April 2000 | Case Studies | I.T. Toolkit

Online Recruiting: Set Your Sights on These Job Sites

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Vertical dot.coms make it easy, economical, and expedient to recruit logistics professionals.

We're living in the right market at the right time. Building a business and closing deals comes easy for companies operating in every segment of the logistics industry. The bigger challenge is servicing customers and retaining accounts.

Staying ahead of the technology curve is one area that keeps a company competitive. But the greatest single contributor to the success of a logistics company is its people. Whether it's looking for executive management, a warehouse supervisor, or truck drivers, every company is faced with the dilemma of how to recruit qualified, high-performance individuals.

Dot.com solutions that are targeted specifically to this vertical industry are making it easier, more economical, and more expedient to recruit experienced logistics professionals.

While bulletin boards such as Monster.com and Headhunter.net serve a purpose, recruiting professionals share horror stories of being inundated with large quantities of poor-quality responses. Often there isn't even a category dedicated to logistics on the broad-based executive recruitment sites.

Gina O'Leary, director of support services at Search Logix, an Atlanta-based executive recruitment firm, has been posting career opportunities on the Internet for four years. She has become more selective in the sites she chooses because "everybody is searching on the Internet for jobs" and she wants to avoid the avalanche of mediocre responses that inevitably follows a posting on popular bulletin board sites.

"Serial Clickers"

"We're looking for a particular class of candidate with specific experience in the logistics industry," says O'Leary. "The problem with a horizontal executive placement site is that you get responses from all the 'serial clickers'—anybody who can spell logistics thinks he is a qualified candidate."

When JobsInLogistics.com launched in February 2000, O'Leary was delighted to see a resource targeted specifically to this industry. "It's incredible to be able to utilize a site that is just breathing logistics," she says. "All of the responses we have received from JobsInLogistics.com have been very targeted, and the quality keeps getting better as professionals in the industry realize the site is available. Currently, I have three people out on interviews from postings on JobsInLogistics.com."

Search Logix posts positions on its web site as well as utilizing other dot.com resources. Herring Associates, Little Rock, Ark., also specializes in the distribution and logistics industry, but sees little value in posting jobs on its own web site.

"Monster.com provides a good format, but everybody and his brother goes to that site looking for jobs," says Richard Bing, vice president of operations at Herring Associates, an executive search firm that works primarily with major retailers including Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target, Lowes and Limited. "I'm excited about having a bulletin board dedicated exclusively to the logistics niche.

"We pride ourselves on finding exactly the right people for our clients," he says. "We've posted five positions on JobsInLogistics.com and have had very good success with the quality of individuals who have responded."

Considering that JobsInLogistics has been live less than two months, these are rather impressive endorsements. The site met its 16-week projection for 500 postings within the first four weeks, making it one of the fastest-growing sites on the Internet, according to its CEO and president, Don Firth.

At the recent Florida Venture Capital Conference, leading investors and financial analysts selected 20 of the best prospects for venture capital in the Southeast. From hundreds of potential choices, JobsInLogistics.com was one of only 20 candidates named. The site also carries the credible weight of Firth's 30-year career in the logistics industry.

"It's a very tight market for finding logistics professionals," notes Firth. "When competitors are selling the same products at the same price, logistics is what decides the most successful companies. E-commerce has greatly intensified the demand for logistics professionals because e-tailers are essentially logistics companies. Their whole operation depends upon distribution."

Advanced supply chain systems, heightened levels of technology from RF communications throughout the distribution center to real-time transportation adjustments, and automated fulfillment processes are necessitating a more educated and experienced workforce for logistics positions.

In the logistics industry, traditional blue collar workers have exposure to technology and often are surfing the net in their off hours. "JobsInLogistics.com is for all levels of positions. There's a demand for forklift operators and drivers as well as for executives," affirms Firth.

Rob Reich, director of workforce planning and development at Schneider National, Green Bay, Wis., frequently uses the Internet for recruitment and "definitely sees the Internet as a good opportunity to recruit drivers." During the last year, Schneider has posted 200 to 250 positions on Monster.com, Reich estimates, as well as posting jobs on its own web site.

Like Bing and O'Leary, Reich has begun to use JobsInLogistics.com and is very pleased with the results. "I like that it's targeted specifically to this industry. Almost 100 percent of the responses we've gotten from JobsInLogistics have been from candidates whom we would like to interview," says Reich. "It certainly saves time, and it allows us to reach candidates who otherwise would not see our ads."

Reich reports a typical newspaper ad costs $1,500 to $3,000 and has visibility limited to the life and circulation of each newspaper. Contrast that with an Internet posting that stays live for 60 days, is available to be viewed by the world, and costs around $100 to $150. The cost savings become even more dramatic if Internet recruitment is compared with the cost of an executive search firm, which typically earns 25 to 30 percent of the new employee's first- year salary.

The partnership that is being forged between JobsInLogistics.com and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) is another coup for the dot.com. On May 7, 2000, FMI will launch SuperJobMarket.com, a site dedicated to recruitment for the food industry. FMI has selected JobsInLogistics.com to be the logistics arm of its offering, with a hyperlink that connects visitors directly to JobsInLogistics.

The most innovative and unique approach to employee recruitment is offered by JobSeeker.net. Dedicated exclusively to transportation, the site posts profiles and personality assessments of candidates. A recruiter can utilize the site to proactively search and preview qualified candidates as opposed to waiting for responses to ads.

In February, The Forrester Report's study on Internet recruiting, entitled Career Networks, predicted online recruitment will become "assessment driven and profile based." This finding succinctly reinforces the premise behind JobSeeker.net, according to Michael Bilodeau, the company's president and CEO.

"Other sites are basically bulletin boards or repositories of postings, and do nothing to qualify candidates for prospective employers," says Bilodeau. "Our evaluation helps qualify and quantify candidates before a company invests time and money toward recruiting. In the moving and storage industry alone, the recruiting effort for one individual averages $8,100, not including relocation costs."

JobSeeker.net has a five-step assessment process including an individual profile, self-analysis, personality assessment, professional summary with 10 questions to quantify how the candidate utilizes time at work, and an industry assessment to gauge the candidate's aptitude of the industry as a whole.

Membership Perks

Candidates looking for career opportunities may post profiles at no cost. Organizations looking to recruit individuals are charged a one-time membership fee of $2,995, plus monthly dues scaled to the size of the organization. Members are allowed unlimited access and use of the site.

Another value-added benefit is that JobSeeker.net has an interactive customer service component so people are available to assist recruiting companies with searches for prospective candidates. The customer service representatives also prepare due diligence reports to verify candidates' employment histories.

In the first six weeks since launching, JobSeeker.net has posted more than 3,500 profiles, with more than 70,000 hits. Price Timmerman, manager of business development at JobSeeker.net, is available to walk interested companies through a site "demo tour." The tour is well worth the 10 minutes it takes to become completely comfortable with the processes.

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