Employers' On-Line Recruitment and Screening Practices

By Brencic, Vera; Norris, John B. | Economic Inquiry, January 2012 | Go to article overview

Employers' On-Line Recruitment and Screening Practices


Brencic, Vera, Norris, John B., Economic Inquiry


I. INTRODUCTION

At a relatively low cost, the Internet offers employers and job searchers access to detailed and up-to-date information about job searchers and job vacancies in different locations around the world, as well as novel tools that improve the ease and speed of search. (1) It is therefore not surprising that using the Internet has become an integral part of employers' and job searchers' search practices. (2) However, research has, to date, revealed relatively little about the Internet's role in matching job searchers to jobs, about activities that employers and job searchers pursue on-line, and whether the Internet benefits all employers and job searchers equally.

In this paper, we use technology in a novel way in order to collect new data and assess how employers use services offered by on-line job boards in an attempt to facilitate their search. The data record descriptions of job vacancies that were posted on the on-line job board Monster.com, from 2004 to 2006. From each vacancy's description, we can identify employers' use of on-line search tools, offered free of charge by Monster.com, that are designed to facilitate employers' search* We can also identify several vacancy and employer attributes. After the data collection, we tracked each vacancy for 16 weeks to identify the week a vacancy could no longer be accessed for viewing. On the basis of this information, we construct a measure of an employer's on-line search outcome: the duration of a vacancy's posting on Monster.com.

We use these insights for two purposes. First, we examine employers' use of services that are offered by Monster.com: the incidence of employers' use of these services when posting job openings on-line and attributes that can help to explain their use. Second, we examine whether vacancy and employer characteristics can also help to explain how long it takes before employers withdraw postings of their job vacancies from the on-line job board.

We find that not all employers choose to use on-line search tools when posting their vacancies on Monster.com, even though the tools can be used free of charge and are designed to facilitate employers' search. On-line recruitment and screening tools are more likely to be used when employers indicate active engagement in search or have a better knowledge of the Monster's online search technology due to having used it frequently. A standard model of employer search suggests that vacancy characteristics should help to explain employers' choice of on-line search tools. However, we find that relatively small differences exist in the likelihood that the online search tools are used across different types of vacancies. Both vacancy and employer characteristics can help to explain differences in the duration of a vacancy's posting on Monster.com in a manner that is consistent with a model of employer search.

In his survey, Autor (2001) was the first to review potential implications of the Internet for the functioning of the labor market at the time when the on-line recruiting industry was in its infancy. Since then, several papers have drawn on different data to examine the Internet's role in the labor market. Our paper complements this literature in three respects. First, it is one of the first to document how employers use services offered by on-line job boards, to facilitate their recruitment efforts. In this respect, the paper by Hadass (2004) is of some interest. Using data on the recruitment efforts of a single U.S. manufacturing firm in the second half of the 1990s, Hadass finds that new hires who were recruited via the Internet experience shorter tenure than those recruited via informal channels but similar tenure to those recruited through newspaper ads or a hired recruitment agency. In her analysis, Hadass can say much more about the Internet's role in matching workers to jobs than this paper because the author observes the outcomes of job searchers who were recruited on-line and can compare them to the outcomes of job searchers who were recruited through traditional search channels. …

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