Recruiting and networks…..Make the connection!


I was having a conversation earlier with a client who seemed to be surprised that they hadn’t managed to source any suitable candidates from their recent recruitment campaign.  They fired a number of questions at me, that they felt were the probable reasons for the lack of responses.

Is the salary not enough? The salary was fine- market rate

Are we not an attractive employer to applicants?- They are a good company, low turnover, perhaps a little understated (which could be a source of the problem)

Do we need to add more to our benefits package? Nope- generous holidays, car allowance, flexi working and contributory pension scheme.

Are there people in the market looking for this type of work? Yep, absolutely.

All were valid questions, but actually aren’t the reason for their failure to attract enough applicants to count on 2 hands (or enough SUITABLE candidates to count on 1 finger!!!).  So why did the campaign (which cost a few grand) abjectly fail?

The reason?

They wanted to engage with the local community and hopefully employ someone from the local area.  Of course they do- its a Housing Association and thats their raison d’etre.  So they felt that the best way to get local applicants was to advertise in the local newspaper (and on their own website)!

And that would have been the right way to recruit if it was the 1980’s and people actually looked in newspapers for jobs anymore.  Especially, when you are looking for someone at entry level, and so are more likely going to get applications from Generation Y and Z!

Know your audience people!!!

This is an extreme example but it is a common issue that the diversification of our communication channels is creating real difficulties in reaching the target audience??

For example, I’m on Facebook, Linkedin and I’m getting in to Twitter.  I’m not on bebo, Instagram, Flickr or the plethora of other networking sites.  I read a paper sporadically, but mainly rely on the Guardian and BBC websites for my news updates.  The local paper goes straight into recycling.  I am registered with Totaljobs and CV library, but not any of the other multitude of job boards.

So, lets imagine that I am the ideal person for a particular job that Company X is recruiting for (you may need to suspend your disbelief on that last sentence).  Now, and I don’t say this very often, but……lets do some maths.

There are apparently 20 networking sites (with over 100million users) and there are over 2000 job boards operating in the UK alone.  So that means I am on 15% of networking sites and I’m on 0.001% of job boards.  Add that to you having a 0.03% chance of catching me reading the physical Guardian (I’ll perhaps get it once a month) and absolutely no chance of getting through to me by the local rag.  That gives you a 3.75% chance of finding me (some may argue that is a good thing).

In this connected world, where global is local, how can this be?  Many of these tools sell themselves as giving you access to a bigger pool of candidates, but has it all gone too far?  Rather than shooting fish in a barrel, you are shooting fish in a barrel 2 miles away.

So what is the answer?

I believe its all about networks.  I’m probably doing myself out of a job here, as that is what people use me for- my networks, my links to the best people in the market.  Things like Linkedin, twitter, Facebook and the  other 17 main networking sites are only useful if you have an audience, or network.  And your audience is only a click away.  But if you don’t make that click, they might as well be on Mars!

Too many organisations use it as a broadcasting medium, expecting people to want to listen.  “We have a Facebook page and a twitter account” so people know about us.  They are that guy at the party who always wants to talk about himself…you know the guy- he’s the one you avoid.  If you reach out to people, be interested in them, build your network by understanding who is in your network, then this network will feed you in the long run.  Just look at Bromfords twitter only recruitment campaign.

You show yourself to be a decent employer, one who is interested in people and by default, interested in its staff, an employer of choice.  This kind of information spreads through other networks which in turn become your network, and soon enough you have an engaged network, one that is coming to you to know when the next role is coming up.  If you manage it right, with your next vacancy, you’ll just have to open the virtual window and shout down to your network to ask who fancies coming in.

When everyone gets to that stage, thats when I suppose I’ll have to look for a new job myself…