E‑recruiting — Analysis (Part 2)

by Krishna on January 12, 2007

[This is a 2‑part blog — This covers Disadvantages of e‑Recruiting. The first part is here.]

E‑Recruiting systems are not without their disadvantages. The leading job search book “What Color is My Parachute?” provides a statistic that is remarkable considering the huge marketing buzz surrounding e‑recruiting application. The statistic is “96% of all online job-hunters finally found their job in ways other than on the Internet. And employers find 92% of their new employees in ways other than through the Internet.” Obviously one major, but obvious problem is that people who are not technically savvy may find it difficult to use e‑recruiting applications effectively. Other problems include

  1. Huge applicant database: This was mentioned as an advantage before, but it can also turn to be a major problem for recruiters and candidates. Recruiters who are not detailed enough in their job descriptions are faced with an incredible number of choices with respect to employees, especially if the job itself does not require many skills. Candidates who are applying against a job posting now find themselves in competition against tens of thousands of others all across the map, many of whom have exactly the same skills.When faced with the situation, recruiters may opt to interview the first few candidates that come up in the list. The list may be sorted on some arbitrary criteria such as name or date posted and hence is very unfair to the candidates not favored by that criteria. Candidates who now compete against several other candidates may try to exaggerate their resumes by putting keywords that may get them more exposure and thus the effectiveness of the system decreases.
  2. Ease of use results in less serious candidates: The e‑recruiting applications are meant to be used by even the most lay person. The websites try to establish a larger candidate base to obtain more revenue from advertisers and employers. Since the application is easy to use, many persons who are not very serious about getting a new job can easily put their resume out, probably just to “test the waters”.When recruiters search the database, they may come up against these non-serious candidates with probably excellent qualifications. After qualifying them, the recruiters may waste their time trying to contact the individual, even negotiating with him/her and then finally realizing that they had no intention of leaving their current (possibly comfortable) job. This wastes a lot of time.In the old job search model, a candidate has to invest significant time and effort in applying for a job. This includes looking at job applications, preparing custom cover letters and mailing it to the employer. Non-serious candidates would not be able to create confusion to the extent of what they are doing now with the click of a mouse.
  3. Privacy and security concerns: In other methods of job hunting, the application of a candidate is known only to the employer who receives the application. But in the e‑recruiting world, the candidate profile and resume are public, open to any employer who subscribes to that system. This raises a lot of concerns for candidates who may not want their current employer to know that they are actively looking for another position.From an employer perspective, when resumes of employees are freely floating on the Internet, it creates concerns of secrecy of business contacts, trade secrets and other company activities being available to competitors, vendors and customers. The reach of the Internet creates much more damage when such leaks occur than what would happen through other means.
  4. Lack of qualitative analysis: Although the e‑recruiting systems do a good job of allowing the users to search through the applications, the searching is through well-defined parameters. There is no qualitative analysis of the resumes or profiles specific to the industry to help recruiters make a better judgment about the capability of the candidates. This is to be expected as the major e‑recruiting websites are meant to be generic and hence cannot cater to individual industries. This also limits the use of e‑recruiting in certain industries, especially those not associated with high tech.However, the niche career sites (like this Trucker Job site) may offer such qualitative analysis or search on profile attributes specific to the industry. In fact, this is one area where a job site company can compete successfully with Monster and the other big players. They can create e‑recruiting applications that capture the specifics most relevant to an industry and target companies and job hunters in that industry.
  5. Limited integration with other systems: HR professionals would ideally like a system to take an employee from job posting to resignation, retirement or termination. However, most of the e‑recruiting systems are not well-integrated with the HRMS (Human Resource Management Systems) used in companies. Hence the e‑recruiting applications are considered more of a tool to obtain leads to potential candidates than an integral part of the HR process. In fact, HR professionals may use multiple job sites to find leads.The only factor preventing such mass usage is the high cost for employers, currently running into thousands of dollars. E‑recruiting systems are primarily used by small to medium sized companies, while larger companies usually have an integrated recruiting system which is tied to their website. If e‑recruiting applications filled that void and integrated with common HR systems, they would find wider acceptance among larger companies.

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