Canidate Strategy

Your current candidate strategy is a catastrophe

The way both Agency and Corporate recruiters ‘attract’ and find candidates is, for the most part, an unmitigated disaster, costing a fortune and resulting in ‘B’ class hires, and an ever-increasing ‘time to hire’.

And no one seems to care or even notice!

I have written about other aspects of the dysfunction of the agency model before, multi-listed job-orders being a classic example.

But the way most companies attract candidates is now so pervasive we seem blinded to what a disaster it is, and how ineffective and costly too.

Please, check out my wizz-bang graphic below, the product of my agitated and fevered brain, as I tried to give life to this fuck-up most recruiters live daily.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 3.51.28 PM

The problem starts with our deep, misguide love for job boards and job aggregators, and our weak resolve and lack of smarts to engineer new and fresh ways to engage with hard-to-source candidates.

We just churn out badly written ads, pump them out on crowded job-boards, only read by ‘easy-to-find’ candidates, that everyone else has!

We are so stuck in the ‘job-board paradigm’ that our knee-jerk reaction to every new, or even dormant, order, is ‘run an Ad’, adding to the clutter, wasting money and screwing up the job-board experience for candidates and recruiters alike. I mean seriously, it’s so bad that many recruiters will post an Ad, prior to even considering looking at their data base, which often means they pay to re-recruit candidates they already have. This is balls-achingly common. In fact, here is a quote from Lisa Jones from Barclay Jones in the UK. Makes my point don’t you reckon? “In our experience, recruiters with more than 100,000 candidates on their CRM find that 70% of the candidates they source already exist on their CRM”.

We freely admit job-boards are working less well. (I hear this daily. Everywhere). We know (but choose to ignore) the fact that a tiny fraction of people who apply via job-boards even get interviewed by our agency, let alone get referred to a client, let alone get placed in a job! And we blithely let our increasingly highly-paid recruiters spend time screening no-hopers, wasting time in dead–end interviews, taking calls from angry, un-responded-to candidates, and it makes us feel good because at least we are all ‘busy’. God help us.

It’s a farce.

Of course some good candidates come from job boards, and it will depend on your niche too. Job boards should be part of your mix, for now, but they are undifferentiated and will not capture talent in the eye of the skills shortage storm. Even the job boards know this!

A client of mine told me recently he spends a million dollars a year on job boards (his business turns over $25M!), and has the stats to show that just 17% of his placements originate from job-board applications. At the same time he spends a pathetic $5k a year on social media, will not hire a marketing person, won’t train his consultants on sourcing techniques, and thinks CRM, predictive recruitment and building talent communities is ‘Bullshit’. Yet he is cool to spend a million $ on job boards! FFS!

For recruiters, the job-board infatuation drives up volumes of inappropriate candidates, increases work-load, drives down candidate satisfaction, causes frustration and burn-out, and prevents those same recruiters from spending time on activities that will deliver results. Everyone knows this but the research proves it. Social Talent tells us that on average agencies screen 282 potential candidates for a job, for 6 to be presented for interview, 4 to actually get interviews, and one to get hired. Reflect on that for a moment!

For candidates the job hunt experience continues to get worse. Their hopeful application expectations are constantly dashed when they don’t get responded to, are left hanging, see that same job advertised multiple times by different agencies. Indeed candidates have hit a point that I call ‘job-board fatigue‘ and they seek other channels to find jobs. Which of course are increasingly becoming available in a digital, socially-connected world.

For employers and corporate recruiters, the ‘candidate catastrophe’ hurts their employer brand, results in internal recruiter burnout, and slows down the hiring process, to the dissatisfaction of job-seekers and the pain of line-managers.

The good news is that the smart recruiters are moving way from this model, investing in talent communities, CRM, automated marketing, big data, SEO, content marketing, as well as good old fashioned sourcing and seduction of candidates, who will not be found via job-boards.

In Australia, Livehire tells us ‘time to hire’ has increased from 28 days to 68 days in just 5 years.

Put a financial cost on that cataclysmic statistic if you dare.

I encourage all Agency owners to be brave (Internal Recruiters too for that matter). Throw out your 1990’s candidate playbook. Invest in social and digital and technology. Train recruiters on skills hunting, not job-board application screening.

Dragging your business further into the mire of this candidate catastrophe is the sure road to recruitment hell.

Talent is the currency of business success and wealth creation.

Your future is 100% dependent on finding candidates that your clients and competitors cannot.

And no job board will do that for you, will it?

What do YOU think about the ‘candidate catastrophe? Do you feel it? Comment below please.


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About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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5 Responses to Your current candidate strategy is a catastrophe

  1. Chris Sale July 12, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

    Old skills and new skills: I was trained in the old ones where you had a monthly jobs list in some magazine so your only source of candidates when new jobs came in was the box of carefully handwritten cards on your desk (AKA database), and the phone. We now have the advantages of the internet, job boards and social media including LinkedIn and good recruiters use all of them.

  2. Lisa July 12, 2016 at 10:05 pm #

    We have just elected to move the money we are spending on one job board (where we get not so great candidates) in order to work with an agency to improve our SEO, marketing and social media. We are a very small start-up, but as our candidate search is so specialised in one industry, we’re hoping to target the best candidates, rather than sifting through hundreds in order to find one gem.

  3. Ray July 13, 2016 at 5:11 am #

    Excellent post. We need to make the shift to talent communities sooner rather than later to stay competitive

  4. Katie July 13, 2016 at 6:11 pm #

    We have had some real success from sourcing candidates via social media. Engaging with candidates via Twitter and Facebook especially has allowed us to unearth candidates who were otherwise unknown to clients and competitors. We can also see that registrations via our website have increased directly as a result of posting relevant content via social media. We have drastically reduced our spend on job boards and I’m starting to think its the best thing we could have done!

  5. Andrew Hill August 10, 2016 at 1:31 am #

    Our Director of Operations recently challenged me to create a plan to broaden and diversify our candidate pool. As I started digging in, I had a revelation you apparently had long ago: that it’s essentially product marketing, except in this case the product is employment. I wish I found your blog before my first draft, but am glad to have found you now. Thank you!

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