JEDDAH: Afifa Jabeen Quraishi
Sunday 22 July 2012
Last Update 22 July 2012 10:53 am
Employers are finding suitable job candidates through company career websites and employee referrals and less from job boards and employment websites, according to a recent GCC study.
According to a new study, successful recruitment in the GCC come from three leading sources: the company’s database of all previously qualified and/or shortlisted applicants, commonly called a talent pool; the company’s career website; and employee referrals.
Interestingly, job boards or job sites are far behind, although they produce the most number of applicants along with the company site.
The study, titled “GCC Recruitment Survey,” is based on organizations in the GCC that have successfully adopted online recruitment methods.
Describing the results as “surprising,” Edward Musiak, Saudi Arabia’s country manager for Hiring Solutions Company that conducted the survey, said: “The surprise was that a company’s talent pool is its most valuable hiring asset.
“Although it makes sense and we knew that building a talent pool is important for employers — hiring from one’s talent pool costs nothing and increases the time to hire — we didn’t realize that it represented 23 percent of hires," Musiak said. “We would have expected job boards and social media to perform very well, but were surprised by the numbers. Company sites are the second most effective source of quality hires. This again will be a surprise to most employers and will make them think twice about their career pages.”
Job boards only generate 4 to 5 percent of hires even though they produced 29 percent of applications.
Musiak said: “This suggests that job boards deliver a big quantity of generally poor quality applications.”
He said social media was expected to produce a higher number of applications and hires but the study showed very few people applied through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
“We suspect that most employers, even the ones with an online recruitment strategy, don’t consistently advertise their vacancies on social networks yet," he said. “However, we think that organizations will increasingly leverage social media to recruit in coming years.”
Musiak defines a successful online recruitment strategy as “knowing where to advertise vacancies in places where your target candidates are likely to be looking, having a career site where you can attract good-fit applicants and using professional internal recruitment tools necessary to screen, classify, store and select top talent.”
Companies that have an online recruitment strategy gather as much information as possible about candidates’ qualifications and traits by using specific interview questions on their websites on top of the usual applicant data like experience and education. They build a tailored profile of the candidate that is not necessarily available on a regular CV.
This allows them to not only identify qualified applicants but also find the good-fit ones.
Musiak said an increasing amount of these recruiters are also beginning to use LinkedIn and other social media profiles to further evaluate candidates.
He said companies in Saudi Arabia use the Internet to advertise vacancies but are not equipped with the right tools to manage all the applications they receive; they are still going about using traditional methods that are not effective for today’s online world.
He added: “They don’t have a proper career site where people can apply and answer job-specific questions and they don’t have a good quality recruitment platform to help screen applicants and/or store them for future vacancies.
“In fact, most companies post their vacancies on job boards and end up getting a huge amount of email responses with CVs attached.
“They end up with generally poor quality CVs and no method of finding the ‘gems.’ Of course, this is changing rapidly.”
He said Bayt is the leading recruitment site while MonsterGulf, Naukri and GulfTalent.com are the other popular ones in the region.
“However, all job boards put together produce only 4 percent of hires, so it is not really significant.”
Do candidates in Saudi Arabia – both locals and expats – know what it takes to build powerful online profiles and get noticed?
Musiak said: “Good candidates in the Kingdom know how to build good online profiles.
“Studies suggest that Saudis have adopted social media very quickly.
“For those who need guidance, we would recommend that they carefully craft their online presence: LinkedIn, Twitter, industry-specific blog involvement, etc.," he said. “They need to make sure their online footprint is professional. Multinationals will review what a candidate is doing online and slowly but surely local companies will too.”
He also has advice for employers.
“We know from experience that good quality candidates, both expats and locals, don’t feel comfortable just sending their CV because it doesn’t allow them to engage with an employer, it is only a one-way process.
“They like knowing what company they are applying to and appreciate having a good application experience where they actually get employer feedback.”
Abdullah Al-Abdulqader, HR professional in one of the largest companies in Saudi Arabia, said: “More employers, whether in the Kingdom or abroad, are using social networks to advertise for vacant jobs and seek candidates.”
For jobseekers to be more noticeable in the marketplace, Al-Abdulqader advises the following: “Market themselves in the marketplace by presenting themselves professionally on social networks.
“Be concise and precise in describing their qualifications, expand their networks virtually in order to be well informed about job opportunities and to be found by employers, and to support their CVs with objective assessment results that demonstrate the person’s capabilities.”
He said there is no sure formula that can ensure recruitment.
“However, there are some proactive steps that can be taken by jobseekers to increase their chances to get the jobs they desire," he said. “The candidate should objectively exhibit the qualities, competencies and personality traits that make him or her best fit for the available job.
“This can be achieved by using career assessments such as the Myers Briggs test," he noted. “The result of this assessment will identify the fields or professions that best fit the assessed individual.”
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