A gofter is planning his swing. Let's hope the ball doesn't land in the trees.

Posting a job is a bit like golfing and losing your ball in the trees.

Posting a job is kind of like hitting a golf ball that hooks to the left and lands in the trees. In golf you can just switch balls. But IT recruiting is the real world. When you post a job that misses the mark you’ve got a whole lot of searching and sorting ahead of you.

We call it “post and pray”

In conventional recruiting you post the job and hope the right person applies. Whether you post it on your corporate career site, Workopolis, Monster, Craigslist, Kijiji, Github, Twitter, LinkedIn or all of the above – its the same old routine. You put your job out there and hope that the applications start rolling in.

This is when the real work starts. You spend hours which turn into days and weeks, sorting through applications to find the diamond in the rough – that rare person who lives near your worksite and has at least the minimum requirements to fill the role.

Often, if you’re lucky enough to find the diamond, you discover that the person is no longer available. And you’re back to sorting.

As the owner of an IT staffing company, I feel your pain. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

At Stafflink we’ve learned how to streamline the sorting stage, and cut to the chase. Because our time is better spent qualifying top candidates, than sorting through hundreds of applications. And yours is too!

Why job posting can sabotage your hiring process

Web crawler bot

Web crawler bots re-post your jobs on job aggregator sites

The hiring process often begins with a job post. But the problem with job posts is that you have no control over which search bots and people see them.

  • Your job posting will get scraped by job posting aggregators all over the world. Marketing bots will pick up your original job post plus the new copies of your job on the job post aggregators, and shoot back auto-generated job applications that look like they are from real people
  • Many IT generalists will apply because they like the job title, without reading the job requirements
  • The IT talent you are most interested in reaching out to will not even see your job post because they are not actively looking for work

The number of unqualified applications increases even more if you put hot keywords in the job title. When we put “project manager”, “quality assurance”, “QA”, “web designer”, “web developer” or “tech support”  in a job title, we get pinged with applications from every corner of the world (even though the job location is clearly stated on the job post), from humans and bots, from complete beginners to experts.

How to cut to the chase and connect with great candidates

Don’t expect the candidates to come to you, you have to go to the candidates

The trick is to tweak your hiring process so that you spend less time sorting and weeding, so you can focus on searching for, screening and connecting with qualified candidates.

In a nutshell, you need to modify your hiring process to limit the number of unqualified applications coming in. Which frees up more of your time to search for and develop relationships with the hidden passive job candidates that are your real target.

1) Post less jobs

At Stafflink we only post about 25% of our job requirements. (Two years ago we posted 99% of our jobs.) We source our best job candidates through referrals that we get through:

  • our internal database of contacts,
  • Boolean search techniques that we use to mine the web for specialist and gurus
  • participating in LinkedIn groups.

2) Use more specific job titles

General job titles are more likely to attract unqualified applications. Put one or two of the most important niche skill sets in the job title. For example, SAP FICO Support Analyst. Or Mobile Developer – Android, iOS.

3) Use Boolean search techniques to mine the web for passive job candidates

If you are competing for IT talent with in-demand or niche skills,  it’s essential to know how to use Boolean search techniques with search engines and social media sites. You can read a roundup of our best Boolean tips.  You can also download our free ebook Boolean Search Secrets for Becoming a Master IT Recruiter.

4) Network on LinkedIn Groups

We post a some of our jobs on our LinkedIn company page. But we find it is even more valuable to participate in LinkedIn groups.  Look for special interest groups where people with the skills you are looking for hang out. Then participate in the conversation and reach out to people who may be interested in your job opening.

5) Get referrals

Offer a referral bonus to your current employees and people in your network who refer a job candidate that you end up hiring. Some companies wait until the new hire has been in place for three months before paying out the referral bonus.

6) Reach out to candidates through social media

Social media recruiting goes way beyond posting your jobs on social media sites. The best way to use social media for recruiting is to be conversational and develop relationships with the IT talent you are targeting. In our post Leveraging Social Media as an IT Recruiter, you can find out how to use Google+, Facebook and Twitter to connect with IT talent communities.

What do you think?

Do you still have success with finding great job candidates through job posting?
How have your recruiting processes changed over the past year?

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