It’s8.57am. Do you know where your best people are? There is a chance that a newbreed of manager might be using the Net to track them down. Nic Paton reports Whenit comes to job titles, the Internet has proved itself nothing if not innovative.Web weavers, Internet presence crusaders, chief evangelists, cyberdog engineers– they have all come, and some have gone, alongside the dotcom boom to bust. HRtoo, has spawned a new wave of Internet titles, from web miners to talentmanagers, as e-recruitment techniques have helped to change the relationshipbetween employers and recruiters.Twosurveys published in May show how far the Internet has taken off inrecruitment. The CIPD’s fifth annual recruitment survey found that more than 50per cent of employers go online to recruit potential candidates. And a study byrecruitment website totaljobs.com found two-fifths of firms polled expected toincrease the online recruitment budget within 12 months.Talentmanagers – also known as talent acquisition managers, talent directors, peopleeffectiveness managers or reward, resourcing and retention managers – can playa key role. By using the Internet to work more strategically, gatherintelligence on their sector and build contacts, they can ensure the bestpeople are brought in or retained.Theidea of talent management is not new in itself. The phrase first emerged in theUS in 1950s’ Hollywood. Talent managers have always been professionals whonurture and counsel talented individuals in the entertainment industry, actingas a go-between in the dealings of agents, publicists, managers and lawyers.Asthe Internet boom took off, the concept was embraced by HR professionals, ledby dotcoms and technology firms in Silicon Valley to improve efficiency and savetime and money. It has gradually moved into other sectors, with many blue-chipcorporations developing or importing sophisticated e-recruitment and talentmanagement functions.Atits most basic, e-recruitment can simply mean posting an e-mail address orconventional contact details for the HR department on the corporate website. Astep up from this is the advertising of jobs on the corporate site or on arecruitment agency’s job board and letting candidates apply eitherconventionally or online. BA, for instance, used its online recruitmentfunction to attract more blue-collar workers and hired 150 customer serviceagents in the three months after the site launched last year.Systemshave been developed to screen candidates online for suitability before interview.There have also been improvements in methods to sift applications – as thequantity of responses rather than the quality can be an issue in a market aslarge as the Internet. Selected candidates may be interviewed by an externalagency before being invited to see the company.Candidatestoo are moving on from simply putting their CVs online and will often postpersonal profiles. These can include discussion of their skills, aspirationsand career goals, and even video links.AtNortel Networks, 95 per cent of CVs are received electronically, with theturnaround from receiving the application to interview now counted in hoursrather than days.Others,such as Deutsche Bank, have used online recruitment to boost their graduateintake, which has risen 2 per cent at the bank since the introduction of onlinerecruitment last September. Leisurebusiness UCI has cut its hiring cost per trainee manager by £1,060 – a 66 percent fall – by using online recruitment. The firm’s online application formeven includes a behavioural questionnaire, covering core competencies.Somecompanies, meanwhile, are “mining” the Internet using technologyspecialists called “web spiders” or “e-cruisers” to searchfor passive candidates. It is at this more proactive level, akin toheadhunting, that talent managers come into their own, driving businesses totheir talent pools – such as a relevant discussion room – rather than waitingfor them to come forward, says Robert Drake, director of operations ate-recruiter Blue Boulder. “Talentmanagers get involved much earlier in the recruitment process. They know whatis going on in the marketplace,” he says.”It’slike if you went to New York and wanted to find a policeman, where would you go– Dunkin’ Donuts? It is a completely different mindset.” Talentmanagement also has an important role to play in managing the retention andrecruitment of board-level staff, says Tom Barnes, co-founder of onlineexecutive recruitment agency CalibreOne.com.”Seniorcandidates do not have a record of applying to recruitment agents because it isseen as cheapening themselves. It is about gaining the confidence of thecandidate and gaining the respect of the client,” he says Theholy grail of being a successful talent manager, according to Kevin Mannion,chief operating officer of e-procurement company Netengines, is being able tohire the right person before your bosses realise they need them. “Talentmanagers are building ahead of the need,” he says.Thefunction depends largely on building internal data sources, employee resourcesand electronic links to suppliers and other contacts. “It is aboutbringing efficiencies of supply rather than turning into a privateinvestigator, and going out to chat with people in coffee bars,” Mannion says.”Ido not necessarily think there has to be someone called a talent manager, butit is about building the principle, about applying the strategy to your staff.”Effectiveuse of the Internet has become one of the key tools in this process, saysChristopher Lloyd, channel head of jobs.telegraph, the recruitment site for TheDaily Telegraph. “TheWeb has enabled far greater access to both individuals and organisations thanbefore. Internal HR functions are dipping their toes into the arena of searchand selection. It is the equivalent of the internal headhunter.”However,the US economic downturn could yet skew the picture. As Andrew O’Driscoll,director of product management at San Francisco-based software solutions firmOneChannel, puts it, “No one is hiring. Companies don’t officially say it,but there are a lot with a hiring freeze in place. How times change. Arguablysome of the softer jobs, such as marketing and sales, have been hit the hardest– those jobs are always first to go.”Thatslowdown is now being firmly felt on this side of the Atlantic. As firms bracethemselves for the predicted recession and step up redundancies, the notion ofbeing able to use e-recruitment technologies to hire and retain the best peoplemore efficiently and cheaply is increasingly attractive.Butwhile the downturn means there may be a greater pool of talent, it may not bethe right talent, says Maurice Duffy, chief executive of e-recruitermkworldwide. The talent manager will be in the pivotal position of trackingthose in the market, snapping up appropriate talent and, critically, ensuringinternal talent stays on board.”Alot of organisations are taking blunt knives to their businesses at the moment,but you have to ensure you are not getting rid of people who have skills youmay need in the future,” he says. “Ifyou go back six months, it was how you managed them in, now it is how youmanage them out and get the mix right.” Ironically,just as HR is becoming aware of the existence of talent managers, the slowdownmight see them, if not their function, disappearing altogether.FionaSellers, director of HR consultancy Courtenay, says demand for talent managerpositions has dropped by 50 per cent this year. Businesses are instead hiringinto compensation, benefit and reward positions and resource managementpositions, where there has been a 20 to 25 per cent increase on last year. Shesays, “Last year talent managers were what everyone wanted – someone whomade the strategic decision about how recruitment was done. It was a vogue, alot of candidates saw it as a sexy job. “Butthe talent management role has been a bit of a five-minute wonder. This yearthe market has not been there for them. People have gone back into moreconventional management or education-focused roles. The climate last year wasmuch more about growth in a tight recruitment market. This year it is not somuch of a problem, although there are still pockets of shortages.”Whathas changed, probably permanently, she says, is the recognition by boards thattalent has to be managed, that people have to be attracted to a company,inspired to stay and develop and that holding on to them is critical to futuregrowth and success.”Managingtalent has come in the past two years and that is going to stay. I do not thinkthere has been a decline in people wanting strategic HR people, but we haveseen a decline in positions that are about managing talent. There was a hugehype. There is now a quieter revolution going on in HR,” she says.Casestudy Cisco SystemsE-recruitmententers new eraOnlinerecruitment is set to give way to a new generation of “web-enabled”recruitment processes, according to US computer network equipment manufacturerCisco Systems. Despitefreezing recruitment for the next six to eight months – the result of the economicdownturn that also saw the company announce an 86 per cent drop in fourthquarter profits last month – Cisco is pressing ahead with an innovativeresource management system.CiscoEMEA employment manager Adrian Godfrey, who manages a team of 24, says when the”all-singing, all-dancing” portal launches in January it will offeronline recruitment and assessment, career development, e-learning and afast-track management programme.”Oneof the things we want is not just to be putting a job up there. We will owneverything from recruitment to outplacement,” he says.Atthe height of the Internet boom, Cisco was hiring about 700 people a quarter,averaging a cost per hire of $5,000 (£3,500). The current recruitment freezehas allowed the firm to take a step back, examine its processes and look at howit can retain and develop the talent it has.Godfreysays, “Cost is not the only motivator. It is about assessing andpre-qualifying people a lot more quickly. It is difficult to put a price on it,but, yes, we will save money.”Itis about matching yourself online. You identify a job, put in your skills andprofile. It says, ‘you are 45 per cent suitable for this job, do you want tocontinue?’, then it can give a training analysis and link you to the e-learningportal.” Interviewswill remain face-to-face, but both sides will be more aware of how suitable acandidate is beforehand.”Wewill stop using the term recruitment and start talking about people mobilityand development,” Godfrey says.CasestudyCadbury SchweppesDrinksgiant slashes hiring costs with Web initiativeCadburySchweppes’ successful US e-recruitment initiative was extended to the UK on 1September.Theglobal drinks company launched its e-recruitment function in the US last year.Initially, it developed a simple website with information on the company andits brands. This was later expanded, with online job vacancy and applicationfacilities. As a result, costs per hire were slashed by more than 50 per cent.TheUK system is called Webhire. Candidates can download application forms from thecorporate web site and e-mail them direct to the company. They will receive ane-mail reply on receipt.InMay the company updated its corporate website to give more information on thecompany and recruitment contacts. Some jobs were also posted on the Stepstonee-recruitment site.”Wehave 36,000 staff, with about 1,000 managerial opportunities coming up in ayear, a significant number of which are filled internally,” says globalresourcing manager Laurie Zeleny. “So having a large e-recruitment budgetdoesn’t make much sense.” “Wedo not want to manage people through a computer, we are very much a ‘personaltouch’ company. But we also want to look at how we attract, recruit, develop,retain and optimise talent.”Wewill be looking for more efficiencies on cost per hire and will be encouragingtalent-sharing between our different UK businesses,” she adds.Notargets have been been set for the number of applications the company expectsto receive online. The success of the pilot will be assessed early next year. Netting talentOn 4 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed.