New Delhi: Although networking sites have indisputably emerged as a formidable platform for recruiting middle and senior level professionals across industries, the HR industry is divided on whether the share of hiring through networking sites like LinkedIn is actually eating into the business of existing job portals like naukri.com, monster.com or tapping into a new universe within online recruitment pie.
While some HR firms believe that the owner of the leading naukri.com, the leading job portal with a market share of 52%, Info Edge, didn’t need to float a Brijj.com, a domestic version of LinkedIn, if business of job portals wasn’t threatened, the COO of Info Edge Hitesh Oberoi, maintains that both ventures - Naukri and Brijj are meant to target different segments. “A site like Naukri.com is more for active job seekers while professional networking sites like Brijj cater to passive job seekers, who are not in an immediate need of a job. Naukri has not really felt any heat from professional networking sites like LinkedIn” said Oberoi.
Info Edge, a public-listed Internet company in which Naukri.com accounts for 80% of the operating revenues, posted a revenue growth of 24% in the second quarter of this year over the corresponding quarter in FY08, compared to 55% year on year growth in Q2 last fiscal.
However, the slowdown in growth was attributed by Info Edge CFO to slowdown in hiring due to negative business sentiments.
Commenting on the preference of networking sites over job portals, Shiv Agrawal, CEO, ABC Consultants said, “The number of fake profiles and fudged CV is significantly lower in networking sites as your skills and achievements are seen by many others including your current colleagues, so the scope for exaggeration is almost nil.
Additionally, the professional and social stigma attached to floating your profile on a job portal that means letting others know, including your boss that you are seeking a job, which has also kept senior professionals away from associating themselves with portals, is not there with networking sites. Getting a job through a networking site is considered more incidental in nature”.
Prashant Bhatnagar, director, hiring, Sapient Consulting, who uses a number of web-based sources and conventional hiring methods acknowledges that the chunk of e-recruiting has gone up substantially since the time networking sites came into being and the share of web-based recruiting is on an increase. Paid and unpaid alumni forums like those of IIMs on these networking sites and on the web serve as important routes to hire online, said Bhatnagar.
“However internal employee referrals remain an important channel for us even now with around 40% of Sapient’s people in the 2-4 years experience category coming through this. Hiring through referrals is preferred as the drop out ratio is low for these candidates”.
According to an ABC Consultancy survey, 57% of senior management professionals and 44% of middle management have Linkedin profile.
Atleast, one such established networking site has already started charging $100,000 upwards annually from companies for the restricted access to profiles that it provides.
Brijj also aims to make the site subscription based. “The revenue model for such sites in the long run is subscription, however, currently we are focussing our energies on getting the product right. The motive behind Brijj was that we saw a market for headhunting at the senior level,” acknowledges Oberoi.
“For recruiters, networking sites help particularly when while looking for candidates having niche skills or for roles-based in alien geographies. For instance, if an IT services firm wants a regional head for its media and entertainment business based in Boston, it won’t find much value in uploading this position on job sites” said Arvind Sehgal, director, New Era India, a HR consultancy firm.
The e-recruitment sector seems to be undergoing a restructuring and segregation with the entry level jobs (accounting for volumes) remaining with the portals while the senior level jobs (accounting for values) falling into the kitty of networking sites.