Sunday, June 22, 2014

Are job ads a relic?

Lately at my day job we've been working with a few customers on replacing their traditional "one-shot" job ads with continuously posted career opportunities.  Why?

- It helps capture qualified candidates regardless of where they are in the search process (i.e., it helps solve the "I didn't see the ad" problem).

- It gives hiring supervisors a persistent, fresh pool of applicants that they can immediately draw from.

- It saves a ton of time that gets wasted in the traditional model due to requesting to fill a position, tailoring the duty statement, determining the assessment strategy, etc.

- It changes the focus--importantly and appropriately--from filling a single position to career opportunities.

- It presents an opportunity to critically review the way we advertise our jobs, which too often are boring and uninspired.

- With the appropriate technology, it can create another community of minds; for businesses this means customers, for public sector, it means solution generators.

- With the appropriate technology, connections can be potentially tapped to increase reach.

Apparently we're not alone in going down this road.  As this article describes, online retailer Zappos has created Zappos Insider, with the goal being to create more of a talent community than a one-time transactional relationship.  This move toward "candidate relationship management" is not new but seems to be gaining steam, which is also reflected in HR technology as vendors build this approach into their products.

So what are some challenges associated with the model?

- Without specific application dates, it becomes more critical that applicants can determine their status at any time.

- It may dissuade applicants who are actively seeking for work, who may see this model as too slow.

- It requires significant up-front work to design and determine the administration (but pays dividends on the back-end).

- Hiring supervisors may be skeptical of the change.

Here are some related issues that moving to this model doesn't automatically solve:

- Engaging in a timely manner with candidates so they understand the status of their application/interest.

- Communicating effectively with those not selected.

- Giving applicants a real person to contact if they have questions (Zappos makes these contacts very clear).

- Creating attractive yet realistic descriptions of positions in the organization.

- Focusing on the KSAOs that are most strongly linked to job performance.

- Developing an assessment strategy that most effectively measures those KSAOs.

Until there is a free worldwide talent pool that matches high quality candidate assessment with realistic job profiles (yes, that's my dream of how to replace the current extremely wasteful job matching process), things like this may have the best shot of streamlining and updating a process that is holding us back rather than helping both applicants and organizations achieve their goals.