Focus: Connections that can net you a job

JOSE RICARDO Rodriguez Ferreita - known as Junior - dreamed of using his Brazilian footballing skills in Europe. So he advertised himself on the Internet. The "Jobs Wanted" message was spotted by a fan from Rhayader, and 20-year-old Junior got an e-mail from Britain calling him over for a trial at the Welsh league club. Sadly, after a few games for the first team he did not make the grade, so he headed back to Brazil last month.

Phil Reid , a 45-year-old engineer, had a more successful experience with the Internet. He had changed jobs several times, using the time- honoured conventional checking of newspaper advertisements and registering with employment agencies.

To find a new position this spring, he went online, with almost immediate results. On 30 April he used his home computer to log on to monster.co.uk and found an advertisement for a post placed just the day before. He sent off his application and within days was being interviewed for job production engineering manager with Stafford- Miller, the healthcare company that owns the market-leading brands Sensodyne toothpaste and Polygrip denture treatment. By Monday last week he was at his new desk at the Plymouth plant.

Mr Reid says his experience proves how perception of the Internet has changed in a few years. "People seem to think that the Internet is just for younger anorak types," he says. "The Internet is for everybody."

And everybody is interested in keeping an eye open for better job prospects, be it from the privacy of their own home or through surreptitious surfing behind the boss's back at work. Job-related websites spring up almost weekly. Employers and recruiting agencies are exploiting a channel that can deliver not just information but people too.

Research by the US company Forrester shows recruitment is the fastest- growing advertising category on the Internet. In the UK, a study earlier this year by National Opinion Polls revealed that nearly 10.6 million people used the Internet at least once last year, an increase of 48 per cent on the previous year's seven million. Crucially, the report showed that more than a million British people are using it to search for jobs.

With established search consultancies trying to protect their turf by piling into the online market alongside upstarts, US estimates predict the total Internet recruiting market will grow from $250m this year to $5.1bn, or half the size of the traditional search industry, by 2003.

Sometimes, old habits die hard. Mr Reid did not sign on for an interactive test, and chose to send in his CV by post, not e-mail. But he still bears out some of the claims made for online recruitment. "It was much quicker, a very dynamic process," he says.

Ken Brotherston, UK managing director of Futurestep, the service launched by the leading executive search firm Korn/Ferry and the Wall Street Journal, believes this is part of what makes using the Internet attractive to companies. "Typically, a search takes 90 to 120 days," he says. "Over the Internet, it's about 30 days."

Futurestep has attracted 9,000 registered candidates since being established in Britain a month ago, and has been used by Shell, 3Com and other well- known organisations. Mr Brotherston claims it is also better than more conventional search processes thanks to an assessment tool the firm has developed that matches candidates and organisations according to both skills and experience.

"It's a massive saving on clients' time," he says. "And it should get better fits and lead to less likelihood of people leaving after six months, which is incredibly expensive." These benefits, he adds, justify him charging about the same as the traditional executive search fees.

With the technology throwing up the most suitable 50 candidates from up to 10,000 names almost instantaneously, there can be little complaint about the thoroughness of the search. "What it does is focus the consultant on what's important. It means the consultant can zoom in on people who are appropriate," he says.

Futurestep is even willing to help with the online equivalent of putting yourself around. Under the slogan, "It's not what you know, it's who knows you" it offers a service that enables job seekers to register for on-line tests of their decision-making abilities, suitability for certain positions, as well as a read-out on that key assessment of their worth on the market. Then they join a database which enables them to be considered for every suitable post.

Karen Skewies, director of monster.co.uk, the service Mr Reid used, says the Internet helps companies reach a wider audience, points candidates to corporate websites for full information about the organisation, and - increasingly importantly - attracts "computer-savvy people".

Not surprisingly, the information technology industry was among the first to see the recruitment value of the Internet. Noting that students and employees of other organisations were constantly accessing their websites, companies including Cisco Systems and Oracle started using them as recruitment tools.

Many sites are little more than bulletin boards - essentially an electronic form of the traditional advertisements that appear in newspapers and magazines - but as the technology develops, the sophistication is increasing.

A company called ITM has launched a service aimed at final-year students - almost all of whom have access to the Internet - that aims to make the job hunt look more like a trip through a theme park. The Internet-linked Activate CD-Rom allows candidates to access company websites and apply for positions online while also offering computer games.

More seriously, companies such as TMP, which includes monster.co.uk in what is claimed to be the largest network of "online career hubs" in the world, are attempting to move Internet recruitment beyond the electronic equivalent of the "passive advertisement". Ray Everett set up TMP's UK interactive business while working as a traditional recruitment consultant, and now puts particular effort into identifying areas on the web being used by his target audience, though they may not be looking for a job at that moment.

Internet forums - electronic clubs where people with common interests gather on the web - as well as newsgroups, where professional groups swap developments are ideal. Using powerful software, it can key in certain words and even look for individuals' home sites or attempt to track e- mails aimed at building ever bigger databases.

National boundaries are irrelevent. Mr Everett tells of the Glasgow operation of the US controls company Honeywell seeking a production engineer who knew the German market and could speak the language. Having tried and failed with the traditional newspaper advertisement route, Mr Everett's team posted the vacancy on the web and quickly came up with a German national, who got the job.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
US comedian Bill Mahr
people
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Sport
football
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Life and Style
Models – and musicians – on the catwalk in Dior Homme for the men’s 2015/16 fashion show in Paris
fashionAt this season's Paris shows, various labels played with the city boys' favourite
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Developer - Watford - £45,000 - £47,000

£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Product Manager - (Financial Services) - SW London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us