According to the Economic Policy Institute, most industries in the U.S. still have substantially more job seekers than job openings. On the surface, that should be good news for employers, since they can pick and choose from the best candidates. But the teeming mass of choices out there makes it that much harder to determine who the best choices actually are and how to connect with them. Let’s take a look at the quantity vs. quality issue faced by recruiters — and the role jobs boards can play in resolving it.
What Is Quality, Anyway?
Before employers can intelligently consider the problem of quality vs. quantity, they must first decide for what the word “quality” means to them. It’s pretty easy to tell when there’s a match made in heaven by looking at such tangibles as increased productivity, decreased turnover and absenteeism, higher morale and so forth. But which individuals are most likely to hold the magical properties required for a specific position, and how can employers best use recruitment boards to find those individuals? One key to success is choosing the right job boards in the first place — and massive sites such as Monster.com can overachieve by drowning employers in a blizzard of prospects that may or may not hit the mark. The modern-day proliferation of niche job boards makes it much easier for employers to find the best candidates in a smaller pile of resumes, dramatically reducing the time and effort needed for a given job hunt.
Sometimes quantity can serve as an employer’s route to quality. While honing in on just the right handful of final-round candidates definitely helps to ensure a faster, more accurate, more satisfying hiring process, it can difficult to pick that happy few out of a small initial pool. Job boards that fail to offer the necessary reach can end up producing fewer ideal candidates than are actually available. While niche sites can provide extremely pure responses from a well-qualified body of candidates, extending the recruitment effort out through large, mainstream job board resources can produce some diamonds in the rough who might not have even been aware of the niche sites’ existence.
There are also those occasions when quantity flat-out trumps quality. An employer trying to staff an enormous new facility or double its complement for a seasonal push can’t always wait to find the perfect match for each and every position — nor is a perfect match actually necessary 100 percent of the time. This is where local recruitment boards may suffer, because they lack the sheer scale and reach of the industry heavy hitters. Services such as RealMatch’s Total Talent Reach, which push employers’ ads from local recruitment sites to major well-traveled sites such as Indeed and Glass Door, can play a pivotal role in giving local boards the extra range and firepower they need to attract and retain employers seeking large numbers.
Intersecting with Social Media
It’s quite possible for employers to widen their candidate pool without sacrificing precision. Social media channels, particularly LinkedIn, are a great example. Staff.com reported that 42 percent of companies who made used of social media in the recruitment efforts noticed a higher standard of candidate quality. But not all social media channels are created equal in the quantity vs. quality equation. For instance, while 94 percent of all employers have recruited through LinkedIn and 66 percent have recruited through Facebook, only 26 percent of them actually hired through Facebook — as opposed to LinkedIn, which actually facilitated a 76 percent hire rate.
LinkedIn’s validity as a quality (and quantity) engine is based is part of the detailed demographic tabs it keeps on its members, which allow for extremely granular keyword searches to help employers find exactly who they’re looking for. The site is also populated by major thought leaders in various professions, and employers can see which enterprising individuals are following those thought leaders online. It’s even possible to follow the trail of “breadcrumbs” left by a LinkedIn member’s on-site behavior — another key indicator of his overall hireability.
What does this mean for job boards? It means that they should look for ways to include social media placement among the services they offer their clients. With this combination, employers can get a big boost in candidate quality while still enjoying the sheer quantity these worldwide platforms boast.
In the end, quality vs. quantity is a more complex question than meets the eye, both for job recruitment boards and for the employers who rely on them. But ingenuity tends to breed new answers, and when recruiters offer employers more options, everybody wins — including job seekers.