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Net a boon to job hunts

The Net is proving to be a valuable resource for job seekers and employers, especially for "middle market" positions.

It used to be that looking for a job meant poring over the Sunday paper, calling on a personal network for potential leads, and visiting the library for research on companies of interest.

Since the need for technical employees has increased dramatically in the past few years and the Internet is on its way to becoming a truly mainstream medium, employers and job seekers alike have turned increasingly to the Net, which allows for broader, faster, easier, and more convenient searching than traditional methods.

Classified ads in general are a multibillion-dollar market annually, with the bulk of that so far going to newspapers. But online classifieds are gaining ground, with ad-only sites such as Career Mosaic and Monster Board as well as classified areas on sites such as Yahoo, Lycos, and local sites from CitySearch, DiveIn, and others. Job seekers and employers alike increasingly are turning to these services to find and fill desirable positions.

To that end, online classified giant Classifieds2000 this week launched two new programs in its Employment Channel: a Featured Employer Program and a Resume Service.

Classifieds2000 collects employment listings directly from employers' corporate Web sites and integrates them into the Classifieds2000 database. The database holds more than 100,000 listings, according to Will Chen, group manager for the Employment Channel.

The listings automatically appear within the classifieds areas of the company's partners, which include Lycos, Excite, AT&T, GeoCities, and others. Chen said the listings are updated weekly, but the company is looking to move to daily updates later this year. Companies participating in the Featured Employer Program include heavyweights Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, and WebTV.

Job seekers can search by company name, keyword, job function, or area, Chen said.

With the Resume Service, job seekers can post their resumes with the Classified2000 database, and can use it to respond to job listings online.

"I think the whole area of recruiting is going to change, where companies will go out and search the huge resume databases for qualified candidates," Chen said, noting that employers are interested in tapping the wealth of "passive" job seekers--those who are relatively satisfied in their jobs but who always are interested in a good opportunity--as well as active seekers.

Many in the executive placement and recruitment field agree that the biggest change with the widespread adoption of the Net will be in the "middle market" area--professionals who earn roughly up to $70,000 per year.

Executive search firm Christian & Timbers, for example, spun off a separate staffing services company for the middle market, PeopleScape, about 18 months ago, according to David Mather, a managing director for Christian & Timbers.

Mather said in Christian & Timbers' executive search business, which focuses on placing senior executives, the Net also has exerted some influence on job seekers.

"Email is now the text communications medium of choice among clients," Mather said. "We have many clients who say, 'Don't bother faxing me reports, just email me.'"

He added that a majority of the firm's clients use the Net to research companies of interest, though they don't search specifically for jobs online. He cited confidentiality as a chief reason, and noted that most companies do not advertise their most senior positions on the Net.