In the wake of widespread layoffs, laboratory managers are beginning to hire again as the economy slowly recovers. Lab managers could ignore a flood of incoming résumés while staffing levels were frozen. However, as they begin to hire they have to deal with this flood. This is a particular problem for managers of small laboratories with limited staff resources to help screen potential applicants in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner.

However, there are many sources of aid available.

 

Strategies for Using Online Job Sites

 

Lab managers probably are already familiar with online job sites such as Monster.com, Hotjobs.com and CareerBuilder.com that they can use to a search for qualified job hunters. However, many experts counsel both hiring managers and job hunters to focus on using specialized job sites rather than big job sites covering many professions. These offer lab managers a more focused pool of potential new employees. Specialized job sites lab managers could consider include sciencejobs.com. Professional societies offer job sites as well. For example, after setting up a free account on the ACS job site, http://chemistryjobs.acs.org/hr/jobs/, lab managers can pay to advertise job openings and search the online résumé database, http://chemistryjobs.acs.org/hr/jobs/..

Like traditional recruiters, the RealMatch.com job site charges allows employers only when they identify a candidate they want to contact. Job hunters can post for free. Potential employers can post job descriptions and review candidate postings describing their skills and experience. However, both are restricted to choosing skills from a skills list that may be too limited for many laboratory positions.

Some managers broaden a search using multiple online job sites. Others winnow the field with tests that applicants can take online. Others used prerecorded interview questions that promising candidates answer online often using a web camera to record their answers. Some sites also perform fast background checks and help companies manage the whole hiring process through one portal.

 

Online screening interviews

 

Screening interviews have become widely used to help lab managers select only the most promising candidates for the onsite interviews that consume large amounts of staff time. The video capabilities of the Internet enable managers to use this technology for screening interviews as well.

For example, InterviewStream (www.interviewstream.com) enables hiring managers to choose interview questions from a list of 2,500 questions. Applicants answer these questions with their answers being recorded by webcam. In one mode applicants can use the site to practice online job interviewing by recording and reviewing their answers. Employer fees vary by company size and range from $25 to $60 per interview with volume-based discounts available. Participating in online interviews is free to job hunters.

VoiceScreener (www.voicescreener.com) takes a different approach. Managers can record interview questions over the telephone and then send an online interview invitation to a promising applicant by email. The applicant follows the emailed link to a customized webpage and enters their telephone number. VoiceScreener calls the number and plays the manager's questions to the applicant. The applicant answers the questions and answers are recorded for the manager's review.

Online interviewing can enable employers to participate in online career fairs using services provided by suppliers such as InterviewStream. Organizations such as the American Chemical Society (http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_SUPERARTICLE&node_id=1780&use_sec=false&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=12d3b1fe-e63a-49fd-90ab-1fcb879880e1 ) have begun to hold online career fares. Both employers and job hunters can participate at times convenient for them.

One potential downside to online interviewing is that it can convey a cold and impersonal image of the company as a workplace.