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Unrequited Love

by MAX JONES / Thursday 13th October 2016

Unrequited Love

I’m going to share something with you today that I haven’t shared with anyone for a good 10 or 15 years. Something that has never seemed reasonable or applicable to talk about until now. So here goes… Do you feel privileged?

Back when I was 10 years old, around January to be precise, I fell in love with a girl. & for the sake of this example, let’s call that girl Susan. Susan was in my class at school & she was amazing, resourceful, popular, knowledgeable & all the things a young 10 year old boy would want in their first crush. She also had a wicked pair of light up trainers.

In my head, we were a match made in Miss Toppings Year 4 class & this would be the start of a beautiful relationship. So naturally, with Valentine’s Day just a month around the corner, the young romantic within me went off & planned ferociously for the next month or so to make sure that on the 14th I would sneakily place a card in the desk draw of Susan & the rest would fall into place…

How wrong was I.

Susan & I sat across the table from one another in Miss Toppings class & naturally enough the 14th February came around quick & there I was sitting on my blue plastic chair waiting in anticipation for Susan to sit opposite me, open her desk draw, find the card & want to hold my hand. Unfortunately, all of the former happened but replace the hand holding with fits of giggles & sniggers & safe to say my “love” for Susan was as one-sided as Real Madrid vs M.K. Dons (in favour of The Dons, of course). I was heart-broken, unconvinced if I would ever feel the same way about anyone ever again & unsure I would find anyone as creative, suitable & popular…

The relationship recruiters seem to have had over the years with Job boards, are very similar to my “relationship” (although you can’t really call it that) with Susan in Year 4. Why? Well, much like Susan & I, the future was bright, Susan was the best person to know, to hang out with & to be around. She was where all the cool kids hung out & she had a network of Year 4 companions who could help me in any area I was struggling in. Job Boards have historically done the same for recruiters.

But as time has progressed & naturally changed over the years, the ways top quality agencies are going about attracting & sourcing their candidates has categorically changed. With this shift; if agencies are still reliant & focussed on traditional job boards, then they’ll have as much luck in attracting quality candidates as I have in rekindling any sort of spark with Susan from Miss Toppings Year 4 class.

Misguided love…
There now seems to be an over-reliance on job boards & aggregators & our misguided psychology that these are still the best routes to find the best candidates is just wrong. It’s the easy & lazy way out for recruiters, & without turning this blog into another “recruiter bashing” monologue, if agencies don’t shift their sourcing focus then it’ll show where it hurts - their bottom line. 

We’re like zombies. Churning out questionable job-ad after job-ad, chucking it into an already crowded market & wondering why our success rate is dwindling. It’s lazy, it’s historic & I know you know you’re better than that. There’s so much content out there in the recruiting world that admits job-boards aren’t what they used to be, that we need to look at other avenues of procurement. Yet still the large majority of agencies seem to accept this but don’t intellectualise it, otherwise they’d change it.

Now I am not saying that there aren’t some fantastic candidates to be found on the likes of REED, Total Jobs, Jobsite & CV Library (to name a few), of course there are. & of course it depends on the sector you are recruiting into, but not appreciating that job boards need to be just one of the many avenues available to you to source your candidates is a misguided as thinking Susan from Miss Toppings Year 4 class would hold hands with a 3ft tall, wonky teethed 10 year old with a bowl hair cut from his sisters mates. 

I read a staggering statistic from one of Greg Savages blogs a while back where he spoke about a client of his recently spending $1m a year on job boards. Yes you read that right…$1m! In the same breath he said that he spent a mere $5k a year on social media, will categorically not hire even one marketing person, won’t train his consultants on different ways to find candidates, & thinks CRMs, predictive recruitment & building talent pools are an utter waste of time. Now to me, that’s makes absolutely no sense & I’m sure you feel the same!

So I want to close this blog off today by suggesting that, with over 3000s start-ups emerging this year already within the recruitment market, the future success & longevity of agencies is dependent upon finding candidates that your clients & competitors can’t. After all recruitment is a simple balance between vacancies & candidates. You get the right vacancy but aren’t finding the right candidate, you’ll never progress in the direction you want. Candidate is King & therefore our sourcing tactics need to be Queen!

Be one of the few who do versus the many who talk & invest your time, capital & talent into other ways of sourcing candidates & instead of reacting, you’ll be in control. Job boards are fantastic but they are just one of the necessary weapons in your armoury!

P.S. if you are reading this “Susan” & would like to get in touch, you’ve missed the boat. Sorry.