"I've seen the future of Rock & Roll, and his name is Bruce Springsteen". Reviews don't come any more enthusiastic than that one from the mid-70s. Now I've seen the future of recruiting, and its name is the Internet. Forget that 'The Boss' sang of hard times, alienation and broken dreams ­ this development promises to sweep away the acrimony and apparently insuperable difficulties surrounding the long-running recruitment debate.

My epiphany came as I checked the latest market news on the Financial Times' FT.com Internet site. The flashing 'banner' ad at the top of the page invited me to join a focus group discussing on line share trading, and carried a famous research agency logo. I was doubly interested as an amateur investor, and as a professional moderator seeking insights into the respondent experience.

One click took me to a self-completion screener of exemplary brevity; another despatched this and my contact details to the agency. An e-mail acknowledging my interest arrived almost immediately, adding that a fieldwork exec would phone me the next day.

The whole process was effortless, efficient and effective. Try asking flesh-and-blood recruiters for active share investors ("oh, and by the way, half of them should already trade on line"). This way you sit back while a normally fiendishly difficult sample selects itself and comes to you.

Before I'm drummed out of AQRP, I should add that I confessed all when the promised call came through. Besides learning from the fieldwork exec that the technique had worked like a charm, I was politely refused. Shame really, it was a notably generous fee. One mild flirtation with the other side of the recruitment process and I'm turning into a focus 'groupie'.