Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top Common Secondary Sourcing Mistakes

1 Overanalyzing resumes
Resumes are by nature imperfect and are poor representations of a person’s experience and capabilities, so apply what I call the “10 second rule:” Don’t read resumes - scan them. If you can’t absolutely disqualify/rule out a candidate based on reviewing their resume in 10 seconds, pick up the phone and call them. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

2 Running overly generic/basic searches
You’ll get correspondingly generic and basic results, typically what I’ve overheard people refer to as “too many.” People making this mistake unknowingly increase the size of the Hidden Talent Pool of candidates they don’t find.

3 Making assumptions about candidates from their resumes
Ever hear the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover?”

4 Not spending at least 10 minutes thinking about and researching your search strategy before you start running searches and making calls
You should always take time to analyze your search criteria to assess the possibility that your search terms may not find all qualified candidates, and in fact might actually be eliminating viable candidates. I have found that the more time I spend on the front-end of a search, the more relevant my results become, which in turn increases my productivity by enabling me to find more and better candidates more quickly. Imagine that!

5 Seeing each resume only as a potential match for the position you’re working onAny resume database you have access to can be leveraged in much the same way as LinkedIn can - every person is actually a conduit to a larger network of people. So even if a particular resume you’re reviewing doesn’t appear to be an ideal match - they actually might be

6 Assuming 1 search finds all qualified candidatesIt’s actually impossible. Trust me.

7 Searching only resumes posted within 30 days when searching major job boards.Did you know that 75% - 80% of all resumes on the major job boards are dated over 30 days old? You should never limit yourself to only searching resumes posted in the last 30 days - some of the best passive and active candidates have resumes 31 to 365 + days old online. And most people don’t call them.

8 Not calling candidates that appear to be under- or over-qualified people who are in fact too junior or too senior for your current needs might fit future needs. Fourth, people who are either too junior or too senior for a particular position might work with or know someone who is an exact match.

9 Submitting the first 2 -3 candidates you find that fit your job/hiring profile and moving on to the next open position Sound crazy? I can hear someone asking, “Why shouldn’t I submit the first candidates I find that fit the requirements?” Well, ask yourself this - what’s the statistical probability that the first 2 people you speak magically happen to are the best candidates you can possibly find? The most closeable and controllable? The most “affordable?” Recruiting and staffing should not be conducted on a FIFO basis, but on a BIFO basis. You saw it here first. Think about it.

10 Thinking that after searching a particular source of candidates (your ATS, a job board, the Internet, LinkedIn, etc.) that you’ve found all of the available candidates and cannot find any more.You’re wrong - invariably you’ve left behind Hidden Talent Pools of people who do match your positions, but you could not find them because your Boolean search strings made it impossible to do so. Being aware of this is a major step on the path towards secondary sourcing enlightenment.

11 Thinking that the major online job boards have poor quality candidatesRead this post on not believing the hype that the job boards have low quality candidates.

12 Relying solely or heavily on title-based searchesNot all companies use the same titles for the same roles and responsibilities - so making this mistake contributes to you populating Hidden Talent Pools with every candidate that matches your hiring profile or job order but has a title that you didn’t think of and include in your search. See mistake #4.

13 Not using the NOT operatorIt’s the least utilized, and in my opinion, actually the most powerful standard/basic Boolean operator - it’s not just for getting rid of stuff you don’t want. I will dedicate an entire post to the NOT operator in the near future. Puns intended.

14 Only using skill/tech terms (e.g., Java, Oracle, Accounts Payable, SOX, etc.) when creating Boolean search stringsThe best searches don’t rely solely on skill/technology based terms, but also include responsibility terms (administer, configure, create, manage, reconcile, coordinate, design, etc.) and environmental terms (enterprise, host*, etc.) where applicable. This is the first step in moving beyond simple buzz-word matching.

15 Spending 80% of your time using low-yield resources that can only provide 20% (or less!) of the potentially available resultsFor example - spending hours searching the Internet for candidates and not heavily/effectively leveraging your internal resume database/ATS. While you can certainly find great people on the Internet, the Internet is not indexed specifically to enable sourcing and requires many tricks and tweaks to yield relevant results. If you have access to an ATS or internal resume database - it’s specifically designed to store and retrieve resumes, and probably has more local and more qualified candidates than the Internet, and might actually have a better seach interface enabling more precise searching - see this post as a dramatic example of this point. Also - if you have access to any of the major job boards - they actually have a larger percentage of passive job seekers than active and they have some fantastic candidates


Anonymous said...

Saw about this blog on LinkedIn.

Very nice article! The Gist of what is happening with Indian recruitment.

Please do connect with me.



Glenn Gutmacher said...

All good points, except you were confusing on this point about the NOT (-) boolean: "it’s not just for getting rid of stuff you don’t want". By definition, the NOT boolean is to eliminate results containing the term following NOT. Therefore, I'm looking forward to your promised future post to clarify what you mean.

Best, Glenn Gutmacher of JobMachine

Shithya said...

Hi Balaji,

"Top Common Secondary Sourcing Mistakes" was really helpful....thanx.


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