Jeff Dickey-Chasins aka

Jeff Dickey-Chasins aka “The Job Board Doctor”, Editorial Advisory Board

by Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Over the past several decades, recruiting has become more technologically sophisticated. What was once essentially a local phenomenon (newspaper ad, a sign in the window, and personal referrals) has evolved into a regional and sometimes even national process. Recruiters can utilize job boards, search engines, billboards, career fairs, social media, and skywriting (ok, the last one is not yet common, but give it time).

So has this proliferation of choices been accompanied by a similar change in recruiter expectations?

Let’s look at job boards. The original value proposition for job boards was more response, lower cost, and wider distribution than the then-champion of classifieds – the newspaper. The job board industry trained generations of recruiters to equate success with lots of low-cost, high-volume job applications for their job ads.

But lost in the tsunami of job applicants was the aspect of ‘quality’ – how well an applicant’s skills fit the specific job advertised. This problem actually led to the creation of a new type of job board – the niche board, which focused on specific subsets of applicants, which in turn would improve the quality of applications.

What was (and still is) a top complaint about niche boards? They don’t provide enough volume. The quality was up but the volume was down. Recruiters didn’t want one or the other. They wanted both.

Fast forward to now: are we making the same mistake again as we look at the profusion of tools and techniques available for finding candidates? Are we stuck with old expectations, rather than focusing on what we really need? Do we simply want it all?

Several years ago Barry Schwartz wrote a fascinating book, “The Paradox of Choice.” In it, he cited extensive research suggesting that the proliferation of choices in our personal and professional lives actually made our lives worse. Only by eliminating choices and increasing focus could we work and live more effectively – and happily.

I think the same applies to recruiting. In fact, some of the smartest recruiters I know seem to have intuitively followed this path by focusing on the two or three techniques that work best for them. Rather than trying to ‘have it all’, they focus on the stuff that works. Sometimes that means they are considered ‘old school’ for not jumping on the latest recruiting fad. But they stay focused on results – and seem to do just fine.

Back to the job board example: rather than ‘having it all’, make sure you’re focusing on the right metric. Don’t focus on volume if you really need quality. Don’t focus on social media if you don’t have the time to do social media. Don’t get sucked into ‘having it all’.

Perhaps for the best recruiting, less really is more.

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