As budgets tighten, companies are beginning to wrestle with standard cost-effectiveness questions. Advertising and advertising-like functions are one of the first places that budget shaving takes root. Since much of Recruiting and Talent acquisition uses an advertising business model (upfront expense, limited quantification of returns), the cost cutter’s eyes are inevitably drawn towards expenses in our operations. 

The partial truth is that “I know I waste 50% of my advertising spend. I just don’t know which 50%”.  Sadly, that sort of 20th Century thinking doesn’t fly well in the face of performance monitoring advertising like Google’s Adsense. So, Recruiting leaders are facing and asdking key questions about the value they receive.

There are many ways of finding, attracting and hiring candidates. None of them work perfectly well. All of them are better at some things than others. What works and doesn’t work is industry, region and company specific.

There is almost no company of any significant complexity (say, over 100 people) that can proceduralize a Recruiting approach across all of the positions that have to be filled. You simply can’t find a CFO the way that you find a technical writer. You can’t find Software design Engineers in Cleveland the same way that you do in Silicon Valley or Seattle. You can’t fill auto industry slots in the South the way that you do in Detroit.

There is no one way that is best.

Instead, each job class in each region in each industry has a set of approaches that are optimal today. Not for always. Just for now. Approaches with longer time horizons tend to have better ROIs. That may not matter if the position is time-critical.

Here are the ways that you can find, attract or develop talent pools. They are organized from cheapest and fastest to slowest and most expensive. The first four, Employment Branding, Talent Pool Development, Employment Site and Job Specific Microsite are the cheapest and fastest after the initial investment in time and money are complete. (If you think I missed something or think the order is wrong, please let me know)

  • Employment Branding
  • Talent Pool Development
  • Company Employment Web Site
  • Job Specific Microsite
  • Internal HR Databases
  • ATS Databases
  • Referral Programs
  • Proactive Internet Sourcing
  • Phone Sourcing
  • Free Job Boards
  • Major Job Boards
  • Specialty Job Boards
  • Company SEO/SEM
  • Job Specific SEO/SEM
  • Temporary Help
  • Long Term Contract
  • Contingency Placement
  • Specialty Search Firm
  • Boutique Executive Search Firm

The idea of a sourcing hierarchy is simple. For every class of openings ina company, there is an optimal place to start in the hierarchy. For example, you probably won’t find a CEO in using the first seventeen approaches. That measn that when you are filling the C-level slot, you should jump down the hierarchy to Boutique search Firms.

Similarly, great low level professionals are easily identified and processed using tools that are much faster and cheaper than a retained executive search firm.

It’s the sort of common sense that’s hard to see when you are in the middle of a reactive process.

Recruiting Strategy is the essential element in cost control and containment. As long as Recruiting remains a reactive sport, costs will be controlled by circumstances. A well thought out Recruiting Strategy will provide guidance for where to start on the list for each job class that will be filled. A well defined data collection process will help refine the decision with experience.

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081201 Recruiting Links (Dec 01, 2008)

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