Canadian Consulting Engineer

Cyber-Recruiting

Five years ago, Acme Engineering landed a multi-million dollar mining project in Southeast Asia. Knowing they would need at least a dozen senior engineering professionals for periods ranging up to two...

October 1, 2000  By Shelley Boyes

Five years ago, Acme Engineering landed a multi-million dollar mining project in Southeast Asia. Knowing they would need at least a dozen senior engineering professionals for periods ranging up to two years, in addition to the professionals they would be taking from Canada, the company began recruiting months in advance of the start date.

They scoured their professional networks, advertised in major newspapers and engineering journals around the world, and worked through engineering associations and schools across Europe, Asia and the Pacific Rim. Four months from the scheduled start date, after reviewing hundreds of resumes and interviewing dozens of candidates, Acme was still short of five key people. The company hired a U.K.-based recruiting firm specializing in engineering talent with offices in Australia and Hong Kong. Six months and tens of thousands of dollars in advertising and recruiting fees later, Acme finally had most of the key people it needed to take it through the first phase of the project.

Last year, Acme won a similar bid, this one in Brazil. This time, after they drew up position descriptions for every contract position they needed to fill, they posted the jobs on their own web site, on two big general recruiting sites (monster.com and mosaic.com) and three smaller engineering-specific sites. Over the next month, the applications came pouring in, by both traditional mail and e-mail, from qualified applicants across Canada, the U.S., South America, the U.K. and New Zealand. After culling out 50 top candidates (using a computerized scoring system that enabled them to compare applicants’ qualifications against the specs for each position), they arranged, by e-mail, personal interviews in Toronto, Chicago and Rio de Janeiro. Three months after posting the jobs, and for direct on-line charges of only a few hundred dollars, Acme had signed up the 10 mining specialists it needed for the Brazil project, and had built up a global databank of dozens more people that the firm could tap into for future assignments.

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Just as it is changing work, retailing, travel and other pursuits, the internet is having a dramatic impact on the way organizations recruit employees. Enabling millions of potential employees around the world to search jobs from their personal computers, the internet also connects these would-be applicants to the web sites now maintained by thousands of companies, engineering firms among them.

Most organizations feature a “careers” or “jobs available” section on their sites. In addition, many give descriptions of the company, the work environment, pension and benefit plans. They might also supply information on the community (sample housing prices, schools, local amenities and attractions).

Internet-savvy job-hunters can turn to a host of international job posting sites these days. Among the biggest are monster.com, headhunter.net (which merged with careermosaic.com in July 2000 under the headhunter.net name) and flipdog.com. For example, monster.com claims a database of more than 452,000 jobs in the U.S. alone and visits from more than 1.9 job-seekers each month.

Then there are the specialized engineer recruiting sites, like engineeringjobs.com, its sister site, engineering-jobs.net and engcen.com (for “engineering central”). On a given day late this summer, engineeringjobs.com had hundreds of listings for positions around the globe. The site also allows job-hunting engineers to post their resumes to more than 500 engineering recruiters worldwide.

It’s not surprising that with all of this e-competition, the publications — daily newspapers, industry magazines and professional publications (which used to have the market on career advertising cornered), now offer employers the ability to post their jobs on-line, in a searchable database, as well as in print. Not only is any additional fee usually nominal, the on-line job ad can be seen by thousands of additional potential candidates who might not have local access to a hard copy of the publication.

For example, career ads from six major-market Southam newspapers across the country, as well as the National Post, can be accessed through careerclick.com. Careerclick.com also includes jobs posted by large employers and recruiting firms, and candidates looking for work can post their resumes on the site in a standardized format, for free. Member employers then search the database.

The internet puts a world of opportunities at the fingertips of Canadian engineers, more and more of whom are clicking their way into new contract and career positions.CCE

Acme had built up a global databank of dozens more people for future assignments.

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