The "Ballerina File" ain't such a bad thing!

If you don’t have a “Ballerina File” you’re losing money!


One topic that seems to be a hot button for many is the lack of qualified candidates derived from job board ads.


First, let’s be clear the role of a job board.  A job board is not the Holy Grail or a guarantee of a quick placement with little effort; neither is an ATS,, target lists, etc.  A job board is a tool and like any other should be used to varying degrees depending upon the objective.  It’s a means for new recruiters to get familiar with speaking to a captive audience, a means to build your database for future placements, a means for branding, etc.  Although it has almost become an Olympic sport to bash job boards, those who leave home without this tool leave money on the table.  Plus, job boards have one of the highest ROI’s around!


Back on topic.  In the good ole’ days before the internet but after the invention of the fax (imagine recruiting via snail mail???), to find a job one would read the Sunday papers employment section…usually the size of the King James Bible, identify positions that reasonably met their qualifications and circle with a red pen, fill out a fax cover sheet, go to the local Kinko’s and spend about 3 bucks per submission.  I assure you for all this work and expense one would have reasonable expectations that they qualify for the job they are applying.  After all, they have skin in the game.


The Internet changed everything.  With a click, for free, applicants can apply to as many positions as they like regardless of qualifications.  Although I would like to think they would only apply to ones they qualify, this is not always the case.  Often times a candidate will apply for a position they know they are not qualified for simply as a means to get their resume in the door.  In other words…get them in the system.


Example; a 5 yr CPA applies for a CFO role.  When I first started recruiting I used to simply delete in disgust…what nerve!  But I’ll never forget my first boss, John Sinon, now with the Sinon Group in NYC telling me that so long as they fit the profile of searches we conduct they are assets, should be contacted and included in our database for future searches.  What a waste of time, right?  After all, recruiting is transactional and I need money and I need it now!  But John was the boss so I created what I called my “Ballerina File”.


The “Ballerina File” was a file for candidates who were not qualified for positions they’ve responded to, but per John’s criteria met our placement standards.


This file was named after a Ballerina who sent me a resume for a senior accounting position.  No degree, couldn’t tell me what side a debit was on, but still applied.  It was my way of pushing back a bit not believing there is any value to John’s premise.  So input I did!  Every weekend, into the system.  Well guess what…John was right!  Within a few months of receiving my first Ballerina candidate, I placed him!  Many more followed.


Moral?  Use job boards and keep a Ballerina File!  You will make more money and save your company even more!

Views: 114

Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 6, 2011 at 3:17am
And now they call it a "talent pool" or a talent community if you talk to them once a week.

The only bad thing about snail mail was that we had to make and file copies of everything we sent and wait 3to5days before we could follow up. That's why all us old school recruiters learned to sell on the phone and get clients to interview a candidate without seeing a resume until the candidate walked through the door with their resume in their hand. There were no gate keeper HR types. The hiring manager interviewed the candidate, normally made a decision by the next day or two at the most. After a person was hired they dropped by personnel to fill out forms and normally went to work the next day unless that was Friday. There were no drug tests because decent people didn't do drugs. If you came to work drunk you got fired not rehabed.

Isn't it grand that we have evolved to our current technological high blown status where there are more gatekeepers than a herd of baby ducks. Resumes have more keywords than Webster. Interviews have turned
into an Olympic qualifying endurance contest. It takes a month to 6 weeks to get an employee "on boarded"
two weeks of which are spent filling out online apps, taking tests and hoping to hear a human voice say anything even close to hello, if a human voice is ever heard. It is progress that we are trying to figure out how to get a hiring manager to interview a candidate without seeing a resume. Blogging about how wonderful it would be if the broken recruiting process could be fixed so candidates were not lost because they are required to fill out ungodly online applications until after they are interviewed. I love all the revolution and evolution that is astounding the peeps at all the conferences where the newbie recruiters sniff and turn up their little noses about old skool recruiting. It will be wonderful if they can figure out a way to accomplish all that sexy stuff us dinosaurs never thought of while we were sticking resumes of people we couldn't get hired that week in a file folder marked "market next week". If we had written talent pool on the folder we would have revolutionized the industry. Who knew.
Comment by Recruiting Animal on May 6, 2011 at 7:13am

Here's the easy to read version of this article:


If you come upon a resume that is in our niche but is not good for this job put it in the database. It might be useful later.


Need anything more be said.


Comment by Christopher Poreda on May 6, 2011 at 7:58am
...But that wouldn't make for much of a blog now would it Animal?  You got 1/2 the gist of the article, the other is if job boards aren't part of your strategy you're leaving money on the table!
Comment by Sandra McCartt on May 6, 2011 at 6:02pm
Sorry Jennifer, i have to disagree.  I just billed a little over 45K in fees this week.  All candidates came from job boards.  They beat the ones we direct recruited and the referrals.  Interviews going on next week for a c level position where the top two candidates responded to job posting on monster.
Comment by Ineke Read on May 6, 2011 at 7:07pm

I think job boards are a very important part of your recruitment strategy, but it needs to be only part of the approach. The 4 prongs of Press ads, an internet campaign, your database and referrals/headhunts yield the best results.


Comment by Valentino Martinez on May 7, 2011 at 12:52am



Your "Ballarina File" is my "VIP (Very Impressive People) File".


For those who can leverage Job Boards to positive recruitment outcomes--more power to them.  I've always found Job Boards to be veritable treasure troves for VIPs.


And so it goes.


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