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Dear Workforce How Could We Better Publicize Our Jobs to Would-be Recruits

We have several entry-level job openings for administrative and medical assistants. The problem we face is getting qualified candidates to apply. We have tried posting on a local online job bank, as well as our own Web site, and even interviewed people referred to us by local community colleges and associate-degree programs. In six months, we’ve had fewer than 25 applicants, only five of whom were qualified enough to grant an interview. It doesn’t seem that such positions should warrant the expense of a recruiter. How can we publicize our job openings or recruit candidates in a cost-effective way?
September 7, 2011
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Related Topics: Candidate Sourcing, Dear Workforce
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Dear Stymied:

Large or small, your recruiting needs sound important enough to your company's success to warrant a lot more attention than to simply rely on the sources you mention. If you really want to succeed without a third-party placement firm, then you have to stop thinking of yourself as a recruiter and start thinking of yourself as a talent scout.

First of all, take stock of what is really happening by collecting some data. Look at Salary.com and pretend you are the ideal candidate. Are you overpaying for the job? Search local and national job sites to see how many similar jobs are offered by firms like yours. How tough is your competition? What are competitors using for a hook? Call admissions offices at community colleges, pretending to be interested in training programs that produce top-notch graduates--the people who eventually become your best candidates. Inquire about how many students graduated from the college during the last two years, between two and five years ago, and between five and 10 years ago. Are there any alumni functions? Also, do any of your employees illustrate the types of people you want to hire? What can they tell you? Who do they know?

Second, examine what you have to offer. Be honest. Is your salary competitive? (Probably not.) Can you grow and develop into a larger company? Does the company boast competitive benefits, flexibility, and a great owner? Do its services make a significant difference to customers? What you note as important had better also be important to those job candidates. And how will you know if you don't ask one or two of them?

Write a value proposition for why someone should join your firm, and why they should stay. Or even better, visit your local high school and ask the English teacher for the school's advanced-placement class to get her students to do it for you, writing about jobs with your firm using data that you supply.

Lastly, think about strategies that do more than simply identify candidates when the need arises. Instead, start building a pipeline of qualified applicants well before you need them. This may seem like extra work but if you find two quality connections in advance, you'll fill all your key positions "just in time," either with the folks you've met or the information they provide about other job seekers. Take the chairperson of the local community college, or the professors of relevant courses, out to lunch to discuss their alumni. Contact professional associations or trade/industry organization to which your candidates are likely to belong. If there is a local chapter, offer to become its sponsor.

The principles to finding and attracting quality candidates are always the same:

  • Know who you are targeting, and then let them know you are looking for them.

  • Know why people come and why they stay--and market the hell out of it.

  • Build a pipeline by finding and meeting candidates even when you don't have openings. A little preparation goes a very long way. Any of the people you meet along the way might refer you to your next great candidate.

SOURCE: Gerry Crispin, SPHR, principal and chief navigator, CareerXroads, Kendall Park, New Jersey, December 5, 2005.

LEARN MORE: Recruiting Vendors Take Cues From Dating Sites discusses how vendors are helping companies sort through the chaff to find the perfect match. Also of interest: Please read how a public-private partnership in New Yorkstate is trying to get more college grads to stay.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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Dear Workforce Newsletter

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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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