The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

September 28, 2012

Using Job Boards Alone a Dead End – Let a Recruiter Pave the Way for Your Career

job boards

To the average person looking for a job, relying on the Internet may seem like the easiest and most accessible strategy. At first glance, this mentality makes sense, given the merits of the online application process.  For one, the candidate can submit a resume, cover letter and any additional documents from the convenience of his or her home; no travel, business attire or phone calls are needed. The online job searcher can also, after a short time, accelerate his or her efforts by composing a handful of resume and cover letter templates to be modified for factors such as industry, position title, responsibilities or prerequisites.  Eventually, the employers’ requirements are no longer written from scratch, so the candidate can steadily increase the number of applications sent daily.  The ability to customize the search surely seems appealing to a web-surfing job seeker, too. Job boards are designed with filters for the selection of a desired location, field and salary.  Equally useful is the option to input specific phrases or keywords, like “Oracle” or “financial analyst” to yield results related to skill set or position sought. With just a few clicks and keystrokes, the candidate receives access to dozens of appealing roles.  And various innovations implemented by job-posting giants have simplified the process further. On LinkedIn, candidates can apply by sharing their profile page with the employer; Monster and others store a user’s resume to eliminate multiple manual uploads; most will regularly showcase a list of recommended positions via email.
To put it simply, applying for jobs online is extraordinarily convenient, and can be done by just about anyone with some extra time – which is exactly why this method alone is typically very ineffective.  A position posted on a job board is visible to anyone with an Internet connection, meaning that competition is outrageously high. When online jobs are a candidate’s only resource, the battle to blindly surpass the applications of hundreds or thousands is almost unconquerable.  While online job boards offer straightforward navigation and precise customization, the positions that they provide only rarely result in job offers. According to one career coach, the biggest names in the online job industry report response rates between one and four percent. Employers also report dismal hiring statistics; another blogger cites that company’s percentages of new hires from Monster, HotJobs and CareerBuilder are merely 1.4, 0.39 and 0.29, respectively.  Faced with incredibly poor odds, the candidate who risks submitting purely digital applications is unlikely to succeed.
In addition to the fact that publicly posted roles receive submissions from scores of job hunters, several other elements of the digital application process often spell failure for the misinformed candidate who does not properly diversify his or her strategy. While a job description may be posted for a “vacant” position, there’s a fairly high possibility that the role has already been – or soon will be – offered to an internal employee.  A Human Resources executive for a California hospital reveals that about two-thirds of the company’s new hires come from within the organization, despite online solicitation.  This statistic is not uncommon; HR professionals often publicize roles that are, in reality, unattainable to the external job seeker in order to comply with corporate policy.  From a cost-saving perspective, this approach is unfortunately quite practical.  After beginning his or her new role, the internally sourced employee becomes acclimated quickly, reducing time and money spent on training.  Such predetermined hires aren’t the only obstacle for job-board-dependent professionals. Some hiring managers implement a limitation on the number of applications to be received.  Keyword scanning software can be programmed to extract a handful of say, 25 qualifying resumes, but prevent subsequent satisfactory submissions from ever reaching HR. Meanwhile, perfectly capable candidates who happen to miss the 25-application window are unknowingly eliminated from consideration.
Given the proven difficulty of restricting a job hunt to Internet postings, candidates luckily have an equally accessible approach available to them: working with executive recruiters. Recruiters help professionals who lack or have exhausted personal network connections by rapidly facilitating connections to various employers.  After all, isn’t that precisely why candidates resort to using job boards as their only employment search tool?  Recruiters speedily bridge the gap in the area where an otherwise talented professional falls short because they have already engaged in networking and established meaningful relationships with businesses. The recruiting industry guarantees that the candidate’s credentials will be evaluated by employers, unlike the digital application process.  If, for instance, a particular position has been filled, yet its corresponding Internet posting declares that applications are still being accepted, recruiters will be promptly be notified by the hiring manager. A candidate who is working independently in his or her job search – that is, without the guidance of a recruiter – might do something like this: enthusiastically prepare and send an application; receive a standard rejection email, or receive no email at all; grow increasingly pessimistic about finding a new job. Thankfully, a recruiter’s business partnership with the employer prevents this common, frustrating scenario.  Recruiters efficiently direct candidates to attainable roles, and provide crucial feedback in cases of rejection.
At Abacus Group, executive recruiters offer job seekers two advantages besides direct contact with the employer.  Abacus Group’s employees boast expertise and practical experience in the areas for which they recruit. With relevant professional backgrounds, Abacus Group recruiters can astutely assess a candidate’s Accounting, Finance, IT or Administrative skills, and recommend the best career path for the individual. Candidates who are purely reliant on Internet job boards risk focusing on highly unsuitable positions. Recruiters at Abacus Group, meanwhile, will dissuade a professional from wastefully pursuing a role that is either too challenging or too elementary. Job seekers can also acquire meaningful career advice from Abacus Group’s recruiters, who are knowledgeable about position responsibilities and industry trends. Aside from having relevant backgrounds, Abacus Group recruiters require their candidates to attend brief, one-on-one interviews prior to meeting with prospective employers.  Through this valuable process, Abacus Group recruiters personally validate their candidates’ abilities and advocate their qualifications to employers.  Virtual employment applications lack such opportunity for self-differentiation, but Abacus Group recruiters effectively help candidates to avoid anonymity.
While the employment search process is different for everyone, candidates enjoy very minimal success when Internet job boards are their only resource. In many instances, the probability of receiving a job offer after submitting a digital application is smaller than that of winning the lottery for three consecutive days. Fortunately, professionals have an alternative to the often debilitating job board game: working with executive recruiters to pursue realistic opportunities with access to hidden information.

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