Businesses may be struggling with the current economic downturn, but if the surge in the online recruiting industry is any indication, they haven't stopped hiring. Expected by IDC to swell from $474 million in 1999 to $4.6 billion by 2004, the online recruiting industry is thriving, with a handful of sites stealing the spotlight.
"There has been an increase in activity because there are more job-seekers entering the market," says Christopher Boone, e-recruiting analyst for IDC. "The economic slowdown has increased the scrutiny on the hires that companies still have to make."
Before you use e-recruiting, examine your needs. If you're looking to hire an administrative assistant, for example, sites that attract candidates nationwide may not be your best bet. After all, the chance that someone is willing to relocate for such a position is slim.
"I would advise small businesses to think about the type of candidate they're looking for before they post on these [nationwide] sites," Boone says. "It could be better to look for niche sites that cater to specific geographies or industries."
According to analysts, Monster.com is leading the pack with its revenue of $349.2 million in 2000. This goliath is first on research company Jupiter Media Metrix's list of the top 15 career sites in terms of traffic, with approximately 5 million unique visitors in February alone.
Rounding out IDC's own list of the leading recruiting sites, based on revenue, are Futurestep , Headhunter.net and HotJobs.com . CareerBuilder and JobsOnline have also made significant headway, ranking in the top five career sites, according to Jupiter Media Metrix figures for February.
Online recruiting firms may offer comparable services, but quality of service can differ. For instance, sites that guarantee your jobs will be posted within 24 hours don't always fulfill their promise. The best way to get a feel for an online service? Use the site as if you were the job hunter, and judge its navigability and usefulness.
Before you sign up for any top-dollar contracts, run a few ads on a couple of different sites (though some sites are untestable because they require contracts immediately). Compare firsthand not only the speed with which you begin receiving resumes, but also the number and quality of leads.
Futurestep, which focuses on filling middle- to senior-level executive positions, is an online recruiting service launched by Korn/Ferry International and The Wall Street Journal. While its services are generally more expensive than those of typical job boards, the level of service exceeds that of the others. Within 30 days of completing a detailed online form describing the job opening, Futurestep sends you a CD-ROM profiling the best candidates, who the company has screened for skills as well as personalities that match your company's environment. The CD-ROM also includes video clips of preliminary interviews between Futurestep recruiters-who have conducted background and reference checks-and job hopefuls.
Even the job board giants have made efforts to add services, such as hosting companies' own "work for us" Web pages, or developing specific niches. Headhunter.net, for example, is targeting the health-care industry by setting up alliances with online health-care content providers.
As services become more robust, however, so could prices. Sites have begun charging a little more based on their brand-name recognition. Most services charge a set amount, typically $100 to $500, according to the number of postings and how long they will be up, usually 30 to 60 days.
So whether you're tired of spending hours sifting through resumes to pinpoint qualified people, or you're looking to broaden your reach for potential candidates, Web recruiting could give you the most bang for your buck.
online recruiters eager to do your talent search
Mie-Yun Lee is the editorial director of BuyerZone.com .
Doreen V. Bentley contributed to this article.
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