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How to cut online recruitment costs

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More companies are seeking to cut costs and improve efficiency by recruiting online. But it’s not just a case of putting vacancies on your website and watching the applications pile up – successful online recruitment means putting yourself in the candidates’ shoes.

Online recruitment - think smart

Given the current economic uncertainty many employers are looking to cut costs and with recruitment being one of the most expensive HR activities it is unlikely to go unscathed. More and more organisations are turning to online solutions to reduce costs. But it’s not just a case of moving vacancies online and hey presto.

Online recruitment can support employers in their bid to cut recruitment costs and improve the quality of their applicants. But it is not a case of one size fits all. To really succeed in meeting business objectives HR need to invest time in developing an online recruitment system that meets the needs of all its users – both those inside the organisation, such as line managers, and applicants.

Too many online recruitment systems focus on the organisation itself and pander to the needs of the designers rather than the needs of the users. This is something that employers cannot afford to do in the current labour market – according to a recent survey from KPMG and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) more than half (54%) of employers anticipating recruitment difficulties.

Employers need to think smartly about how they use online recruitment to fill these vacancies. To ensure it is effective in terms of reducing costs and increasing the quality of candidates organisations need to put the candidate’s needs and business objectives at the heart of the online application process.

Get it wrong and organisations will face continuing recruitment difficulties, added costs and far worse risk ruining the employer brand. But invest the time to get online recruitment right and HR can really make a contribution to the business in terms of cutting recruitment costs and overcoming recruitment difficulties.

Understand business rational

Consult with everyone involved in the recruitment process to really understand the objectives for wanting to improve your recruitment process and what it is you want to achieve. What you want to achieve might be very different to line managers or the finance department.


Review the existing recruitment process

Online recruitment will not achieve your objectives if the current process is broken. A review of the current recruitment process needs to include an understanding of what works, what doesn’t, who uses the process, where bottle necks exists and how the process could be made smoother.

Involve line managers

Line managers have a huge balancing act to achieve - they have to carry out their day job, manage their teams, contribute to business strategy and then on top of this there is the huge task of managing staffing issues and making recruitment decisions.

Therefore it's important to communicate the Benefits online recruitment will create for line managers, such as reducing the number of unsuitable applicants and speeding up the recruitment process, so that they invest the time to make sure it works for them.

It's also important that you are able to demonstrate clearly how any new system will reduce their workload and not add to it.

Take an integrated approach

Online recruitment offers major business Benefits when done well. But to achieve this it should not stand alone, it needs to form part of the whole recruitment process.

The technology is the first stage in the recruitment process in terms of identifying the most suitable candidate. It should not, however, replace the human element.

You should avoid the trap of relying on online screening tools that are too black and white and only have killer questions. 

Recruitment is not black and white which is where the good judgement of an experienced recruiter come in to play.

Put the candidate at the heart of the experience

It's just as important to ensure the online recruitment system meets the need of applicants as much it does the business – organisations failing to meet the needs of applicants risk losing potential candidates and creating a poor impression of the employer brand.

Adopting a candidate-focused approach will maximise the accessibility of your website to provide a level playing field for all users. This means communicating with the candidate at all times.

Create a positive experience

As well as working functionally the design of the online recruitment process needs to create a positive experience so that the applicant leaves wanting to work for you.

When designed well, online recruitment will leave applicants who do not have the right skills and experience deselecting themselves from the process but ready to return when they do have the right skills and experience.

Don’t forget brand

An online recruitment website is the public face of an organisation’s employer brand so it’s important to get this right. While functionality is a must it's also important to work with the web designers to ensure the design reflects the employer brand.

One size does not fit all

It's important to invest the time needed upfront to ensure that the online process is right for each role. Jobs vary – one psychometric test might be suitable for someone applying for a job in finance but not for someone in marketing. But it’s not just a case of changing the online tests, the wording might also need to change because what attracts a designer might be very different to an analyst – it’s important to tailor the process to the individual role.

Regularly review your online recruitment

Recruitment needs change over time so it's important to regularly measure and evaluate your online recruitment system. Is it achieving business objectives? Is it meeting the needs of all your users – applicants, line managers, HR?

• Online recruitment cuts the amount of time HR and line managers have to spend sifting through unsuitable applicants. Instances of 40% of time being saved are not uncommon.

• Online recruitment can broaden the selection pool as well as reducing recruitment costs and the time to hire.

• Online recruitment can bring greater flexibility for candidates.

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