Hire.com's E-Recruiter Relieves Labor Shortage

SAN MATEO (07/24/2000) - The rise of the Internet and the Web has added an electronic wrinkle to the typical manual, paper-based employee recruitment endeavor. "E-cruiting" offers organizations access to a larger pool of talent while decreasing time-to-hire ratios and making direct communication between candidates and hiring managers even easier. But it also places an additional burden on beleaguered human resources departments looking to attract top-shelf talent.

Fortunately a number of ASPs (application service providers) have stepped up to the plate with recruiting applications designed to streamline the entire hiring process. One such example is the e-Recruiter service offered by Hire.com. At its core, e-Recruiter assists HR staff with conducting a complete online hiring campaign -- from posting employment opportunities to screening candidates and creating a private talent pool for a company to draw from.

Hire.com customizes e-Recruiter to fit directly into the employment section of your corporate Web site. Customization does have a price, however. Depending on the size of your organization, the service can cost anywhere from US$8,000 to $25,000 per month. This may seem a bit steep, but given the competitive nature of the job market these days the service should more than pay for itself after two or three good hires.

As part of the monthly agreement, Hire.com assigns a Best Practices Manager to each client to provide training and recommendations, as well as an Implementation Manager to help integrate the product into your existing Web site. From start to finish, Hire.com estimates a six-to eight-week turnaround time for a full-blown implementation of e-Recruiter.

Candidate prequalification

Many service offerings focus on securing the electronic equivalent of a paper resume and storing it in an online database for hiring managers to review and query at their leisure. A major drawback to this approach is that most resumes have a very limited shelf life: They quickly become outdated as an individual's skill set or employment picture changes.

Hire.com takes a different approach, avoiding the use of resumes entirely. To secure the most up-to-date information, potential candidates are invited to prequalify for any current or future positions by filling out an online form with questions that include job type, salary range, and desired region to work in. Once a form is submitted, e-Recruiter's profiling engine matches those requirements with available positions and notifies registrants via e-mail of an available job listing.

Potential employees contacted via e-mail are then required to fill out an additional questionnaire to fine-tune their qualifications and candidacy. One or more questionnaires can be created within the Hiring Manager component of e-Recruiter and linked to an individual or group of job postings. They can be anywhere between one and 25 questions in length and may consist of multiple choice, true/false, and essay-style questions.

Screening by profile

Once submitted, the candidate's answers are automatically prescreened using e-Recruiter's profiling engine. Candidates who meet or exceed the baseline score are passed on to a hiring manager for further consideration.

E-Recruiter bases its scoring on a weighted scale (from 1 to 5) that you apply to each question. For example, questions pertaining to relevant employment experience and willingness to travel could be given higher weights than a question inquiring about the possession of an advanced degree.

Certain questions can also be tagged as "stoppers." In other words, a candidate answering this question incorrectly would immediately be knocked out of the running. A good example of this type of question would be one on citizenship or the possession of a certification, such as Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE).

This two-pronged approach to prequalification and screening is quite effective.

You can quickly amass a large pool of interested applicants during the prequalification process and have their information automatically matched with current and future job postings. At the same time, e-Recruiter's second round of screening passes only truly qualified applicants on to a hiring manager for interviews. Ultimately, this will reduce hiring time and make better use of your HR department's resources.

Twenty questions

To test this process, I accessed a development site at Hire.com. It was quite easy to create, via my Web browser, a questionnaire filled with a variety of queries. For large hiring campaigns, questionnaire templates can be created and linked to a range of available positions. This makes it easy to enforce hiring standards and screening questions across the board at your organization. You can also build multiple levels of approval into the screening process, allowing high-level managers to give their stamp of approval before a candidate is invited to move further along in the hiring process.

Templates also play a major role in e-Recruiter's job-posting facilities. From within the Hiring Manager interface, I was able to post new employment opportunities, deactivate a job from competition, and modify an existing posting with or without notifying new candidates gathered in the prequalification process.

By acting as an initial filter in the hiring process, Hire.com's e-Recruiter service can help HR departments quickly zero in on the most qualified candidates instead of pouring over a pile of ambiguous resumes. This allows your HR department to focus on acquiring top-notch talent without time-sapping distractions.

Technology Analyst Todd Coopee (todd_coopee@infoworld.com) covers a variety of Internet topics, including Internet-based groupware, document management, Web site analysis tools, streaming multimedia, and application development, for the InfoWorld Test Center.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Hire.com e-Recruiter

Business Case: Hire.com's e-Recruiter service automatically distills large pools of job applicants into a subset of qualified candidates. This can reduce recruiting time and allow hiring managers to zero in on potential hires immediately.

Technology Case: Outsourcing Internet recruiting to a service provider allows hiring managers to focus on finding qualified candidates without having to rely on internal IT departments for application support.

Pros:

+ Templates speed creation of job postings+ Automated applicant sourcing and skills matchingCons:

- A bit pricey

Cost: Varies based on size of and use within organization; usually in the range of $8,000 to $25,000 per monthPlatform(s): Web-based; supports Internet Explorer and Netscape NavigatorHire.com, Austin, Texas; (888) 953-4473; www.hire.com.

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