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Why More Candidates Isn't Better

In Hiring Strategy — by Recruiterbox

These days, HR and Recruiting professionals seem to post new jobs everywhere, from niche sites, to job board aggregators to industry-specific landing pages and of course, all the social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. This can put a new or startup hiring team in a quandary. Where to come up with hefty job board fees? What if we can’t afford (or don’t need) the sophisticated tools that LinkedIn has to offer? Finally, the most important question of all:

Is having MORE candidates really BETTER?

The truth is, it’s nice having a job with plenty of applicants, but it isn’t always necessary.

1. Narrow the funnel

You know the old saying: “More money, more problems”? That can apply just as easily to your requirements desk. If you have to do a lot of hiring fast (volume recruiting) you need to get the word out, but for one or two positions, a solution called narrow-casting works better. Profile or sketch the perfect candidate and then imagine what that person will be doing. Will your next CMO be cruising Monster? Maybe. Will that star programmer be on a local board or posting code to GitHub? Is your next finance controller going to be on LinkedIn or Twitter? And don’t forget all the offline solutions. Don’t post to all the boards unless you NEED a huge flow of candidates. Lou Adler quotes a common frustration :

In fact, just this week I was working with the top staffing executive of a major international corporation. She believed that over the past six years nothing has changed to make hiring easier. She said it’s now more difficult to hire top people than it was before the job board/ATS filtering explosion. She said that her 100+ member recruiting team was forced to spend too much time eliminating unqualified people, rather than spending their time on finding and hiring top people.

2. Lack of perceived exclusivity in spray-n-pray approach

Sometimes a brand new company has very little to fall back in terms of brand. However, being brand new and exclusive gives your employer brand a slight advantage that no marketing budget can buy. Posting on every available outlet destroys that reputation and makes you look just a little desperate, a situtation that does not make for equitable negotiations. A savvy candidate might even conclude that you have venture capital or revenue to burn if you are using it all on job ads and use that knowledge to angle for a higher salary. As recruiters, we’re always encouraging candidates not to spray-and-pray, we should practice what we preach.

John Sullivan was quoted in a recent NY Times article saying: “We call it Monster.ug ly,” said Mr. Sullivan, referring to Monster.com . “In the H.R. world, applicants from Monster or other job boards carry a stigma.”

3. Look at the data before discounting the big boys

Sometimes a big job board is your best bet. Blogger Rayanne Thorn writes :

“FACT: Job Boards still account for 20% of hires , second only to employee referrals. It is short-sighted to discount such a classic and, yes, still-standing source of hire. Perhaps success has been limited because those who post jobs simply expect that to be all the work they have to do.”

Find out where your best hires are historically coming from. If you offer a unique benefit that is overlooked in your industry or in your geographical location (i.e. you offer a flex work schedule to a CTO, or allow customer service reps to work from their homes) you can stand out on the big boards. See where your main competitors are posting jobs for similar positions (it’s as simple as doing a Google search or setting up specific alerts.)

4. Niche distribution doesn’t mean “no job boards”

Plenty of local job boards give a much bigger bang for the buck than the large boards, simply because they have a loyal following in the area. Knowing your market is key when doing geographical or highly targeted hiring. If you are a local company looking for local candidates, post to those less popular sources that give your brand a cache boost. Job ads on professional networks like VentureBeat, TNW and PR Jobs also convey the attitude that you want the creme de la creme. Posting on a few niche boards will bring fewer candidates but they will all be very highly targeted (plus many of these get picked up by aggregators like Indeed and SimplyHired anyway).

5. Screening takes time you may not have

Do you know when a recruiter gets a rush? It’s not during the screening process, it’s during the placements process. Recruiter Todd Kmiec writes: “When done correctly, recruiting expands reach and funnels appropriate candidates to the hiring manager. When there are too many, the sites are too wide and the position either does not require recruiting or the screening criteria need to be tightened.” The average amount of time a recruiter scans a resume has been listed as anywhere between 6-30 second and most phone screens take at least 15-30 minutes, so factor those times in when figuring out how many hiring sources you want to add into the mix and adjust your process accordingly. In short? If you are screening a bunch of candidates for every position, you aren’t doing your job, and probably wasting a fair bit of company budget as well. Tighten your specs and focus on the right channels.

  • Peter Cappelli, a Wharton School of Business researcher, reported that 26,000 engineers applied online for a routine engineering job — and the software rejected every single application.
  • One employer reported in 2011 that TheLadders overwhelmed her company with job applicants for positions that she never advertised with TheLadders. To make matters worse, TheLadders told applicants that the salaries were double what they actually were. “I’d love to charge them for the amount of my time they wasted,” jobseeker Claire Peat said in ” TheLadders: How the Scam Works .”

photo credit: 1D110 via photopin cc

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