Interview: Online Recruiting Founder Sees Major Role for Social Networking Sites in Recruiting Sector

September 11, 2009 – Bill Warren is executive director of DirectEmployers Association, a non-profit consortium of leading U.S. corporations, in alliance with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA). Mr. Warren is widely recognized as the founder of online recruiting. In 1992 Mr. Warren founded Online Career Center (OCC), the first employment site on the Internet. He remained president of OCC after it was sold to TMP Worldwide (now Monster Worldwide) in December 1995. OCC was renamed and he was named president in 1998. In the following interview, Mr. Warren discusses the services of DirectEmployers, what’s its members are seeing in the recruiting market as well as how new forms of technology are changing the online recruiting industry.

Give us a brief overview of DirectEmployers. How many members do you now have?

DirectEmployers Association is a non-profit consortium of leading U.S. employers. Our mission is to provide a cost-effective national employment system that improves labor market efficiency and reflects our nation’s diverse workforce. We currently have 492 corporate members. Our primary partnerships include the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and leading job aggregators Simply Hired and Indeed.

What are you and your members seeing on the corporate hiring front? Are things improving?

We do see some signs that companies are starting to think more about their recruiting needs. We have experienced a slight (three percent) increase in employment listings over the last two months. Recruiters are starting to be much more optimistic about the economy. We added 11 new member companies in August.

How have HR professionals adjusted their strategies to weather the current economic conditions?

Many employers have had to reduce their staffs in addition to other reductions within their company. Recruiting budgets have been drastically reduced and of course hiring, in general, has been cut back in most industries.

Tell us about your associations with Twitter, Facebook and YouTube — how might these relatively new online delivery devices change the online (and traditional) recruiting space?

Social networking sites are starting to play a major role in recruiting and are expected to be a strong source of candidates in the future. The rise of these sites along with the fact that job listings on the Internet are becoming a commodity will have a great impact on job boards. The days of $400 ads on sites like Careerbuilder and Monster are nearing an end.

What are some of the flaws with traditional online job boards?

Online job boards are quickly becoming dinosaurs. Generally speaking they have not adopted new technology and I believe will be replaced in the future by social network sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

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