High Quantity High Quality Recruiting

Recruiting is the core of what we do. All of the other services we provide start with our ability to bring good candidates through our doors. I’m really struggling with this critical aspect of our business – there are so many people looking for work but at the same time our clients’ expectations have gone up dramatically. Many of the people we would have placed quickly two years ago will not be accepted today.

As the economy improves, we need to dramatically increase the number of candidates we select. A recent New York Times article speaks of a surge in the hiring of temporary workers (Uchitelle, 2009). As the economy improves, this trend in hiring will continue. It has been a very tough time for the recruitment industry – any industry for that matter – but what I need to do now is determine how best to increase the quantity of high quality applicants.

So how do I accomplish this on a restricted budget? Job boards are, for the most part, a waste of time. When posting for a Portfolio Accountant on a board, every fry cook who wants to get into finance applies. And while I know there are plenty of fry cooks with great potential, my clients want to see direct experience. With job boards, we end up sifting through hundreds of unusable resumes just to get a couple we want to call.

Our screening process is arduous and goes beyond what is common in this industry. It is a major time commitment and it is unethical to put people through that process unless we are reasonably confident we can place them. Many people who do not pass our screening are upset when we do not place them and they understandably take that sentiment to places like Yelp.com. We conduct a phone screen to improve the odds of only bringing in candidates who pass, but we are not clairvoyant and the more challenging resumes we look at the more likely our chances of making a mistake.

The resume databases are a bit better but all of my competitors use them – so with candidates I get from Monster there is the risk of losing a spot because a competitor submitted that candidate first.

Twitter? Forget it. I know there is potential there but I am skeptical that the time commitment will yield a commensurate result. LinkedIn has promise that we are exploring but when I consider the amount of time I have wasted on Facebook I have difficulty thinking it will result in something worth our investment.

Lately we have been focusing on applicants from our website. I was amazed by what we are able to do with Google Analytics. By analyzing how people navigated to and within our site we were able to double the number of resumes we receive. And hardly any fry cooks – I guess people who seek us out are more likely to have experience in the field.

Another way for us to get good candidates is through referrals. As our founder (my mom) says, “Good fish swim together.” They also rarely look at job boards. Think about any consultant who is exceptional- the client will work to keep that resource within the firm. The agency representing them also knows that they are good and looks to keep them working. That exceptional consultant will never even look at Craig’s List job postings because they don’t need to. BUT – If I have someone working at the next desk, maybe I can get a referral.

So now I am hard at work improving traffic to our website and improving relationships with our temporary employees. I will keep you posted on how it is going.

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