PORTLAND, Ore. — What once was recommended for gaining a competitive edge in the war for talent has become a competitive necessity. The Internet is now the preferred application method among hourly job-seekers, according to new research announced by Unicru Inc.
 
Last quarter, 2.5 million job candidates applied online with Unicru clients for an hourly position, more than twice the 897,000 that chose to apply on-site.
 
"In the '90s, when employers first harnessed the Internet to power their recruitment needs, it only catered to white-collar professionals," said Dr. David Scarborough, chief scientist at Unicru. "Frontline workers in retail and dining industries had little or no choice but to apply in person for a job.
 
"Plus, there was a digital divide — the Web wasn't as accessible back then as it is now. What the data tells us isn't that surprising — more job applicants are wired, whether they're applying from home or at a public library."
 
This data gives employers trying to fill their frontline positions in a competitive labor market a strong reason to reexamine their recruitment strategies. Besides ensuring their corporate web site is capable of taking applications online, employers trying to hire the best candidates faster than the competition should also review whether they are leveraging Web-based tools to manage the selection, hiring and on-boarding of candidates.
 
Madeline Tarquinio, research analyst at Aberdeen Group, said 90 percent of the best-in-class companies surveyed in 2005 use technology in hiring management over paper-based applications

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