Efficient recruiting

August 2012 » Columns » SEARCH SAVVY
Jeremy Clarke

Sometimes, recruiting can be infected with a lot of inefficiencies. And if processes aren't addressed or improved upon, those inefficiencies can become significant time-wasters that slowly drain the vitality from your recruiting organization. Particularly these days, with unemployment so high, it is critical to establish and integrate methodologies that target and capture the most qualified candidates as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you don't, you will drown in a sea of irrelevant resumes and encumber your team unnecessarily.

It's not uncommon today to receive more than 100 resumes for a single position (and that's a rather conservative number being applied to just small to midsized firms). The problem is that most of the candidates do not have the requisite skills/experience to do the job. As a result, recruiters are forced to sort through scores of resumes unnecessarily. Sadly, many of the resumes cannot be reviewed, and candidates sometimes are never even contacted to be formally dismissed or, worse yet, to be formally qualified. Of course, this can be perceived negatively by the candidate community and may cause significant damage to your firm's brand and reputation in the marketplace.

Following are two recommendations to diminish the volume, still attract and capture the best candidates, and keep morale high within the ranks of your recruiting team:

1) Get painfully specific in job descriptions
Intimidate candidates who may otherwise inaccurately consider applying for your job. That sounds rather obtuse, but the intent is to save everyone (including would-be candidates) valuable time. A qualified candidate will not be daunted by requirements that he/she knows they have. So tailor your description to attract precisely that kind of candidate, while at the same time emphasizing that marginally qualified candidates need not apply, and would only be wasting their time by doing so. In fact, you can state this gently but specifically in your job description: "This is a resolute minimum requirement for the job. Candidates having less experience than that stipulated will not be considered and are encouraged not to apply."

That may seem pointed, but that statement alone will drastically reduce the number of incoming applications without hindering those candidates who are genuinely qualified for the job. Make your requirements specific, make them resolute, and make them known in no uncertain terms.

2) Get by with a little help from your friends
Some in my career field would suggest that job postings should be eliminated altogether. Unfortunately, many firms, due to federal mandates, etc. do not have that luxury. Besides, job postings communicate to the community at large that your firm is growing and hiring. A careers page on your firm's website with job postings listed can serve as a great marketing tool in the local marketplace. Additionally, target the best possible talent pool available by posting your job to trade-specific associations. Most have a careers page available for their members.

Nevertheless, I do agree that job postings are not the most effective recruiting tool, and in most cases should not be relied upon. Instead, successful recruiters and corporate recruiting organizations rely on a healthy network of industry contacts, professional trade organizations, and other tried-and-true referral sources. Your firm should have corporate memberships with every reputable association relevant to your business, and your recruiting organization should endeavor to foster relationships with key leaders/committee heads in those respective associations.

I can't stress enough how important this is. So much of effective recruiting is about "recruiting recruiters" (i.e., referral sources). Not only is this kind of network able to target skill-set-specific candidates on your behalf, but you gain the additional advantage of knowing that candidates are likely being referred with extreme care so as not to shed negative light on the person doing the referring.

If your recruiting team is drowning in a sea of resumes, they're not doing something right. Volume is not the goal; precision is the goal.

Jeremy Clarke is director, Executive Search Consulting for ZweigWhite. He can be contacted at 479-582-5700 or at jclarke@zweigwhite.com.

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