A recent iLogos Research study revealed 94% of Fortune 500 companies now hire employees online, a stark contrast from 1998, when only 29% of them were doing the same. If you own or manage a small business, that means the vast majority of your fiercest competitors are now spending less time and less effort on recruitment. And that leaves them with more time to, simply put, get a leg up on you.
Sure, it sounds like a threat. But isn't lack of technology an inevitable drawback for most small businesses? Absolutely not. Maybe 10, even 5 years ago. But not today.
Every time we do market research with small businesses, we hear three top reasons why the business has not yet implemented an online hiring solution, in which job candidates apply online: 1. The cost is too high 2. They lack the technological know-how 3. They believe setting up a recruitment software would take longer than just doing it the old-fashioned way
Those are all valid concerns, considering most small businesses operate on a tight budget and without an in-house IT department.
The good news is small businesses are fundamental to the North-American economy. In fact, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses drive the U.S. economy, representing 99.7 percent of all employer firms. In Canada, according to Statistics Canada, businesses with less that 100 employees account for 98% of all employer businesses.
Business software developers are now recognizing the importance of SMBs and designing employee recruitment software that caters to the specific budgetary and technological needs of small business.
It's important to do your research and find the technology that's the best fit for your company. When shopping around for a recruitment manager program, make sure to ask yourself the following questions:
1. Cost: Is the advertised price of this product the actual price my company is going to pay?
Beware of offers that are full of limitations. For example, will you have to pay more if a lot of people apply for your job? Is there a hosting charge for filing all the applicants' resumes? Is there a time-limit for your job posting, after which you have to pay extra charges?
2. Ease of technology: Is the technology really easy-to-use, even if I'm a computer novice?
The best way to find this out is by trying the product yourself. Most companies offer free trials of their products, which are a great idea, as long they are risk free. Keeping in mind question 1, make sure the trial has no hidden charges. Also try out the front-end application process to make sure it's really going to be easy when your job candidates apply online.
3. Setup: How long will it take to get up and running?
You don't want to get stuck with a product that takes so long to setup, that by the time you're done, you could have done everything the old-fashioned way. It's a good idea to talk to a sales representative and ask him/her to explain to you the exact steps you'll need to take to setup for a job.
4. The product: What's included?
What does this product do? What doesn't it do? Some programs offer only the online job posting functionality. Others focus on the back-end, like collecting resumes, organizing, filtering and searching employees, scheduling interviews, etc. When looking for a program that takes care of the back-end, make sure the company will also be able to help you with the posting functionality, whether you're putting up a poster on your store window, running an ad in the local paper or posting on job websites.
5. Service: Will I get a helping hand?
Since most small businesses do not have an IT department, one of the most important questions to ask here is what kind of service will you get. Will you get email support? Phone support? Online Live Help? Will you be speaking to a real business person who knows about the specific challenges you're facing, or to someone who only knows the tech aspects of the program?
Remember it's your company's efficiency that's at stake here, so don't be afraid to ask questions or request a free trial. Hiring online may sound like something only fit for the big guys, but remember this is the 21st century, which means technology and small business are the most important aspects of our economy.
Robert Burko is president of Eliteweb.cc, a VIP portal & suite of Fortune 500 tools for small businesses.
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