Connecting Job Seekers to Jobs: The Changing Dynamic

by Robin Schooling
4 June 2015

I think we can all agree that the post-and-pray approach to hiring is about as effective as holding an umbrella as protection during a hurricane.  Creating a job advertisement, posting it on every conceivable job board or online site, and then sitting back and praying that a pool of the “right” candidates will apply is time-consuming, expensive and ineffective.

Let’s envision the recruitment funnel for an organization that primarily uses job distribution channels such as posting on career sites or sharing jobs on the company intranet. The company may very well receive 200 applications for a given position and, using some fairly standard numbers, we can assume that 75 percent of those applicants will be deemed as not meeting minimum qualifications and will be quickly removed from the process. A busy HR Manager, in-house recruiter or even the hiring manager will then review the remaining 50 applications. After that, 10 applicants will be granted in-person interviews, three or four applicants will make it to the final round, and eventually one person will be hired.  

A Lot Of People. A Lot Of Time. A Lot Of Money.

We’ve grown up with this notion that having more applicants is a good thing, haven’t we? We think it’s a sign that we have a great employer brand or people really want to work for our company when we have a huge (and unmanageable!) number of applicants. Of course, handling that huge applicant pool sucks up some valuable resources - especially if we do it right and look to reinforce our reputation as a great place to work by providing a satisfactory candidate experience.

It makes much more sense to focus on getting the right candidates by taking a targeted recruiting approach.

Let’s imagine you need to hire call center reps. How in the world do you find the right people with the right skills, who will not only meet your business needs but also sync with your company culture?

Remember The Laws Of Attraction

Take the time to evaluate and clarify what specific job and organizational attributes are attractive to your targeted candidate pool... and what factors are potentially negative that may turn them off. You need to be truthful about the culture and job requirements when communicating with candidates; don’t, for example, promote your workplace as providing work-life balance if it doesn’t. At the same time, don’t make assumptions that what matters to you – or other employees – is most important to these call center reps. How to find out what’s important? Ask them; you can easily gather this information by surveying or interviewing your current call center reps, new hires and even applicants.

Be Social

Determine where job seekers, specifically your ideal candidates, hang out. What do they like to do in their spare time? Do they read comic books, like to drink lattes, or regularly visit the botanical gardens? Are they moviegoers? Runners? Ice hockey fans? Once you figure this out you can meet your candidates where they’re spending their time.

Back in the pre-Internet days, I used to effectively recruit administrative candidates at the library and found my most experienced distribution-center workers at a neighborhood pub. That was old-fashioned, face-to-face social recruiting. Today, of course, it’s easier than ever to build a vast and far-reaching “social” network and have conversations with candidates. Take time to explore channels like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in order to see if you can target your recruiting efforts to align with candidate interests and hobbies. This can be as easy as using the right hashtag to join conversations or participating in an interest or affinity group.

Data Is Your Friend

As you begin to hire applicants in a targeted way make sure to track your results, including source of applicant, source of hire and to what degree applicants are getting through to the screening, interview or offer phases. In addition to this quantitative data, gather feedback from new hires and applicants to find out what worked and what didn’t work. This will allow you to not only know where you’re hitting the mark, but it will also provide insight on adjustments to your strategy.This sort of valuable insight may lead you to refine your message ... or your recruiting approach. 

Finding the right candidates, not more candidates, should be your goal.

Robin Schooling is on a mission to make organizations better by making HR better.  You can read her blog, follow her onTwitter and connect with her on LinkedIn.