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Recruiting for the future – will e-selection take over?


Recent reports in the press have suggested that traditional recruitment advertising is in danger of being replaced by on-line advertising, particularly for technology-based employers. The Financial Times has reported that companies such as Dell Computers have already moved most of their recruitment advertising on-line, and forecast the end of print advertising altogether. Sites such as and have been successful in attracting companies away from print advertising onto the web.

Recruitment agencies have been quick to take this one step further by putting the whole recruitment process on-line - is the latest in a series of agencies specialising in temporary staff to launch facilities for temps to register details on-line, and for employers to select on this basis.

The traditional recruitment process can be very time-consuming for both employers and potential applicants, as anyone having undergone the form-filling and envelope-stuffing at either end will testify, so the potential for speeding up the process (and reducing costs) on the web is great.

The potential reach of the web can however mean that on-line recruitment becomes a victim of its own success - the process of selecting from a vast number of possible CVs, some of whom may have been mailed through without too much thought (it's very easy to press a button and send your CV to a company, far easier than completing a paper form) is likely to be a nightmare for HR staff. Some on-line recruitment sites such as have attempted to improve this by asking companies and job-seekers to select categories to improve their profile before submitting their application.

There is another issue here - the web may be increasing its spread, but for employers who want to address the issue of equal opportunities through their recruitment methods it has its limitations. The danger is that companies may be missing out on making contact with employees who don't have internet access.

However far the process is taken, the issue of validating applications becomes just as, if not more important than for traditional recruitment - references and qualifications still need to be followed up, and how can you be sure that on-line psychometric tests have been completed by the newly recruited member of staff, or by someone else?

Of course, there is considerably less risk involved with recruiting temporary staff than with recruiting for longer-term positions, and it can be argued that there are limitations to the on-line recruitment process for some positions where a degree of human contact with the candidate is seen as essential.

A company in Scotland is aiming to refute this with the launch of Screen-to-Screen, their multimedia package designed to undertake the whole recruitment process for executives.

Scotcareer say that the package will cut the time taken to complete the recruitment process by two-thirds, and for one-fifth of the normal costs involved. At the beginning of the process, senior members of the company are interviewed for a video which is then shown to all potential candidates, who can then decide whether to take their application further. The candidate then completes their own digital interview using set questions in the same sequence (hopefully removing some of the inconsistencies of face-to-face interviewing), which is added together with their CV details onto a CDRom to be shown to the interview panel at a convenient time.

Could be the face of recruitment to come? We'll keep you updated!


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