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Case Studies: E-hiring in a tight labour market

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Healthcare group, Denplan and mobile provider T-Mobile share their experiences of meeting the new recruitment challenge with a generous smattering of some ‘Monster’ help.


Searching for jobs via the internet has been possible for over twenty years, but in the beginning was restricted to basic bulletin boards accessed by the early adopters – technology aware IT professionals ‘in the know.’

Increasing PC and internet penetration throughout the nineties encouraged the launch of more formal, commercial sites, the first being Monster.com launched in the US in 1994.

The introduction of broadband and renewed interest in the internet has led to the increased use of online recruitment sites, by jobseekers and employers.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research for its recent report reveals that 30% of respondents with internet access use e-recruitment sites when looking for job information.

The number of UK sites has also increased to more than 700, and the range of jobs featured has expanded well beyond those offering technical contracts and professional full-time positions, now encompassing lower skilled jobs and those contracted on a temporary or part-time basis.

A stable economy, low unemployment rates and plenty of hard-to-fill vacancies has led to what Monster refers to as the “year of the Jobseeker”. Employers have to compete for scarce skilled labour.

To meet this skills deficit, human resources professionals are turning to e-recruitment – an industry that is well placed to experience rapid growth over the next five years.

Employers must justify the use of online recruitment in financial measures to show a good return on investment (ROI). Denplan and T-Mobile are two companies that have successfully achieved a significant improvement, illustrated by the following case studies.

The supply chain to this market is already consolidating as companies try to gain market share, both geographically and in terms of candidates. Large global players including Monster, that have the support of an international network and the giants of the publishing world with access to content as well as established relationships with advertisers, will continue to dominate the industry. They will also be best placed to take advantage of the international nature of the recruitment market.

Case study: Denplan – Migrating online to Monster
The challenge:
Denplan forms part of the Global AXA healthcare Group, and is the UK’s leading dental plan provider, focusing on preventative dentistry. With business continuing to grow, the company had an on going need to expand its 300+ strong workforce. Recruiting for Denplan’s national sales team presented a particular problem. Since its members worked from home, there were no ‘local office’ recruitment facilities available and advertising in a broad spread of local newspapers proved too expensive. A recruitment agency had also failed to produce quality applicants.

The time had come to review Denplan’s recruitment strategy. James Wilson, HR Co-ordinator, first consulted his peers and then investigated the activities of other local employers. The consensus was that online recruitment was the way to go.

By coincidence, James then received a timely call from monster.co.uk.

The solution:
Following an initial discussion with Monster, Denplan also looked at the Fish4jobs and Jobsite careers sites. But, finding that Monster came highly recommended by other organisations, as well as offering more jobs and candidates, it was a clear first choice.

Denplan signed up to a company profile and job postings package in September 2003. Although the national sales team was a priority, vacancies from general administration and customer services through to senior managers could be accommodated on Monster and gave Denplan access to good quality candidates throughout the country.

The result:
Denplan achieved significant return on investment and quickly reaped some real benefits from selecting Monster for its online recruitment needs – not the least of which was a huge reduction in cost per placement. The only initial drawback was receiving applications from candidates who were not able to work in the UK; but this was quickly overcome by installing a filter that automatically rejected overseas candidates.

“As soon as we launched job postings, we immediately got a large number of good quality applicants; in fact, we were spoilt for choice,” said James Wilson. “The system is easy to manage. It is simple to track the process, our managers do all the interviewing and auto reply emails to candidates has drastically cut down the workload.”

Case study: T-Mobile – Improving ROI online
The challenge:
T-Mobile’s recruitment division was looking to improve its recruitment process, with a view to maximising its return on investment (ROI). A traditional recruitment model meant that individual recruiters were involved in the process from beginning to end. However, this meant that other work, such as reviewing jobs, salaries and job descriptions, was sometimes neglected because of the time spent processing candidates.

A decision was made not simply to restructure the department, but also to review T-Mobile’s overall approach to recruitment.

The solution:
The first step was to reform the recruitment department into two distinct teams, one specialising in candidate sourcing, the other on the selection and admission processing of candidates once they had been recruited. The former comprising ex-recruiters and ex-agency staff were tasked with headhunting, networking, placing ads, selecting jobs boards and short listing candidates, with the emphasis on sourcing online (e-sourcing).

However, initially, managers within T-Mobile didn’t have to use the company’s new e-recruiting team. This led to the e-sourcing team being asked to fill less important jobs or those that were easy to fill and the team itself being seen as a process function, not as a recruitment agency. Furthermore, the restructuring didn’t result in cost reductions.

Determined to achieve improved ROI, T-Mobile made online recruitment the driver for change within the e-sourcing team and reduced reliance on offline advertising and agencies. It became company policy that all vacancies had to be initially passed to the e-sourcing team. They were allowed two working weeks to fill each position through the internet. Only if it was unsuccessful, could T-Mobile managers go elsewhere to try and fill their vacancies.

The company’s own website could not meet its recruitment demands alone, so job boards including Monster became the key to success, not only resulting in significant volumes of direct hires, they also pushed increasing levels of traffic to the company’s own website. To make its online recruitment service productive, T-Mobile adopted the following Monster package:

  • 1,800 job postings

  • Advertising banners on Monster

  • Access to the CV database to search for potential candidates

  • Email alerts to compatible jobseekers

  • Keyword searches to flag opportunities at T-Mobile to jobseekers

The result:
“Monster is a consistently good performer and its job board is possibly as big as some niche sites, especially in areas such as HR or Telecoms,” said Tim Shore, senior e-recruiter T-Mobile. “Once we learnt how to use the Monster system effectively, we increased our ROI by recruiting online. We are also now doing things better, which makes our recruiting more effective. For instance getting the copy for the ad right helps increase the number of potential employees that would consider us.”

T-Mobile has achieved both of its key objectives. The restructure has freed up the recruitment department for additional tasks that had become a priority. The team has found time to distinguish T-Mobile’s brand values, make job descriptions clearer and improve the ads, making the copy more consistent and compelling. And, with the average cost per hire for internet sourced candidates reducing from £1,727 in 2003 to just £577 (a saving of 66.6%), ROI has been enhanced.

Eighteen months ago, T-Mobile sourced around 15% of recruits via the internet. Today this figure has already reached 40% and continues to rise steadily. Conversely, the use of staff agencies has reduced significantly and continues to drop.

As a direct result of its Monster activity, the jobs’ section of T-Mobile’s own website receives considerably more traffic and an improved tracking system ensures more accurate data and a better understanding of candidate behaviour. This is being used as part of the continued work to bring the cost per hire down even further.

“Out of every six internet placements, one has been approached off CV databases, of which Monster is our most successful, which means that 15-20% of internet hires that we find are from a database search,” said Tim Shore. “Monster is the best database of jobs we use and consequently the majority of database hires are through Monster. The improvements on its search engine are great, especially being able to search on a job title.

“By using online recruitment, we are saving a lot of money and improving on the quality of candidates we attract. Candidates also find the system flattering, as they love being approached. Working with Monster has helped to turn T-Mobile’s recruitment processes into an efficient, cost saving department, which is constantly improving.”

For further information see: www.hrzone.co.uk/partners/monster

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