Small businesses find online recruiting has pitfalls as well as positives

Job Ads

Richard Dukas, the chairman and CEO of Dukas Public Relations, has 20 employees. Hiring more takes some work.

“We have used Linkedin, Mediabistro and also social media, such as Facebook and Twitter,” says Dukas, who also finds the time to use industry site O’Dwyer’s. “We also advertise jobs at various universities and have job applicants reach us through personal references.” 

Dukas has found what many business owners have: while the internet has made candidates more available, it doesn’t necessarily provide the best-qualified ones.

Dukas mentioned some of the most common mistakes he deals with; including long cover letters that focus on the wrong things. “Don’t write 500 words about how your experience as a waitress or a customer service rep taught you the importance of timeliness, maintaining a positive attitude, or how to deal with people effectively. Get to the point quickly and keep it simple and relevant – and don’t try to fake it if you don’t have the right experience. And understand the difference between our PR agency and others. What sets us apart? Figure this out and relay what you know to me.”

Many small business owners hailed the rise of online jobs sites, which have become ever more sophisticated; it beat the previous convention of placing an ad in a local newspaper. But now even the online jobs sites have become a bewildering thicket of missed connections and archived resumes, lacking useful filtering mechanisms that time-pressed CEOs may need.

Joe Rierden, the founder of Rierden Chemical & Trading Company in Libertyville, IL, sells chemicals to giants like Dow and Sherwin Williams. He used CareerBuilders to look for candidates with experience, but ultimately rejected that: “We didn’t care for that method because you get inundated with resumes; no matter what kind of filters you use.” Recently, he found a good hire through LinkedIn.

“The system can use some disruption,” said Todd Raphael, editor of recruiting site ere.net, which tracks industry trends. “It’s a crowded market. I’ve seen about 1,000 new recruiting technologies over the last few years.”

“People are offered jobs based on their resumes or interviews, and resumes are merely marketing documents and not real indicators of a person’s likelihood of success on the job,” Raphael says. “Many come and go, and get lost in the shuffle of so many similar tools.”

It’s no wonder that some small businesses go back to no-tech options. Scott Paglusi, owner of Park Slope, Brooklyn-based Bagel World, does some online recruiting but mainly goes for a face-to-face method. “We get our people from either word of mouth from our present employees or we just put a ‘help-wanted’ sign in the window,” Paglusi said. It could even be called artisanal hiring as neighboring businesses on the sophisticated Brooklyn strip, including successful staples like L’Albero dei Gelati and the Culture frozen yogurt shop, go for the old-school reliability of the ‘help wanted’ sign.

Naturally there are online recruiters who hope to fill the gap between the chaos of cardboard signs and the clueless algorithms of online resume warehouses.

One of those recruiters is Evergrad, a new UK-based site that hopes to link young graduates with promising small businesses. “Our tone is more formal then Facebook but more fun then LinkedIn,” says Dan Manzi, managing director of Evergrad. “In my experience, the vast majority of students believe that LinkedIn is very formal and something you need [after] you get a job. This does not translate into using LinkedIn to search for employment. Similarly Facebook is a place for socializing, not work.”

Evergrad has many competitors in the online job space. SmartRecruiters.com posts niche job sites. SmartRecruiters claims 62% of open jobs are posted to niche job sites and boasts of posting 400,000+ jobs for 65,000+ companies. Glass-door is another job search option. The site has comments from past and present employees about the culture and work environment of a firm. Good.co, is organized around helping job seekers and employers find the right fit. And there is also Work With Us, a LinkedIn tool that shows your advertisement whenever a candidate matching one of your job descriptions views another company’s job listing.

It’s an embarrassment of riches, but sometimes it still works. Dukas pointed out, even with the problems he has encountered, the firm did a major hire through an online site. Seth Linden, the president of the firm, was a TV reporter in D.C., covering Capitol Hill for NBC affiliates, but wanted to make the jump to PR and come to NY. He found Dukas on MediaBistro, a site for media professionals. Linden started as a senior account executive and now is the firm’s second-ranking official.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Steve Viuker, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 25th November 2014 13.00 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

JefferiesAnd the Best Place to Work in the global financial markets 2017 is...

Register for Financial Markets News Alerts