By Margie Davis
You turn to the Web for information and communication--so why not when you're looking for employees? Posting your want ad on job-search sites like Monster Board and HotJobs.com takes only a few minutes and gives thousands of jobseekers access to your ad 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Different job sites have different capabilities, but basic features typically include a listing of hundreds or thousands of jobs that jobseekers can look through for free, and a listing of resumes that companies in the hiring mode can sift through at little or no charge. When you post your ad, potential employees who have specified that kind of job by the use of keywords are notified of your posting.
"The best use of electronic recruiting is by companies looking to fill a specialized position, for example, not just `Looking for a sales rep,' but `Looking for a consumer products retail sales rep in Southern California with seven years of outside sales experience,' " says Wayne Outlaw, author of Smart Staffing: How to Hire, Reward and Keep Top Employees for Your Growing Company (Upstart Publishing, $19.95, 800-235-8866). A 13-year veteran of Xerox, where he hired top salespeople, Outlaw says, "The more specifics you can include in your job ad, the better your chances of receiving resumes from qualified candidates."
Job seekers can search for key words in the job title and in the job description, so use exact words and phrases, such as "Controller/Office Manager, proficient in use of integrated accounting software" and avoid vague words like "Office Help." Look at postings for similar jobs to get ideas for composing your ad.
Most job-search sites charge between $40 and $150 to list one job for a month. That's pretty cheap compared to about $250 for a 1-square-inch classified ad that runs once in a major city Sunday newspaper. But print ads are highly targeted, aimed at a specific job category in a specific geographic location. Web sites are more general, spreading a worldwide or nationwide net of job postings in a variety of geographic locations for all types of jobs, many of which have already been filled by the time jobseekers read them. To put your ad in the right place, think about where you would look and which ads you would want to spend time answering if you were looking for the job your company is offering.
The best form of advertising is word-of-mouth; the electronic equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising is e-mail. You can make your online recruiting efforts more effective by using e-mail in addition to job sites. Post your ad in newsgroups, chat forums or mailing lists devoted to specialized topics or regions.
Outlaw says a common pitfall for start-ups is relying too heavily on online recruiting. "If that method doesn't produce candidates they really like, they might compromise and hire someone who doesn't fit what they need." Instead, Outlaw recommends using online recruiting as one element of your strategy, in addition to traditional methods like print ads.
Margie Davis (MDavis1493@aol.com) is a freelance writer and online writing teacher.