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Internet presents challenge

ONLINE recruitment poses both an enormous threat and wonderful opportunity for recruitment agencies, according to one of Perth’s biggest industry players.

Bell Personnel director David Anderson said the traditional ‘offline’ recruitment industry would be jeopardised unless it embraced technology.

“There is no doubt that the traditional recruitment agencies are facing the same threat of

disintermediation as other agency businesses, such as travel agencies,” he said.

“It must be remembered that they are between the buyer and the seller – in this case the employer and the candidate – and the Internet is making it much easier for the two parties to communicate and negotiate directly without going through an intermediary.”

The main advantage of the Internet is the efficiency it brings to communications and transactions.

Mr Anderson said statistics from the US indicated online recruitment provided major savings.

“There are examples of candidate sourcing costs being reduced by 20 per cent to 50 per cent, the interview to hire ratio increasing by around 80 per cent, employee turnover reduced by between 25 per cent and 54 per cent and the hiring cycle time being reduced by 77 per cent.

“Worldwide, it is estimated that Internet recruiting will grow from a US$250 million industry in 1999 to US$5.1 billion by 2003.”

“These are figures that recruiters and employers just cannot afford to ignore.”

He said the argument that recruitment must have human intervention throughout the process was no longer valid.

“In fact, in the early qualification and testing stages, the Internet can be far quicker, more accurate and a lot cheaper.”

There were three paths traditional recruiters could take to ensure survival, Mr Anderson said.

“They can have a more holistic offering, with services like career management, where human interaction is necessary.

“They can join the fray online themselves, which can be a costly and lengthy process, or they can partner with an online service.

“If they embrace the Internet and use it to enhance traditional offerings, then their chances of survival will be much greater.”

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