E-technology streamlines staffing

It was late on a Friday afternoon and I was alone in the office when the call came in for one of the other Worldwideworkers here in Houston. The caller, a drilling engineer, said that he would "just have to call back" when he couldn't reach John Archer immediately.

It was late on a Friday afternoon and I was alone in the office when the call came in for one of the other Worldwideworkers here in Houston. The caller, a drilling engineer, said that he would "just have to call back" when he couldn't reach John Archer immediately. He couldn't leave a message since he was "on a drillship in the middle of the Indian Ocean." If I had ever questioned the long reach of e-recruitment, my doubts were put to rest at that moment. Mr. Candidate was responding to a posting for a drilling engineer in Siberia. He was certainly not alone in his interest. Some 25 candidates had already responded to that posting, many within a couple hours.

Having been a recruiter for many years, I feel qualified to say that e-recruitment is 21st Century sourcing at its best. There is no better way to approach filling technical positions in the increasingly far-flung oil industry. Whether a company is seeking an exploration geologist to fill a Gulf Coast position or a sales engineer to sell subsea inspection systems to offshore E&P operators worldwide, web-based recruiting is by far the most rapid, targeted, and cost-efficient way to acquire quality technical talent.

What drives a recruiter, whether in the HR department of a company or the traditional "headhunter?" Several things:

  • Speed
  • Easy identification and access
  • Accuracy
  • Cost effectiveness.

Speed – This is probably the first and surely one of the greatest contributions of the Internet. Time is money. Traditional recruiting entailed thumbing through directory after directory and working through lists of professional organizations. A well-designed e-recruitment site cuts down your sourcing time. Within minutes, the Internet enables the recruiter to "reach out and touch someone" – domestically, across national borders, and even globally.

Find me the best – The project manager, vice president, or president of the firm casually gives these marching orders to those he has entrusted with helping him to solve personnel problems and build staff. For yesterday's recruiter, that was not so easy. The functional word here is "find." How could the recruiter in Houston find a person to work in Kuala Lumpur? How does the recruiter locate that subsea specialist in Australia from an office in London? Finding that domestic specialist or sourcing someone to work on a remote location in South America can be a daunting task. Internet recruitment readily accesses a very mobile group of oil field talent. By quickly establishing a large field of qualified candidates, the process moves toward the best fit for each rapidly.

I said "best" – Getting to "best" efficiently is easier by e-recruiting than the way we did it in the old days. Now you can take a rifle shot; it can be much more than a shotgun blast. Deeply embedded in a sophisticated e-recruitment site lie the filters that help the recruiter to narrow the field. By establishing a tight screen on candidates who apply online to job postings and those who lie in wait for the perfect job, the wheat is separated very adroitly from the chaff. This is not a guarantee that the hire is "the best," but it surely is a good start. When the recruiter has the capability to add reference checks, degree verifications, and personality matches to the equation, the possibility of making a good hire is greatly enhanced.

How much? – Whether it is spoken or just a subliminal message from the boss, money is always an issue. How much have you spent lately to advertise in a newspaper and had abysmal results? The answer is too much.

While the number of people who have access to a website is hard to quantify, I feel sure that no print publication can come near the exposure of an e-recruitment site. The more remote the position's location, the higher the cost may be. In the final analysis, used correctly and accessing a quality database, the recruiter has purchased tools that far exceed telephone tag and print advertising results. Attacking your recruitment world aggressively through cyber-search makes excellent economic sense.

Recruiting has certainly changed over the last 20+ years. Hi-tech exploration is the name of the oil game these days. "Computer-aided" is everywhere, and recruiting at its best has become cyber-searching. Now I can access thousands of technical professionals in minutes, do a quick screen, filter down, and have viable candidates to show to employers in a couple of days. For rapid, accurate sourcing, cyber-searching cannot be beat.

Leta Schoen
Worldwideworker

This page reflects viewpoints on the political, economic, cultural, technological, and environmental issues that shape the future of the petroleum industry. Offshore Magazine invites you to share your thoughts. Email your Beyond the Horizon manuscript to William Furlow at billf@pennwell.com.

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