Column: Internet forces IT recruitment rethink

The Internet is changing the face of the IT recruitment industry both in the types of skills needed and in the way positions are being filled.

In an article I wrote for Computerworld several weeks ago I said that recruitment companies are divided over whether Internet-intranet skills are specifically being asked for by employers.

Andrews Partners director Paul Parry says not a lot of positions have been generated by the Internet and those that have been are mainly consulting jobs.

Most companies tend to be in the exploratory phase or are handling the job in-house.

However, doughty Group director Beverley Pratt says the opposite, finding there has been a big demand for creative strategies in Internet use not just technical skills because of the user-friendly nature of a lot of new Web page creation software coming on to the market.

There is no doubt that many employers and IT job seekers are bypassing recruitment companies by going to job pages on the Internet.

Employers in the US have been a little short-sighted in not anticipating the considerable number of job applicants they have started to receive from foreign countries job hunters on the Net typically have no problem with relocating to get the job they want. Many job sites are now having to specify that the jobs they are offering are for American citizens only, or they direct the searcher to an international job page such as PeopleBank, based in the UK.

This page offers a detailed CV form for job-seekers to fill out, including which countries they are prepared to relocate to, and in some countries, such as Australia and Ireland, the states or counties can be specified as well.

If job-seekers have not yet left their jobs (and they havent told their employers theyre looking elsewhere), they can click the confidentiality option in case their employers are browsing the same source for new staff. When the confidentiality option is checked, PeopleBank contacts the job-seeker before passing their details on to potential employers.

PeopleBank also has a devilishly tricky personality indicator test to fill out, but that is optional. It says it included the test in response to employers requests for personality details to ensure future prospects are compatible with their teams.

PeopleBank can be found at http://www.peoplebank.com/.

For employers in New Zealand who wish to hire contract IT workers from here or abroad, services include an Internet site called Freelance World.

The service, which is Wellington-based, was set up by consultants Martin de Jong and Rowan Smith. It lets employers search an online database of resumes provided by freelance contractors. A message routing service allows candidates to be contacted by potential employers without revealing names or email addresses.

There is an annual $200 charge to contractors and the service is designed to be used in place of agencies which charge an hourly rate to place contractors.

The company starts taking listings this month and registrations will be free for a short time. Smith says the service will also be useful for IT students seeking job experience.

"Discussions we had at Victoria University highlighted the need for a service such as Freelance World to help graduate or undergraduate students locate suitable work experience in IT. So we're offering free registration to computer science students," says Smith.

Freelance World is at http://www.freelance.co.nz.

On a slightly different note, daily newspapers have recently carried an advertisement for a WAN administrator for Auckland City Council's wide area network.

The ad runs: "Some wide area networks are a little wider than others … but size isn't everything", and is asking for someone with Internet-intranet skills, a relatively new qualification in IT job advertising.

The WAN administrator would be responsible for 1000 end-users at 20 sites. They would also have to ensure delivery of secure IT solutions to the desktop. This concern with security at the council is said by insiders to be one of the reasons why Auckland City's public library is being held back from putting its catalogue online--the council is scared hackers will somehow gain access to its records.

Meanwhile, Wellington City Council is providing free Internet terminals at convenient locations and allowing ratepayers to pay their bills through kiosks. Will Auckland be known as the info-less city by future generations?

(Keenan is a Computerworld staff writer.)

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