The "new economy", as it's been dubbed, has given rise to a host of new skills and new jobs. Gone are the days when "site manager" just meant people in hard hats counting bricks and checking scaffolding. Nowadays, you could be talking about the person looking after your internet presence.
How is this affecting business?
The market for talented individuals is hotting up everywhere as internet businesses snap up potential recruits. This means that employers have to reassess how they identify, get and retain the talent they need to grow their businesses.
Last June, I attended the Society of Human Resource Management conference in the USA. On that side of the Atlantic, recruiting via the internet is much more advanced than it is here. One of the speakers was Kevin Wheeler, president of Global Learning Resources, who talked about what he called "e-recruiting".
E-recruitment? That's a new one.
According to Wheeler, in the new economy, where you are doesn't matter. Anyone, anywhere is a potential candidate, as long as you have the technology to reach them. Conversely, candidates have far more access to information which allows them to compare the salaries, training and working cultures of different organisations.
The US is experiencing full employment, which makes recruiters even more likely to make use of new and innovative ways of attracting staff. It also means that candidates are largely in a superior position when it comes to negotiating employment terms.
Anyone, anywhere is a potential candidate as long as you have the technology to reach them
What's that got to do with the UK?
It's often said that what happens in the USA today happens in Britain tomorrow. With significant staff shortages in some areas, UK employers are becoming keener to experiment with new ways of reaching potential recruits.
The latest annual recruitment survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that the number of companies using the internet for recruitment purposes rose from 14% in 1997 to 45% in 2000.
Is internet recruitment easy?
The number of sites offering recruitment services is growing all the time, and candidates are offered career advice, online assessment exercises and guidance on job-hunting technique as added incentives to browse the jobs available. Job-seekers can post their CV or new job requirements electronically and then sit back and wait for the job matches to roll in, or they can use specific requirements to search the sites for potential openings.
So, how can I recruit online?
At another session at the SHRM conference, Gary Crispin and Mark Mehler, co-authors of CareerXRoads: The 2000 Directory to Job, Résumé and Career Management Sites on the Web, offered a business model for effective internet recruiting. They said the key stages are about attracting potential employees to your website, making sure they can get adequate information when they do so, simplifying the application process and streamlining the processing of applications to provide quick responses.