MEDIA COVERAGE
 
 
SMH - May 17 2000
First port of call
 
The Point: The Internet is proing to be an effective tool for new graduates seeking jobs and employers wanting to tap into a labour market that is fresh from university.

You've worked hard, lived on a student budget for three years, and finally you have your degree. But that doesn't seem enough - many employers aren't interested if you don't have years of industry experience behind you.

A number of new graduate recruitment Web sites hope to change this. Targeted solely at graduates and students, sites such as SEEK Campus (www.seekcampus.com.au) and www.graduate.com.au offer career advice and job listings for this high-potential labour market.

Graduate recruitment has traditionally been a cumbersome, inefficient process, says the chief executive at SEEK Campus, Gideon Kline. There has been no easily accessible resource for students to find out about industries, companies and job opportunities. And given their high levels of IT literacy, an online resource is ideal, he says.

"For employers, the site helps them to manage what's often a very difficult process. With graduate recruitment, you get so many applications - its a very volume-rich market. We're using technology to try and take some of the paper out of that process. Hopefully employers will be less turned-off graduates in recruitment," Kline says.

SEEK Campus, launched four months ago, already has 15,000 to 20,000 registered users, 80 company profiles and more than 500 job ads.

The information technology graduate market is targeted by www.graduate.com.au, which has registered more than 1,200 graduate and entry-level job-seekers in its first four months.

"Even the fact that the domain name was still available indicated that recruitment agencies just weren't serving the graduate market enough," says Amanda Miles, of the site's parent company, Icon.

"Other recruitment services are driven by placement fees, and graduates are hard to place," she says. "We were frustrated with the worldwide information technology and telecommunications skills shortage, and the under-utilisation of graduates. We believed they needed more opportunities"

The site helps companies manage the graduate recruitment process with facilities such as an online filtering system, providing companies with only the most relevant résumés and an auto-reply function that helps accelerate the process, she says.

Software consulting firm, PowerServe, has used the Internet for recruitment for the past nine months and has received a good response from its web listings, says Sydney branch manager, Tom Reich.

"The graduate sites give us a helping hand in getting access to that market. We've put up ads on SEEK Campus and we've hired one position out of it already," he says.

Reich says the speed and cost-effectiveness of the Internet are key benefits in recruitment.

"The turnaround time is much quicker. We've had responses within 10 minutes of putting up the ad. And its extraordinarily less expensive. On the Internet we'd pay $50 to $60 a job per month. In the newspaper it would be $1,500 to $2,000.

IT firm Clements Info Tech uses five graduate recruitment sites. While appreciating their efficiency in reaching Internet-savvy graduates, it has found that online advertising sometimes means more work for companies in sorting through applications.

"It's what we call the online flick and stick, where applicants tend to broadcast their résumés to everyone, which means it's not always as efficient as a print advertisement," says Clements' IT recruitment co-ordinator, Troy Creighton.

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