A lot has been written about hiring through social media and alternative channels, however recruiters on the ground know how difficult it is to fulfill requirements through social media in current times specially when requirements always come with a back-dated closure time. I agree that Social media offers a great platform to build brand, build presence and collect feedback from potential employees who may not be active job seekers but this will remain a secondary source of fulfilling positions for some more time. Social media does help in reaching out to millions in a short time but the challenge lies in getting a timely response from targeted candidate.

I feel, a lot is being written and expected about hiring through social media because it is fashionable and good to talk about in your presentations. I also talk about it with a lot of fervor while presenting it to my customers however in reality it’s not yet a tool to solve your immediate hiring needs and this will remain so.

In the last 2 decades recruiting and mediums of recruiting has evolved from Banners, Posters, Classifieds, References, Print Advertising, Staffing Agencies to Job Boards or Internet which is the primary source now. Hiring through Reference and Staffing Agencies  are the only two mediums which has held its ground and are gaining strengthwith stringent Quality expectations from the clients. Rest all have been replaced steadily by Job Boards and Internet.

Hiring through Job Boards and Internet has grown because it met the two basic tenets of recruiting -Time to reach and Cost out of the three basic principles-Quality, Time and Cost. These three form an equilateral triangle and an imbalance in any one can skew the triangle. For example, in the pursuit to fulfill a requirement faster one may end up compromising on either Quality or Cost (pay higher).

Job Boards in the last decade have given recruiters the speed to reach masses and get responses at a very lower cost yet getting the right hire from the millions available on Job Boards has become difficult over time. There is a huge clutter and getting to the right candidate needs a lot of effort and upfront money for organisations. At the same time Job Boards are steadily increasing their license cost claiming millions of candidates with them. But in reality the size of database itself has become the biggest challenge while using Job Boards.

Taking a closer look into the conversion rates using Internet and Portal…. even the best conversion rates from  these modes today are around 1-2%. By conversion rate I mean out of 100 resumes sourced and screened, an organisation only manages to hire 1 or 2 (joins). The nature of costs is upfront and the biggest hidden cost associated with this low cost channel is your upfront investment in having internal teams who need to Screen, Talk to candidates, Shortlist and then get them to your table. We do see technology innovations even around screening candidates being advertised by job portals. Emails claiming next to best search and screening technology is often seen popping up from these portals how everyone to one conversation with the candidates cannot be muted ever. So the job ultimately falls in the hands of the internal teams who spend a lot of time in this process to talk and find the right candidate for the position to be filled. There is no short cut to this part of process and it will be difficult for technology to fill in.

The cost involved here or the upfront investment in internal team are in the form of salary, infrastructure cost, access to tools, internet and communication costs and management cost which only adds up to cost per hire although the channel to hire (job portal or social media) is low cost. The larger the company, their cost per seat (infra) is even higher. Management costs are equally higher. Moving on to Job portals available to us….we have huge portals that play on volume and a few niche ones and some with an altogether different positioning. Most of the niche ones get overshadowed with the large ones who claim millions in their data bank and adding 1000s every day. However, the basic question remains, who needs to hire in millions?

Internet and portals have done their job and they have indeed brought in a huge difference in the way recruiting leaders think or strategize today however the key issue of Quality of hire and Cost-efficiencies has thrown a different challenge. The availability of “millions out there” has only added to the increase in cost of processing and weeding out the junk. The same problem prevails on the other side of value chain – i.e. with the candidates. The moment a candidate uploads his/her CV, he/she starts getting 1000s of job options mostly irrelevant, emails and calls. This is also the reason why passive candidates have shied away from job portals.

Many organisations have invested significantly in building in-house capabilities however the very fact that a candidate sourced can only be hired against the limited set of positions within a company leads to huge wastage of effort, time and money. Internal teams primarily lean on Job boards which costs low at the license stage but the hidden costs around internal teams takes the actual cost per hire multiple times higher.

So, what next? How do we actually help improve Quality of hire and also lower the Cost to hire?

Business cycles have shortened. Customers need immediate usable solution and products. We know working with long-term business plans is a rarity.Thus having a long-term manpower plan is also a rarity. Hence, there is a huge need to get the best (Quality) at the least time and cost.

In the current and future business scenario, organizations and recruitment service providers have to think differently and bring in change in the way they invest in recruiting and building candidate supply chain. Upfront investment in recruitment like Portals and Teams have to get predictable and give them better hires. Job Boards and Databases are there to stay, however we need to find out – is there an alternative Sourcing channel which can address Quality, Time and Cost requirements fairly?

About the author:

Amitabh Das has spent over 18 years in Human Resources function and as a Recruiting leader. He has worked with leading organisations as an employee as well as a service provider. He started Vati in 2003 and with over a decade of successful RPO implementations across organisations and industries, the learning to hire the best at the least cost continues. He helps organisations discover and implement alternative channels of recruiting. This has helped his clients improve Quality of hire, at the right time and save costs significantly.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amitabhkdas

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