Why You Should Stop Using Job Boards, Today!

If everyone stopped using job boards to find candidates, everything would start to improve within one week. This is one of those things that can jump start the Hiring 2.0 revolution (Hiring 2.0 is the concept that hiring top people can by a systematic formal business process.). As many of you know, I’m advocating

the overthrow of traditional hiring techniques. Since they don’t work anyway, this is no great loss. In fact, just this week I was working with the top staffing executive of a major international corporation. She believed that over the past six years nothing has changed to make hiring easier. She said it’s now more difficult to hire top people than it was before the job board/ATS filtering explosion. She said that her 100+ member recruiting team was forced to spend too much time eliminating unqualified people, rather than spending their time on finding and hiring top people. Vendors and service providers take note. Her comments reflect the thoughts of many, if not all, of her peers. Eliminating job boards in their current form would be a great first step in improving the hiring process. They are the cause of more problems than any other single source. Without them, we could have simpler and more recruiter-friendly tracking systems; we wouldn’t need all of the upfront screening; and we’d have more time to spend on finding and working with top talent. In fact, I believe job boards are virus-like in the way they de-motivate everyone involved (candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers) by clogging up the system with unnecessary work. As I see it, if we stopped using job boards today, things would start getting better in one week. Following is what I imagine would take place were we to eliminate job boards entirely. The Immediate Impact of Not Using Job Boards, First Week

  • Resumes of unqualified candidates would stop coming in, and recruiters would no longer waste their time reviewing them.
  • Most recruiters would then panic, since they would have to find real candidates.
  • We’d start calling third-party recruiters, researchers, and contract recruiters.
  • Employee referral programs would be dusted off and redesigned.
  • Direct sourcing would be instantly expanded.
  • A crash course in networking would start.
  • Everyone would treat the few candidates they had with more respect.

Overall it would be a pretty challenging first week, but a new hiring plan of action would be developed. Recruiters and hiring managers would get together, prioritize their critical job needs, and figure out some alternative ways to find candidates. First Week to First Month

  • Hiring managers would realize they need to be more involved in the hiring process. They’d probably even start their own networking programs to bring more candidates into play.
  • Career events like open houses would be planned with the hiring managers in attendance.
  • The employee referral program would be expanded to include better internal marketing and a new bonus plan. Other benefits would be added to induce employee to identify top people they worked with at their previous employers, rather than just referring friends.
  • ATS users would probably start rethinking how well their tracking systems worked, given the dramatic reduction in volume.
  • All upfront testing, screening, filtering, and questioning would be put on hold since it would no longer be necessary.
  • Recruiters would begin working with hiring managers to develop longer range workforce plans, since they’d have time to anticipate hiring needs rather than just process resumes.
  • Some recruiters would panic even more, as they realized hiring good people was more about good one-on-one skills (sourcing, influencing, assessing, closing) than processing resumes of active candidates.
  • Somebody actually might post an ad in a newspaper to see what happens. Hopefully it would be a creative ad offering a compelling job, rather than a boring ad offering an average job. Nonetheless, newspapers are worth a try.
  • The career website would start to be looked at differently. Some might even think that this could be a private access point to drive top people to find information and evaluate the company.
  • Outside recruiters and contract recruiters would be more involved direct sourcing candidates.

This first month would be chaotic, but most people would soon figure out that job boards were not that important. They probably represented 10-20% of most hires, but required 50-60% of the resources. After the first hire or two without them, everyone would realize that the alternatives offered higher-quality talent anyway. By the 30-day mark, everyone would realize that the loss of job boards was not such a bad thing. First 90 Days

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  • A new career website would be up and running that was focused on the needs of attracting and qualifying highly talented candidates, not weeding out unqualified candidates.
  • Job descriptions would be rewritten describing what people would be doing, learning, and becoming, not what they needed to have to apply.
  • Recruiter emphasis would fundamentally shift from processing resumes to developing alternative techniques to finding top talent.
  • Corporate recruiters would accelerate their training in one-on-one skills. Many would drop out. Others would become more proficient as they were allowed to do what they wanted to do in the first place.
  • Recruiters would take over more ownership of the hiring process from beginning to end.
  • Networking would be refined and developed into an art form.
  • Hiring managers would be much more involved in the process.
  • Corporate recruiters would take over some of the activity of outside third-party recruiters.
  • The concept of the recruiter/hiring manager team would start to emerge.
  • A few new job boards would appear, trying out new ideas to increase the quality and minimize the number of candidates sent to their clients.
  • Tracking systems would start demonstrating new concepts to better serve their recruiter users.

This 90-day period will be quite exciting as panic is replaced by new thinking and forward planning. Most people will realize that the job boards were more a nuisance than a value, anyway. They’ll even begin to see that the secondary effects of job boards were the cause of the real problems. These were the unnecessary fixes offered by all of the well-intentioned recruiting services providers to solve a problem that didn’t need to be solved. By the 90-day mark, everyone would understand that automating a bad process and filtering bad data is not the right solution to improving the hiring process. First Six Months to One Year

  • The employee referral program would be developed into an art form pinpointing select people to recruit.
  • Recruiting methods would be established to proactively identify and hunt down top people your employees have worked with in the past.
  • College recruiting programs including alumni recruiting would be expanded.
  • Association recruiting would be expanded.
  • Interviewing would shift towards performance, rather than behaviors. This would dramatically increase the job match factor — finding people who are both motivated and competent.
  • Candidate quality would begin to improve dramatically, as time becomes available to enhance the best sourcing channels.
  • The career website would become a powerful tool to nurture, network with, and provide real info to top candidates.
  • Branding would become more than just marketing. Instead, each job would link to the company vision, clearly showing how each person’s role was a key part of an overall business strategy.
  • Corporate recruiters would become the critical dimension in the hiring process, influencing and coaching both top candidates and hiring managers. The trend towards less reliance on outside recruiters would accelerate.
  • ATS and job boards would begin to emerge with new features that met the Hiring 2.0 standard, which focuses on quality over quantity.
  • Hiring would begin to become a business process. People would be able to devote the necessary time and resources to making hiring top talent a core company competency.

This is the period where many of the great new ideas really have a chance to be implemented, tested, and honed. This is the beginning stage of making hiring top talent a repeatable business process. Recruiters’ influence would increase as they linked the science of a hiring system with the art of working with top candidates and strong hiring managers. This requires a blend of strong marketing, selling, career counseling, coaching and advising skills. One Year and Beyond

  • Candidate quality would be the number one metric, and this would improve dramatically. All other metrics would improve by at least 50-100%. Costs will probably be no less than they are today, but no one will care with quality so high. Time to hire a top person will be 15-20 days.
  • Applicant tracking systems will be offering new capabilities, including the management of all new sourcing channels, pushing critical data to the recruiter’s desktop, and instant access to best practices for one-on-one recruiter skills.
  • Job boards would begin re-emerging in a new form — only sending in a few candidates for every opening, pre-qualifying applicants before they’re allowed to apply, reducing the number of jobs candidates could apply to, and experimenting with charging candidates to use their systems.
  • Hiring 2.0 would become a reality as hiring top talent became a systematic business process.
  • The recruiting department and hiring process will become a strategic asset, allowing executives and managers to count on having strong people in place for all their key positions. The idea of outsourcing the recruiting process would no longer make business sense.
  • Outside recruiters will become candidate agents with a whole new fee structure. Fees would be 3-5% of each year’s salary for a period of three to five years. Quality and longevity would count. Fees would stop when employee leaves.

Momentum is building for the Hiring 2.0 revolution. It requires a fundamental shift in thinking from a world of high-volume, low-return processing to low-volume, high-impact results. This changes the balance of power back to people and away from the technology. Hiring the best requires a people-intensive process, not a technological one. Technology has gotten the upper hand of late. Take it back. Stop using job boards and see what happens. [Note: If you’d like to help make Hiring 2.0 a reality, join the hiring revolution. Our Band of 176 will become the focus group to set the standards for these next generation hiring tools. We’ll have our first free online meeting in October. Make sure you submit your own ideas (info@adlerconcepts.com) on how hiring could be improved. As you know, I’ve already started the national hiring revolution Zero-Based Hiring Tour. This year we’ll be in Chicago on October 15, LA on November 5, NYC on November 19, and San Francisco on December 11. We’ll hit the rest of the country in 2004. Visit www.adlerconcepts.com/zbhtour.html for our Zero-based Hiring tour schedule. I look forward to meeting you in person at one of our tour stops. Stop wasting your time. Join the revolution.]

Lou Adler is the CEO and founder of The Adler Group – a training and search firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring℠. Adler is the author of the Amazon top-10 best-seller, Hire With Your Head (John Wiley & Sons, 3rd Edition, 2007). His most recent book has just been published, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired (Workbench, 2013). He is also the author of the award-winning Nightingale-Conant audio program, Talent Rules! Using Performance-based Hiring to Build Great Teams (2007).