Wednesday, July 6, 2011
"CareerMonster.com" A Recruiter's view of the job boards (Guest contributor, Jamie Craw)
In Defense of Job Boards
Over the past couple of years, there has been a steady outpouring just falling short of contempt for recruiters who rely on traditional job boards to source and recruit candidates (in this case, I am singling out CareerBuilder and Monster, from here on called CareerMonster). Some naysayers have gone so far as to openly state that candidates found on job boards are not the best, most qualified candidates to fill a job with a top company. This belief stems from the notion that a passive candidate (someone who is not openly looking for a new position) has more desirable qualities than someone who is actively, or openly, looking. I would just like to say, on the record, that I disagree. I do not eagerly wish to be a pariah amongst my sourcing peers, but I am hoping I can raise a few points as to why we should not run from job boards just yet. As a former respected agency recruiter, and now firmly entrenched in the corporate recruiting world, I have had unmitigated success in finding highly qualified job seekers on CareerMonster that result not only in hires, but in long term sustainable contributors. I believe that a good recruiter uses all available tools at their disposal, and that candidates are using the same logic. Which source a résumé originates from can never override how well that candidate will interview, match a hiring manager’s vision, or fit into the overall company culture.
I will be the first to acknowledge that anyone who “hangs out” on the job boards is not your top candidate. This can imply a candidate who starts a position and posts their new résumé on a job board shortly thereafter, candidates who have a history of job hopping, or a candidate who tells you they always keep their résumé posted “to see what is out there”. Most of these candidates you can weed out within seconds if you are a skilled résumé reader or interviewer.
What kind of candidate, then, should we be looking for on a job board?
As a recruiter, I know my industry, and I get to know my competitors. I generally know a good company from a not so great one, I understand the reputation and culture of a variety of companies and industries, and I keep up to date on market conditions, so I know which companies and industries are laying off, talking about layoffs, or historically flatten organizations and thus create a surplus of candidates. Knowing these details helps to unveil a layer of candidates that are posting their résumés for completely sane reasons, and thanks to years of practice in Boolean search strings, and a growing awareness on behalf of candidates to add specific data that is easily searchable, I can find them relatively quickly.
There are thousands of people that post their résumé on a job board for countless reasons and I am open to a lot of them. These reasons can include downsizing, rightsizing, management changes, mergers, acquisitions, or lack of growth within a current company or position due to any of the aforementioned reasons. As a recruiter, it is my job to determine which are plausible and which are not going to fly with a hiring manager. While there may be a job for everyone, my jobs are not for just anyone.
Sometimes recruiters hit pay dirt and get a very specific keyword to draw needles out of the haystack (some will argue these are not the most job board friendly positions, although I hope my case is building that they could be given the right circumstances). Other times, we are left with broad search criteria that can take days, if not weeks, to sift through profiles. Here’s the trick… don’t (pause) get (dramatic pause) complacent! While the job boards have created time saving strategies such as saved searches and alerts (which crawl the job boards while I am not working and allow me some much needed search string construction rest) I still need to continually refine my criteria. A missed word here, an extra word there, and a 5 mile change in my location radius can bring out a whole new crop of potential candidates. Once I start getting some hits, it is imperative to get on the phone and recruit! If their résumé is posted on a job board, and they are good (which my point is, at this stage of the game, they are) you have to get out there and tell them why they want to come work for you, or screen them out appropriately. No time or energy is more wasted than a great candidate who materializes only to disappear within your grasp because you didn’t pick up the phone to call them in time!
I don’t rely on job boards exclusively because I do understand not every candidate I want to talk to is posting their résumé for me to conveniently find. That’s why it is important to understand which regions, level of candidates and salary ranges are most effectively sourced on a job board- candidates, this is valuable information for you too!
If I am looking for a director in a major market, I am going to steer clear of the two major job boards and focus on more targeted direct sourcing methodologies. Although I won’t ever assume that they wouldn’t post a résumé on CareerMonster. For fun, I cross referenced candidates interviewing for said director level role with the job boards, and if they were unemployed or were facing an impending lay off, their résumé was tucked away on CareerMonster, readily available to me and my competitors.
For candidates who have been out of the market since Web 2.0 swept the recruiting nation, it’s easy to forgive them for not updating their LinkedIn profile, following evangelists in their field on Twitter, or gathering in the Facebook marketplace looking for a new opportunity. However, there is a critical shift upon us and at some point we may want to question how sophisticated a candidate’s technological bent is if they are not relying on social media to build a sustainable network with the end goal of feeding them job leads when they are ready to make a move. I just find it hard to discount a candidate who has hunkered down to do their job for not knowing that CareerMonster is passé. At the end of the day an offer, a hire, a match made by Cupid’s arrow between hiring manager and candidate justifies the means. Trust me, if I wasn’t getting results, would I put my name on this article? I would not. For now, I am going to be there to pick the fruit from the job board trees.