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Wednesday, 17th April 2024
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Job seekers still prefer newspapers to the internet Back  
Hilarie Geary reports on the results of a recent survey which examined how effective websites are as recruitment tools.
There are several choices in where and how to begin a job search. A person may go straight to the daily newspapers, look through the Golden Pages to find a recruitment agency, or browse the Internet job search websites for the latest employment opportunities. Or a combination of the above methods could be used.

Job search websites are the latest innovation of the technology age, providing many jobseekers with a convenient recruitment tool that can be easily accessed. The idea of simply logging on to a website and browsing through thousands of vacancies from the comfort of home or office will be very appealing to some. The question remains however, how many people are actually using these websites as a recruitment tool, rather than just to browse and see what’s around? If someone is seriously looking to change jobs, would a job search website be the first step, or are people still looking to more established recruitment methods that have worked successfully in the past?

To find out the answers to these questions, Dublin recruitment agency Executive Connections recently conducted a survey to discover just how large a role job search websites are playing in job seekers lives. The survey was conducted on pre-registered candidates who had chosen Executive Connections to assist them in their job search. These respondents were from varied professional backgrounds, with 30 percent of the group from a banking and finance background, 28 percent from sales and marketing, and 17 percent from accountancy. The remainder was a mix of HR and office and administration personnel.

What is the first thing job seekers do to initiate their search? Only 32 percent of the candidates surveyed started their job search through a website, whereas 34 percent of candidates instead responded to a newspaper advertisement, and 9 percent saw an agency ad in the Golden Pages. 18 percent of respondents were informed about available vacancies by word of mouth, through a friend or colleague, while the remaining 7 percent saw advertisements in industry magazines or on flyers. Of those that had used a website, most had not registered or submitted information. This means job websites are primarily being used as an information tool.

The group surveyed was primarily under the age of 35, with the dominant age group being 23-28 years. This group amounted to 52 percent of those surveyed. This age group contained the highest users of job search websites; only 13 percent of 23-28 year olds had never used a job search website before. Of those in the higher age bracket (36 +), 36 percent had never used a job search website before.

These figures reveal that those candidates looking for more senior level positions will not use job search websites as a recruitment tool. Respondents explained that the reason for this was that job search websites did not provide the in-depth, qualitative advice and information that would be vital to them when looking for a senior role. They also cited doubts about the security of job search websites, and if they could not ensure confidentiality online, they could not risk posting their details on websites.

When asked to rate recruitment tools, of those that had used a job search website, 19 percent rated the website they had visited as poor with regards to ease of use and accessibility. Many candidates felt that applying for a job via the web was impersonal, and they weren’t able to convey the unique elements of their personality and character that would set them apart from other applicants. Other frustrations were that the process can be time consuming when searching through large amounts of information, and that if a site is not updated regularly enough information can be inaccurate or out of date. Many feared their details could go to the wrong person within an organisation, and that the confidentiality of their details would be jeopardised because of this. The lack of detailed information on each job made many candidates hesitant to put their details forward until they knew more about the role. 18 percent of respondents said they preferred other methods of recruitment such as agencies, and would not use a job search website again because of its impersonal nature and lack of accuracy.

Despite these problems, job search websites have proven to be convenient tools for some job seekers. 82 percent of respondents said they would use a job website again in their recruitment search. The advantages cited included the speed with which job information can be accessed, and the range and variation of job information available.

What these websites cannot provide is the human touch, which many respondents, in all age brackets and from all professional backgrounds, felt was very important. Changing jobs can be a major life decision, and jobseekers rely on the support, advice and guidance of a professional consultant to help them make the right one. Those jobseekers who have been out of the job market for some time may need interview coaching, negotiation skills training and advice on salary and benefits packages. An exclusive interview with a dedicated consultant provides jobseekers with a forum to detail their specific requirements for their new role. Advice on CV content and layout will assist the candidate in making the right impression first time. Only a recruitment consultancy can provide this one to one service free of charge and tailored to the individual and their needs.

These survey results demonstrate that although some jobseekers are using job search websites, they are still using recruitment consultancies to get the most comprehensive market information and personalised advice on their own requirements.

Senior candidates will be less likely to utilise this on-line service as they cannot be sure their details will be kept confidential, and many feel that job search websites are not updated quickly enough for the information to be effective. In the current economic climate, information and knowledge is key to giving candidates the edge that is vital in getting that dream job. The personalised service provided by recruitment consultancies is still the most effective way of getting the most out of the next job move.

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