Online Recruitment

An effective recruitment strategy is essential to all organisations. The growing use of Internet technology has led to the development of Internet-based recruitment tools. Arguments for use of the Internet in recruitment stress both the speed with which applications can be received and processed, and the potential for greater coverage of the potential applicant pool. 

Annual recruitment surveys conducted by the CIPD have found dramatic increases in the number of companies making use of the Internet for recruitment purposes in the last few years. For example various surveys into graduate recruitment and the Internet have shown around 90% of graduates have searched for jobs online and over 95% of graduate employers have used the Internet as part of their recruitment strategy.


All of the following elements below have their place individually within the online graduate recruitment strategy of an organisation.

  • Applicant tracking
  • Employer website
  • Job boards
  • Online testing
  • Other specialist tools

In many cases, online recruitment is most effective when several of these elements are combined to form a single cohesive strategy. This also helps employers to achieve increased efficiency in their recruitment process. The benefits include:

  • Lower cost per hire
  • Reduced manpower to manage applications
  • Increased speed and effectiveness of all recruitment related operations
  • Profile of the HR/recruitment function is raised

The benefits to candidates should also not be underestimated. Best practice highlights the need to keep the candidate informed about the status of the application. In today's competitive marketplace a graduate employer cannot afford to have stories of bad recruitment procedures circulating if it wants to compete for the best talent.

We hope the following is useful to assist you in understanding the kinds of services you might like to consider as part of your online graduate recruitment strategy.

Applicant tracking
Also referred to as:

  • Candidate tracking
  • Candidate management
  • Candidate relationship building
  • Applicant database

Applicant tracking is the term used to describe a system which, in simple terms, allows you to identify the status/progress of each candidate with respect to the jobs for which he or she has applied for. You are also able to determine which candidates are awaiting interview and how many applications you have received for each position.

A typical implementation of an applicant tracking system will involve analysis of the business processes within the end-user company from which will be derived a system configuration for the chosen applicant tracking system.

Some features you might expect in such a system include:

  • Full candidate history
  • Capability to send emails to candidates as well as letters as required, both individually and in batches
  • Search candidate database based on data concerning the candidates as well as free text information held in the CV
  • Other people involved in the recruitment process will be able to perform their parts of the process using the same system, e.g. reviewing CVs, providing interview feedback
  • Reporting options enabling you to identify the pipeline supply of candidates for key positions and measure time to hire

Employer website
Also referred to as:

  • Careers site
  • Recruitment pages
  • Jobs pages
  • Microsites

The employer website is frequently at the heart of an organisation's online recruitment strategy and may be used as the mechanism for communicating details of job opportunities with the general public, as well as collecting the data that an organisation requires from prospective and actual candidates. Updating the website with new or amended job details will typically be achieved via a simple web-based form to which all recruiters (or nominated people within the organisation) would have access to.

The employer website will typically carry the same branding as the 'main' website of the organisation and will usually provide some of the following features for candidates:

  • Search for jobs
  • Register a profile (core details of the candidate plus a CV)
  • Apply for jobs online
  • Set-up job alerts (enables the candidate to receive email notification when specified types of jobs become available)
  • View status of all online applications
  • Job basket (alllowing a single application to be submitted for multiple job vacancies)
  • Send a job to a friend (enabling the employer to extend its reach)

Job boards
Also referred to as:

  • Job sites

A job board is similar to the recruitment advertising section of a newspaper or magazine. It will carry many jobs from a combination of employers and agencies. Just like a newspaper or magazine it may be focused on a:

  • certain audience
  • particular region
  • specific sector

There may also be additional information in the form of articles and editorials, or career tools such as CV advice or job hunting strategies which help to capture visitors.

Your decision regarding which job boards to use will be based on a number of factors such as cost, sector, geography etc. You may also be able to obtain audited figures to identify the popularity of one site over another.

Many of the job boards have a multiple 'slice' of their sites - essentially the same basic website and features, but showcasing different sectors and geographies, each carrying different branding.

Some job boards also offer additional services such as CV databases which employers and agencies can search. There are a variety of charging models for this kind of service which aim to make it quick and cost-effective to find suitable candidates.

For candidates, job boards offer many of the same features as employer websites such as:

  • Search for jobs
  • Register a profile (core details of the candidate plus CV)
  • Apply for jobs online
  • Set-up job alerts (enables the candidate to receive email notification when specified types of jobs become available)
  • Job basket (allowing a single application to be submitted for multiple job vacancies)
  • Send a job to a friend (enabling the employer to extend its reach)

Online testing

Also referred to as:

  • Psychometric testing

Online testing is the generic term for the act of delivering some kind of evaluation of candidates over the Internet.

These can be simple, factual (for example numeracy, comprehension etc) to assessments of personality and identification of the most appropriate kinds of work.

For this reason they can be used as both a selection tool for employers as well as a value-added service for candidates to assist them in identifying their next career opportunity.

Other specialist tools

There are many specialist tools available which typically require one or more major elements of online recruitment to be in place. The following are some examples:

  • Multiple posting tools - these simplify the process of posting details of job vacancies to multiple job boards. These tools frequently include utilities for managing the purchasing of advertising from the job boards and will enable a recruiter to track success rates/costs.
  • Intelligent CV parsing - tools which look at a CV document and automatically extract unstructured data such as name and address, skills, employment history, education etc, and provide this information in a structured format. Such tools may be used stand alone, but more often they will be integrated into an applicant tracking system.
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