E-Recruiting: Definition, Tips and Common Mistakes

Two colleagues are checking the performance of their e-recruiting channels.

When was the last time you placed a printed job ad for a position? Most HR managers wouldn’t be able to answer this question instantly, as recruiting has been widely digitized, like so many other business processes. The “e” preceding “recruiting” makes the difference to conventional recruitment. This article explains what e-recruiting is, why it has become essential and what you should keep in mind when recruiting staff online.

Reach more candidates and hire the right ones – with Personio’s e-recruiting solution. Learn more here.

E-Recruiting Explained: Definition

Electronic or e-recruiting comprises the full range of recruitment from placing job ads to searching for candidates, receiving applications, selecting candidates and communicating with both applicants and internal stakeholders such as managers and team members.

The difference with conventional recruiting is that applicant management processes are managed digitally rather than offline. This means specifically that job openings are no longer published in print media, candidates no longer submit their applications by mail and HR managers no longer work with cumbersome Excel spreadsheets to manage applicants. In most cases, HR managers instead use HR software to support their recruitment of suitable candidates.

Why (E-)Recruiting Has Become Essential

Everybody wants to be more efficient. Faster. And secure the most talented candidates for their company. All three of these aspects incorporate one decisive factor which makes e-recruiting indispensable: competitiveness. And digital processes are essential for competitiveness for two reasons: They ensure that you keep up with other companies and help protect your image.

Image: Anybody still working with printed applications is considered conservative and old-fashioned in most industries. You won’t impress any of the coveted talent from Generation Y with print. They want forward-looking employers, who are identified by digital application processes, among others. Companies should therefore move with the times to be able to meet applicants’ needs.

Another important point: If environmental credibility forms part of your corporate image, you should put it into practice by removing all printed applications from your recruiting program.

Speed: Only 3% of companies prefer applications to be sent by (snail) mail. For good reason – they cost time and therefore money for you and your applicants. Applications need to be reviewed and qualifications analyzed and compared manually by all parties involved. This draws out recruiting processes unnecessarily and can cause frustration among candidates. In the worst case, talents will have already signed with another company in the meantime.

Be fast, efficient and more successful

Recruiting Software

Publish job ads, analyze their success and impress with your career page with only one tool: Personio.

What Is Covered by “E-Recruiting”?

E-recruiting covers several sub-processes of digital applicant management.

Publishing job openings: A separate career page and an online form are the basis for digital job ads. These can be customized. Do this by defining (required) fields that applicants are asked to complete. The system displays these at a glance and therefore makes it easy to screen and compare applicants’ qualifications in an initial analysis.

Multiposting: Have your job openings published in several job portals simultaneously. This increases your reach among the desired target group and saves a lot of time and effort.

Active sourcing: You can be found by applicants, or you look for applicants yourself, e.g. on social business platforms such as XING or LinkedIn. Numerous filtering and searching functions assist you in finding the right candidates for your job openings and contacting them directly, for example.

Structured selection of applicants: Using HR software to select applicants is helpful to ensure that the requirements of the position, the competent manager and the team are met in full. Software allows you to define specialist and personal criteria for each position, which are then queried via the online form. It automatically analyzes this information and rates each applicant accordingly.

A study on “Why Hires Fail,” which was conducted by Personio in collaboration with Bitkom Research, shows why a structured application funnel is important. Companies with a structured, software-based process hire more employees on average.

Digital personnel file: Entering applicant data manually into Excel spreadsheets or systems is cumbersome and costs a lot of time. With electronic applications, this data is automatically transferred to a digital employee file. You can then continue to use this digital file throughout the employee’s life cycle, e.g. for planning absences and employee development.

Communication with other departments: Which stage of the application funnel is a candidate currently in? Which colleague has interviewed the candidate already, and what feedback has been received from colleagues? HR software is able to cover all communication processes involved in the application funnel and thus increases both efficiency and transparency.

Make Your E-Recruiting More Efficient

Personio enables companies to get actively involved in e-recruiting. The software offers a wide range of functionalities for doing so:

  • Create a career page that perfectly reflects your CI/CD and use it to publish your job openings – without any prior knowledge of how to write code.
  • Create online applicant forms, which you can customize freely.
  • Have the software multipost job ads on more than 350 job portals.
  • Use digital personnel files to store applicant data directly online.
  • Allocate roles and rights to other employees to give them access to personnel files. Use reminders to remind them of feedback or other tasks that are due.

The Most Commonly Used Channels and Their Most Important Components

One of the fundamental tasks in employer branding is to position the company as an attractive employer for potential applicants. This is best done via the following three channels:

The company website: Your website is not only the stage for presenting your product(s), but also showcases your company, including as an employer. It should therefore provide the following information:

  • Key company data, e.g. the year it was established, its history and vision, the number of employees, brief introductions of its management and employee testimonials
  • Job openings including seamless job ads and an online form. However, keep the form short and don’t drag out the application process unnecessarily. It is sufficient if candidates are able to enter their first name, last name, email address and possibly a telephone number and salary expectations and can then submit their documents via an upload button.
  • Transparent introduction to the recruiting process
  • Contact person
  • Development potential and benefits
  • Also important is that your career page should be optimized for access from mobile devices, as many potential candidates use their smartphones to browse job openings after hours. And there’s nothing more frustrating for applicants than being confronted with an unreadable, confusing page which requires lots of scrolling.

Job portals: In most cases, people using Google to look for a job will be taken to a job portal first. It is therefore essential that companies are present in these channels if they want to reach applicants.

Social media: While social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook are now also counted as job portals, they are different, as applicants also use these online spaces privately for networking, professional development and (self-)marketing. Companies introduce themselves as attractive employers on these platforms, and potential applicants use them to present their skills to potential new employers. This makes social media particularly useful for searching for and finding applicants and new jobs.

Advantages for Companies

There are good reasons why e-recruiting has become so popular among companies and applicants. E-recruiting offers numerous benefits that make it easier to find new staff, and it is therefore increasingly replacing conventional recruiting methods.

Time savings apply at several levels:

  • You can publish job openings more quickly, as you aren’t bound by publication deadlines.
  • Applicants upload their documents to the company’s website with just a few clicks and provide basic personal data and information about their qualifications via the online form.
  • HR managers can see all applications, applicant data and application statuses clearly organized in the system and are able to decide more quickly which applications should move forward.
  • Automated processes such as automatic confirmation emails reduce the time spent.
  • HR managers can simply send reminders from the software rather than chasing down colleagues about applicant feedback. This facilitates and accelerates communication.

Reduced costs: If you use software in your e-recruiting, you’ll save costs in the long term. Why? Processes such as evaluating applications and communicating with applicants and stakeholders are accelerated. This saves time and therefore money.

Which factors are the largest drivers of HR costs? Find out in this article, which also provides useful recommendations on how you can avoid these costs.

Greater reach: If you publish job openings online, you reach not only more people, but also the people you want, because with online job ads you can define your target audience more clearly. Online ads are also available for longer, and potential applicants can find them actively via search engines.

Job ad design and updates: Whether text, images or even video – online ads offer more freedom in designing your job ads to attract greater attention from applicants. Moreover, online ads can be quickly updated, for example if you need to change something in a job profile.

And Some Disadvantages

However, e-recruiting also involves a few disadvantages for companies, especially if they’re just starting out with this approach.

Costs: The cost factor is both an advantage and a disadvantage. While software for e-recruiting will save you money in the long term, it does require an initial investment.

Initial effort: The time required to set up both the software and job ads and to modify processes accordingly can also act as a deterrent. And, yes – this will take time! But good suppliers will always provide you with support. They will assist you in setting up the software and ensure that it will deliver the outcomes you want.

You need to be fast: If you publish more job ads, you can expect to receive more applications. You’ll then need to be able to process these by providing timely feedback and screening the documents submitted by applicants. HR software allows you to automate these processes, which saves you time and effort.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

To start out with, it is essential to try and optimize. But there are a few mistakes that are commonly made in e-recruiting.

Don’t start without having a plan and a strategy. “Just trying it out” will not be successful in the long term. You should therefore consider early on which recruiting processes you intend to improve and how software can assist you.

Know your target group(s) and define your channels. Make a list of the essential qualifications you want applicants to have. These can be used as filter criteria in active sourcing, and lists can also help you define recruiting channels for individual positions.

More isn’t necessarily more. Avoid publishing on any and all job portals you come across. Think about where your target group really goes to look for job openings. A mix of generalized and specialist job portals works best in most cases, as it delivers both wide reach and addresses the relevant target group.

Make Your Job Ads More Effective

The dashboard shows you which e-recruiting channels deliver the most applicants, so you can prioritize them accordingly in the future.