Oh what a difference a bad year makes. Last January, the television broadcast of Super Bowl XXXIV — which, as you may recall, took place at the height of the dotcom frenzy — featured 17 commercials for cyber-sellers, virtual merchants, and E-tailers of every stripe. This year, the word dotcom was barely uttered during the entire four-hour broadcast of Super Bowl XXXV.
There were II notable exceptions. Online job sites Monster.com (www.monster.com) and Hotjobs (www.hotjobs.com) both ran commercials during the big game. The fact that managers at the two virtual placement companies were willing to shell out an estimated $2.3 million for a 30-second spot says plenty about the current state of E-recruitment. With the economy on the downturn, traffic at nearly all the top job sites has flat-out skyrocketed. In December 1999, for example, 352,000 searchers visited JobsOnline (www.jobsonline.com). This past December, the cyber-recruiter reported more than 6.6 million visitors.
Industry-watchers note that this surge in business is not just coming from laid-off Web designers, either. Increasingly, corporations are going online to fill management-level positions — a task previously handed over to traditional executive placement firms. In fact, ChiefMonster.com (http://my.chief.monster.com/), the senior-level recruitment arm of Monster.com launched in September, already boasts 100,000 registered members.
That’s an astounding response, particularly given the sorry state of online senior-level recruitment just three years ago. But Chandy Smith, assistant vice president of the business services division at Merrill Lynch, says improvements in technology — and a glut of applicants — have employers heading into space to fill vacancies. “Overall, there are not enough headhunters or effective ways to connect jobs with all the candidates out there,” notes Smith. “This lack of resources makes the Internet a very useful place for companies and candidates.”
The benefits of online job searches are pretty obvious. The Net enables employers to troll through an enormous pool of talent — exponentially more prospects than traditional headhunters can contact. And since hirers can put jobs up on specialized boards, it’s more likely that postings will be seen by qualified, and interested, candidates.
E-recruitment has one other small plus: It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than going through a placement firm. Typically, a real-world search to fill a senior-level position can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000. Online, the same process may cost as little as $395, depending on the posting board. “Every time we use a [virtual] job board, it’s going to save us at least $60,000,” says Jim Pappas, manager of executive search at Schaumburg, Illinois-based Motorola Inc. (www.motorola.com). “We’ve already saved a couple of hundred thousand dollars from the four or five hires we’ve done online.”
Savings of that magnitude will generally get the attention of any CFO who’s upright and breathing. Indeed, the 40,000 recruiting boards currently on the Internet are bursting at the seams with job openings — many for directors, vice presidents, and other senior-level positions. In addition, a whole cottage industry has sprung up around the virtual hiring of top brass. Specialty sites, such as ChiefMonster.com, 6FigureJobs.com (www.6figurejobs.com), ExecuNet.com (www.execunet.com), and Futurestep (www.futurestep.com), offer recruitment and career services that specifically target senior executives.