Online Recruitment: the Advantages and Disadvantages

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Online recruitment techniques have become the most widely used hiring method by recruiters. Many companies are currently using online recruiting strategies, and a growing number are favouring social media as a means of sourcing new employees.

Professional networking platforms such as LinkedIn, have created an entirely new, easily accessible pool of candidates, but it also allows recruiters to pre-screen potential hires due to the information available on their profiles. However, as with any tool, there are disadvantages to using it.

Below is a brief overview of the main advantages and disadvantages of using e-recruitment:

Advantages of Online Recruitment

1. Cost Effective – usually free to use! Not only is it cost effective because most platforms allow you to post your job openings for free but it also minimises labour cost. And if you invest a little bit of money in candidate screening software, you might be able to save even more money during the hiring process.

2. Immediacy – most posts and replies appear in real time. It can help you either increase your efforts to attract more candidates, a different set of candidates (early instead of mid-career professionals, for example) and even stop candidates from applying if you’ve found the right person for the job. This further reduces the number of labour hours spent screening and informing job applicants about the status of their application.

3. More Effective – online recruitment is easily accessible to individuals making it a more effective method of getting your posts noticed. Online job ads can be quickly shared on multiple platforms.

4. Reach a Bigger Audience – you can target a far wider audience without having to pay extra or alter your recruitment strategy. 46% of the entire world’s population uses the internet, in developed countries up to 80% of people have an internet connection. If you are looking for younger recruits, than e-recruitment is probably the single most effective and efficient strategy possible, because almost 100% of the 18-29 age group are daily internet users.

5. Easy – almost everyone can use online recruiting methods with very little training because it is clear, easy to understand and user-friendly. Many job posting websites work with the familiar functionality of social media platforms and email providers. They also help you categorise and set the region where you would like your job posting to be displayed.

6. Dynamic Content – posting jobs online and via social media platforms gives you a chance to be more creative with your content and appealing to job seekers. Implementing technology can say a lot about your company and its culture and help attract a specific type of candidate. Businesses that use technology effectively prove that they aren’t afraid to innovate and that they embrace new technology and solutions.

7. Flexibility – the internet gives you much more flexibility with regards to controlling your posts and the applications you receive. If you post in a newspaper, however, and want to amend the job advert, it is tough, and in most cases, you would need to pay for an entirely new ad. With online posts, most platforms will allow you to edit, update and remove your job post whenever you wish.

8. Longevity – newspapers or other forms of printed media have a very limited lifetime, dependent on their publishing cycle. Most classified publications have a bi-weekly publishing cycle, meaning that your ad will only be seen for that relatively small amount of time. Online job posts on the hand will stay live until the author or the website removes it.

9. Accessibility – no matter where you are if you have an internet enabled device and connection, then you can do everything that I mentioned above. You can modify your job posting, see how many replies you have and even answer candidates.

10. Expedited Hiring Process – all of the previous advantages, lead to the biggest one of all; a shortened hiring process. Instead of waiting for a group of candidates to build up and then choosing from them, you will be able to access an enormous amount of applicants which will inevitably lead to hiring a capable individual sooner.



Disadvantages of Online Recruitment

1. Hard to Target – often, with online recruiting, it can be difficult to target a specific group of candidates, and your job post will be seen by many other people who will waste your time. Also trying to geographically define the application can be hard especially if it’s shared on social media.

2. Expense – depending on the online platform you use, you may have to pay a subscription fee or other costs to post your vacancy. Some sites might even require a membership fee or charge for extra services like application tracking or analytics to manage your advert.

3. Difficult to Measure Effectiveness – when implementing several online recruitment strategies, it can be difficult to measure their effectiveness. If you choose a bare bone service, then it is doubtful that you will have any metrics to examine and modify your posting accordingly. Job posts can also become lost due to ineffective search engine optimisation, denying it any kind of exposure.

4. Informal – with regards to social media recruitment, some companies find that it gives off the wrong image about them as it is an informal recruiting method. This can be a disadvantage especially if your company is trying to reinforce and promote a professional company culture to future employees or the public in general. It may also prompt an informal response from applicants via the company’s social media channels, complicating the screening and hiring process.

5. Large response rate - by posting a job in an industry trade journal, you can almost guarantee that the applicants will be relevant and not time wasters. But, posting online will increase the chances of getting hundreds of job applications, many of which will not be relevant.

6. Free Isn’t Always Ideal – sure this might contradict both aforementioned “cost” points, but if you do choose to go with a free to use platform you might run into an entirely different problem; oversaturation or your post becoming buried under a mountain of other job offers. This will compound the already large response rate from social media channels (if you are using them in conjunction with your e-recruitment campaign).

7. Impersonal – this is especially true if you are trying to attract top-tier talent. Creating an e-recruitment ad can seem like a catch-all, and be off-putting to people that don’t feel like they should compete with candidates that have less experience or knowledge. It can even prove damaging if your ad is offering an executive position in certain industries and professional circles.

8. Lost Labour Hours – if you are using an online platform to promote your job posting and the system happens to be complicated or too technical you might need someone to manage the recruitment campaign or even worse you might need to pull someone off a project to oversee the hiring process.

9. Fraudulent Applicants – some applications might be fake to get information about the company or hiring officer. Spammers might use the information posted online to promote a service or product to your company.

The biggest risk though is posed by professional hackers that might use the job posts’ information to gain access to the company’s intranet or even to pose fraudulently as a member of staff. This can be a logistical nightmare or even worse damage your company’s reputation and credibility.

10. Post Maintenance – another factor that may cost labour hours is maintaining the original job ad. Granted being able to modify the post dynamically is a huge benefit of e-recruitment, the caveat is that someone will need to modify and oversee these adjustments. Although this will help to filter out applicants that might not be appropriate for the position; it’s an investment of labour hours.

Online recruitment is a valuable tool to be used when looking for new hires, but the most effective strategy would be employing multiple avenues including traditional publishing, trade publications and even external recruiters to assist you in finding the best person for the position you seek to fill.

Have you ever successfully used e-recruitment? What obstacles did you encounter? How would you modify your strategy if you were to use online recruitment in the future?

Let us know in the comment section below.

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