Friday, March 7, 2008

Looking for (GOOD CANDIDATES) in All the Wrong Places...

The hiring manager’s job was, historically, a matter of placing an ad in newspapers, perhaps posting it on local bulletin boards, maybe toying with a radio ad or two...getting people to apply, at least for most openings, was not the hard part of the job.

Anyone filling that role today is sharply aware: Things have changed. Applicants are in short supply, especially skilled applicants. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, America’s workforce will need 18 million new college degrees by 2012...just 5 short years from now. America’s colleges, however, will produce only 12 million new degree holders—and there’s no practical way to quickly adjust output.

Over the next 5 years, America will produce only 2 new college degree holders for every 3 we need!

If you think it’s hard to find highly skilled workers now, hold on to your ergonomic desk chair—this ride’s going to get rougher!

Hiring managers have increasingly turned to Internet job boards and recruiting services to help them find the applicants they need. Is it possible, however, they’re missing the boat—looking for candidates in all the wrong places?
Global business strategy consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, released a 2006 Recruiting Trends Survey, commissioned by the Direct Employers Association. Among their findings:

  • Over 50% of New Hires were sourced from the Internet in 2005.

  • Employers spent the largest proportion of their recruitment budgets on General Job Boards in 2005.

  • Employers were most happy with Return on Investment from (in order of satisfaction) Employee Referrals, their own Employment Web Sites, Campus Recruiting, and Niche Job Boards.

Given the last finding, why are so many dollars being spent on General Job Boards?!? As the report pointed out, nearly 21% of new hires, for the companies surveyed, came from the employer’s own employment website...yet, a quick sampling of company websites shows an amazing range of quality and attention to the “Careers” section in these sites, with most of the smaller companies having no employment functions on their site, or only a minimal set of job listings and contact information. Obviously, a great deal of room for improvement exists in this area, and employers who provide a quality employment section on their websites will reap a real benefit in return on the investment.

Employee Referral programs were the second leading source of numbers of applicants reported (18%), and led all sources in ROI...yet the number of employers without any employee referral program at all was reported at 44% in a recent poll.
Recently, employee referral programs have been criticized as restricting efforts to increase workplace diversity (since employees tend to refer people much like themselves). An effective company employment website, together with an applicant tracking system capable of collecting and reporting EEO data, can go a long way to counter such criticism—especially when coupled with other diversity recruiting efforts.

Finally, company employment websites and employee referral programs rank well above all other sources in quality of hires. This year, seek your new hires in the right places! Make an early resolution.

John W. Howard, Ph.D.
More about John

1 comment:

Dapper Fellow said...

As someone who "discovered" a career of teaching online degree courses by stumbling across a job board that lead to the employment page of a school’s web site, I can affirm that making the effort develop a user-friendly employment section is well worth the effort. Please, however, encourage your readers to make the employment as easy to use as possible. I have run across recruitment sections of a potential employer’s website that made me give up in despair because it was simply to, well, weird, to navigate.

Dapper Fellow