How Employers Can Recruit On The Internet

a. Who ya gonna call?

Industry is facing an alarming labor shortage and for many it is a labor crisis. Almost every employer across the country has felt the labor squeeze from colleges reporting fewer student enrollments, to the aging workforce that is retiring at unprecedented rates. Unlike any time in recent history, Human Resource (HR) departments are facing considerable pressure to meet recruitment and staffing demands.


b. One answer may be the Internet

The Internet (or Net) is quickly changing the way employers and job seekers find each other. Job seekers now have easier access to help-wanted advertising and more information about employers than ever before. Recruiters can now reach more people faster and at a fraction of the cost of traditional recruitment methods. Net recruiting, cyberrecruiting or e-recruiting as it is sometimes called, is becoming a popular solution to the labor shortage and an invaluable addition to any HR recruitment strategy.

The Net’s massive reach already extends into talent pools never before available, and offers favorable demographics. The federal government currently estimates that there are over 100 million people in 190 countries using the Net. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) surveyed 4,566 Net users and found 72.5 percent were men, 27.5 were women, and the average age was 37.7. The average age of commercial online service subscribers is 39 according to Jupiter Communications. The Georgia Institute of Technology surveyed 4,777 WWW users and found that 56 percent were between 23 and 38 years old, and 74 percent were male.

The increased candidate reach, faster hiring turnaround, minimal recruiting cost and favorable candidate demographics may make the Net a potential solution to the labor shortage.


c. Does Internet recruiting work

The Net is utilized by all types of job seekers who surf the Web as a tool to help find friends online, research and book flight reservations, check the time or weather, find current news or view the latest stock quotes, transfer text documents, photos or data files, place a classified ad, chat with other Net surfers, buy books, CDs, computers or to just have fun with entertainment resources.

Recent surveys indicate Net recruiting can produce results.

    • The Employment Marketplace stated in its Winter 98 issue that experienced recruiters who have honed their direct email strategies and message scripts are experiencing a return rate ranging from 15% to 40%; far beyond the traditional direct mail rate. JWT Specialized Communications in Los Angeles surveyed 410 HR professionals and nearly 800 job seekers and concluded that the number of people tapping into the Net to post or find jobs is expected to double in the coming year.
    • The 1997 Austin Knight Internet Recruitment Survey states “75% of the companies that advertised on the Net filled at least one position last year, and many averaged one per month.” The survey also stated “not only are companies hiring more people from the Web, but they also receive an average of 7 more responses per posting, and rate the quality of these responses considerably higher.”
    • In the October 1998 Fordyce Letter Bill Vick, president of the Recruiters Online Network, stated “some member recruitment firms are claiming over 30% of their business from online recruiting.”
    • In a recent article titled “Outside the Box” by Amy Naples with Bluestone Consulting, stated “Market research has shown that 80% of applicants from colleges and universities now use the Net as a job resource.”


d. Benefits to Internet recruiting

As a minimum, recruiters can utilize the Net for placement of online job ads, and for resume research. But for the experienced online recruiter, the Net can offer unlimited possibilities.

Some of the more common benefits to Net recruiting are listed below:

  • Flexible ad medium. Net advertising of job postings are as testable as direct mail, as targeted as radio, as immediate as a telemarketing call, and as informative as a TV infomercial.
  • Greater recruitment reach. Recruitment and resume sourcing on the Net can be localized or worldwide in its reach extending into over 174 countries, and can access more job seekers and a broader selection of job seekers than other medium.
  • Greater advertising reach. Net advertising offers greater exposure to a larger audience than any other form of media. It is estimated that 20% of the job sites on the web have monthly traffic of 500,000 unique visitors and an astonishing 9% actually attracted 1 million or more unique visitors each month!
  • Unlimited supply of resumes. The Net provides recruiters access to thousands of resume and job databases, and even more newspapers and industry magazines, which offer job classified advertising.
  • Inexpensive access. Many libraries, schools and public service providers allow online access for free, and recruiters that want preferred service can usually find unlimited access from their home for under $16 a month.
  • No courier costs. There is no postage or added cost to forward mail, data files, graphics, photos, sound, video clips or other data transfer. In addition the Net can transfer information to hundreds or thousands of individuals simultaneously.
  • Low communication costs. With prices for advanced communication solutions such as telephony and video conferencing continuing to drop, employers and job seekers are able to perform qualifying interviews on the Net at substantial cost savings to traditional methods.
  • Link to success. Utilizing Web links from and to the company job opportunity page is a cost-efficient method of distributing information across a wide area.
  • Low printing costs. The Net is a cost-effective way to save money on printed materials by publishing online brochures, annual reports, project portfolios, press releases, executive biographies, training and hiring materials.
  • Convenient accessibility. Company and job information posted on the Net is easily accessible to job seekers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Job seekers also can access their email or send email from any location worldwide with Net access.
  • Interactive advertising. The most effective advertising is interactive advertising where the advertisement provides interactive participation with the audience. Classifieds and other online job advertisements allow job seekers to be involved with the communication and content of the advertisement by controlling what is seen. With conventional advertising, a message is delivered to jobseekers regardless of their desire to see it. With Net advertising job seekers must actively seek out the information, which means they come to the ad as a pre-qualified buyer. Interactive ads can include extensive descriptive text, color or animated graphics, photos, video or sound, and include links to corporate Web pages, email or message boards. They run longer than most media, usually from 30 days to 90 days. Advertising results can also be tracked and monitored unlike conventional advertising to provide immediate ad optimization and greater ad success.
  • Marketing dream. Web pages can serve as the sales person and marketing department that never sleeps. Ads can include extended descriptive text, color or animated graphics, photos, video or sound, and include links to corporate Web pages, email or message boards. Advertising results can also be tracked and monitored unlike conventional advertising to provide immediate ad optimization and greater ad success.
  • No time restrictions. Recruiting different time zones or working late at night is not a problem with the Net.
  • Immediate feedback. Through email, chat, or online messaging, job seekers can send requests or receive information quickly without waiting for regular mail or playing phone tag. The end result is a faster hiring cycle at a significantly lower cost per hire.
  • User-friendly platform. Posting job opportunities and doing resume research is easy to perform due to the graphical “point-and-click” features of the World Wide Web.
  • Expands company sales. The Net allows companies to reach new sales audiences by providing online purchasing of services or products, and by selling ad space on their company site to third parties.
  • Competitive advantage. Net technology allows recruiters to stay ahead of their competition.
  • Demographic advantage. Net users are growing exponentially, and offer favorable demographics for recruiters.


e. Tips to Internet recruiting

  • Don’t be afraid of technology. As technology advances, the Net is becoming easier to use and more “idiot proof.” On a basic level the Net is used as a library of online documents that are keyword searchable and interactive. If one can work a word processing program one can surf the Net effectively.
  • Act quickly. Like any candidate recruitment campaign, it’s important to act quickly when a prize candidate is found. Attractive job seekers get many calls once they post their resume on the Net. Delaying a contact could easily result in finding the candidate in the final stages of interviews with other potential employers.
  • Get free help. Visit the local library, college, computer store, community service center or Internet cafe to locate helpful administrators willing to offer free Net advice and assistance. Join a local computer or Internet club to find relevant training classes, education materials and technical support at no or low cost.
  • Post complete job information. Because of the limitless nature of the Net, most job postings allow for extended text descriptions. The rule for posting jobs is to make job descriptions as detailed as possible. Like with any advertising medium, try to make the top selling points in the job title name and in the first few sentences of the description to capture the attention of job seekers. Use as many keywords as possible when posting a job to help job seekers find the job when they keyword search the database. This also helps market the job more effectively to the search engine robots that crawl the job database looking for keywords to index. Post each unique job opportunity with individual identification numbers, and require job seekers to submit resumes referencing the appropriate identification number to make resume management easier. Also include in the job information if relocation assistance is available, and if US citizenship is required.
  • Utilize an email form. Use an online form (application) for job seekers to complete that gets entered into a database, which complies with the company resume management program. An inexpensive alternative is to provide an email form for job seekers to submit resumes into, which will protect the company’s private email address from robots that crawl that Net searching out email addresses for junk mailings.
  • Hire assistance. Save valuable time by hiring a junior assistant to perform initial screenings of the company’s employment email, and to source select resume databases and classified ad resources.
  • Schedule regular online hours. Regular scheduling for online recruitment will form effective habits and result in consistent performance. It shouldn’t take an experienced Net surfer more than 30 minutes a day to obtain results. Pick a favorite time of day or night that will allow for a regular schedule.
  • Computer processor size does not matter. However modem speed and Internet access does. A 56K BPS modem is almost twice as fast as a 28.8K BPS and almost three times as fast as a 14.4K BPS. High-speed modems can be purchased under $100, are easily installed and are a requirement for any serious Net surfer. Most Internet Service Providers utilizes that latest and fastest speeds available, but check to see that they provide Net access at 56K BPS.
  • Post all jobs on the company Web site. Make sure company job opportunities have their own unique Web page, and that this page is linked FROM the company home page. This will assure the maximum amount of traffic from visitors to the company Web site, and will assure indexing with the major search engines that usually only index information one link deep from the homepage.
  • Offer free gifts. A good traffic builder to the job opportunity Web page is to offer job seekers that submit their resumes the opportunity to participate in a drawing for a free book, article, tool or other gift. Offer monthly prizes to be announced in the company employment chat or message board to keep them coming back.
  • Select a favorite resume database, but be willing to change. There are as many different types of resume databases, as there are personalities. Each individual should try many before selecting a favorite. Web sites are also constantly changing so make sure to re-evaluate alternative databases every six months.
  • Automate email responses. Create an automated email response letter that will respond to each resume delivered to the company mailbox. This will provide job seekers immediate feedback to their submission, indicating their email has been received and will be reviewed. Consider also mentioning a few key selling points in the response letter as a reminder why the company is exceptional or unique.
  • Keep all job opportunities in electronic form. By keeping job opportunities on a removable disk, recruiters can easily transport and cut-and-paste job openings easily into favorite, online job databases.
  • Pay for preferred service. There are many free job-posting databases, but often the pay services achieve better results for employers since job seekers can easily find quality job opportunities that do not require sorting through hundreds of free, unqualified opportunities.
  • Don’t put all the eggs in one basket. Spread out the job postings among many select job databases and classified ad resources.
  • Get professional help. There are many Net-recruitment training resources offline and online that are available at little to no cost. Visit the major search engines and keyword search the words “Internet Recruitment Training.”
  • Provide added value. Job postings on the company Web site should be enhanced by offering links to candidate job resources such as salary and relocation adjusters, local city information and other appropriate resources that will make the job seekers experience at the company Web site more enjoyable and informative.


f. Top employment resources on the Internet:


  • The company web site

The company Web site is a good marketing tool to promote the company and a great way to advertise job opportunities. By adding an additional Web page of job openings to the company Web site, HR recruiters can significantly increase incoming resume traffic, especially if the job opportunity page is linked from the company homepage. The company Webmaster can set up an easy-to-use administrative template for adding new jobs, or changing and deleting old ones so HR can manage this page without assistance from the webmaster.

When posting job opportunities on the Net, remember to include as much detail as possible about the position, its benefits, and other key reasons why a candidate should apply. If there are many positions available, consider categorizing the job postings and adding a search engine. Create an online application form for job seekers to complete that is formatted to integrate into the company’s internal resume management program. However it is important to provide a means of alternative contact both online (such as email, message board, etc.) and offline (fax and phone numbers) since many job seekers prefer to fax in their resume or call in. Consider also offering special incentives to job seekers who submit their resume such as access to training materials, contest drawings and other inexpensive awards.


  • Top general search engines

The major search engines are popular for locating resumes since they often contain the largest databases of online documents. Robots from the major search engines crawl the Net continually, seeking out new job and resume postings. Top general search engines include,,, and


  • Top employment databases

How do you determine which job databases on the Internet are the biggest? It’s hard, because “biggest” can be measured in so many ways, including number of unique job listings, number of “hits,” number of participating employers/recruiters, number of page views, and number of links to the site. One Internet measurement company called MediaMetrix at, has posted what it calls the most unique visitors among their list of the Top 7 job databases for December month 1998: , , Gonyea Guide to Online Career and Employment Sites, .

Monster Board claims to have the largest online database of resumes and allows direct postings from corporate resume management programs such as NetStart Inc., Restrac, Resumix and Ezaccess systems.

Other popular employment databases include, (college resumes) and Yahoo Classifieds at


  • Top multiple job posting resources

Recruit-Net at is a job posting resource, which allows recruiters to post one job simultaneously to up to 300 sites at a click of a button. Net Recruiter, part of the Job Locator at automates postings to many Web sites. All in One Submit at Resume Zapper at CareerXpress at Go Jobs at

There are also multiple job-posting resources such as Career Path, at and the Classified Advertising Network at – where one can place classified ads in 57 newspapers.


    • Top books on Internet recruiting


        • The Internet Recruiting Edge, by Barbara Ling, presents vital information for those recruiters who desire to make their mark on the Net, buy a Web site from a qualified Web designer, and locate skilled job seekers for their business before their competition does. It includes a comprehensive bookmark’s file that contains over 600 links to recruiting sites.
        • Recruiter’s Internet Survival Guide, by John Sumser with Internet Business Network at John manages Electronic Recruiting News, a complete online resource for recruiters.
        • CareerXroads, by Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler. The book lists and compares the top 500 jobs, resumes and career management sites on the World Wide Web.
        • Internet Guide for Recruiters, promoted by Michael’s & Associates of Coal Valley, IL, contains 946 Web sites of resumes, job postings, salary surveys, cost-of-living & relocation information, trade journals, newsgroup directories, employment law, professional associations, HR information, resource and sourcing leads, computer resources, and much, much more.


    • Top college placement centers

      Locate and connect with college placement centers through The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) at or JobTrak at with over 600 new jobs posted each day for college students and recent graduates. Also , and .


    • Top recruiting robots 

      ITTA’s Pro-active Recruiter Robot at is an automated agent that finds resumes as they hit the Web and can deliver pre-planned messages from recruiting professionals.There are also meta-tools such as Web Compass at, which link to primary search engines and drive queries out over the Web.


    • Top Net training and consulting for human resources

      Basic information to Web surfing can be found at Yahoo’s Surf School, Microsoft’s Internet Tutorial at, or Internet 101 at

      Monsterboard at provides free seminars around the country for recruiters to develop Net recruitment strategies. WebSearch Consulting, located at, specializes in Net training for recruiters.The Virtual Coach, located at, is available to help recruiters learn more about online recruiting and create a strategy suited to unique needs.Intel Search at provides training and a complete directory of online tools for recruiters. Internet 101 at is a fee-based course to lead people through the basic functions of the Net.Internet Business Network at is a company focused exclusively on Electronic Recruiting offering seminars and training.


Other top Net resources for human resources

Recommended online publications include HR Magazine at, and Workforce Online at

One of the leaders in online HR resources is the Society for Human Resource Management, located at SHRM is the leading voice of the human resource profession, representing the interests of more than 100,000 professional and student members from around the world.

The Human Resource Professional’s Gateway to the Net at, contains helpful links to hundreds of resources for the online HR professional.HR Management Resources on the Internet, from the Business School at Nottingham Trent University at, provides comprehensive and international links to HR resources.HR World, at offers links, articles, and information for the HR professional.HR Online located at is a link to several HR-related sites and companies.

Webhire, by Restrac at, is an online recruiting and resume management system for growing employers that helps post jobs, store, search, and track resumes (paper or electronic) through the hiring process.

The Salary and Moving Calculator at, is powered by statistics provided and updated quarterly by the Center for Mobility Resources. Users can compare cost-of-living expenses for hundreds of cities across the country.
Weddle’s Online News, online newsletter for online recruitment tips


The article above was written by construction recruiter Frederick Hornberger, CPC, president of Hornberger Management Company in Wilmington, Delaware (, a construction recruiter specializing in senior level, executive search.