Need staff now? Take a dip in your talent pool

Finding the right people for the job is becoming an exact science, which through internet-based technologies and best practice, may save you thousands of dollars over the next few years...


The cost of hiring is often the bane of the human resources department, which faces growing pressure to increase efficiency and still deliver the right talent at the lowest possible cost. Meeting that daunting goal is made harder by skyrocketing print advertising costs and the stress of sorting the ‘try hards’ from genuine qualified applicants. Creating a short list from piles of differently formatted CVs, all asserting they’re “the ideal candidate” takes valuable time.

How does technology help find the talent?

Rather than a piecemeal approach, e-recruitment uses smart software and the web to streamline the short-listing process and open the way for companies to build their own talent pool for future staffing needs. The recruitment landscape has changed significantly recently, with many larger organisations outsourcing human resources operations or adopting hybrid approaches. Advertising, reference checking or psychometric testing might be farmed out – with interviewing and administration handled in-house.

Increasingly though, HR professionals are looking to technology to ease the burden and automate manual processes so they can focus on more strategic areas. The internet is an attractive alternative with many agencies realising online job boards are complementary to traditional recruitment approaches and a cost-effective way to reach a large audience of job seekers.

Today the majority of recruiters have an online presence as well as specialised software to elicit information from applicants and quickly screen applications down to a quality shortlist. These systems can often be customised using smart filtering techniques – to deliver exactly the kinds of recruits sought. Often recruitment or company sites allow job seekers to create a personal account with an email address and password, so they can maintain their CV and personal details.

Larger job board sites such as Seek and netcheck provide links from their job adverts to external career sites, standardising candidate input so it can be directly entered into a human resources database. This prevents employers from being bombarded with masses of differently formatted CVs. Such systems can track where job applicants come from – so advertising effectiveness can be measured – and automate acknowledgements and the notification of those who are unsuccessful.

A key tool in the online recruitment model is integrated psychometric profiling which is complementary to skills-based assessment. One approach, after initial screening is to benchmark applicants against existing employees who are considered ‘star performers’ to help measure their suitability for a given role and job goals.

Filling your own private talent pool

Instead of advertising afresh for each new role, smart organisations are using this new breed of e-recruitment software to build and manage their own talent pools. An organisation with a large staff turnover, call centres for example, can build a database of pre-screened potential employees to call on when the need arises. For example, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare recently ran a major advertising campaign inviting suitable candidates to submit their CVs, so it could top up its ‘talent pool’ in readiness for future vacancies. 

Counties Manukau Sport uses online technology to invite people to register their interest and credentials or apply directly for a job. The company has saved time, money and paperwork and in some cases avoided advertising altogether by searching their existing database to fill positions. The Royal NZ Foundation for the Blind also reports significant savings in a job market where they’re in competition for the same skills sought by the corporate market. “Sophisticated online tools allow you to easily distinguish between people with good skills fit and those with good cultural fit. That’s not something you can pick up from just a CV,” says fundraising manager  Jeanette Manson.

Recruit Direct director Claire Trilford works with clients’ existing HR policies and procedures and, using a team of senior recruiters and an e-recruitment tool from Wellington based PeopleNet, creates a database of premium talent. The recruiters find, interview, evaluate and shortlist, ultimately presenting a choice of two candidates for each position. She says savings add up quickly when you consider it typically costs over $9000 in fees and advertising to hire any type of manager or technical staff member using traditional methods.

Is there proven ROI for e-recruitment?

According to StaffCV marketing manager Gayleen Robinson, return on investment can easily be gauged by evaluating the time spent on administration, the cost of advertising and communications, and use of agencies. Simply compare the cost of manual recruitment with online methods and the cost of an agency commission to employ someone on an average $32k salary for example.

The cost of a recruitment drive can range between $1200 and $6100. The time taken to communicate with and interview an estimated 80 job applicants and create a shortlist could be 40 hours – compared with around six hours for an online system. Administration savings alone could be up to 50% of the entire placement cost, says Robinson, with some clients estimating as much as 90%.

“We base our ROI estimates on a 75% time saving, which is considered conservative,” she says. “What you can’t put a value on is the goodwill you develop with job seekers and the enhancement of your brand. You may also improve the payback of your total website investment, through streamlined business process and increased efficiency.”

Solution Provider Profiles
Not all e-recruitment solution providers are the same. We asked three leading companies to detail their service.


Andrew Braae from SnapHire (left) and Richard Barry from IPS (right)  

Your key points of differentiation?
Having product support and the development teams locally, and leveraging off our partnerships with human resources experts such as Integrated People Strategies.                                                                   
How does SnapHire screen applicants and how important is this?
We provide a wide range of screening approaches from simple multi-choice to targeted questionnaires and forced rank-style psychometric tests. For larger organisations, however, automated screening is just a small piece of the overall erecruitment picture. Equally as important are the technologies to support real human evaluation, attraction of the right candidates in the first place, automated monitoring of recruitment advertising effectiveness across different media, flexible workflows, online access for agencies and other partners, applicant tracking and communications.

Who’s using your service and how are you positioning your offering?
We support the recruiting efforts of organisations with 300 to 50,000 employees. In New Zealand SnapHire powers the recruiting of companies including BP Oil NZ, Telecom (, Fonterra (, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare ( and Boise Office Products.

Your recommendations for those considering an e-recruitment system?
There are huge differences between apparently similar products, so selecting the right product is absolutely vital. An issue often highlighted by prospective customers is the ‘smoke and mirrors’ problem. Because on the surface an e-recruitment product looks just like a set of web pages, it’s easy for someone to start with a set of web pages, add some marketing materials, and sell it as an e-recruitment product. A package like this may demo well but neglect important areas such as candidate search, audit trails, conforming to the Privacy Act, performing regular security reviews, password management, etc. Or it may simply have design flaws or performance problems that make it unusable under real volume.

There are a few ways to deal with this. Talk to actual customers – people who are really using the product ‘in anger’, with tens of thousands of job seekers and hundreds of jobs. Go to a few live sites, register as a job seeker, and evaluate the candidate experience for yourself. Finally, be wary of up-front charges – a welldesigned and complete product should map onto your recruitment processes without modification, and so the vendor should offer it for a fixed monthly fee, possibly with free implementation and perhaps a money-back guarantee after a trial period. Selection of an e-recruitment platform should be a low risk exercise for you.

For further information about Integrated People Strategies contact
Richard Barry 09 917 6142

For further information about SnapHire contact
Andrew Braae 09 308 0323

Gayleen Robinson: StaffCV

Your key points of differentiation?
StaffCV is a Windows-based software product: unique in the e-Recruitment space, as tools are predominantly browser-based. Key benefits are the user interface,

the availability of functions that provide greater control and ease of navigation (eg, drag-and-drop, right-mouseclick), and the fact that it is very intuitive for the average Microsoft user to learn. Secondly, the client ‘owns’ full content management of the recruitment website. They are given all the tools they need to design pages and create all content. They don’t need specialist IT expertise, and don’t have to come back to StaffCV each time they want to make changes. Our pricing model is uniquely based on success. Our goal is to allow a business of any size to participate in e-recruiting, by removing blanket participation fees and only charging a small flat fee when a hire is made.

How does StaffCV screen applicants and how important is this?
Detailed search filters are created based on any piece of information collected on your recruitment website. The software applies these filters to candidates who have applied for a particular job, or across your entire database. Searches will return suitable candidates in score order according to how closely they meet the filters. Key word searching is also available. StaffCV also has filtering functionality based on psychometric evaluation. Candidates complete a profile of their work preferences (how they like to work), and can be compared with ‘Star Performers’ in the business, and against validated job suitability mandates. Targeted screening for fit to jobs, teams and culture is essential when sourcing candidates from the internet. The key is to ensure a qualified shortlist, and to get to that shortlist faster.

Who’s using your service and how are you positioning your offering?
Organisations with 10 or 10,000 employees can participate in our model. Clients include: Environment Canterbury (, Royal NZ Foundation of the Blind ( and Talgentra (

Your recommendations for those considering using an e-recruitment system?
Buy for tomorrow as well as today, and talk about future strategy with your provider. E-recruitment’s premise is to strip the cost of recruiting out of your business, so it’s important to understand how a provider is planning to do this into the future as well. Considering total cost of ownership, not just return on investment is also a key part of this.

For more information about StaffCV contact
Gayleen Robinson
09 921 3130

Lisa Cutting: PeopleNet

Your key points of differentiation?
The way our system searches and shortlists candidates. Rather than using text-based key word searching of candidate CVs, our filtering power comes from a full database-driven candidate profile. The design of the candidate profile is based on the client’s unique requirements. This ensures we provide results quickly and efficiently.

How does PeopleNet screen applicants and how important is this?
Candidate profiles are fully customised and enable the client to screen applicants using a sophisticated algorithm based on multiple experiences and an unlimited number of skills, rated using many levels of expertise – beginner through to expert. This ensures you’re able to immediately identify which people in your talent bank have the closest match to your job requirement. A percentage indicator instantly shortlists candidates based on the criteria for each job.

Who’s using your service and how are you positioning your offering?
EDS has been using a PeopleNet system to build its own talent pool since August 2002. During this time it has recruited more than 80% of its people directly – only advertising outside of the solution twice. The system is so efficient it’s enabled EDS to recruit over 200 people utilising just one full-time internal recruiter and a part-time casual contractor. The EDS solution can be found at

Your recommendations for those considering using an e-recruitment system?
We advise those considering e-recruitment to ensure they’re not just considering automating a traditional recruitment process. E-recruitment has the ability to totally re-engineer the recruitment process. Savings should include reduced internet and print advertising costs as well as a major reduction in traditional recruitment fees. The management time savings will be substantial once a true proactive recruitment environment has been established.

For more information about PeopleNet contact
Lisa Cutting
04 496 5585

September 2003


e-Recruitment solution questions to ask:

  • Can you build and customise it to suit your own business and processes?
  • Can you control content provided by candidates, and ensure the relevance and validity of this information?
  • Can you build a talent pool even when you’re not recruiting?
  • How long does training take, and what does it cost?
  • Are you going to be up and running quickly?
  • Does it have job description, job goals, minimum requirements builders and wizards?
  • Are there additional screening components, such as psychometric testing?
  • Are all communications and actions maintained in a history log for legal purposes?
  • Are there any ongoing costs for enhancements, changes or upgrades?
  • Is it scalable, and are there different cost options for the size of your business and the amount of recruiting you do?








































































































Further reading from a leading e-Recruitment solution provider

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