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Online recruitment works if done correctly, experts say: employers encouraged to be specific about skills sought, company culture.

It seems to be a common complaint: Online employee recruitment efforts produce lots of resumes but few great prospects.

PC Magazine reported last month that the percentage of new hires coming from job boards and board aggregator sites has dropped to between 27 percent and 37 percent as the job market has tightened.

And, even more ominously, recruitment software maker Lever looked at 4 million "candidate considerations" during the 12 months that ended in July and found that only 1 in 100 candidates gets hired. The ratio is slightly lower at small companies and slightly higher at larger ones, but 52 percent of candidates who applied directly through a company's website or online job posting were "underqualified," Lever said.

Automated job-match programs--like Monster, Indeed, Glassdoor, Career Builder, Dice and the state-run Arkansas JobLink--are still useful, but experts say employers have to use them smartly to get the best results. And that starts with knowing what you want.

To avoid poor yields from the automated programs, employers should be specific and share the culture of their companies when posting jobs on online boards, experts told Arkansas Business.

"Company job descriptions should be more specific about telling who you are as a company and the types of people who will be successful," said Cameron Smith of Cameron Smith & Associates in Rogers, an executive recruitment firm.

He also said employers should keep track of real metrics that gauge whether candidates are taking desirable actions so they know what content is resonating with job seekers. "It helps you to see what is working and what isn't and how you can improve if something isn't working."

But there is point at which an ad can be too specific, Allison Ramsey warned. She said it could have the adverse effect of not attracting enough applicants.

"I wish I had the magic answer," said Ramsey, who has been a local area manager for Staffmark of Cincinnati since 1993 and is communications director for the Arkansas Society for Human Resource Management State Council.

Accurate and complete job descriptions are also necessary to ensure that posting on boards is helping an employer, said Daryl Bassett, director of the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

The department operates Arkansas JobLink, an online job bank that also receives postings daily from the national Labor Exchange, other states' job banks and USAjob.gov. The service is free to employers and job seekers.

Bassett said some 290,000 local and national job openings have been posted with Arkansas JobLink so far this year, and the most common mistake he sees employers make is submitting incomplete descriptions with erroneous or missing salary information. "These errors could lead to missing matches with potentially good candidates," he said. "Additionally, some employers fill job ads with a list of ideal requirements most applicants won't meet, resulting in low match rates and fewer candidates."

Bassett said employers should work with their local workforce center to improve job postings, while Ramsey suggested listing mandatory and desired skills separately.

But Ramsey also finds fault with flawed filtering systems and job seekers being indiscriminate.

Ramsey said job boards search for keywords in postings. Job seekers are notified of openings posted that have those keywords in them and simply click yes to submit a resume without reading or only skimming the description. For example, Ramsey said, "I'll post a job for a plant manager, and I'll get a guy who has worked at Taco Bell."

The other side of that, she said, is that, with a low unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, the few who aren't working may be jobless because they have few job skills. As a result, they apply for jobs for which they are unqualified.

Arkansas JobLink uses the keywordbased filtering Ramsey mentioned. Bassett said it searches resumes for keywords, and job seekers whose resumes have that keyword are automatically notified of the posting. But he said this saves both employers and job seekers time.

The job bank also uses the Transferable Occupational Relationship Quotient, a software system that identifies and matches skills to related occupations and industries to expand and target job search opportunities. The system puts postings from other job banks into Arkansas JobLink and Arkansas JobLink postings into other online job banks, too.

Despite their flaws, Ramsey said job boards reach more people than traditional methods, and a 2014 Collegefeed survey of 15,000 young job-seekers backs up that statement. The survey concluded that around 70 percent of millennials say they hear about companies through friends and job boards.

Job boards are also beneficial because they can help fill non-specialized positions quickly, Smith said.

Ramsey added that posting openings online is cheaper than print help-wanted ads. The cost to post might be about $1,200 of the $4,000-$6,000 companies spend on recruiting, she said.

According to the PC Magazine article, job boards still represent 60 to 80 percent of what small companies spend on recruiting. Ramsey said the rest of her estimate is the cost of time spent searching for the right person.

And time is money, Ramsey said, so companies should post a job as soon as a position is available and leave it up for at least 30 days.

Sarah Campbell

SCampbell@ABPG.com
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Title Annotation:SPOTLIGHT: Skills Gap
Author:Campbell, Sarah
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Oct 24, 2016
Words:873
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