Hiring Trends: How Online Recruitment Is Changing HR

If you were a job seeker before the technology boom, you may recall days spent looking through the classified section of the newspaper, walking into an employment office or waiting to hear of a job through word-of-mouth.

Nowadays, most of us don’t think twice about where we go to apply for jobs: the internet, of course! It’s now commonplace for companies to turn toward using not only online job postings, but also online recruitment sites to aid them in finding the perfect candidates as well.

This rise in online recruitment may seem easier for recruiters on the outside, but has it actually simplified their jobs? We talked to real human resources professionals on how this surge in online recruitment is changing their jobs and how they find the best candidates in today’s digital world.

What is online recruitment?

Online recruitment, also known as e-recruiting, helps match people to jobs via the internet. It does this through job postings and advertisements on either the hiring company’s website or on a website specific made for job seekers—some of the most popular sites include Monster™, Indeed™ and LinkedIn.

Once a job listing is posted on a site, candidates may send in their resume and fill out an application, all from the comfort of their home. Usually the process takes less than 10 minutes, allowing job candidates to fill out multiple applications for different postings. From a job-seeker position, online recruiting obviously has many benefits; you can fill out as many applications as you’d like and you have easier access to jobs around the world.

But does this mass rush of job seekers looking for positions online benefit or hurt the company looking to hire?

Pros and cons of online recruitment

There is no doubt that the digital world is changing many traditional positions, and HR is one of them. Steve Wang, an experienced hiring manager and recruiter says, “The rise of online recruitment has actually made our jobs easier and harder at the same time.” See whether other HR experts agree.

Pro: Access to more candidates

Wang says that online recruitment opens up job postings to a wider pool of candidates. Candidates from other locations who may have never seen the job posting otherwise now have opportunities to pursue these jobs. And with a larger pool to choose from, it’s more likely a company will find the right talent and fit for the position.

In the past, recruiters often had to spend time searching for candidates at job fairs or recruiting events. Now, with a large pool of applicants at the ready, recruiters can save time and connect immediately with the applicants they feel are qualified.

“I can go directly to the candidate and interact with them in a more efficient way,” says Cristian Rennella, HR and co-founder of oMelhorTrato.com. “These sites have helped me increase my productivity.”

Con: More candidates equals more work

The other side of the coin here is that the more people who apply to these jobs, the more work it takes for HR professionals to sort through all the applications. “More isn’t always better. It’s better to go quality over quantity,” says Samantha Ste. Marie, recruitment support and digital marketer at Peak Sales Recruiting.

For companies in niche industries, or who have very specific positions to fill, online recruiting can be a hassle. Instead of focusing recruitment efforts on targeting the specific population of job seekers who may be qualified for the position, recruiters may now spend more time weeding out those who applied on a whim.

 “The majority of people will apply for a job online if they think they meet a few of the qualifications, not necessarily all of them,” Ste. Marie says. She adds that her company prefers sites like LinkedIn, where they can have more control over the candidates they speak to.

Pro and con: More attention to a company’s online presence

As more and more job seekers turn to applying online, companies who have a strong digital presence will see better opportunities to attract top talent. An HR professional who works for a company with a reputable online brand can expect to see a bigger pool of applicants apply. Candidates look for companies that present themselves well online—whether through reviews or the company’s website.

However, those who recruit for a company that doesn’t have a strong online presence, or that has a negative reputation, may have a harder time attracting candidates.

“Because candidates have more information about companies, especially since the rise of Glassdoor reviews, companies have to portray themselves more favorably online,” says Rachel Lehn, manager of business operations at Perfect Search Media. Lehn adds that companies need to ensure their website reflects a positive image of what it’s like working there, as well as uphold high online ratings.

Lastly, maintaining employee happiness and retention is a large part of current HR professional’s day-to-day responsibilities. But it is only growing more important as disgruntled employees could damage a company’s reputation, effectively drawing away interested applicants. All of these factors need to be taken into consideration for recruiters hoping to find applicants online.

Is technology helping or hurting human resources professionals?

Each company and human resources department will differ on their strategy to online recruitment. It’s clear that online recruitment has bolstered businesses’ ability to attract top talent. Though it may take more time sorting through larger pools of applicants, there is time saved from not having to use traditional word-of-mouth and in-person recruitment.

For those looking to the future and worried about automation taking over recruitment, do not fear. HR professionals and recruiters will be needed to lend a human touch to conducting interviews, managing employee relations and happiness and upholding company reputations, all of which are just as important in the digital world.

Think you have what it takes to make a career out of finding the best candidates for the job? Learn how you can start your human resources recruiting career in our article, “How to Become a Recruiter: A Talent for Finding Talent.


Anna Heinrich

Anna is a Copywriter at Collegis Education who researches and writes student-focused content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She believes the power of the written word can help educate and assist students on their way to a rewarding education. 

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