How can I begin recruiting online without generating expenses for my company?

As a general rule, you get what you pay for. The Internet is no exception. However, there are no-cost alternatives available to you if you have no recruiting budget or if you're just starting out in this new medium. Of course, one free and highly recommended option is to add a ''job opportunities'' site to your corporate Web page. This way anyone who visits your organization's Web site will view your company as a prospective employer. In addition, you'll be able to list your job openings on free online services and on Usenet groups.

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Listing your company's job openings with free online services and on Usenet sites is fairly simple. America's Job Bank, located at ajb.dni.us.com, is sponsored by the Department of Labor and allows companies to post their jobs for free. The posting period is for sixty days, and your postings can be linked to your company Web site. In addition, specialty channels exist by geography and occupational field.

Posting your job openings on Usenet groups is also easy. Usenet groups are listings, by date, of hundreds or even thousands of comments on a particular topic. Usenet is a diverse, worldwide electronic discussion forum divided into several thousand news groups. Participants can add their comments on the subject by e-mailing their written opinions (or, in the case of employment Usenet sites, their resumes). The good news about Usenet sites is that they're free, they're easy to use, and many commercial online ad services include Usenet postings in their packages.

The downside includes the fact that they scroll by date, so it's easy to lose your job posting in a mass of other information as others post their own resumes or job postings after yours. In essence, applicants will be forced to scroll down a list of jobs put in chronological order to find the position you've posted because there are no key word search capabilities. Furthermore, the length of time that positions are posted depends on the newsgroup's activity. Older positions will be automatically shed as newer ones arrive. Therefore, your posting could be up for as little as a day. (You'd have to repost it at that point to garner further attention.)

In addition, because they're free, headhunters and other organizations looking to build their own resume databases scour them as well. As a result, these really won't be "fresh" resumes for you—they'll probably have been contacted before by a host of other sources.

One of the most popular Usenet sites for job and resume postings is "misc.jobs." To access a Usenet group, type the group's name after ''news:'' in the URL space of your Web browser. For example, to bring up a misc.jobs Usenet group, type ''news:misc.jobs.'' Following are some typical Usenet sites that you might want to explore:

URL Address

Comments

us.jobs.resumes

U.S. focus

miscjobs.resumes

General focus

bionet.jobs.wanted

Biotech industry focus

URL Address

Comments

nyc.jobs.wanted

New York City geographical focus

alt.medicaLsales.jobs.resumes

Medical sales focus

sci.research.postdoc

Job posting for post doctorate research fellows in the sciences

ba.jobs.oontract

Contract jobs in the San Francisco Bay area

la.jobs

Los Angeles geographical focus

de.markt.jobs

Positions in Germany

For a more complete listing of free online resume sources, please see the Riley Guide, Weddle's Recruiter's Guide to Employment Web Sites, or Job Hunt at the following addresses: dbm.com/jobguide job-hunt.org

What are the most effective fee-paid Web sites?

Assuming you have a moderate recruitment budget, placing ads with commercial Web sites is just a phone call or e-mail away. The differences that separate job-posting sites such as Monster.com, Headhunter.net, and Careerbuilder.com from Usenet postings lie not only in the quality of the text and links to your home Web page but also in traffic. Traffic is sometimes measured in ''hits,'' or visits to a particular site. Alternative and more meaningful ways of measuring traffic can be found in terms of the:

- Unique visitors or pages viewed

- Number of job search queries

- Average page views per visitor

The user friendliness, advanced technology, and premium traffic provided by such services may make them more cost-effective than the ''free'' sites because your time will be used more efficiently. In addition, if you re afraid that your job posting will get lost on large job boards, note that large boards group some occupations into specialized ''channels or ''communities. For example, channels such as health care, technology, HR, finance, or sales will focus traffic and viewers' attention on those particular disciplines.

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Commercial job posting sites make use of keyword searching and agent technology, as well as a whole range of Internet tools including Java, sound, and video capability. Most of these organizations offer incentive packages, such as ten postings per month plus access to the resume database, for a discounted fee. Many offer free trial subscriptions that last thirty to ninety days. Others will reduce the fees per posting if you list a minimum number of openings in a given time period.

The question becomes whether you want to employ the services of a general or a boutique site. As their names suggest, general sites are huge career hubs with the most traffic; boutique sites target industries or geographic regions and consequently have greater focus but less volume. Check the resources section in the back of the book for the most popular general employment Web sites according to total reach, with specific information regarding the cost of postings, posting periods, and the ability to mine resumes. A listing of sample boutique sites can also be found in the resources section.

Note that consolidations in the online recruitment industry are ongoing. For example, in late 2000 and early 2001, Headhunter.net acquired Career Mosaic, Career Path acquired CareerBuilder (but kept the CareerBuilder name), and Monster Board purchased Job-Trak. Expect the industry to continue to fragment because no provider has been able to carry more than 4 percent of the overall market and because the top of the market can have as many as a dozen recognized brands. Organizations that do not charge to post jobs or to mine their resume databases are highlighted in bold for you in the resources section.

Boutique Web sites allow you to target specific employee populations. The trade-off, of course, is that you're tapping much smaller groups (in terms of unique visitors per month or the number of resumes in the database) than with the general employment sites like the Monster Boardor Career Builder. The best advice is to try both general and boutique sites to maximize the quantity and quality of resume responses and to see what works best for your organization. For more information regarding general and boutique Web sites, see Weddle's Recruiter's Guide to Employment Web Sites (AMA-COM, 2001).

 
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