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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Web-based recruitment

Just over three weeks ago David Belton was a vice president at a large consulting firm. Today he is installed in his new office as president of another firm. He has secured a 30% pay rise, increased
responsibility and the move to New York he had been seeking.
He first heard about the position through his personal email agent. He had registered with the agent through an online job service for the insurance sector from his home the previous weekend. He immediately chose to apply for the position by visiting the appropriate website, logging into his account and submitting his CV electronically. Soon after, the HR officer at the recruiting company received an email informing him that there was an application for the open position that had a 79% correlation with the required candidate profile. The HR officer emailed David to take the first round of psychometric testing online. Once the test was completed, the HR officer was informed by email that David had scored in the first quartile and another email invited him to an online interview. The following Saturday David sat in front of his PC at home and answered a number of questions while talking into the digital camera on top of his PC.
On the following Monday, the HR officer logged into the site and played back the interview, replaying some of the more crucial sections. By the end the HR officer knew that he had a suitable candidate. After running a few online checks (nothing more than a couple of traffic offences) David was offered the job.
The above scenario is entirely fictitious. However, most of the technology is already a reality in America and many professionals now use the Internet as the place to start and develop their job search.

Back in the UK
In the UK, Internet-based recruitment is just beginning to gain acceptance. A range of large generic Internet job sites are starting to flex their marketing muscle, with significant on- and offline campaigns promoting their services. They offer vacancies in every conceivable market sector and at level of seniority. In reality many of these sites do not yet have sufficient numbers of actuarial positions, and tend to concentrate on IT; a number of specialised sites are beginning to emerge, however. The attractions of these services, from a candidate’s perspective, is that they are designed with a particular target audience in mind, and tend to offer a wide range of positions in that sector.

Other job-seeking uses
The web also offers the job-seeker a wealth of other career-based information. In particular:
– you can visit sites with job-based discussion forums, exchanging views with peer groups and relevant experts;
– you can post your own CV into web-based databases and/or onto your own web page;
– you can fill in online questionnaires and receive an estimate of your market value;
– once you have identified a suitable employer, you can collect information on the company, which can be used to prepare for an interview.
Of course all of these developments are empowering the job-seeker, giving more information and a greater element of control over the whole recruitment process. However, the development of recruitment technology and the emergence of the web will also substantially benefit companies in their recruitment.

Companies recruiting
As suggested in the scenario described above, companies are now using the Internet to target, identify, and approach suitable candidates.
Cisco Systems provides an interesting case study. It currently has 19,000 employees, having hired 16,000 in the past five years. Not surprisingly, this has placed a substantial strain on the HR function. Consequently, it has invested an enormous amount of resource in web-based recruitment and now has a database of more than 500,000 names of potential hires that have been submitted via the web. More than 50% of the company’s new recruits come from employee referrals. Since the implementation of the online service the average duration of the recruitment process has been reduced from 17 weeks to 8 weeks.
Clearly the Internet is not going to replace traditional recruitment methods overnight. However, it is starting to show how it can have a profound impact on the future of the recruitment process.