Various organisations are using the Internet and other forms of modern technology to put employers and job candidates in touch with each other. But Reed Graduate claims to be the first electronic recruitment service for graduates to be backed by a nationwide network of professionally qualified consultants.
Alec Reed, founder and chairman of Reed, says: "I have a strong belief in the potential the UK's new graduates offer employers - and feel certain that smaller organisations as well as blue-chip multinational can benefit from this."
But Tom Lovell, manager of Reed Graduate, says the service will be especially useful for small and medium-sized enterprises that have been unable to justify the expense of the traditional milk round. "At last, here is a service which offers companies cost-effective access to top graduates, and graduates easy access to a host of opportunities throughout the country," he says.
Under the system, graduates or final-year students submit their CVs via the Internet, e-mail or on floppy discs supplied free by Reed. In return, they get a free hard copy of their CV reworked into a standard format by Reed.
The details, with contact information kept in confidence, are then made available to employers via the Reed Graduate database, which can be searched either centrally or in any one of Reed's 200-plus branches around the UK. Employers can carry out their searches using 18 criteria, including degree subject and work experience.
The idea, says the company, is to enable graduates to get more than 500 trained recruitment consultants around Britain working on their behalf by completing just one application form. Employers, meanwhile, gain by being able to tap into top talent throughout the country, whether to supplement their milk round activities or as a substitute for them.
The service is free to graduates, and free to employers until they employ candidates.
The initiative comes as recruitment experts are predicting an explosion in the use of the Internet for job searching. Mark Jones, a specialist in the field of Internet recruiting, told the Institute of Personnel and Development's recruitment conference this week that "geeks, nerds and academics" were no longer the only people who looked for positions via the World Wide Web. Moreover, those job seekers who were using the technology were demonstrating that they were ready to embrace change and master new ways of doing things.