The Candidates’ Dilemma How Do They Find You and What Do You Want to Know?

Have you been a candidate for a job recently? Have you tried wending your way through the job boards to find the right job? Do you have any idea of the amount of arcane knowledge about databases and searching that you need to have to be an effective job hunter? The story below is one of frustration. It’s followed with a few thoughts on how we can all make the candidates’ job a little easier. And that should, of course, make our job easier. A friend of mine recently decided to switch jobs. Being a sharp human resources manager, he laid out a plan. He started by searching job boards for a new HR position. But, his first question was which job boards have the best and the most jobs listed for HR. After searching Monster for a fairly wide geographic area he came up with 50 or so job listings – most not really applicable or in industries he had no experience or interest in. The net result was a possible 4-5 so-so potential jobs. Move on to Here he found a “Human Resources Community” which sounded promising. But, the search tools required him to pick a particular city, rather than a region, and also a particular title. This limited his chance of hitting the right job and took him half-hour to search the San Francisco Bay Area (which contains a LOT of cities). After a while he did locate a couple of possible jobs, but thought it better to move on. Next stop: A little better interface than CareerMosaic, but still requires a lot of keyword input and is limited to a city-by-city search. He came up with 4 jobs that weren’t even matches for the key words he put in. At this point both his knowledge of job boards and his patience had expired. The whole experience was a disappointment and convinced him that job boards have a long way to go to be user friendly. It was clear to him that they were designed by programmers and work like computer databases work – in a linear and very non-human way. People do fuzzy searching and are not as exacting as a computer would like them to be. The same applies to recruiters who are using these job boards to find people. So he decided to check out the corporate web sites of a few companies where he thought he would like to work and where there might be job openings. Well, as you know from many of my past columns, he found them to be of poor quality, lacking information, and focused on getting him to send in a resume. Only a couple of them offered him any specific information about the available jobs beyond boilerplate and clich?s. And most of them did not try and learn anything about him at all. No questions, no interactivity, nothing. Just a passive bunch of words. He didn’t know what they wanted to know about him, and they certainly weren’t providing him much that was useful. At this point he was a frustrated potential candidate. While in no hurry to change jobs, he was the borderline passive candidate: sort of looking, interested, easy to recruit to the right situation, and totally unknown. He is also very competent and talented. How do you, as a recruiter, get to these people? Help educate everyone about job boards. Prepare some handouts for job fairs, print information in ads, and verbally spread the word about which job boards are best for different types of jobs. As you are investing a lot of money in posting job descriptions to these job boards, demand that they make their search features user-friendlier and more logical for an ordinary person – not a computer geek. Provide feedback and document cases like I have above. The job boards that lead in developing the next generation of user-friendly sites will be the winners and will provide you with the best candidates. Make your own corporate recruiting web site the best it can possibly be. Add interactivity and don’t let a single person check out a job description without capturing some information about them. Then use that information to help that person either find the best match within your company or send him or her on to some other site or job board. Remember that relationship building is key to getting candidates interested and key in getting them to say yes. You can start a relationship with a simple question on your web site. And always remember that the technology is blameless – it’s the people who program it, enter the content into it and try to use it who are responsible for making it better and better.

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Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at


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