it may be because job seekers are doing their hunting on the Internet. On-line job boards now number in the hundreds as employers across the country post job openings or use search engines to sift through thousands of on-line resumes. Boards can be organized by profession or industry. Besides offering convenience and speed, electronic recruitment taps into a common theme of U.S. employment trends: mobility. "I'm seeing many candidates who are willing to relocate," says M. Purdy Richardson, a recruiter with Sanford Rose Associates in Atlanta. The Internet can boost bank recruiting efforts, but certain cautions apply. First, some job boards require employers to pay membership fees. These can be expensive and hard to justify if a bank does not expect to use the service much. Also, the Internet's strength in numbers can also be its weakness. A job listing may get hundreds of responses but not many will be suited for the job. Another downside is competition from hundreds of other posts, making it just as hard and time-consuming for job seekers to sort. As Catherine D. Fyock, a management consultant in Crestwood, Ky., says, "How is the person going to find you?" Enrolling with an on-line job board also requires discipline. Harrison Dean, chief operating officer of Careers Inc., the Nashville company that operates Bankjobs.com, says banks need to check in frequently for new resumes and keep their listings up to date. To boost response rates, Mr. Dean says, employers must jazz up job descriptions. "Don't use a cookie-cutter format," he says. "Job hunters should get an appreciation for the real dynamics of the position and you should create some excitement about the company." Still, he notes, even a niche site like bankjobs.com will not work for every bank. "Some community banks are so rural that putting a job on a large database is not an effective use of time," he said. Some banks need go no further than their own Web sites to get the word out about a job opening. Interactive sites where customers check account data, perform transactions, or submit customer service queries attract plenty of visitors, some of whom may be looking for a new job. - Julie Monahan
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