The most annoying phrase in recruitment…

‘We have cut down our use of job boards and recruitment agencies by 95% in the last 18 months…’

I hear phrases similar to this bandied around like confetti at a 80’s wedding these days. Here is my problem with it…

So what!!!!

annoying1I don’t really care where my candidates come from as long as they are the right candidates. If they come via an advert I have placed on a job board, it doesn’t make them any worse a candidate than if that same person sent me a message on Twitter or responded to a head hunting approach. I could meet them in a Baghdad nightclub for all I care. The fact that I am working with them – and they are right – is all that matters.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a Seek sponsored blog, defending job boards, or a shot at the old internal versus agency argument.

Like everyone, I don’t like spending money unnecessarily and personally I would be happy to never write another advert. But, just like LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging, Pinterest, etc etc… job boards have proven to be a relevant and useful sourcing channel for me (and for the majority of recruiters at one point or another I suspect). I have successfully sourced candidates through all these channels and still do. I certainly wouldn’t rely on job boards, and about two thirds of my placements come from other sources. But then I wouldn’t solely rely on any single one source. That’s crazy talk!!!!

Obviously a lot of the anti job board / anti agency argument is about cost (although I think there is an element of smug snobbishness going on here too!). Of course we all want to save money wherever we can, and if we can get the same result for less, then that makes sense. In this respect, social media has been a blessing for many and changed the monopoly job boards once had… and the power agencies had over desperate clients.

annoying2But the argument that not using job boards or agencies is cheaper is simply not accurate. Even if most social media sites are free to use at some level, there is a hidden cost. It takes time and effort to make social media work really well as a hiring source. And like everything that takes time and effort, there is an associated cost. I estimate that it takes 2 hours a day to build and maintain a really effective social media recruitment strategy. It’s not enough just to be on LinkedIn and Twitter and check in every now and then. So, what is 2 hours of your time worth?

Surely, our job as recruiters, internal or external, is to do everything possible to find what we are looking for. So it makes far more sense to have a sourcing strategy that is inclusive and uses whatever channel you have available… even if it is not where your candidates come from most of the time. Can you be certain where your next ideal candidate is going to come from? Ignoring any sourcing channel is stupid.

Now, I’m off to a Baghdad nightclub to find a particularly difficult candidate… that’s my excuse anyway…

Luke Collard




4 thoughts on “The most annoying phrase in recruitment…

  1. Mark Hall-Smith on Reply

    Excellent article as always Craig and yes it is a frustration that people in recruitment seem to have a need these days to make everything binary: job boards v social media; agencies v in-house etc etc.
    If you will forgive the blatant self-promotion, I wrote a similar blog on this topic for the Blade Recruitment web site

    I hope you don’t mind the cheeky imposition. Keep the faith !

    PS. At the Baghdad Ritzy……ask for Salim…….mention my name…..

  2. Judy Higgins on Reply

    Maybe try other job boards rather than the expensive ‘norm’ that recruitment agencies tend to use. A bit of self-promotion again; I am the General Manager of the largest and fastest growing job board in Australia for those aged over 45 years of age.
    While we don’t think we are the complete answer to every recruiters problem, we are certainly, often, a service that can be used that isn’t because people tend to do what they have always done.
    Smart and efficient recruiters totally understand to get the best applicants you need to try a variety of ways.

  3. Justin on Reply

    Should job boards or agencies be your sole sourcing channels? Should you only eat Macca’s all day every day as your only source of nutrition. Super Size Me proved the outcome of that so why give your sourcing strategy the same diet?

    Do you know why most ads on job boards don’t get the desired response these days? Or why they get poor quality candidates that simply do not match what the advertising company is looking for? It is actually really simple……..


    As a candidate why do they want to read every ad in detail when they ALL sound the same, why not apply to them all? Every company uses the same 4-5 paragraph structure that the job boards proclaimed was the right way to write an online job ad 12 years ago! Ok so I am partly to blame for helping this along as I did spend many years at Seek, but guess what?

    THAT WAS 12 YEARS AGO AND YOU ARE ALL DOING THE EXACT SAME THING NOW!! again sorry for shouting but seriously……

    Social Media has proven that candidates want to engage with companies in a different format, with a different tone and language. So why is everyone still producing ads in the SAME DAMN FORMAT!!!! ok last shout I promise…..How many companies or even agencies are incorporating video as part of your ad, either as an intro or an employer branding piece. This should be done 100% of the time! There is more to solving this than just video, but it’s a start.

    Agencies can provide skills to write a well constructed, detailed and transparent ad and then provide the necessary resources and skill to weed out the chaff and fine the piece of gold.

    Should job boards be used exclusive of agencies or vice-versa, of course not. Should either be used for every role you have, of course not. But that is not to say that neither can add value and expertise to your business along the way.

  4. Atticrecruitment on Reply

    I m sure that no good job agency charge except the registration. If they charge money for providing the job in addition to the registration fees then its better to either recheck the consultancy before investing or search for other option.

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