“Follow the rule candidates” – How you find them, or do you?

There is this candidate who sees your job posted and is asked to apply directly online for the position. The profile information they provide, their cover letter if they have one and their resume end up in your database and flagged as an applicant to your position. This could happen in a corporate or non-corporate scenario.

You may get an email alert that you have an applicant, maybe not. In my corporate recruiting experience I did not. I had to go looking for any applicants who applied. It was also a user un-friendly experience that took more time for me to do than me just going out and finding candidates myself through other means. Not the candidates fault but the fault of a feature rich database system that was so feature rich it created more work to utilize it than the advantage of having it.

Ever been there where the best tools provided to you were sold to your management on how good they were but in real world practice they forgot to KIS (Did you see that coming?) And, could it be that management maybe a little out of touch with what it takes today to get results?

I had recruiting support when I worked corporate recruiting and I would ask my recruiters if they searched our corporate database. Surprising, almost everyone said they did not. When I asked why, they said that is was so user un-friendly and required so much time to do an effective search that they used other sources and felt they were getting better results. One of the most predominant comments made to me were that the key word search (Boolean or otherwise) parameters were returning weak results and they felt that a lot of good talent was being overlooked. And this was from a high end database that cost big bucks. Let’s see now, feature rich, high end, big bucks and low utilization with miserable results.

Another element from the candidate side is the difficulty of applying online and the stigma of doing it. You may have heard comments such as “I never hear back from anyone”, “I never received an email acknowledging receipt of my application”, “I was required to enter too much personal non-relevant information”, etc. Candidates are not always interested in satisfying EEOC requirements answering those kinds of questions on online applications. Companies seem to want to capture as much information as possible but are inadvertently discouraging candidates from doing online applications.

How does that happen? Well I get back to KIS. I believe that some of the designers of said systems lose site of the practicality of use in the real world. When this happens you get loss of efficiency in a system that was supposed to promote efficiency. The mind set is also to capture all sorts of information for tracking purposes, satisfy requirements, etc, etc. To me, the good out of this could be that is we are forced more into a proactive mode than a reactive mode. Being proactive will sharpen the search skills, push us into new technique and push us to seek out the best of the best who may not apply for positions online. Social networking is an excellent example. If corporate databases worked well, and some may, you could effectively cover both the reactive and proactive environments and enhance the results.

One’s ability to focus on the need, effectively use the tools provided to them, keep their eye on the ball and cut through the fluff trying to KIS, I believe, will result in a greater outcome. I also believe working the reactive side of the equation will result in finding the best “Follow the rule candidates” and working the proactive side will result in finding the best “outside the rule” candidates. Proactive, reactive, can you think of a better integrated candidate pool to swim in?

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Comment by Shane McCusker on April 12, 2010 at 12:01pm
As a developer of recruitment systems and an ex agency recruiter I agree. That said, simplicity is not as simple as it sounds. We spend a lot of time trying to simplify the user experience and cutting out the stuff that's not used. We focus on designing clever, intelligent products but almost in spite of this the biggest selling point is that recruiters feel it is easy to use and doesn't get in the way of the work they want to do.
Shane McCusker
Intelligence Software
Comment by Ron Cottick on April 12, 2010 at 10:01pm
Thanks for the comment Shane. I agree on the referral to simplicity. I think that sometimes the desire to make applications more effecient and high tech pushes simplicity out the door. We think it is simplifying things and that is one of our objectives until we beta test and find out we may have gotten too far away from the basics. I don't think the basics of recruiting have changed much if at all. We still need to talk with people and do all the fundamental things recruiters do. Maybe the divide where the fundamentals apply and the technology applies could be better defined and the simplifying takes place where it returns the maximum result. Dealing with people in a simplistic manner when people are complicated creatures who can think, say and do is a real challenge. Dealing with the technologies in finding the people to deal with is a different thing. I think intel-sw does the industry a great service. You must really have to think in and outside the box to give the industry what they are looking for and what makes their lives easier.


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