NZ big business uses Web sites to lure staff

New Zealand's top companies are increasingly using their Web sites to lure new staff, though they may be damaging their reputations if they do so in a slapdash manner, a new Australian survey suggests.

Sydney-based Olivier Recruitment Group polled Australia's top 500 public companies found that even those that are happily e-recruiting are often not doing it well.

The survey, released earlier this month, found that while 93 per cent have Web sites, only 35 per cent use them to recruit staff. What's more, Olivier found that recruitment information was inferior to customer and investor information, and that nearly half of the sites surveyed didn't respond to the unsolicited CV of an apparently highly talented phantom candidate. Olivier suggests such a lack of service could lead to a poor reputation as an employer and a loss of brand loyalty.

New Zealand's top-dozen corporates - who are turning increasingly to online recruitment -- all have Web sites, and most either offer some employment facility through them, or plan to. Most list jobs under the "Corporate" section of their sites; many large US companies, particularly IT firms, are even more proactive, putting a link to jobs on the opening web page.

Meat industry giant Affco lists several jobs on its site, which can be applied for via a generic email to the HR team. The company, which has offered e-recruiting for almost a year, has hired staff ranging from documentation to management through the site, says HR manager Tracey Paterson. "I think it's a really good way of picking people up." But she is still to sit down and analyse how successful the method is compared to other recruiting channels. And in fact the company uses a recruitment firm to hire IT staff.

Carter Holt Harvey doesn't use its Web site for recruitment, but "it's in the plans" for next year, says spokeswoman Bridget Abernethy. Listing jobs online is part of the company's overall recruitment strategy, partly because that's the way the market's heading, she says.

Kiwifruit marketers Zespri doesn't list its jobs online but intends to before the end of the year, after a revamp of the site, says communications services manager Sandy Hodge.

She sees e-recruiting as an efficient means of hiring staff, because visitors to corporate sites are likely to know about the company already and be a "good fit". Hodge sees corporate Web sites as like a reception area or a corporate magazine, so listing jobs is a natural section.

Olivier assessed Web sites on 35 criteria, including navigation, company information and corporate culture, employment policies, vacancies, contactability and responsiveness.

The firm says it has found 67 per cent of successful job applicant on the internet, compared to 21 per cent in print, despite spending the bulk of its advertising budget on the print media.

"If large companies are not getting [an online recruitment] figure close to this, they're not maximising the opportunities," says head Robert Olivier.

Australia is well ahead of New Zealand in using online web sites: online jobs outnumber print jobs by four to one there, while print beats online by more than two to one here.

Other local corporate sites already use their sites for recruitment to some degree, often including graduate programmes. As of last week Fisher & Paykel listed several jobs, using direct contacts and personal email addresses.

Telecom, which has up to 1100 vacancies a year, has for a year offered an email service advising of suitable jobs within the organisation, though candidates must first register. The site listed 27 jobs.

DB Group provides no job listings and a generic employment email address for enquiries.

NZ Post listed five jobs, which had to be applied for through a web form.

The Warehouse signalled jobs on the site through nzjobs.co.nz though none were listed.

TAB lists jobs -- one job as a TrackSide TV presenter - which had to be applied for using a web form.

Air NZ's vacancies had to be applied for through an official form on the site that had to be requested, or through generic email addresses, as did Contact Energy.

New dairy giant Fonterra has no recruitment site thus far, though a spokeswoman for component company Kiwi Dairies says Kiwi did advertise online - seven jobs were on the site as well as student and grad scheme -- but this was being "wound down" and jobs were only being advertised internally while the merger with NZDG and the Dairy Board was taking place.

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