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How the World Wide Web changed recruitment

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The World Wide Web is 25 years old, believe it or not. Almost as old as Devonshire is. Since the birth of the web, recruitment and job hunting have changed beyond recognition. There was once a time when CVs would arrive in the post and have to be carefully filed in over-flowing cupboards. Now, you probably can’t remember the last time you put a CV in an envelope.

The web has opened up an extraordinary range of ways to advertise and apply for jobs. Newspapers used to be filled with pages of job adverts – now they’re all on job boards online, getting thousands of hits a day as people do targeted searches to find exactly what they are looking for. LinkedIn allows recruiters and job seekers to connect directly, while your LinkedIn profile acts as an online CV that showcases your skills and experiences to the world.

Social media allows people to track relevant hashtags and companies, and keep abreast of developments as soon as they occur. By liking a company page on Facebook or following a Twitter account, job alerts can come to you. Not to mention signing up for eNewsletters, which deliver jobs directly into job hunters’ inboxes, while also giving recruiters and employers a ready-made pool of qualified and interested candidates.

But have we lost something in our increasing reliance on online job hunting? Is it keeping employers and candidates from networking face-to-face, and removing the human element from recruiting? Candidates often need to complete online assessments and conduct Skype interviews before they even get to shake the hand of their potential employer. The web is meant to save us time – shouldn’t you use some of that time to properly assess the people whose CVs have passed the initial criteria checks?

Our consultants strive to meet all of our candidates face-to-face before we put them forward for roles, because we know that a good cultural fit between employee and company is vitally important. An over-reliance on online assessments might be able to tell you if someone has the right skills for the job, but they can’t tell you if you’ll actually want to work with them. And how can a candidate know whether or not they would like the job in question until they’ve had a chance to grill their potential employer face-to-face?

But, on the whole, the web has made it much easier to get jobs. It’s also opened up a whole new avenue for innovative CVs and self-promotion, like Robby Leonardi’s excellent online CV. The decrease in offline applications allows the really creative ones to stand out, be it CVs on a pizza box or standing on a plinth in Trafalgar Square holding a list of your achievements. The web has become the standard – and the easiest – way of advertising and applying for jobs. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon the human approach altogether. You can guarantee it will catch people’s eye.

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