Going global: How international firms are using the Internet to recruit

Corporations are increasingly operating globally. Free trade and economic zones, the liberalization of investment and improved international transportation have allowed Canadian organizations to establish operations in diverse locations such as Sri Lanka, Mexico, Ireland and Malaysia. Companies are turning to global telecommunications networks, especially the Internet, to link together far-flung R&D, production and call centres.

Specialized enterprise software applications move vast quantities of data across the Internet to increase the speed and efficiency of logistics, supply chain management, customer service, and most recently, human resources management.

Global challenges for HR

Operating globally presents challenges for human resource management. Global corporations may be subject to the laws of more than one jurisdiction, which complicates the task of meeting country-specific labour and privacy laws. Global corporations will likely find their activities and policies for recruitment data use (and its retention and destruction) under greater compliance scrutiny in the next several years.

Operating globally means operating across time zones, cultures and languages. HR departments are increasingly called upon to deliver ever more responsive, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week service, as more business interactions take place on the Internet — the network that never sleeps.

Global corporations embracing Internet recruiting

Global corporations are waking up to the fact that 429 million people worldwide are now online. Recruiting by global corporations is increasingly being conducted online.

In an ongoing study of the Web sites of the Global 500 group of companies (the 500 largest corporations in the world, by revenue), iLogos Research has found a steady increase in the adoption of recruiting on the corporate Web site. Corporate Web site recruiting by the Global 500 has grown from just 29 per cent in 1998, to 60 per cent in 1999, and to 79 per cent in 2000. In 2001, jobseekers could learn about job opportunities on the Web site of 88 per cent of the Global 500.

The four-year trend in the data confirms that Global 500 companies consider the corporate Web site to be a vital component of the organization’s overall recruiting effort.

iLogos research found the largest increase in the adoption of corporate Web site recruiting by the Global 500 in 2001 occurred in the Asia Pacific region: an increase of 20 percentage points over the previous year to 88 per cent, which is typical of young markets in the early phases of Internet growth.

Yearly growth among European-based Global 500 companies was 10 percentage points, bringing the total adoption rate for corporate Web site recruiting in the region to 83 per cent, in line with the rising acceptance of the Web in the Europe. North American-based Global 500 companies exhibited a relatively stable rate of corporate Web site recruiting, rising just one point to 93 per cent, indicative of Internet activity approaching saturation.

In two separate studies conducted in 2001, of the 500 largest European companies and the top 100 companies in Canada, iLogos found that 76 per cent of the European 500, and 64 per cent of the Canadian 100, recruit through the corporate Web site.

Internet recruiting best practices

The corporate careers Web site touches key areas of recruiting in ways that improve the speed, efficiency and effectiveness of the overall recruiting process. The careers Web site has a profound impact on a corporation’s recruiting strategy in the areas of:

Branding — it is the single most concentrated source of information and brand experience available to potential candidates on the company as an employer.

Sourcing — traffic is directed to the site from both online and offline media and it is itself a valuable primary source of candidates.

Response management — it creates a standard application process for candidates from various sources, both online and offline, and manages ongoing relationships.

Assessment — at its best, the careers Web site can be used as an automated pre-screening tool for filtering, scoring and ranking candidates, saving corporations time and costs.

Processing — it opens the door to streamlining the data flow into advanced back-end automated mining and tracking tools.

In leading global corporations, the corporate Web site is the public side of a hiring management system integrating all recruiting sources, including Internet job board, print media, job fair and employee referral programs. State-of-the-art Web-based recruiting systems bring increased efficiencies and productivity to the corporate recruiting process that previously labored under cumbersome systems.

Stephen Jones is a senior research associate with iLogos (www.
ilogosresearch.com) in Toronto. He monitors and reports trends, and recommends best practices relating to global online recruiting. iLogos is the independent research and consulting division of Recruitsoft.

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