Digital Content

The internet is transforming recruiting and selection practices, says Don Gray, chairman of Graylink."The recruitment industry in SA is a billion rand-plus business and employers are often reluctant to pay the high placement fees charged by agencies," he says.

"On the other side, most applicants at all levels, except executive level, where there’s still a place for executive search don’t like working through recruitment agencies; they would rather go directly to the employer."

E-recruitment can be approached in two ways, says Gray. The first involves candidates placing their CVs on a company’s portal, in response to a particular advertisement, or to placing their details on the site’s database.

Most online recruiting sites offer recruiters the ability to post their vacancies, receive applications and access a database of job seekers’ CVs. Integrity is maintained by allowing agencies to search and match CVs on the central database, while employers can only use their own response database. Recruitment companies pay a subscription fee, which varies between sites, to place advertisements and to search the database online.

Gray says a disadvantage is that a company using such recruiting agencies may get the same person’s CV from more than one agency.Job-seekers may view the positions advertised on these websites, free without having to submit a CV. Job-seekers responding to a position may submit their CV, which is filed in a central database. At this stage they can elect whether or not they want their CV to be searchable. Executives not wanting to be inundated with job offers will tend to take the non-searchable option, relying instead on job alerts to be kept up to date on the available positions.

To protect applicants, some sites get certification from privacy protection organisations confirming that all information submitted to the site is confidential and may not be used for any other purpose.

Gray says there is a second option that allows an employer to advertise positions on its own company website, thereby eliminating the need for a middleman. These sites have a job portal that directs replies to the company’s recruitment software.

"This method uses the power of the brand to attract people," he says. "Instead of having about 250 recruiting agents viewing CVs, with an employer’s portal only one or two people will have access to it."Gray says companies have been forced to use recruiting agencies to do necessary checks.

"If you put an advert in the paper you’ll be killed in the rush and may need to use an agency to do the necessary screening," he says.

"The advantage with an online database is that a company can specify the criteria, bring the names through and conduct interviews.

"Applicants who don’t make the short list can be sent an e-mailed regret letter at the push of a button."Gray says this approach to e-recruitment will require employers to take a new view on how to find staff. "We’re changing a process that’s been part of the world for ages, but it’s a matter of time before job portals become a part of any organisation’s website," he says.

Business Day