Fortune senior writer, Anne Fisher, had a good story up on CNNMoney.com Tuesday morning about how the new OFCCP rules will impact job seekers.
The jury is still out on how the new OFCCP rules might help its intended goals but I believe one positive side effect of this could be a revitalized call to arms for the job boards and other online tools to drive meaningful relevancy advancements in online candidate sourcing.
One of Anne’s recommendations in the new job seeker world created by the new OFCCP rules caught my eye because it signals another example of the shift that is beginning to occur in job seeker’s minds about where, and how, to look for a job. It also provides a clear indication of how online sourcing practices must become even more targeted and relevant if they are to continue to succeed in an OFCCP world where companies limit the candidates that they’ll consider for an open position.
On Super Bowl Sunday our OFCCP Part 1 – related post highlighted our thoughts about how the new rules will likely lead to some arbitrary exclusion of highly qualified candidates from online channels due to new policies that companies will enact as a defense mechanism against the new rules (namely to stave off high costs associated with having to classify, consider and manage information for online candidates).
On the positive side business is highly adaptive and potential always exists for positive outcomes that aren’t initially obvious. That’s what we want to talk about in this post. Here’s an excerpt from Anne Fisher’s article that quotes Gerry Crispin from CareerXroads discussing tips for job seekers in the new OFCCP environment.
“Target specific companies and visit their web sites often.
The first announcement of a job opening very often appears on a company’s own site before it is posted anywhere else,” says Crispin. If enough applicants turn up on the site, the employer is unlikely to look any further. “Companies really do not want 500 or 1,000 applicants for each job,” Crispin says. “If they get 30 who are qualified, that’s a reasonable number for a hiring manager to consider and select from.”
Can you say active job seeker? Gerry Crispin’s point is spot on but all this talk about limits is really just another way of saying “give me the right quantity of more relevant candidates to choose from.” You don’t even need 30 qualified candidates if you’ve got two or three highly relevant candidates to choose from. And let’s not get stuck on qualifications being the be all/end all to a highly relevant candidate. Think about your own hiring experiences over the years. I know in my years of hiring personnel that I was really happy when I could ultimately find even a couple of truly viable candidates to select from and a large percentage of the time their qualifications were not necessarily what set them apart.
It’s not hard to see employers lusting after Gerry Crispin’s example of getting all you need from your own corporate careers site. But don’t think you’re going to get all your best and brightest from the people posting their resumes on your site. This approach doesn’t consider that those 30 candidates that applied for a job on the company site may well be a terrible match for the job even if they’re technically qualified.
It’s also easy to see how company staffing departments could jump on this bandwagon in a hurry because they like the idea that they’ll get enough candidates from their site without spending any recruitment advertising dollars. Hell, who wouldn’t like that idea? But, that’s just as narrow minded as relying on search engine optimization techniques alone to solve all your human capital sourcing needs. It sounds good (and make no mistake, SEO is G-O-O-D) but it assumes that SEO IS the strategy, rather than an excellent tactic and tool that is part of an overall recruitment marketing strategy. Twenty years of hands-on marketing has taught me that diversifying your campaign and approach is a good thing and that great results often come from highly unexpected places – just like great talent from the candidate pool.
The other thing I’ve learned is that relevancy is the most important aspect of any campaign when you want highly leveraged results. If companies start placing highly restrictive limits on applicants, then the potential to impact the online job boards negatively rises significantly. It’s like anti-marketing. Hide from your prospects, cut all your recruitment ad budgets and let only the most interested job seekers find their way in since it’s too difficult to deal with them all. That’s not going to work.
Going back to thread at the beginning of my post, if job boards use this as a call to arms in the battle for more relevancy then OFCCP could end up having a profoundly positive effect (albeit unintended) on the targeted recruitment tools used today. Interactive recruitment marketing tools stand to benefit the most since technology can be harnessed to connect the right people, in the right quantities at the right time while still relying on the huge pools of candidates that the job boards count as their strength. Make no doubt that there is still strength in the big board’s numbers in the post OFCCP world, it’s just that you’ll want to dip your toes in that deep pool first before jumping in head first. You still want the pool full of water because without it full you’ll just hit your head on the bottom when you do jump in. We can also hope for (and likely see) greater use of technology that enables people to work more effectively with their online applicants (think web 2.0). I’m talking here about tools integrated within existing job boards that specifically help talent acquisition professionals increase relevancy in their searches and also navigate the OFCCP rules efficiently.
Because on the other side of this equation, stock in recruiters and staffing personnel just went up. Human intelligence is the ultimate weapon against all the havoc that the new OFCCP rules will create. Until the technology arrives that solves some problems presented by these new rules it’s the smart people, the very ones we need to find more of, that will save the day. If the job boards and other technology providers get it right they’ll enable these people AND the job candidates to connect in new and more relevant ways that lead to rich interactions, great hires and more satisfying work experiences. Applying human intelligence and creativity, the “art” of talent acquisition may not make our MBA’s very comfortable but they can rest easy knowing that it will all be figured out in a nice spreadsheet kinda way soon enough.
Technology and advertising (be it online or offline) can only get you so far. The rest is left to people, the talent acquisition professionals to uncover the diamonds in the rough, or the obvious superstars that your position may demand. The best recruiters will be the ones that use ALL the best tools to uncover both qualified and truly relevant candidates. The best online tools will be the ones that give you just the right amount of the right candidates at the right time – the right formula to capture those truly one-of-a-kind people that you need to hire.
This all brings a cliché or two to mind that are apropos: The more things change, the more they stay the same and people are your greatest asset.