Social Nets, Niche Employment Sites Likely To Snag Most Employer Dollars

Employers see social networking sites as one of the most promising channels for finding new hires, and 61% anticipate spending more of their recruitment budgets on sites like Facebook this year, according to a new report from Classified Intelligence, LLC.

Business networking sites like LinkedIn and employee referral programs followed closely behind, with 55% of employers saying they will allocate more dollars to them in 2008--while roughly the same amount said that they plan to spend less on print. Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based Classified Intelligence partnered with ERE Media Inc., an online recruitment community, to survey more than 170 recruiters in late 2007.

"Newspapers have a very difficult challenge trying to provide new tools for recruiters," said Peter M. Zollman, founding principal of Classified Intelligence. And as employers continue to shift their dollars away from print, they're willing to experiment and be creative--even using virtual worlds to find candidates, Zollman said. "Our research even shows online job sites don't fare as well as they used to," he said.

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Indeed, just 35% of employers said that they plan to increase their spending on sites like Monster and CareerBuilder, down slightly from 2007. Some 14% said that they will decrease spending on those sites this year--a shift being driven by a glut of poor-quality candidates and a one-size-fits-all mindset, according to Connie Thompson, managing editor at Classified Intelligence.

"Recruiters want to target specific types of candidates, rather than sift through a plethora of resumes from candidates who don't come anywhere near meeting their needs," Thompson said. "That's why the niche sites are faring a bit better. We believe that in eight to 10 years, niche sites of all types--verticals and local--will be much more important than general-purpose recruitment sites, and those will have developed their own multiple niches."

Video recruitment tools--including Web-based interviews via submission sites like Video Job Shop--were gaining traction, she said. "It's certainly an area to watch over the next year," Thompson said. "The report shows several examples of recruiters who experienced a tremendous increase in quality response through the use of video."

As for the virtual worlds, Thompson said they deserved a mention because this was the first year that multiple employers said they planned on using platforms like There.com and Second Life for recruitment. "We don't know how serious they are, but it does show that recruitment is moving in a new direction," she said.

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