What’s the Industry Coming To?! Let’s Put Online Recruiting in Its (Proper) Place!

If the definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting different results, the world of online job recruiting is certifiably bonkers.

I encounter one or more of the following scenarios EVERY day.

  • Disillusioned recruiters post job opportunities online knowing that A-list candidates rarely submit resumes online.
  • Frustrated hiring managers express disappointment over the quality of candidates sent to them by the HR department. Managers wonder where the A-list players are hiding.
  • Job applicants send their resumes into the online void and rarely, if ever, get a response — not even a simple “no thank you” when they are not a fit.

It’s a hopeless situation on all levels. Is this working for anybody?

It doesn’t have to be this way. The following tough-love advice can make your overall recruiting efforts better…much better.

First, business means people. Trailblazers like Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh have elevated people-centric recruitment and management to a new global gold standard for a well-run company. Organizations that adopt the practice know that it’s more than the latest management trend. People are the Holy Grail of business.

With that in mind, each participant in the recruiting process has a responsibility to step up his/her game.

Recruiting/Human Resources StaffDo keep posting job opportunities, but expand your search way beyond your online advertisement. And remember, every candidate deserves a response.

Think of your online job description as a press release that presents your company as a thriving, attractive place to work. In the world of media relations, it would be unthinkable to ignore queries from the press. So why is it comfortable to post a job announcement, then ignore applicants? You owe them a response. When you ask the universe to provide, those who answer the call should hear back from you. It’s good for business. It’s a Dale Carnegie move. You’re out to win friends and influence people. Good customer service is everyone’s responsibility.

In addition to online efforts, collaborate with your hiring manager and work your networks – all networks matter. Start with your existing database of resumes. First of all, do you have a database? Second, is it searchable? If you’re still scavenging though dozens — or even hundreds — of emails, we should talk. Gmail is not a database. Without proper tracking software, you’re missing out on being able to leverage all of the valuable leads you’ve amassed.

Hiring ManagersDo not rely on HR to deliver A-list applicants on a silver platter.

Unfortunately, A-listers hardly ever respond to online job ads. You’ve been hired for your ability to lead and manage people and your first responsibility is to recruit a team. You can’t manage a team if you can’t recruit one. Here are two ways to find the best and brightest:

  • Encourage your employees to act as referral sources. You should expect about 20% of all candidates to come from referrals. If you are not experiencing this level of support and participation, it’s time to look internally at your culture – there’s no joy in being your industry’s “best kept secret.” Toot your horn and make sure others are doing so as well on your Facebook page, Twitter, and Glassdoor.
  • Look within your existing network. When I say “network,” I’m taking a very expansive view – vendors, partners, affiliates, clients, people on your newsletters list, professional organizations, to name only a few of the many sources available to you. You never know where your best referral will come from.

Job Candidates: If you want a job, go find it.

It’s like anything else in life — if you want it, you’ve got to pursue it. Figure out all the angles. Yes, do apply online. Then find the hiring manager on LinkedIn and follow up. Learn more about the company. If it’s sponsoring an event to tout its technology, you should be there. Introduce yourself to the people who are presenting. When you run into company execs at a trade show, say hello.

Whatever your role in the recruitment process — recruiting, human resources, hiring manager, or candidate — your chances of making the best connections begin with the premise that business = people. Be polite, be well informed, and work your network.

And just remember, online recruiting is neither the enemy nor the answer.  You are . . . Today, are you going to be your own worst enemy or are you going to be someone who makes something happen?  It’s your call.


  1. Lonnie Rich
    Lonnie RichApril 12,17

    Excellent advice. There is no silver bullet for recruiting or one-size-fits-all method. Getting good candidates requires a multi-prong approach and it requires hard work. Happy hunting.

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