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How Web Changed the Hiring Process

By Guest Blogger James D. Burbank

A person would have to be a complete and total Luddite to still believe that the internet has not already completely changed the way in which business is conducted. Some might argue that the basics have remained and that the only way internet is changing business is peripherally, but this would be shortsighted, to say the least.

An area where web has made some of the most dramatic changes is in recruitment. It does not matter if we are looking at companies who are looking for employees, job seekers who are looking for employment or recruitment agencies which are putting the two together; the internet has been simply paradigm-shifting.

Today, we will try and look at how web changed and is still changing the hiring process, both from the point of view of an employer, but also from that of an employee.

It Shrunk the World
Probably the most impactful thing the web has done for the hiring industry and the entire world of work is that it has brought the world together. This may sound like an overly utopic statement, but it is actually true. Before emergence of internet, someone from Singapore, for example, could not work remotely for a company based in Seattle. Sure, if there was a branch of that company in Singapore, they might have made it happen. These days, many of the leading companies in the world feature remote workers as part of their operation.

This has done incredible things for job seekers, but it has also opened the world of possibilities for businesses as well. Whereas previously they were limited by geography and regulations of their own country, they can now find a cheaper but equally skilled workforce abroad. (Perhaps even more skilled.)

It Simplified Things
On the one hand, one might think that the internet has made the job search and the hiring process more complicated, but it has actually done the complete opposite. It is easier than ever before to find a job ad and apply for that job. There is definitely no shortage of all kinds of websites where companies and job seekers alike can go to search for the perfect fit.

As a consequence of this, hiring has become cheaper for companies who often have to hire recruitment agencies to fill their positions. Of course, it is unrealistic to believe that such websites can completely replace the experience and the expertise of recruitment agencies, but for many companies, such websites are a perfectly comprehensive hiring tool.

It goes without saying that web has also made the interviewing process much more comfortable and efficient.

It Made Hiring More Democratic
Before we get into this one, we should probably say a thing or two about the connotations associated with the term “democratic” as it is used here. By democratic, we mean more transparent above everything else. Of course, there are some added facets to this democratization of the hiring process, but we will get to them in due time.

This improved transparency is one of the best things the internet has done for the hiring process. On one hand, you have job seekers who nowadays have a much improved insight into the hiring practices of a certain company. In short, it has become very difficult for companies to hide certain “unsavory” practices when hiring or handling their employees in general. For example, the almost invariably harmful nepotism in the workplace is much more difficult to pull off when everyone is on social media and exchanging their experiences.

In addition to this, the web allows job seekers to learn more about the companies they apply for. The inside track is becoming less and less obvious and, in the end, useful. If a job seeker is ready to do the legwork, they can get all the information they might need to land a job.

When companies are in question, they can also benefit from a more transparent job market. For one, they also have improved access to information, allowing them to research potential employees more thoroughly. In addition, they can find out about other companies’ hiring methods, good practices and mistakes and use them to improve their hiring process.

Do not get us wrong, we are not completely oblivious to the somewhat controversial ethics of all that web spying on one’s potential employees and even employers, but we do believe that the transparency is, on the whole, a good thing.

Closing Word
There are innumerable other aspects of the hiring process that have been irreversibly changed by the growing importance of web as an extension of the work ecosystem, of course. However, we believe that the ones we have covered here have been the most overarching and comprehensive, truly taking the entire field to a whole other level.

Ignore it at your own peril.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James D. Burbank has worked in the trade show industry for more than 15 years and he has seen business all over the world make smart decisions, but also stupid ones. He’s been blogging about his insights on his blog BizzMarkBlog and elsewhere.

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