Using Online Resources to Recruit The Right Talent

The internet has opened up a world of possibilities in recruitment.

Recruiters can now source resumes instantly from across the globe. Increased bandwidth and video capabilities makes it possible to conduct virtual interviews. The spread of social media allows recruiters to delve into a candidate’s background, cross-verify credentials, and seek references, in a much easier, and comprehensive way than before. Social media and other collaborative tools allow the recruiter to complete tasks, that hitherto took weeks, in just a few hours now.

Recruiters seeking talent would do well to pursue various online options.

Online Portals

The default channel to search for candidates are online job portals. Job seekers submit resumes to such channels, and companies pay the portal to access their database. The sheer volume and generic nature of such databases, may, however, overwhelm the recruiter. Making effective use of job portals requires creativity.

- Use keywords to filter candidates. Do not confine the keywords to just the job title. Drill down to specific skill-sets or experience levels. Many job portals offer algorithms that automatically match candidates to jobs.

- Research specialised job portals, which list only resumes with specific skill sets.

- Opt for portals where it is possible to engage with the candidates through instant messaging and other means, and schedule interviews, rather than simply download resumes. Many resumes may be outdated, and in some cases, the candidate may already have secured a new position, rendering the recruiter’s efforts fruitless. About 75% of all resumes in major job boards are over 30 days old, and a good number are over four years old. A way to connect with candidates instantly allows the recruiter to shortlist more effectively.

Social Media

Social media is fast becoming all-pervasive, and it can have a significant impact on recruitment. It is very easy to lie on resumes, and many even get away with it. However, duping the recruiter through social media is a more difficult task.

The jobseeker's social media page is an online representation of actual life. Their interests, friends-list, and activities give away their background even without the need for a resume. Also, the information contained in the social media profile would be a telling reflection on the candidate’s personality and character.

If a candidate’s social profile is vague, misleading, or raises more questions than answers, then the candidate is probably not worth hiring in the first place.


Among the various social media channels, LinkedIn is a treasure-trove for recruiters. LinkedIn is a professional network, with members from over 130 different industries, covering all Fortune 500 companies.

The advantages of networking using LinkedIn include:

- Staying in touch with former colleagues, classmates and fellow professionals met at a conference. All of whom are potential future employees themselves, or a valuable source of references.

- Direct access to a rich and genuine pool of professionals with the relevant qualifications. Premium members may search for professionals who would make potential candidates, using the search function to filter by skill-sets, previous or current employers, or anything else.

- Referrals. Existing employees are most likely to refer their ex-colleagues or friends to apply for a vacant position in the company. LinkedIn connections of existing employees provide a ready database of such potential applicants.

- InMail. LinkedIn’s internal mailing system allows reaching out to potential prospects. The converse is also true.

Responding to questions posed by members, joining relevant groups, and even posting jobs for a fee are others ways to reach out to the wider network of professionals who have a strong presence in LinkedIn.

The Search Engine

The effectiveness of various internet-based recruitment channels, be it job portals, or social media websites, depends on a sound keyword strategy. Using the right keywords and search-string filters increase the chances of the most relevant candidates coming to the recruiter's notice. An improper search string, far from ensuring the listing of all potential candidates, may actually eliminate good candidates.

The ways to search intelligently are:

1. Selecting keywords and search-strings, based on the most relevant job title, skill-sets, job responsibilities, company names and other parameters.

2. Analysing the search results for effectiveness, to add or delete keywords from the search-string as required.

3. Repeating the trial-and-error process of refining keywords continuously until the search delivers the desired candidate-profiles.

It is essential to go beyond generic terms and phrases, such as "Java," "Oracle," "PHP" and the like. Words that imply responsibility such as "administrator", "develop" and "manage" or words that imply the environment such as "enterprise" or "host" make the search more relevant. A good search-string may read "Linux System Administrator," or "Java Team Leader with 3 years’ experience."

It is a good idea to run multiple searches, as it is impossible for one Boolean search to unearth all qualified candidates.

Use All Sources

It is important to use all available online sources, rather than confine yourself to any one channel. As such, the recruiter may have to post the job vacancy across various job portals and forums, update the careers section of the company website and remain active in social media.

Very often, those looking to change jobs search for companies. As such, it is important to ensure that the job posting has a high visibility and has a high search engine ranking.

Author Bio:
Stanley Albrighton has worked in the executive search business for several years and has enjoyed working alongside a number of prestigious organisations. He currently works for Marble Hill Partners.  

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