Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Job Boards - Misconceptions and Realities: Part 1

A new year is upon us and I'm now two months into my new job. I'll be putting in a couple of days this week, organizing, reading, and thinking. One of the subjects I've been thinking alot about lately is Job Boards. I admit that I've been all over the map on this subject the past few years. 4-5 years ago, I was thriving on the big job boards as there were great candidates in my industry everywhere, applying daily for the jobs I had to fill. It wasn't a matter of finding great talent to apply, it was more of a challenge of trying to 'separate the wheat from the chaff'. I was 'Pro' Job Board all the way.

When I moved from Telecom back into the world of government contracting in 2003, my view on job boards quickly changed course. The job market in the gov't contracting sector was radically different, and job boards were not nearly as effective. I saw the same candidates on any of the major and/niche job boards day-after-day. I learned to rely on more on strategies to attract less-active/semi-passive candidates such as employee referral and other networking techniques. Job Boards still provided a trickle of quality candidates, but as a source the Boards were unreliable at best. I had gone from 'Pro' to 'Anti' very quickly.

As much as I was moving away from using Job Boards, I was still hearing the demand from colleagues for more access to more job boards, more resume databases, thinking that 'More' was the answer. The Job Boards had effectively sold 'More' as the answer to the Corporate Recruiting world over the past decade, and that is a promise that has largely gone unfulfilled. The Job Boards created a model where 'post it and they will come' was the mantra, whereas the reality is much more 'post and pray'. As I watched my colleagues continue to struggle with the Job Boards, my view of the Boards as a source continued to sour.

At my current employer, I am hearing a variety of views from those in our recruiting organization as to their opinions of the Job Boards, ranging from those who want more access to more Job Boards to those who have almost wrote them off completely. I am a centrist in my thinking, and believe that the answer to most questions typically lies somewhere between the extremes. The more that I have thought about the value of the Boards in today's recruiting environment, the more that my view of the Job Boards has begun to change, from that of having 'written them off', to gaining a better understanding their true value in the recruiting source spectrum.

Although Job Boards will likely never provide a sizable yield of quality candidates as a source, there are still good candidates to be found there. Overall, I have come to realize that it doesn't concern me as much where the candidate came from, whether they were 'active' or 'passive', I only care if they are a 'quality' candidate or not. Relying on the Job Boards as a key component to your recruiting strategy won't get you what you need, but dismissing them as a source does not help you either.

In my next post, we will explore some of the current misconceptions about job boards in greater detail, and in future posts, I plan to explore further how Job Boards can be a more effective part of your recruiting strategy.

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