ASPs Helping Companies with Hiring

FRAMINGHAM (07/20/2000) - Keith L. Vencel, a product manager at Sutter Health in Sacramento, Calif., is used to spending several hours each weekend sifting through about 100 résumés. Of those, a dozen might yield potential interview candidates.

But two weeks ago, the nonprofit health care network went live with a recruiting application from San Francisco-based Inc. that Vencel hopes will give him his weekends back.

Other companies are also turning to recruiting software to help prescreen résumés and track candidates. And some - like Sutter - are going beyond buying the software and are hiring application service providers (ASP) to handle their recruiting processes.

But while an ASP can offer cost savings, this model may not be right for every company, according to analysts.

With the current labor shortage, businesses that don't have employees they can dedicate to maintaining recruiting software may prefer to use a service provider, said Kazim Isfahani, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. in Cambridge, Mass. But larger companies that need more customized applications or are concerned about security may prefer to purchase the software, he said.

Sutter chose to go with the ASP model because Recruitsoft hosts and maintains the recruiting application so Sutter doesn't have to purchase additional servers and have staff support the software and hardware, Vencel said.

The application is currently installed in fewer than a half-dozen Sutter facilities, but Vencel said he hopes to have it running in 44 facilities in eight geographic regions. Purchasing a recruiting software package would require an investment of about $500,000, Vencel estimated.

Rather than paying a fixed monthly fee, Sutter pays an annual fee based on the number of candidates it hires using Recruitsoft. According to Recruitsoft, the "pay-per-hire" fee starts at $500.

But even though recruiting applications can save some time, the process of finding and retaining the right people can't be completely automated, according to David Foote, a managing partner at Foote Partners LLC, a New Canaan, Conn.-based consultancy that specializes in information technology workforce issues.

"A good match starts with whether [a candidate's] personality meshes with the place," said Foote, who is an occasional Computerworld columnist. "It doesn't come on a résumé."

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