So Many Sites, So Little Money: Thinking Strategically About Your Recruiting Plan

In Part I of this series (published on December 10 — before the snow, tornadoes, floods, ice storms, and flu season) we covered alternative ways of allocating your recruiting budget to include the Internet without sacrificing other strategies that have worked well for you in the past. Using this strategy, we came up with about a $50,000 budget to spend on the Internet. What do you do with all that money? There are over 2,500 sites just to post jobs. The best way to determine where to spend the money is to layout a plan that balances broad exposure with targeted site postings. Before committing funds to the Internet you must do two things.

  1. Evaluate your internal needs.
  2. Evaluate the Internet sites and the services they offer.

If you complete these two assignments before allocating your Internet budget, I assure you that your plan will be more effective. This takes more time and planning in the short run but will help dramatically in the long run. Part II of this series focuses on evaluating your hiring needs and internal resources. Answer the following questions to help set up your strategy from an internal perspective. Following each question is the Tiburon Group recommendation:

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How many positions do you need to fill in 1999? Do they cover many disciplines or are they focused in one or two areas?
If you have many positions to fill in a number of Disciplines, consider evaluating sites that offer annual subscriptions for unlimited postings. Many offer the option for a company profile which allows you to highlight your company’s strengths. Supplement the use of these broad sites with sites specific to the disciplines you are trying to hire (technical sites, association sites, trade journals etc..) If you only have a few positions to fill, or many positions within a particular skill set, consider focusing your resources on the industry/discipline specific sites mentioned above. On the larger, more general boards, consider the smaller posting packages which may be more economical for your needs than the unlimited posting options.
Are they all technical positions?
If your positions are all technical, then focus on the sites that cater to attracting technical talent. The top quality technical talent tends to check these sites out on a regular basis. If your positions are not all technical, consider posting on the more general boards that attract a more diverse population. Also post to sites specific to the individual disciplines. Non- technical people tend to first be attracted to larger, more commonly known boards.
Is each position for a specific office or for several locations throughout the country?
Most job boards only allow you to specify one location per posting. If you have similar positions in several locations, there are two things you should do: First, in the body of the ad list all locations at which this position is available. Second, post the same position several times on the same board to highlight location. Many job seeks are very location-focused. It would be a shame to lose a great candidate because they were unaware that your position was available in their city of choice. This may be time consuming but will increase the effectiveness of your posting.
If you choose to post to many sites, do you have the internal administrative support to help keep postings up-to-date and accurate?
One of the most critical functions to a successful Internet recruiting campaign is maintaining the postings on the job boards. It is often a tedious job but critically essential. Even if your company utilizes one of the posting services available, there is still a fair amount of maintenance required. For instance, job postings should be updated on a regular basis. Even if you have a position that you like to keep posted all the time because you have ongoing needs, the position requires updating on a regular basis. Candidates very often evaluate positions based on date posted. It would be a shame if they completely ignored your posting because it appeared out-of-date.
Do you provide relocation assistance?
If you do, then the Internet is a fabulous resource. If you do not, highlight no relocation in the content of your ad. However, do not eliminate someone because they do not currently reside in your area. We can not assume that every out-of-state candidate requires relocation. Some people are moving with a spouse or want to move back to their original hometown and will incur the costs themselves. There are also many local sites on which you can post positions including lots of local newsgroups.
Will your plan include proactive sourcing of resumes and potential candidates on the Internet?
If you do, then consider the sites that offer resume databases. Also consider assigning individuals to sourcing for specific profiles. This will help keep the process organized and focused. The “sourcers” will become experts in particular profiles and ultimately very skilled at finding them on the Internet. This may require some redefinition of job responsibilities or even hiring additional headcount — well worth the investment if you are committed to actively sourcing candidates from the Internet.

These are just a sampling of the types of internal questions you need to ask prior to setting up your Internet recruiting strategy. The key is to think through every step of the process to make sure that your internal infrastructure can efficiently manage your new Internet recruiting strategy. Also, know your hiring needs in advance of spending money will also greatly improve your results as you develop your strategy. Once you’ve answered these questions you will be in a better position to survey the sites that are available. There are many resources for finding and evaluating sites. We highly recommend “The Riley Guide”. This site is one of the most comprehensive, up to date job sites on the Internet. In print publication “Career Crossroads,” by Gerry Crispin is a great resources as well. Your homework (argghhh, I hate homework) is to go to the Riley Guide or other resource and find some sites that may fit your needs. Part III of this analysis will help you evaluate those sites to determine whether they actually do fit your needs.

Karen Osofsky (karen.o@tiburongroup.com) is a co-founder of TiburonGroup.com, an e-recruiting consulting firm that provides outsourced recruiting solutions to rapidly growing companies and new ventures. The firm provides a broad range of recruiting consulting, sourcing, screening, and strategy development services to help companies manage the front-end recruiting process. Tiburon Group is a Certified AIRS Solutions Partner.

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