For Us, Outsourcing Our Job Posting Works

Doing less with more. We measure it. Monitor it. Optimize it. Benchmark it. Roll it. So many schools of thought channeling through webinars, blogs, SMS feeds, etc. assail the minds of talent acquisition leaders daily. It can be hard to take the time to process it all, let alone roll out a custom implementation when what is really needed today is a purple squirrel with an engineering degree willing to relocate for less money. Late nights at the office resuscitated the question, “Can we get back some of the time we spent executing necessary, yet time-consuming transactional activities and reallocate the team’s time to more strategic client-facing initiatives and management’s time to taking care of the team?”

I approached this conundrum earlier in my career with the help of my talent acquisition team at that time. As we began an examination our own processes, we tried to keep a “lean-esque” perspective on what we see is the incremental value recognized through individual process steps. The central challenge became whether we could change the way in which something is executed, while still retaining (or increasing) its incremental value. Ultimately, can we do it quicker, cheaper, and not cannibalize our effectiveness and efficiency?

After mapping our processes, we determined posting jobs was a laborious task that had 1.5 FTEs committing their college-educated minds (and a fraction of the P&L) to data entry. We were posting to local boards, niche sites, contracted megaboards, etc. We began looking to see who could do this for us and liberate the recruiters to function in other capacities day in and day out.

Abandoning our nature to be risk adverse, we took a page from mental giants in the manufacturing industry and began a trystorming prototype process. Our path to enlightenment routed us to an India-based company that could provide us with a very fiscally responsible service through its dedicated and scalable client service teams. During our relationship, we realized a few things:

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  1. The cost of posting jobs was materially lower due to less-expensive partner labor hours being used as opposed to our team paid at a higher wage and payroll burden rate.
  2. We reduced by 2/3 the time we spent on posting activities, enabling team members to begin some special projects.
  3. Their newfound freedom mitigated their “attrition through boredom.”
  4. Our reservation about whether the vendor could deliver to our client’s expectations since they were not part of our organization was quickly pacified by their timely communications whether by email, phone, and/or IM.
  5. We had enhanced financial scalability since we paid only for the hours, leveling the ebbs and flows of our client needs.
  6. It offered an optional prepaid monthly fee arrangement. Historically, each time we wanted to post to a board only one time, we would buy the individual ads and later provide a month-end reconciliation against cost centers. Under the pre-pay model, we paid a fixed fee at the beginning of the month and simply sent each job description with job board destination. Operating as a declining balance and supported by emailed receipts and monthly reports enabled an internal control mechanism self-monitoring our current month’s job board expenditures.

Once our process was optimized and rolling, we began to dig into more services it offered to see if there was other value that either we could change in our existing practices or add to enhance our departmental offering. To our pleasure, the vendor was able to take a prescribed list of key skills needed per position, review incoming candidates, and tag in our ATS which ones meet the criteria. It also offered to source active, qualified candidates who have resumes online and send an invite to apply to the ATS. We could smell the cost savings–so long as the quality was there, of course.

Finally, we were limited in supporting our recruiting needs globally by having a monolingual team. The vendor with a more linguistically trained workforce was poised to provide postings in other countries in the language necessary to attract and engage the right talent.

In summary, our relationship with our new partner enabled our team to act more strategically and spend less time downing our office coffee. Our blended mix of transactional execution enabled the recruiting team more time to be client-facing and positioned management to able to giving back care to the recruiting team members by focusing on individualized growth-related talent-management activities.

Mike Jenkins is a talent acquisition manager for Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic and largest nonprofit health system, where his primary focus is on reaching, attracting, and engaging talent. Prior to Ascension Health, he has worked in leadership and consultative roles within global professional services firms and Fortune 500 organizations. He has more than 10 years of advisory experience along the talent acquisition continuum, including recruitment process outsourcing, contingent staffing, online recruitment, media investments, recruiting metrics, social media ROI, ATS, job distribution, and compliance technologies. He also holds an inactive CPA license in Ohio and was voted in the Top Forty Under 40 by the Ohio business publication Business First.


10 Comments on “For Us, Outsourcing Our Job Posting Works

  1. We’ve seen a significant increase in clients posting their jobs to through vendors in India and other offshore locations and even more so through domestic software providers.

    The software providers typically are ad agencies (they almost all have their own multi-board posting solutions), applicant tracking systems (all the majors are directly or indirectly integrated with the major job boards), and web-based systems to which you submit your posting once, check the boxes for the boards you want the job to go to, and hit the submit button.

    Regardless of which path you follow, gone are the days when you need to post the same job over and over again to multiple boards.

  2. Great article! I think it’s important to note that job distribution software/technology, like ours and many others, also provides tremendous insight by tracking metrics and source of hire data, as well as competitive benchmarks. Many companies find just as much value in the data points (to make better buying decisions) as they do in recruiter efficiency and productivity (and well, as you state, less frustration in the process). I’m sure recruiters would rather be recruiting and not dealing with the administrative hassles of posting jobs.

  3. Hi Mike,

    I read this article with great interest and then took some additional time to review your job postings. While I applaud the fact that you’re utilizing a service to get your open positions posted far and wide, I feel that a critical component is still missing, namely the quality of the postings themselves. Essentially, what you’re blasting out to job seekers is a job description, whereas what you really want is a compelling advertisement – i.e. well-designed, professionally-written ad copy that speaks to candidates in a more persuasive manner. You’ve succeeded at getting a lot of people to see your message. Now, focus on updating that message to say ‘this is who we are; this is what we do; this is the opening we have; this is why the position is critical to our success; these are the rewards you will enjoy by being part of our organization”.

    The great thing about job postings is that really compelling ads cost precisely the same as mediocre ones. Make yours stand out!

  4. Excellent points, Michael. We see over and over again that the jobs which perform the best of our college job board share two traits:

    1. Well written job posting ads.
    2. Attractive opportunity.

    The ads which seem to be best received by the job seekers using are those which start broad and get narrow. So start by painting a picture for the candidate of your industry, then your organization, then your department/division if appropriate, then the opportunity.

    The best job seekers have choices even in tough times so think about the posting from the perspective of the candidate. Realistically, the compensation and location you offer will be similar to those offered by your competitors so why should the candidate want to work for you? What is it about your industry, organization, or opportunity that makes it more attractive than the similar jobs being offered by your competitors?

  5. Thanks, Mike. I’ve been saying for years that if you’re not prepared to pay $50+/hr for someone to do a given recruiting task, you can (and probably should) no-source (eliminate), through-source(automate), or out-source (send away) recruiting tasks for $2.78-$5.25/hr (scheduling, coordinating, data-entry, routine candidate care, report compilaton/generation {METRICS}, probably job-posting, etc.) or $11.00 and under/hr (phone/internet sourcing, posting [if you can’t get the $278-$5.25 folks to do it], routine screening/candidate development).

    Would love to talk to you about the details/your experience, Mike.




  6. Steven-
    I like your response. You obviously have had exposure to job aggregating technologies and ad agency offerings. I concur that there are many solutions being raised up to the market to retire the days of posting repetition.

    It comes down, like all decisions, to what is makes sense for their business needs and there are several paths you could consider. A snapshot of some of the key decision points I considered included:

    1) The startup cost of a technology or service whether it be integration, customization, or other fee.
    2) The fixed monthly cost of services
    3) Matching the scalability of variable costs to actual need. Essentially, “Are you paying even when you are not playing”?
    4) Whether the quality expected is replicable my the chosen service provider.
    5) How nimble is the solution to address changing needs
    6) Being a former CPA and self-professed numbers geek, what kind of reporting could I get to assess ROI.

    Hopefully that is helpful. Thanks.

  7. Shawna,
    You are right on. There is tremendous value as you mentioned in buying decisions underwritten by data points. I am an advocate of buying the company’s Cost Accounting Manager a cup of coffee and grilling them about how to intimately understanding my cost of doing business, which I refer to as “cost of services” since I am rendering them to my internal clients.
    By rooting my analysis there, I can start to model the testing of new ideas into ROI calculations. Luckily for me, my recruiters, with their new found freedom have some unallocated time on their hands now to do this for me. 🙂

  8. Michael,
    This reminds me of the analogy of the three-legged stool made up of speed, quality, and investment. If you take one leg away you will fall down.

    Quality is key particularly, as you mentioned, in disseminating the right message now that you have a channel established. From my experience with the service provider, we established semi standardized templates communicating the core values anchoring our employment brand and tweaked for functional values.

    I honor your due diligence in reviewing the job postings. I would like to add a disclaimer that I very recently joined my current employer and it is not the same employer that I worked for when I undertook the task the article discussed. The ads you may have reviewed are part of my current undertakings and their evolution maybe a muse for future article.

    Your line, “…really compelling ads cost precisely the same as mediocre ones” gave me a chuckle. So true.

  9. Great article, Mike. You’ve crossed a bridge and will never go back (to manual posting). Unfortunately, it’s difficult for many to change current processes, even for the better. Your cost cutting and former CPA experience may have driven you here, but as you’ve mentioned, the results are eye opening.

    I’ve been doing this going on 15 years now, and we rarely lose a client (I’d like to say it’s our great service, but the reality is that any automated or out-sourcing service should deliver ROI and results significantly better than manual processes).

    One of our great success stories came last year when a publicly held client presented to analysts that they had reduced their expenditure on external job boards from $6 million to $2 million AND reduced their % of placements from the paid job boards from 65% to 20%. Along with automation is reporting and metrics to make more informed purchasing decisions and the ability to reach a wider audience. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of highly targeted and free internet destinations to advertise jobs to attract the passive job seeker; but a manual process won’t get you to these.

    I enjoyed your well written and informative article – thanks for giving our industry a public pat on the back…Keith

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