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Internet’s changing the old jobseeker way

TECHNOLOGICAL advances over the past five years are shifting both our job searching habits and the way recruitment agencies conduct their business.

This has ramifications for the future job seeker.

The most significant technological advance is the use of filtering technology by both online recruitment websites and in-house recruitment firms that is significantly reducing the time spent finding candidates from about two to three weeks to a matter of days.

The filter selects candidates using key words from submitted resumes either sent in specifically for a job or to a recruitment company’s database.

Gerard Daniels Australia director Lloyd Smith said because of the way recruiters used searching and filtering technology candidates must adapt and change the way they write their resumes.

“If you sent me an application or resume it would be in our database,” Mr Smith said.

“If I were to search our database for suitable candidates for a job in your area you would expect that your name would come up among them.

“However if there are six selection criteria for that role and I use keywords from all six to search the database, if your CV wasn’t written with all six keywords, it wouldn’t come up.”

And it is not just Gerard Daniels Australia who searches using key words.

Woodside has the same software built into its online job board and online employment websites such as Seek, mycareer.com.au, careerone.com.au and Monster have technology that lets recruiters use similar filtering systems. The technology that drives recruitment times down has led to questions about the role recruitment firms will play in the future and while the barrier to entry is set much higher, common belief is that recruitment agencies will thrive with new technologies.

Beilby managing director Rick Dunn said job recruitment consultants would remain important to companies because of the importance of selecting the right person for a job.

“What the electronic form does is what an ad in print has done,” Mr Dunn said.

“If you want someone to interact, maybe you want them to go further and get reference checks, personality profiling, then it’s a recruitment process.”

According to Mr Smith there will be fewer recruitment players entering the market.

He said because firms must purchase expensive software, the experience and education of recruitment specialists will be higher, and there will be greater scrutiny of the recruitment agent.

“HR will be more focussed in quality and accessing providers with cost, speed, expertise, and quality as requirements,” Mr Smith said.

Bell Personnel managing director David Anderson and creator of the soon to be launched Jobsearch job board, said fundamental changes were in store for recruitment agencies.

“Traditional recruitment agencies will have to change the way they do business in order to survive,” Mr Anderson said.

“They will become more involved in employment training and retention and will help employers to identify who the leaders of the company are.

“Recruitment will become less about recruitment and more about HR because 70 per cent of the recruitment process can be done online.”

Mr Smith said his business would grow in executive searching and, ironically, making people “poach proof”.

“The number of executives are diminishing and they therefore need to be leveraged out of existing roles,” he said.

“These people are not actively searching online for jobs.”

Beilby chief executive officer Rob Smith said there were ethical implications regarding the technology now being used on websites.

“You can register your resume on site and when a job becomes available that suits your criteria, or picks up the key words contained in your resume, you can choose to be sent an email notifying that the job has been posted and you should apply,” Mr Smith said.

“There is a significant difference between print and online. In print you are making the initiative to look and apply. There is a clear ethical line of covert and overt poaching of employees.”

Lloyd Smith believes there is another growth area in senior management contracting.

“We might provide key executives on contract with a large organisation or developer. They will be employed by us but work for the organisation,” he said.

“And these are for people who command 100K, 200K, 300K and provide expertise to do the projects.”

And while recruitment firms feel comfortable with new technological platforms they are requiring newspapers to become just as comfortable.

The success of employment websites appears to provide proof that job searching patterns are changing.

Seek chief executive officer Paul Basset said it was much more likely for people to search online for jobs.

“There has been a very big shift from print advertising to online,” Mr Basset said.

“From a job seeker perspective you can get on at anytime. It’s far more convenient, it’s much easier to search and you get jobs emailed directly to you.”

Mr Basset said online advertising was more convenient for recruitment agencies.

“You could go onto the site and put an ad on. This is particularly relevant to recruitment firms because they can get away from the Saturday paper deadlines. Online has immediacy.”

And of course there is the price comparison.

A job can be posted on the Seek site for $90 and it stays listed for a month.

Compared to $2,000 for an advertisement in a weekend paper the savings are attractive to employers.

While recruitment agencies are aware of the benefits of advertising online both they and the operators of the major job sites do not see the demise of recruitment classifieds.

Mr Dunn believes the Internet is producing greater results but print advertising will remain.

“We would use both mediums. Our placed candidates still come from newspapers,” he said.

Recruitment agencies say the main thrust of newspaper advertising is that it attracts or draws the passive reader.

Mr Basset agrees that his online company will exist with newspaper advertising.

“Before there were two ways to source candidates – newspapers and word of mouth or referrals,” he said.

“Now there are three sources.”

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