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Hiring Line

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When Oli Thoradson needed a network engineer to fill an opening at Alvaka Networks, his Huntington Beach, California, computer network design, integration and in-systems management firm, he faced a tough recruiting problem. "Qualified candidates are in very short supply," says the company's 37-year-old president and owner.

Thoradson's recruiting methods weren't helping either. "We used newspaper ads, postings on our Web site, even recruiters, but I wasn't seeing the candidates I needed," he says.

Thoradson decided to post a help-wanted notice on, a vast online employment bulletin board. In a little over a week, he'd gotten more than 100 responses. "That's twice as many responses as I'd been getting from our newspaper ads, and the quality of the applicants was better," says Thoradson. From those resumes, he hired an engineer.

The punchline: Thoradson not only discovered a deep pool of candidates but a cheaper means of recruiting. A posting on cost him just $185, while he typically spends $1,000 for a newspaper classified ad. "I can't tell you how many times I've run an ad without getting a single qualified applicant," he says.

Robert McGarvey writes on business, psychology and management topics for several national publications. To reach him online with your questions or comments, e-mail

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This article was originally published in the May 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hiring Line.

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