A Recruiting-technology Company Is Testing Unusual ‘Early Admittance’ Job Posts

In searching for its own employees, SmashFly is dabbling in “early admittance” — something many of us have seen done similarly in the college-admission process, but not in recruiting.

Michael Hennessy, SmashFly CEO, and Tracey Parsons, director of the recruitment marketing practice, came up with the idea a couple of months ago. The two wanted to showcase the company as one doing innovative recruiting for its own workforce, something that will help impress potential customers at the same time.

(The company is very successful and growing fast, approximately doubling in a year.)

The result is that some job descriptions have been labeled with “early admittance,” a designation saying this:

This is your unique opportunity to introduce yourself before we officially open this position. We both know, the more time we have to get to know each other, the better the chance for a great match on both sides, so let’s get started!

With our Early Admittance jobs, we’re changing the rules. Register now, tell us about yourself, drop off your resume and put yourself at the at the top of the list. We guarantee all Early Admittance candidates are reviewed and responded to before any others when the job is officially opened. This is only available on these Early Admittance jobs! 

And because we have time before the position officially opens, we may ask to learn more about your specific skills, or ask you to provide a video introduction about your background. We’ll also offer you the ability to ask questions of us and we’ll respond within 48 hours. 

early admittance formParsons says SmashFly is trying this type of posting for jobs that are somewhat high-volume, where a pipeline of candidates is useful for when the next opening comes up.

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I asked some folks what they thought. Jennifer Davis, VP of talent acquisition for Epsilon, says she has “never seen anybody do this.” Her jury is still out as to whether it works, such as how well SmashFly is able to uphold the 48-hour window for getting back to people’s questions and how it replies to candidates, but she thinks it’s at least a good idea. (Says a SmashFly spokesperson: “we haven’t received any (questions) yet, but when we do, the applicant will hear from someone within 48 hours.”)

SS Early Admittance ConfirmationDavid Barlaam, a global talent talent-acquisition leader who has been with Royal Caribbean, Lubrizol, and Cooper Industries, isn’t opposed to the idea, but says if you try using the program in your own company, it could wrongly give the impression you are desperate for resumes. Also, he says, a company trying something like this might, instead of promising any early applicants special treatment, provide special treatment to those the company most wants, almost like a rock band’s fan club that gets early access or special access.  

Meanwhile, Rob Dromgoole, director of talent acquisition at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, said he’s concerned that all the applicants, early or not, fall into the same pool and thus aren’t treated all that differently in the end; “a job is open or it isn’t,” he says, “it’s a gimmick to allude to some special status which doesn’t exist … it’s snake oil.”

Over time, if SmashFly thinks it’s all a success, it’ll likely recommend some customers try it too. For now, Parsons says, the “opt-in rate” is not higher for the early admission jobs, no one has yet been hired under the program, and hiring managers don’t report better candidate quality among the early-admission posts. Importantly, the quality isn’t lower, either.

What has boosted interest in SmashFly jobs is last fall’s rewriting of its job descriptions, which increased click rates tremendously.


4 Comments on “A Recruiting-technology Company Is Testing Unusual ‘Early Admittance’ Job Posts

  1. Some additional thoughts emailed to me today from Tracey Parsons, director of the recruitment marketing practice at SmashFly.
    We look at the experiment of these EA jobs as two things:

    1. We wanted to find out, if we posted “early admittance” jobs, would we get candidates to pre-apply and get decent volume? The goal is to always, 24x7x365, continue to find great talent. So far, this has been a success … we are getting “early admission” candidates. So far, so good. We’ve already generated 250 “pre-applicants” across EA 9 jobs in a short amount of time.

    2. We set up a review/screen process across SmashFly to determine quality of fit. We are in the process of doing this and the early indication is that we do have quality leads / candidates to which we can/will reach out. The next step is to implement outreach and communication to the quality leads in our pipelines and learn more about the candidates while setting automated ways to stay in touch. This is the nurture part of the strategy and we’ll be starting this soon.

    SmashFly will be able to define success when, upon converting an “Early Admissions” job to an “Active” job, we will already have a pre-defined list of quality applicants we can immediately start to recruit – and ultimately make hires from these EA candidates.

  2. I’ve personally seen Sirius XM and several others publically place job openings to simply gather applications for talent pool development. Jobs they do not really intend to fill any time soon.

      1. It was not stated in the posting. When talking to the recruiter this was a “new” position that they are looking to fill. I found the same “new” position with the same company listed on other sites as far back as 18-24 months. I found similar positions at Sally Beauty where a “new” role had been open on/off for over 3 years.

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