The Ticket Scalper Version of Direct Talent Sourcing

When accepting those rapidly accumulating random LinkedIn connection invitations, I generally also scroll down to peruse my timeline. In doing so, I often notice plenty of job opportunities being posted. Some of these are blasted out by automation tools and others are manually added as a person's LI status update. 

Either way, I selectively "like" certain postings that might be relevant to others in my network. If it were me posting, I'd appreciate any further distribution that a simple "like" might offer beyond my immediate reach. Therefore, perhaps mistakenly, I think the posters feel the same. By no means do I expect it, but it is reassuring when the rare poster takes a moment to acknowledge or thank me for sharing their post. 

Job seekers are exhorted to go directly to the hiring source whenever possible. And, in contrast to a post and pray approach, direct candidate sourcing is viewed as an integral part of true recruiting. That being the case, it seems suspect that we continue to be bombarded with examples of recruiters being blatantly dismissive of so-called active candidates, while simultaneously proclaiming talent shortages, skills gaps and other impediments in finding the right fit. 

Of course not a day goes by that we don't hear about job boards and resumes being dead. There are many purists that believe posting jobs is not recruiting. Others buy into mythological ideas that entities referred to as passive talent are far superior to those untalented, bottom-dwelling active job seekers. 

It makes no sense to me to debate that topic as I don't think there is a single right or wrong source of talent or best or worst way to recruit. Nor have I ever found any discernible talent-oriented distinctions between anyone who happens to be looking for a job and those who are not. It all depends on the context of what works best for each circumstance and each person's own proven procedures, tools and techniques. So if that means posting and using job boards to collect resumes, go right ahead. 

However, one particularly questionable category of job postings through the above method is recruiter and human resources positions. Through the nature of the work they do recruiters and HR pros are expected to be LI super-users connected through deep and broad networks of their own industry peers and beyond. It strikes me as especially odd to see many of these very types claiming to engage in "direct sourcing" post openings for their own kind as if no such creature exists within their 500+ connections.

Is this a case of buzzword misappropriation? Are these individuals simply indolent? Or, does it smack of irony like multiple ticket scalpers roaming around mere feet from each other holding up signs and verbally attempting to buy and sell tickets between passers by as if those with tickets and those that need tickets are incapable of finding each other?

Views: 473

Comment by Tim Spagnola on January 8, 2014 at 8:45am

My vote goes toward 'buzzword misappropriation'.  ; )

Nice post Kelly (as always). Your scalper analogy is spot on.

Comment by Recruiting Animal on January 8, 2014 at 1:15pm

Recruiters don't know enough recruiters to have a handy database of people who are suitable for a job in a certain industry and location. Ask Steve Nehez. He's a smart guy and he has trouble finding people to work with him.

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on January 8, 2014 at 3:13pm

Thanks, Kelly This is interesting. I wonder if recruiting jobs are filled any more frequently through networks (as opposed to postings) than other types of jobs?


Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on January 8, 2014 at 11:56pm

Thanks for the comments, guys! 

@Keith - I think that would be interesting to know as well. It seems that networks or other personal relationships, referrals or recommendations as a key source of hire would make sense in this case. 

@Animal - Perhaps, Nehez can weigh in here to explain that challenge. As I vaguely recall, he has a rather unique and specific agency recruiting business model and physical (in-office) set up in which his team works with high call and email volume in a narrow niche (automotive engineers?). Perhaps there's just limited appeal for that (IMHO: sounds like a grind) arrangement or search/qualification criteria used is too restrictive for the available talent pool in his geographic area. 

To your other point about recruiters not having access to large enough database to identify suitable talent in that category, I'm not convinced. I didn't mean to imply that every open recruiter/HR req would be filled through that recruiter's own 500+ LI connections. Rather at a minimum they would do a preliminary bit of detective work to examine what or who might turn up in simple search of available info on LI or elsewhere. Based on what I see and sense from the observed (not tough to fill) postings, it seems these particular posters are either not very effective sleuths or they are skipping that step all together. 

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on January 9, 2014 at 2:20pm

Thanks, Kelly. I'm also curious how many of all jobs (whether externally posted or not) are filled through personal contacts/referrals.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on January 10, 2014 at 6:53pm

@ Keith -- My favorite (mystery source) statistic is that 80% of jobs are not posted and/or 80% of jobs are filled through networking, referrals, word-of-mouth, recommendations, etc. 

Of the places I've worked regardless of the volume of referrals they were never a significant source of hire. So anytime I see those numbers or anything even above 20% I'm skeptical of the accuracy. 

When in job search mode myself, practically every time I was referred it followed me discovering the opening through an external source - primarily online postings then requesting someone I knew to refer me. So, anytime it did result in being hired, "I" would still consider the most accurate source of hire to be the site where the position was found, not the person that referred me. 

Anyone else have a different take on that? 

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on January 10, 2014 at 7:45pm

Thanks, Kelly Makes sense.

Occasionally, I see somebody (usually a guy) who says: " I've never been out of work one day in my life, and I've never had to apply to a posted job."

To them I say: "Good for ******* you!"

I'm not that guy- I have to dig  'em out. (Maybe people know me TOO well...)




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