Top 10 hiring mistakes - #5 - an over-reliance on seek

Attracting talent and recruitment

Once we are in a position to put the role to market, typically the path is taken where the most common and (let’s be honest) overused methods are generally used. Trouble is, so does everyone else, and our little ad is swamped by many, many others, ending up lost.

The problem lies in complacency in the way employers advertise roles or how they find candidates. This complacency means that the exposure of the role to the market – and targeted to the areas that will attract the right candidates – are limited and usually unsuccessful.

Putting an ad on Seek is the go-to choice for almost every employer. And therein lies the main problem. Your ad could be the best written, most informative and clearly described job ad there is, but with something like Seek (or Monster jobs for that matter), the ad will stay on the front page, even with the filters available, for a very short time. Before long, it is deep within the other roles around, and seemingly lost amongst these.

The thing is, this go-to choice is generally the only method a lot of employers are aware of. Some expand to Linked In, which is great for targeted advertising through groups, but really this is the extent, and the chances of finding the employee with the right mix of skills, experience and behaviors are limited.

Mention words like ‘Talent Mapping’ or ‘targeted advertising’, and the average employer would not know what is being suggested. In essence, they are letting themselves down by relying on only one or two methods and discounting others…even though these activities would be far more effective.

As soon as a role becomes more complex, requiring specialised skills or unique experience, the chances of getting quality applicants from Seek falls drastically. Or, if you have a role with a lower or general skill set and advertise on Seek, prepare to spend a lot of time wading through hundreds of resumes. Consider this: you received 120 resumes and take a minute to scan each. That is 2 hours of your time gone just in initial screening – without deep investigation of potential CV’s. Think then of cost. If your time is worth, say, $100 an hour, that is $200 gone without anything happening – and let’s not forget the cost of placing an add on Seek, which is seemingly increasing at regular intervals. The hiring process is only in its infancy and you are already losing money.

This is the issue of using something like Seek in that it lacks the control needed to make a positive splash into the market to announce your staffing vacancy, because a virtually ignored point is that putting a job on an online job board is considered a branding exercise. So with a flood of ‘brands’ on one site the question needs to be asked: is Seek the best way to expose your business online?

Because, let’s be honest, if you are following the herd, you really not going to get the overall bang for your buck to make it a sensible spend – especially as there are far more cost-effective and high ROI methods that supersede the use of Seek.

What are they?….well, that’s for another day!


Scott Brown

Scott Brown

Principal at Scott Brown Recruitment

Hi, I'm Scott. I am a recruitment expert and small business hiring consultant with over 14 years industry experience. I started my business in 2009 as a pure recruiter, but have morphed it into a consultancy on internal hiring. I love small business and I love what I do, as it really sits well with my passion for the people side of any business. On top of that I am a blogger / writer and speaker on hiring within small businesses.

Scott Brown Recruitment

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Human resources and recruitment


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Katherine MacPherson

Katherine MacPherson , Principal at The Hunter Box

Thanks Scott for sharing this article. Interestingly, this morning at the AIMIA Future of Digital event, Laurie Patton, Industry Executive - Media and Entertainment at Telstra revealed that Telstra relying on key social tools such as LinkedIn to identify senior staff for their business, in lieu of advertising. Do you see this as a fundamental shift for recruitment going forward? It certainly seems like a cost effective way to pre-filter staff?

Scott Brown

Scott Brown , Principal at Scott Brown Recruitment

Thanks Katherine for your comments. Interestingly, Linked In recently spoke on the whole 'agency-v-internal recruitment' functionality, and LI's approach to it. From observation, it would seem that LI's desire is to remove agency altogether allowing greater employer-candidate interaction. This is the future, as I see it. The freely available access to candidates is at an unprecedented scale now, and recruitment agencies are slowly losing their share of the candidate market. Savvy businesses realise this and take advantage of the immediate availability of, and access to, candidates that social media provides.