Net Advantage; the Internet Is Becoming the Quickest and Easiest Way to Go Job- Hunting, MARJORIE CALDER Advises

Article excerpt

THE Internet is moving so quickly into all areas of our lives that myths and assumptions are springing up around it which have little to do with known facts.

This situation led employment researcher Andy Parsley to set up a questionnaire to find out how many and what kind of people in the UK were job-hunting on the web.

More than 1000 Net-users were invited to take part, and their responses provided some surprising findings, says Andy, head of research and planning at recruitment specialists Bernard Hodes .

Andy said: "The general belief was that Internet jobseekers were all IT types and under 35. But this was all hunch and anecdote."

Earlier research done by Internet search specialists Yahoo! had placed jobsearch as the fifth most common usage of the Net.

So Yahoo! hosted the questionnaire to help Andy's team conduct a deeper investigation of what was going on.

The results were surprising, with almost two thirds of UK respondents confirming they had previously used the Net to look for work.

Four out of five did NOT work in computing or IT roles. Their jobs ranged from general management to finance, sales and secretarial.

Their ages also varied much more than expected, with a third of them over 35. The biggest user group was, however, in the 25-35 age range.

Scotland scored second highest, after the South East of England, in terms of number of respondents by location, but males dominated across the board. Regardless of area, males using the Net outnumbered females by three to one.

One woman who is reaping the benefits of using the Internet as a job- seeking tool is Clare Fagan from Glasgow.

She uses the Net efficiently and regards it as a practical business and research tool. She said: "I need a purpose to go in. I can't surf for hours just for the sake of it."

Clare was introduced to Internet technology while working in the NHS, but only really became aware of its benefits when she completed an MSc degree in information management.

Now she uses the Internet to make travel arrangements and for her personal banking and keeps in touch with friends via e-mail. So it was second nature when she was looking for a job to search company websites for information.

She lodged her CV with Hewlett Packard, who use a scanning system to match clients with vacancies and found herself being considered for the post of graduate software support specialist. She starts with Hewlett Packard in June.

Company recruitment manager Elaine Thow says the Internet is likely to be the only acceptable means of graduate application from this year on as Hewlett Packard try to encourage its use for jobseekers across the board.

Their system scans CV details very rapidly for key criteria and greatly cuts down on admin work, while greatly upping the speed of processing applications, says Elaine.

But she stresses that this does not mean the whole system will become more impersonal. With the Internet taking away much of the drudgery of manually processing applications, Hewlett Packard - and companies like them - are free to devote more resources to visiting university careers services and recruitment centres to up awareness and interest in their operations. …