Beware of the boards Featured

2:00pm EDT April 27, 2004
In the mid-to-late '90s, with the employment market experiencing high demand along with the Internet's coming of age, companies such as Monster.com and Headhunter.net (now Careerbuilder) stormed onto the scene.

Today, both still exist, along with myriad niche job sites that allow you to search for resumes and advertise open positions. But despite great promise, the shortcomings of these sites have become more apparent.

One of the most glaring shortcomings becomes evident by asking two simple questions: Who is participating? And whom do you want to attract? The answers reveal these sites are not much different than the Sunday newspaper Help Wanted ads.

In the old days, when you placed an advertisement in the newspaper to fill a position, who's resumes did you receive? And, what had to take place?

First, the candidate you desired had to be in search of employment or seeking a new place to work. And, they had to see your ad.

So what's changed?

In the past, you received stacks of resumes. Of those, 95 percent or more were not qualified. You sought a general manager and received resumes from fresh college graduates and machinists, as well as from the window shoppers who float their resume every time they are up for a review, just to check the market.

Today, if you advertise on a job board, you get the same results - just magnified beyond belief. You receive e-mails, phone calls and faxes from countries you didn't even know existed. And, the bottom line is, are you getting the candidates you need? Candidates who will make a difference for your company?

My experience in this industry says that approximately 80 percent of the candidates qualified for a particular position are working, contributing to their employer's success and not actively seeking a new place of employment. Only the remaining 20 percent are qualified candidates who are actively seeking either employment or a new employer.

That means that the odds are stacked against you when you simply advertise on a job site.

Ask yourself, whom do you really want? If you want the best, solid contributors who can impact your business, candidates who represent the finest in the field of endeavor, you need to find them. Where are those candidates?

Consider this. The last time you had a layoff, did you lay off employees who were indispensable to your business? Did you ever lay off an employee who was making a significant contribution to the company's profitability?

Probably not. You want to attract and retain these candidates. You did not attract them with any great success or efficiency with the Sunday paper, and you are not going to attract these candidates by utilizing job sites. The people you want are working and are too busy contributing to their employer's success to be logging onto these sites perusing jobs and e-mailing resumes.

It takes a skillful recruiter to find these candidates and inform them about an opportunity that may interest them. They must be proactively recruited. And this is where the shortcomings of job sites become glaringly obvious. Sure, you may feel you are in greater control of the search process and sourcing the best candidates. You may feel as though you are being proactive and skillfully recruiting. But you are not. You sift through resumes benchmarking against candidates representing less than 20 percent of the qualified candidates, just as you have done in the past.

If you want to hire the best, those are represented in the 80 percent of employees who are still employed and busy contributing to their companies' successes. Monster.com, Careerbuilder, Hotjobs or any of the many niche sites are not going to provide these employees. But a professional recruiter will. Shawn Fier is vice president of Systems Research Inc. Reach him at (847) 585-8806 or < href="mailto:sfier@systemsresearchinc.com" />sfier@systemsresearchinc.com