Recruiters can Brijj gap between passive and active job seekers

Recruiters can Brijj gap between passive and active job seekers

New Delhi: The parent firm of job portal, Info Edge (India) Ltd, has unveiled, a business networking site for professionals.

The website, which is in beta phase and will be formally launched very soon, aims to provide professionals across industry sectors and regions the ability to make contacts, exchange ideas and explore business opportunities inside or outside their industry or region. But, more than providing professionals a medium to interact with each other, the website is really aimed at tapping “passive job seekers".

Traditional job sites don’t tap people who are not actively looking for a job. Info Edge’s chief operating officer Hitesh Oberoi believes that a networking site can plug that gap.

“Unlike job sites, which have the sole objective of bringing together recruiters and job seekers, a professional networking site helps achieve much more than that," he says. “This site may help people tap candidates who may not be available in the active job market, but are just perfect for their particular requirements. The site will also provide an informal environment where a candidat’s personal skills can be tested without making him or her conscious."

Info Edge’s move comes in the wake of growing recognition of the potential networking sites hold for recruiters and companies, looking beyond traditional avenues to tap manpower. In fact, as the war for talent intensifies, many firms are already spending time trawling blogs and professional as well as social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Orkut, hi5, DesiMartinini, MySpace, MingleBox and Facebook in search of potential hires.

“Every source is an important pool in today’s time," says A. Sudhakar, executive vice-president, human resources, Dabur India Ltd. “Traditionally, too, a part of hiring has always happened through networking. With prevalent use of the Internet, the same concept has gone online."

At communications software firm Aricent Inc. (formerly Flextronics Software Systems Ltd), a technical recruiters team has been investing a lot of time exploring social networks and e-groups for potential hires for the last 8-10 months.

“Hires from sites such as Orkut, comprise about 15-20% of the 35% recruitment done from job portals, social networks and special e-groups," says Indrajit Sen, director, talent acquisition at Aricent.

Temping company TeamLease Services Pvt. Ltd has also been testing waters in the last six months and plans to figure out its e-networking team in the next several months. On an average, TeamLease hires 5,000 people every month, out of which 5-8% come from these networking sites. “Seeing the results, we are aiming at increasing the number of hires from online networks to almost 12-15% by the year-end," says Rajesh A.R., TeamLease’s vice-president, temping.

Staffing firm Kelly Services India Pvt. Ltd uses such sites to build its database. “At present, we are not using e-networks for sourcing people in a big way, but will do so in the near future," says Achal Khanna, country general manager, Kelly Services. Info Edge plans to integrate Brijj with Naukri in the coming months.

“Naukri, currently, has a database of over 10 million resumes. An integration with Naukri will lend Brijj a better opportunity to bring in people who are off Naukri when they’re not looking for a job," he adds. Right now, Info Edge has a very simple revenue model for Brijj—users pay for people they don’t know directly. So, for a fee of Rs2,000, one can get 20 contacts. Experts say recruiters are setting the path for companies to follow.

“It’s the cost benefit that will see more companies and recruiters join the bandwagon," says TeamLease’s Rajesh. Apart from low-cost hires, the sites can also be useful in finding people with niche skills, for instance a mountaineering trainer or a French-conversant communications engineer.

The flip side to looking for people from these networks is that the process is quite time consuming. “This is perhaps one of the reasons for its slow take-off," says Kelly’s Khanna.

Seeing a business opportunity, recruiters are also planning to put up banner and text ads on these sites in the near future., in association with Yellojobs, advertises its online referral programme on Orkut, while TeamLease plans to put up ads and sponsor e-group meets in the coming months.

“We plan to continue with advertising on networking sites," says Vikramjit Singh Sahaye, general manager, Yellojobs India.

Observers, however, say the sites can only be used to hire freshers or people with zero-five years experience since the majority of e-networking spaces are frequented by youngsters. “Unlike in the West, you will rarely find senior professionals on Orkut or MySpace," says Sen. Recruiters feel it’s just a matter of time before senior professionals, too, join in.