Will on-line recruitment take off - or is it just a gimmick?
Imagine a virtual reality recruitment office in which you can register as a job-seeker, check for current employment opportunities and even have an interactive interview with an employment officer - all without having to leave your home. Reed Personnel Services has introduced just such an office (see above), along with a new set of pages on the Internet. On-line recruitment is growing rapidly in the US. Will it catch on in this country, or is it just a gimmick?
James Reed, chief operati ons officer of Reed Personnel Services has few doubts. He believes that the Internet radically alters the parameters of recruitment. Firstly, it allows much faster matching of the individual to the opportunity. Secondly, it removes physical constraints on knowledge - people can locate the right opportunities no matter where they are in the world. To Reed, these two changes work best when allied to good back-up - he claims not to envisage any branch closures as a result of his company's developing interest in on-line recruitment. 'The strength of our web sites is in how the technology is backed up by professionally qualified staff. It adds a further dimension to our service,' he claims.
Reed's rivals are less convinced of the potential of on-line recruitment.
Does Blue Arrow have plans to use the Internet to develop its business potential? Deborah Sharpstone, the company's PR co-ordinator, says: 'Not yet. We've thought about it, but we've got a lot of other things going on at the moment.'
Two markedly different views and most people in the industry stick resolutely to a middle ground of cautious enthusiasm. Typical is Katie Brazier, marketing services manager for Adia Alfred Marks. She says: 'We are more the traditional type of agency and still want to have an obvious high-street branch presence.' She is a firm believer in the need to meet people face to face. 'It worries me that some people, most commonly in IT, are employed solely on the basis of their Internet applications. Personality and attitude should count for as much as qualifications.' Even so, Brazier's company has its own plans for an on-line service. 'We will definitely have some kind of service, but we're still evaluating what we want to do. Every day we get people phoning us, wanting to design our web page, but they don't necessarily understand the recruitment business.' She sees little harm in moving forward cautiously and points out clear advantages in learning from the mistakes of companies like Reed. 'Reed have had to change their page once already - it took such a long time to download. That can get really frustrating for people and can really turn them off. Whatever we do we have to make sure that we don't have similar problems.'.