When Sourcing Candidates, Don’t Rely on Your Gut

That's not a valid work email account. Please enter your work email (e.g. you@yourcompany.com)
Please enter your work email
(e.g. you@yourcompany.com)

businesswoman balancing with items in palmsIt was one of those calls.

We were talking with a client that’d purchased a Job Slot and Premium Search package with Beyond about a month prior and wasn’t happy with the response.

I began by taking the “seek to understand” approach and asked the client to explain their concerns. “Well”, the VP of HR said. “We just don’t feel like we’re getting enough candidates.” He went on to say, “And the candidates that are applying simply aren’t qualified. Only 2 out of 10 candidates meet our skill-based hiring criteria. We made an investment in you guys and it’s just not working. We’re frustrated.”

The Critical Moment

Now, I’m not the type of person who will blindly defend their products when a customer is unhappy. If we’re not satisfying clients, I want to know, so we have the opportunity to fix it. Before they cancel.

I ran an activity report for the client and took a look.

Wow. In one month, we sent the client over 1,200 applies, and the 22 jobs they had posted had over 6,000 views on Beyond. In one month. The account was averaging 20 percent+ conversion rate from views to applies. This was some pretty good activity. They were averaging 65 cents per apply!

Now, I’m in a quandary.

The activity looked pretty awesome, and Beyond was performing well on their jobs – hard to fill medical and healthcare jobs. But, the client is still unhappy, and a relationship is only as good as both sides perceive it to be. I figured I’d better take a deeper dive.

Me: What does your ATS show with regard to viewsclickscompleted applies?

Client:We don’t have an ATS. We just get the resumes via email.

Me: Do you have metrics from Indeed, Monster, Careerbuilder or any other sources you might use? How do we compare?

Client:Beyond is the only company we’re using right now for recruitment advertising.

Me: And the resumes you are receiving as applies on your jobs. Are you seeing qualified candidates?

Client: Well, yes, but it’s only like 2 out of 10.

Me: Do you have clear language in your posting that says “DO NOT APPLY TO THIS JOB unless you have X, Y, and Z” so you can make your job description work as a pre-filtering tool?

Client:Sort of. We mention certifications in the paragraph, but they shouldn’t apply if they don’t have all of the requirements.

And now I’m in an even bigger quandary.

How do I tell a client that it needs to define its goals in a realistic way to truly judge its campaign’s performance? Right now, the client is relying on gut instinct. Its members can’t give me any metrics to help me solve their problem. They have no idea how many applicants they received, how many they’ve interviewed, or how many interviews converted to hires. They’re not tracking how much they paid for views, clicks, applies and hires. They’re flying completely in the dark.

So I figured I’d take the math approach.

We looked at what they were paying. They’d purchased a flat-fee package, so we divided the number of views and resume applies they received by the cost of their package. They were paying 65 cents a resume. Very good. I explain that on average, most companies are paying 40 cents to $1.00 perclick. Not per resume. They said that only 2 out of 10 were qualified. Generally speaking, companies pay $4 – 10 per completed apply depending upon industry and job category.

And, they were paying – wait for it – $3.25 for a qualified completed apply.

After I broke down the math for them, they realized it’s probably very unlikely that they would be able to find qualified completed applies for less than $3.25. This launched into a 30 minute discussion about applicant tracking systems, recruiting analytics and pre-filtering tools, and the call took a consultative turn.

The Moral of the Story?

The customer is always right—most of the time.  But sometimes, the customer doesn’t know what they don’t know. And as a sales consultant, it’s our job in the employment market to not only help them find qualified candidates, but also to help them understand the bigger picture.

Are you comparing your flat-fee and performance-based job ads against each other? Are you measuring the cost of your views, clicks and applies? Are you using pre-screening and filtering tools to help ensure that you’re spending your time viewing and talking to the most qualified applicants, rather than being frustrated with a large volume of candidates that don’t seem to be a fit?

With the plethora of amazing recruitment analytics tools, applicant tracking systems and pre-screening software on the market today, hiring managers should never by flying in the dark when it comes to their recruitment advertising spend.

And that particular customer? They’re looking to buy an annual package from us.

By Joseph Stubblebine