KPMG forces jobseekers online.

Big Five firm KPMG has switched all its recruitment online, claiming to be the first large employer to make such a move.

In a bid to improve the speed and efficiency of recruiting staff, the firm will now handle all applications exclusively over the net.

Previously the firm had set up its graduate recruitment for online applications only, but it has now extended the system to cover all other positions.

The firm will still have to accept paper applications for legal reasons, but has insisted that all its recruitment agencies use the new online system.

Agencies will have access to the firm’s secure extranet allowing them to input candidates’ details and check available positions.

Alan Dean, KPMG’s online programme manager, said the move aimed to rationalise the process and increase its efficiency.

Dean said: ‘There were a lot of diverse ways of recruiting in the firm and we needed to bring in one national approach. We also wanted to increase the speed with which we take applications through to hire.’

Revealing that the firm dealt with over 1,000 recruitment firms in the UK, Dean insisted the switch to ‘e-recruitment’ would not take away personal contact with applicants. But the process would be far more automated, with candidates invited to interviews through the internet.

However, some recruitment agents voiced concerns about the move. David Jones of consultants Robert Half, said: ‘It is a bucket shop approach, driving down margins, and they are more likely to get a lower quality of candidate.’

Other observers expressed surprise at the step, pointing to the number of solely online recruiters who were going bust, and the belief that the firm was still having problems filling its internal vacancies under existing methods.

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