The Need to Effectively Target Qualified Candidates Has Never Been Greater

According to published results from a recent Bullhorn study of 1,500 recruiters and hiring managers, 30% of recruiters say that their number one pet peeve is individuals applying for irrelevant jobs (positions they are clearly unqualified to hold). In fact, 43% stated that they would make the effort to “blacklist” such applicants, blocking their names from future resume searches.

This frustration represents the ongoing challenge that recruiters face in obtaining access to qualified candidates for the open positions that they are working to fill.

This study also listed these additional recruiter pet peeves:

  • -Over 20% of recruiters listed candidates who exaggerate their qualifications as a big no no
  • -15% stated they would not want to work with applicants who focused on salary over all other job factors
  • -13% listed candidates submitting unrealistic applications for positions well beyond their level of experience as a major waste of their time
  • -And, just over 10% of recruiters were turned off by candidates who call/email them more than once a week for status updates

“Some job candidates have no idea how their own behaviors can be a total turnoff to the recruiters who are trying to help them,” remarked Art Papas, founder and CEO of Bullhorn. “The findings of our survey will hopefully not only help job seekers get inside the heads of recruiters to be able to better position themselves, but also help make the job of a recruiter a lot easier.” Taking these negative factors into consideration, recruiters should strongly consider their sourcing decisions to limit these unqualified candidates and improve their quality of hire.

Although unemployment rates are dropping in most major metro areas, the recent JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed there were 4 million job openings in the US at the end of January 2014.  This is up from 3.8 million openings in 2013, and indicates that recruiters are probably starting to see a lot more competition out there for quality job applicants. It also points to the reality that employers are not finding the qualified candidates that they seek, and are unwilling to make risky hires just to fill an open position.

It has also been projected, that on average, 9.4 people will apply for every open position in 2014, and roughly half (4.9) of those applicants will already be employed — 2.8 will be short term unemployed and 0.9 long-term unemployed.  Momentum in the marketplace is increasing and the war on talent is starting to gear up.

According to a survey by Right Management, a large number of previously passive job seekers are taking a more active role in 2014. With the improving economy, employees who were previously uncomfortable with the idea of making a job change are now ready to make that move.

These survey respondents also reported the following:

  • 83% admitted they would be looking for a new position in 2014
  • 12% plan to increas networking activity
  • Only 5% plan to remain in their current position

It is becoming increasingly important to have a clear understanding of where your job postings should be positioned in order to attract the most qualified applicants. By identifying the most optimal recruiting strategy for your company, you should be able to decrease the number of unqualified applicants, exaggerating candidates, and those well below the necessary and required level of experience.

Niche job boards, like those found on trade and professional association websites, are a proven resource in gaining access to qualified candidates. These candidates are experienced, dedicated and represented by a trusted resource within their industry.

Passive vs. Active Candidates: Who is the best hire?

The battle rages on – who makes the best hire: active or passive candidates? If you really think about it, however, doesn’t it make more sense that the person currently doing their job at peak performance would be more desirable than the person sitting idle and seeking that position? Seems straightforward, but let’s dig deeper.

Recruiting Passive Candidates: Proven Performance

The passive candidate is already exhibiting the specific characteristics recruiters crave by actively proving their corporate worth, excelling at their skill set, and delivering continuity and consistency to their company. Passive candidate characteristics include:

  • Typically peak performers at their position.
  • Currently employed because they create tangible value.
  • Proficient with specific skills in the areas you need to fill.
  • Already trained.
  • Active in promoting their companies via industry associations, etc.
  • Continuing to build current knowledge of their industry, position and technology.
  • Happy with their responsibilities (otherwise they’d be looking).

Recruiting Active Candidates: Can Be Risky Business

Limiting your potential hires to candidates who actively contact you brings an extensive and uncertain set of recruiting challenges and hiring risks. Typical active candidate characteristics include:

  • Lack of specific experience.
  • Need extensive training/massive learning curve.
  • Extreme reasons why they were fired or left but legal agreements mask truth.
  • Lack of previous employer disclosure clears them to become your problem.
  • Will take any position (until something better comes along).
  • Require additional due diligence, background checks, work history, etc.

Recruiting Cost/Time Considerations

There’s an illusion in recruiter circles that finding and landing passive candidates takes more resources – both time and money – than simply picking active candidates from random sources. This is not the case with the right approach.

Even the most entrenched professional will take notice if a better position is presented to him/her in the right manner. But how do you access this talent pool of people who don’t know you or your company? How do you educate them on your position and your people to motivate them to change their current, familiar situation?

To reach passive candidates the typical tools just aren’t effective. Random, big box job boards don’t work because those candidates are not actively looking. Even passive-active candidates aren’t sincere in their job search.

But one of the passive candidate characteristics listed above is also one of the most cost-effective, direct and response-inducing tools to tap this talent market – professional associations and their job boards.

It’s simple: Many passive candidates are members of specific, professional associations. Those associations may be focused on the skill set you need to fill a position. They more than likely have a specialized job board. You can recruit the best passive candidates directly through those association job boards.

Recruiting through professional association job boards makes you appear as a like-minded, industry-friendly employer which gives you a hiring advantage due to familiarity and common cause.

And the Best Candidate is…

Because the passive candidate is demonstrating, right now, the characteristics recruiters look for and when utilizing the right recruiting tools the answer is easy. The passive candidate is a valuable asset that can deliver immediate results. The passive candidate can very easily be your best candidate.