Online Recruiting

The tactic most often associated with online recruiting is posting employment ads on job boards or with professional associations that maintain a resume bank of job seekers in a specific industry or area of expertise. Small businesses conducting Internet recruiting should also ensure their own websites are up-to-date and inviting to potential job seekers. Company sites should not only provide product and service information but also make it clear why the firm is a great place to work. To this end, more small businesses are enhancing their "About Us" and "News" sections to emphasize the benefits of their corporate cultures.

Internet Recruiting Using Social Media

In recent years, small businesses have been finding that professional networking sites such as LinkedIn – and, increasingly, social networking sites such as Facebook – provide great opportunities for online recruiting. Since the best candidates are generally employed already, some companies feel these networking sites provide a way for them to get in touch with passive job seekers who are not actively scanning job postings.

Pitfalls to Avoid

There are, however, a number of limitations and pitfalls small businesses must be aware of when participating in online recruiting. One point to remember is that the major job boards are typically tapped out by other employers looking for candidates. In addition, hiring managers should take care when reaching out to individuals they encounter online. The digital equivalent of a cold call, sending an unsolicited posting or email to individuals who appear to be promising candidates, for example, can be counterproductive. Although individuals voluntarily post information about their professional experiences and goals on these sites, many prefer to be contacted by those who are already in their networks or through mutual acquaintances.

Personal Touch Still Critical

Despite the ease and efficiency of Internet recruiting, employers' online efforts should augment, not replace, traditional one-on-one personal contact. This includes outreach to potential candidates through networking events and campus job fairs, as well as relationships built with reputable recruiters. The rapport established through direct contacts helps employers and candidates better understand each other's needs, while the personal attention a client company receives when working with a dedicated recruiter makes it much easier to reach individuals with the specific skills that are sought. The deeper nature of these personal relationships is an advantage that is simply not available online. There is no question that the Internet has made it easier for small businesses to seek out new talent. The most successful hiring strategies, however, depend on a combination of resources that include both high-tech and high-touch approaches.