From the January 2000 issue of Startups

Adrienne Graham has become a cyber-savvy staffer.

Graham, president of ADG Group Inc., a human resources and recruiting company, needed three virtual workers for her expanding business. Realizing her own circle of friends wouldn't suffice in finding qualified candidates, Graham ran a free "help wanted" ad on Headhunter.net (http://www.headhunter.net).

Then the replies started flooding in. Within a week, she had 57 responses. Within two weeks, 118 were in her in-box. Within three weeks, Graham had three virtual employees. What could have cost 10 percent of the combined annual salaries for a traditional headhunter cost Graham absolutely nothing. "I've never paid for help-wanted advertising," she boasts.

Need to staff up quickly--and inexpensively? Then head online.

Whereas newspaper classified ads can be costly and inefficient, and word-of-mouth limits a search to your circle of friends, online hiring can accomplish the two basic goals of staffing--posting jobs and locating quality resumes--more quickly and cheaply than traditional want ads. Here's a quick how-to:

  • Visit sites and discussion lists related to your industry. Most welcome chats between employers and candidates, says Mark Mehler, a veteran recruiter and co-author of CareerXroads 2000 (Jist Works), a paperback directory of 500 job, resume and career management sites on the Web (www.careerxroads.com).
  • Define what skills the specific job entails. If you wait until you've found a candidate, you may end up creating a job according to their skills rather than your needs.
  • Once you're ready to post, ask for a free trial job posting (posting resumes is free on most services; this is how Graham found her three employees). Paid employment listings can range from $20 to $225 a month.
  • Learn to quickly and efficiently ferret through all the resumes you'll undoubtedly receive. Headhunter.net claims 120,000 users daily. Look for the specific skills you need from your new hire, years of experience, writing and organizational style, etc. You can learn a lot from a resume.
  • If you go the paid-listing path, find high-traffic sites using automated agents to steer your job posting to the best candidates. Ask how long and where the job will be posted, how much text is allowed and whether responses will come directly to you or via the site. Read other ads to gauge the style, and expect to pay for prominence in the listing pool. Also, ask for and contact both applicant and employer references who've used the site.

Graham learned quickly how to perform an online search. She wrote out the questions she would ask candidates. Once she shortened the list, she called them to chat further. When her choices were narrowed down to a handful of people, she logged on to NetMeeting--or hit the local Starbuck's--to get in a little face-time via a virtual conference with the candidate. "I've taken the virtual office and hiring," she says, "to the next level."

Contact Sources

ADG Group Inc.: information@adggroup.com, http://www.adggroup.com