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The Pros and Cons of Online Recruitment

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What You Need to Know

  1. While newspapers may have once been the typical jobseeker’s most popular source of vacancies, the internet is now arguably just as important.
  2. Going online offers job-seekers a number of advantages. Above all, the internet gives you access to a massive pool of new opportunities all over the world.
  3. Going online also allows you to search, view and apply for jobs and post CVs at the click of a mouse.
  4. However, the online recruitment process can lack the ‘personal touch’ and so can be less effective than having a recruitment consultant you have met in person on your side.
  5. Additionally, competition for jobs posted online can be fierce. While there may be many jobs to go for, each is likely to attract a large number of applicants.
  6. Furthermore, some jobs are never even advertised, either online or otherwise. As such, it pays to network in person rather than just relying on internet searches.

Online Recruitment Vs Traditional Job-Hunting

While newspapers may have once been the typical jobseeker’s most popular source of job vacancies, the internet is now arguably just as important. In the past four years, the web has nearly doubled in popularity among job-hunters. That’s according to a survey by the British Market Research Bureau, which discovered that 23 per cent of those questioned preferred to go online to find work.

Well over 1m people have found jobs online during the past five years, and as graduates and young professionals become increasingly IT literate, so the numbers will greatly increase.

But IT career consultants say it is unlikely that online recruitment will ever replace traditional methods like newspapers, the trade press, word-of mouth and contacting a company directly, which are seen as pro-active ways of finding work, while the Internet is regarded as reactive. Another survey – by IT services firm Parity – suggested that only five per cent of big employers used the Internet to recruit in 2003, compared to 33 per cent in 2001.

Advantages of Online Recruitment

The boom in online recruitment seen over recent years is hardly surprising given the many advantages of finding a job online. Benefits of this kind of recruitment include:

  • Access to a huge number of jobs. Quite simply, going online means you can search and apply for a vastly greater number of opportunities than you would be able to offline. Indeed, the internet means you can look for jobs on the other side of the world, thereby significantly improving your chances if you’re willing to be flexible.
  • Ability to apply for jobs in an instant. The Internet is speedy, instantly available and offers a vast amount of information on job hunting as well as offering vacancies aplenty, allowing people to search, view and apply for jobs and post CVs at the click of a mouse, at any time of the day or night. Many job-search sites, such as many listed in our Jobs channel offer free registration and job alerts by e-mail. When used in tandem with more traditional, ‘human’ offline methods, the web can be extremely useful in helping shape your career.
  • Depth of information: As well as allowing you to search for literally millions of jobs, going online can also help you research individual roles, for instance by reading up on employers, their location and even read testimonials from past or current employees. Some of the best recruiters post comprehensive information about new jobs and employers online, but if they don’t, you can often find this out by yourself with just a simple online search.
  • Quicker turnaround: As well as making the application process quicker, online recruitment also allows you to get an answer – even if it’s a no – faster. Additionally, some of the best online recruiters provide competency questionnaires, ability tests and psychometric exams at the front end of the job application process, meaning applicants who pass these stages are the most suitable and likeliest to be considered and meaning you don’t waste your time or get your hopes up if you are not suited to a role.

Drawbacks to Online Recruitment

Alongside the numerous benefits of online recruitment, there are also some potential downsides to looking for work online, or at least in focusing your attention solely on the internet. Possible disadvantages include, but are not limited to:

  • The lack of a ‘personal touch’. The common complaints about online job-hunting centre on the impersonal nature – its lack of human contact and personal feedback. Job seekers bemoan the fact that details can be out of date, sites crash at vital moments and e-mails get lost. Recruitment sites also sometimes don’t have information arranged in a logical or accessible fashion.
  • Large amount of competition. Just as the number of jobs being posted online is massive, so too is the number of people going for them significant. So, the number of people going for a job posted online is likely to be far greater than the number of people going for a job that has only been advertised in the local press or with a local recruitment consultant.
  • Not every job is advertised online: Despite the rise in online recruitment, many positions are still filled the old-fashioned way. What’s more, many are not advertised at all. So, be aware that solely focusing your energy online can mean you miss out on valuable face-to-face networking opportunities.

Further Reading

  • Keen to take advantage of the benefits of online recruitment? Then search for thousands of new positions with the UK Net Guides jobs pages.
  • Improve your prospects with out guide to CV writing.
  • You can also look for opportunities through the Guardian.

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