leading to a reduction in the workload and the immense time consumed in the manual sifting of CVs.

As online portals arrived with cost efficient offerings, it also meant a reduced cost of posting recruitment advertisements leading to optimizing the recruitment budget. Coupled with that it could also accelerate the process of recruitment in the middle and senior management functions where an unfilled vacancy means a bloated cost to the organization. And as Mr.Arun Tadanki, country manager, Monster India, puts it: e-recruitment meant reduced cost with a break-neck speed.

But almost two years later, despite the fact the large players in the online field like Jobsahead.com, Naukri.com and monster.com in india are only growing, there are still a large number of companies and candidates who would still opt for the brick-and mortar route when it comes to hiring.

For example, management consultants and brick and mortar recruitment agencies believe that online recruitment has many more miles to go before it becomes an integral part of mainstream recruitment initiatives across corporates. This is because, they argue that online recruitments lacks the crucial human involvement of the HR professionals and therefore most of the decisions undertaken by them may not be fool proof in its approach. This they believe is especially true while shortlisting candidates for an interview.

The online world is still to win the confidence of the audience when it comes to matters of confidentiality, says Mr.Rajeev Sandhan, general manager, Profile Search Ltd. Sometimes the counselling and interaction sessions that are vital before lending a broader personality brief about the candidates to the HR professionals too is a service that online recruitments may be unable to render. The face to face contact between the consultant and the candidate becomes a crucial part before helping the clients structure a recruitment technique. And this is something that the technology world will miss out on, avers Ms.Purnima Das, managing director, Kelly Services, a global manpower firm that is into staffing. Add to it the the current in the IT segment, some argue that online recruiters may have some issues to deal with.

Says Ms.Das: Corporates do not go beyond looking at online recruitment as the one that can offer a market value for their brand. According to Ms.Das, most of Kellys clients who are traditional bluechips, still take to the brick and mortar recruitments as they are looking at making the whole process of manpower induction a thoroughly participative affair. The general consensus amongst the offline recruiting consultants is: personalised and one to one communication between either the client and the consultant or the client and the candidate can never be proactively pursued as a lead communication strategy in the online universe.

Combating the contemporary challenge

But the online recruiters affirm that with technology becoming almost synonymous to the daily existence and companies looking at driving efficiency in their initiatives through technology interventions, the virtual world is going to determine the recruitment strategies for the corporates in the future. However, constant innovation and change is the mantra that the established portals are looking to enforce, as a means of becoming a part of the mainstream recruitment initiatives of the clients.

Consider the case of Monster India. According to the online company, their service initiatives is to not just assist the employers in making qualitative and speedy decisions in recruitments but also attract talent and thereby assist the corporates in the process of building an employment brand.

Says Mr.Tadanki: We believe that online recruiting is here to provide a better method of attracting candidates for a given position. For Monster provides the option for the company to not just advertise the post mentioned but also lend all the detailed elaboration of the nature of employee growth plans and the projects that the corporates are handling. Further, it also signifies the growth opportunities in the organization along with a complete people profile of the company in certain cases. Thus, there is a detailed communication initiative that the employer can embark to leverage a pro active perception amongst the prospective talent. Further the portal also assists the employers in spending quality time on specific candidates especially when the number of candidates applying for a certain defined job position exceeds the expected numbers.

Says Mr.Tadanki: Monster proprietary Advanced Screening System helps to keep the non-suitable candidates out. This enables the employers to spend quality time on the resumes that are suitable. The feedback we have received from the clients in general has been that the screening system is a welcome move, especially when a job posting gets a huge response.

According to Monster India, these initiatives along with the modern business imperatives are surely going to help online recruiters to witness better days ahead.

Reasons Mr.Tadanki: The concept of online recruiting, though recent, has now begun to take deep roots with in the HR fraternity of the country. As the business environment gets tougher, there is pressure on everybody, to explore better and more efficient ways of doing things. It is here that online recruiting has found its core proposition. However, Mr.Tadanki admits that the deep personalised interaction is something that job portals may never be able to offer specially before handing the offer letter to the candidates.

Adds Mr.Ambarish Raghuvanshi, Chief Financial Officer, naukri.com: Portals like ours have registered growth in a downturn with an aggressive drive to relationship building where communication is definitely the winning key.

Drivers for online recruitment that has made naukri connect with the clients better being cost efficiencies, quick response, image building and brand equity. Attach to it the ability to manage responses using electronic media and you get the bigger picture, says Mr.Raghuvanshi.

Portals like naukri.com are also of the view that if online recruiting portals develop a selling proposition that offers cost efficient and solution based approach of service delivery to the clients, then they not just grow their business but also become a popular choice in corporate recruitments.

Informs Mr.Raghuvanshi: In a slowing economy, we are speeding up our business through offering cost efficiencies and a solution based approach that incorporates listening to clients, adopting a relationship approach and reacting fast to client needs.

The business plan has helped the portal in getting upgrades such as developing a response management system where the portal has initiated techniques like eApps and a database access product based on client feedback.

As a future strategy to grow and be accepted Naukri believes that it can improve response by targeting passive job seekers through sending job alerts to individuals who have registered their resumes and details with them.

Offline and online: Are they complementary

Exactly as businesses are moving towards a combination click and mortar era, so is the case with the business of recruitment outsourcing, say some other consultants. For they believe that when the recruitment initiatives are undertaken by the company, the online recruitment portals could work with the offline consultants in understanding how both can collectively contribute towards triggering efficiency in the business processes of the customers. Says Mr.Sandhan: While we can draw up the relevant personality profiles for the candidates, the online syndicates will send us the right profiles based on the first set of critical criterions.

Complementary roles here would also mean that once the job offers have trickled into the candidates desk the rest of the procedural formalities can be speeded up by the technology.

There are several other complementary roles that the consultants envisage. For instance, in the case of building an employment brand even as the corporates communicate their overall company profile online, the consultants too can conduct strategic counselling rounds with the prospective candidates to enhance the overall image of the company in the psyche of the prospective job seeker.

Similarly, the online portals can brainstorm with he offline consultants to specifically outline the range of competencies that are needed for a typical job profile. By this, HR experts opine that it can also reduce the subjectivity in defining a certain job profile that corporate often confronts. Even though the fusion between the two worlds is yet to take off in a big way, that could be the bigger way of the future.