Monthly Archives: November 2014

Why Sourcing Candidates Is Superior to Posting Jobs

Passive RecruitingPosting a job online is perhaps the first action most companies take to attract talent when they have an opening.

However, posting jobs in an attempt to attract qualified talent has many intrinsic flaws, and here are the top 4 in my opinion:

  1. Posting jobs a passive strategy
  2. Posting jobs offers no control over candidate qualifications
  3. Job advertisements only attract candidates who are actively looking
  4. Posting jobs isn’t interactive

Read on for a more in-depth analysis of posting jobs vs. sourcing passive candidates, as well as to have your eyes opened to a new way of looking at the value/ROI of posting jobs

Job Posting Is a Passive (Lazy?) Strategy

Posting jobs online is a sit-back-and-wait talent attraction strategy wherein there is no action taken other than that of publishing the job to various sites.

If identifying, attracting and hiring top talent is critical to any company’s ability to create and maintain a competitive advantage, does it make sense to rely heavily on a method of talent attraction that involves little-to-no effort?

Posting jobs online anywhere – whether it be on a corporate site, LinkedIn, Facebook, or a niche job board – is essentially the lowest level of effort anyone can take towards the goal of hiring your next game-changing employee.

Job Posting Offers No Control Over Candidate Qualifications

Posting a job is just like setting a trap. In setting a trap, the strategy is to set it in a place where you think your quarry might come across it and be ensnared.

Wherever you place the trap, you are essentially hoping that the specific type of animal you’re looking to capture will wander into it.  This is very much a passive, hope-based strategy, and hope is actually not a strategy.

If you post a job for a windows system engineer with a minimum of 5 years of experience, an MCSE certification and web hosting industry experience – literally ANYONE can respond, whether they have the appropriate experience, certification, or industry experience or not.

As a zero-percent control strategy, you simply cannot control who responds – unqualified, under qualified, over qualified, out of area, etc.

A recent Atlanta Business Chronicle article cited a study of 501 hiring managers by Robert Half and CareerBuilder which found that 63 percent of resumes presented to hiring managers are submitted by unqualified applicants. Additionally, the EDGE report also found that 57 percent of hiring managers cited under-qualified applicants as their most common hiring challenge.

No one should be surprised by such a high percentage of un- and under qualified applicants, because you can’t control what wanders into the traps!

Job Posting Attracts the Smallest Percentage of Job Seekers

Not only can you not control who responds to your job posting, but the only people who are going to get “snared” by the trap you’ve set are people who are actively looking for a job, and active job seekers represent the smallest percentage of the available talent pool.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, here is the breakdown of job seeker status:

  • 32% passively looking
  • 34% not looking
  • 20% casually looking
  • 14% actively looking

Now, unlike many people, I don’t think there is anything intrinsically wrong with active job seekers – they are not all desperate, unemployable people (can you believe people in the recruiting industry actually believe that?).

However, the real issue at hand is that with job posting, you are essentially missing the other 86% of the workforce.

That means that when you post a job for an opening you need to fill in the next 2 weeks, you are realistically only tapping into 14% of the available workforce.  On top of that, many people who respond will not actually be qualified for the position.

That’s an issue!

One could argue that some of the people who are “casually looking” might stumble across your ad, but even if all of them did (which is highly unlikely), you are still missing 66% of the available workforce.

Your Ads and Postings Are Invisible to Most People

Truly “passive” job seekers and certainly those who are not looking at all don’t even SEE ads for jobs right in front of their face, no matter how “targeted” and well placed your ads are. Additionally, the reality is that most people tune out ads of any kind – on the Internet, on TV, billboards, etc.

When’s the last time you clicked on an ad or bought something/took action specifically because of a commercial or billboard you saw?

Even for those people who do “see” or “tune in” your ad/job posting – the reality is that most will not take action.

Changing a job is a big, stressful deal. Most casual, passive, and practically all inactive job seekers will not likely be inspired to take any action and explore leaving their current position just because they saw an online job ad, let alone one on their Facebook page.

SEO Is NOT Enough

I agree 100% with Marvin Smith that SEO is not enough.

How could it be anyway?

For SEO to work, you have to have someone searching for jobs and/or information about your company, and as we’ve already seen, that is going to be the active job seekers and perhaps some of the casual job seekers – which is only a small sample of the available talent, the clear minority.

Posting Jobs Isn’t Social

Most HR and recruiting professionals agree that posting jobs online isn’t social, even if they are on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

That’s simply because in order for something to be social, it has to involve engagement and interaction between people.

Sourcing Is An Active Strategy

Whereas posting jobs online is a passive method of attracting talent (I would argue that it’s not even a method of identifying talent), searching for candidates in Applicant Tracking Systems, recruiting CRM’s, job board resume databases, and LinkedIn is an active method of talent identification.

Instead of setting a trap and taking no effort when you create and execute searches to source for potential candidates, you are actively “hunting” for talent – targeting people with specific qualifications and experience, who live in specific areas – regardless of their job search status.

Instead of waiting (and hoping) for the right people to respond to a job posting, sourcers take decisive action to go out and identify and proactively engage and attract talent.

Sourcing Can Target Passive and Non Job Seekers

Unlike posting jobs online and SEO which require some action on the part of candidates (e.g., actively looking at ads or running keyword searches) and are quite literally invisible to those who are not taking any action to look for a new job (the majority of all people), when you actively search for candidates, you can target people who are not actively looking.

If someone responds to a job posting you posted recently and they enter their information – they are most likely actively seeking a new job, although there is a chance you could also be collecting a casual job seeker.

Statistically, many people who respond to job postings are not actually qualified for the position they applied for. If they are not a match for any current openings, it is likely they will find a position with another company with a position they are actually qualified for.

But you still have their resume in your ATS.

Alternatively, their resume may still be posted in an online resume database somewhere (many people either don’t or forget to take them down after they take a new job). In fact, my own research has shown that approximately 75% of all resumes on the job boards are over 30 days old. So if you think that all of the resumes stored in online resume databases are of active job seekers, you are quite wrong.

Statistically, the majority of resumes in online resume databases are of people who are likely to be not looking or passively looking.

In about 3 months to 2 years’ time, those active job seekers turn into people who are likely to either to be not looking at all for a new position, or who may be satisfied with the new position they took, but open to better opportunities (passively looking).

Unlike job posting, when you are searching for resumes, you can actually specifically target people who are not likely to be actively looking.

ZFR helps you find great talent. 

Zero Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to recruit. 

We are the world’s largest passive candidate marketplace. We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only candidates that are interested in the position, that are available in your location and that have agreed to your salary range. 

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system, “Reach Out” and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking.

We guarantee results! It’s that easy…

Yes, Our team is USA based!

Don’t Post Your Jobs If You Want To Hire

job-posting-scamsIf you are tired of the job filling rat race, then stop doing what you are doing. While you are at it, dismiss all the assumptions you’ve made about how jobs get filled. People hire candidates, not résumés.

MYTH: You will successfully fill your next job by using job boards. You may believe that if you post your empty jobs to enough job posting sites, you’ll eventually beat the odds and find adequate people to fill them. While posting to job sites may make you feel productive, a recent CareerXroads survey shows that only 15 percent of positions were filled through job boards. Most jobs are successfully filled either internally or from outside agencies. When you spend all your time and energy posting your jobs and waiting for potential candidates to apply, you’re hurting your chances.

ZFR helps you find great talent.

Zero Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to recruit.

We are the world’s largest passive candidate marketplace. We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only candidates that are interested in the position, that are available in your location and that have agreed to your salary range.

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system, “Reach Out” and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking.

We guarantee results! It’s that easy…

Yes, Our team is USA based!

Why Sourcing Passive Candidates Is the Only Way to Hire

candidate-hiring-conceptThe challenges in the recruiting industry have evolved quite a bit over the last 18 years or so I’ve been kicking in it. But one thing that has stayed the same is the quest for passive candidates. Why is it that we all dream about those elusive passive candidates?

For recruiters, employed professionals promise a greater ROI of our time and effort.

What are the passive candidate promises?

1) Passive candidates are desirable. They are currently employed and that creates the assumption that they have the skills to be successful in their job and are an asset to their current employer. Any employer in the same industry will see them as a benefit to their organization. This perception makes them highly marketable.

2) Passive candidates are not desperate to accept the first job that comes along. They are willing to wait for the right opportunity before making any effort to change jobs. Plus, they are less likely to lie or stretch the truth about their experience and capabilities. Both situations promise a better interview and less likelihood of fall-off, a situation that is more likely with actively seeking candidates, due to jumping at a more desired opportunity after being hired or from an unqualified candidate being fired by the employer.

3) Passive candidates are looking for positive motivators for them to change, such as salary increase, career advancement, or reduced commute times, the “Big One” in large cities. Their situation contrasts greatly with active and unemployed candidates who have more stressful motivators such as making mortgage and car payments. Being in a calm state of mind, employed candidates make better final decisions that reduce the possibility of them falling off or moving on to another job before your placement guarantee.

4) Passive candidates are less likely to be interviewing with several companies and two other staffing agencies. You do not have to scramble to keep control over the situation. You can steadily walk your candidate through the process to a successful hire, creating a positive experience for everyone.

Why don’t we work more often with passive candidates?

1) Passive candidates require more effort to source while actively searching candidates are easy pickings. They are trickier to find, because they don’t have a resume on job boards, are not usually that active on social media and may not have any digital footprint to search for. They definitely will not respond to a job posting. You really have to call in the big guns when it comes to your sourcing skills.

2) We don’t even try, because it’s natural to think that passive candidates are happy with their current job and conclude it counterintuitive to go after candidates that take some extra effort to “dislodge from their current employer”. But, industry stats (LinkedIn’s global report, Talent Trends 2014) show that 45% of currently employed professionals would be interested in talking to a recruiter and aren’t necessarily actively seeking them out. They may be easier to dislodge than you think.

3) Once you find them, employed candidates can be difficult to engage. Getting them on the phone or to respond to an email is challenging. Based on timing, they could be too busy or they were just promoted, or just got a raise. They may have just started a great project and want to see it through to the end. Some are just “risk adverse” and will take extra convincing to make a move. Even if their current job is not that great, it is the fear of the unknown that keeps them there. With passive candidates, relationship building is a must, to discover what motivates them in their career and lifestyle, and then determine whether you can help them now, file them in the ‘later’ column, or scratch their name completely off your list.

How can we source passive candidates?

Cheer up, it’s not hopeless! When it comes to finding the holy grail of candidates, I find traditional sourcing techniques are required. These strategies worked great before the Internet existed, and still do. The end result is to acquire a list of names with titles, employers and phone numbers. From there it’s as easy as picking up the phone and chatting. No resume required.

The important difference between passive and active candidate sourcing is your goal. With passive candidates, you are to find a qualified employed professional who is open to discussing a new opportunity. The resume comes later. A small change in the process we are used to today, but with significantly better results because of the greater ROI.

So when you set out to recruit for another requirement, stop and think before you start that search for a resume or profile and look for a person instead. Start relationship building and grow your passive candidate pipeline.

ZFR helps you find great talent.

Zero Fee Recruiter is a new and better way to recruit.

We provide you with qualified professionals that we have contacted and vetted for each position you are looking to fill. We deliver only interested candidates that are available in your location and your salary range.

We Source-We Contact-We Qualify-We Deliver-You Hire, It’s That Easy…

ZFR focuses on passive candidates that we source through our proprietary system “Reach Out” and this enables our team to reach candidates that are not actively looking…

Yes, Our team is USA based!

7 Simple Rules for Hiring Great Developers

how-to-hire-a-great-developer-flow-chart--c8e98c045eThe war for developer talent is hotter than ever. Whether you’re trying to build mobile apps, redesign the user experience on your public website, or keep business-critical applications on the cutting edge, everyone needs code.

“Engineers are king right now,” notes Sam Schillace, senior vice president of engineering at cloud storage and collaboration company Box. “Coders are super important to everyone.”

With an unemployment rate roughly half the national average, software engineers can write their tickets and demand generous salaries and legendary perks — and big tech companies are more than happy to provide them.

But how can you stand out when you’re going against the Googles, Facebooks, and Twitters of the world? It’s not easy. But there’s more to building great development teams than six-figure salaries, gourmet lunches, and foosball.

To hang with the big dogs — and snatch top talent from their hungry maws — you need to follow these seven simple rules.

Developer hiring rule No. 1: Hire slowly

It’s an old rule, but a good one. If you hire A-level developers, they will recommend other A-level developers to you, because they only want to work with the best. If you hire B-level programmers, they will recommend C-level programmers so that they’ll look better by comparison

“One of the worst things in the world you can do is build your first 10 employees with B-level people,” says Steve Newcomb, founder and CEO of, which is bringing 3D rendering technology to the Web. “You will end up with 100 C-level people. That’s why we hire very slowly.” employs a “try before you buy” philosophy, offering a series of two-week consulting contracts to the 5 to 10 percent of applicants who make it through the firm’s rigorous screening process. At the end of every evaluation period, the potential employee must present what he or she has been working on. The rest of the development staff then votes on whether to keep them, evaluate further, or kick them off the island. The vote has to be unanimous for someone to be hired or asked to leave.

Developer hiring rule No. 2: Stay away from “rockstars”

If you want to build a world-class development team, you need more than one superstar. You don’t want to blow all your resources searching for Superman; you want to gather the Avengers.

That’s because the best software isn’t built by one person; it’s created by teams. Having one star and a bunch of second-tier programmers can be really destructive, says Kyri Sarantakos, VP of engineering at TheLadders, a job matching service.

The other problem? Relying too heavily on a few top developers to carry the load can leave you vulnerable to the “run over by a bus” problem, notes Alvin Richards, technical director of performance and quality at MongoDB, an open source NoSQL database vendor.

“You can’t be dependent on just one or two people, because if they are run over by a bus then you will be in a world of pain,” he says. “You need redundancy and flexibility, and to have as many eyes as you can focusing on a problem at any one time.”

Of course, all developers are not created equal. If one or two developers rise above the others, you can raise everyone’s game by sharing the knowledge between them, says Edward Hieatt, chief operating officer at Pivotal Labs, a software consultancy that teaches paired-programming techniques to its clients.

“What you want is to get the best out of everybody,” Hieatt says. “When you’re paired with someone who’s better than you are, you can learn what’s in their head at an amazing rate. So instead of the 80/20 rule where there’s one superstar and four OK people, the idea is to get everyone up to 100 percent. That’s much more powerful.”

Developer hiring rule No. 3: Go for talent, not longevity

If you’re doing your job correctly and hiring the right people, you’re unlikely to hang on to them for long, notes’ Newcomb. Top talent will almost always move on to better things, so you need to get as much out them as you can in the time you have, while continuing to bring in fresh blood.

“I’ve always said I’d rather rent gold than buy silver,” says Newcomb, now on his sixth startup. “I have several people right now I know I’m going to lose eventually because they’re just too good. I know they’re going to found their own companies. So I just tell them, ‘Code fast — give me everything you’ve got right now.’”

Developer hiring rule No. 4: Cultural fit trumps coding finesse

There’s another reason you don’t want to hire “rockstars” as part of your team. They can be total jerks.

For most organizations, cultural fit is often as important as coding skills, if not more so. When employees at vote on new hires, half of the score is based on coding skills, the other half on how well a person fits in with the rest of the team, says Newcomb.

“So we have rules,” he says. “Rule No. 1: No prima donnas and no ‘brogrammers.’ We don’t want people with egos and attitudes, we just want to get work done.”

At Cornerstone OnDemand, a cloud-based talent management software company, new developer hires must be able to think through tough issues and resolve them, says CTO Mark Goldin. But they also need to be able to work as part of a team.

Developer hiring rule No. 5: Being small can be your secret weapon

Sometimes being a smaller company is more appealing to many top developers.

Coders want to code. They don’t want to wade through endless layers of bureaucracy or feel like tiny cogs in a very large impersonal machine. Small to midsize companies can use this to their advantage when going up against the Facebooks and Googles of the world.

Startups that can’t match the big salaries offered by the Facebooks and Googles of the world can offer a more intimate experience that’s attractive for engineers fresh out of school or new to an area, notes Will Harlan, director of new business for Yeti. The 10-person mobile and Web apps design and development shop holds weekly barbecues for employees and their friends on its rooftop patio.

“It’s more about how the person fits in with a group of people, what their interests and passions are,” he says. “In the tech world there are a lot of people with the same skills who can do the same things. At the end of the day you want to work with people you can hang out with, have a beer, and shoot the breeze.”

Developer hiring rule No. 6: It’s the work, stupid

The companies that offer the best payouts in terms of financials and perks are often lacking when it comes to less tangible rewards like job satisfaction. The bigger the company, the smaller your role is likely to be, at least at the start.

“What motivates the best developer is the work,” says Dan Pasette, director of kernel engineering for MongoDB. “People are willing to take a risk and take a bet on a company that’s paying a little less than a Google or a Facebook, simply because they want to make a difference and see their code in action.”

Like everyone else, developers want to feel like they’re contributing something useful to the world, even if it’s simply a better way to store and share work data, says Tom Carpel, a senior software engineer at Box.

Developer hiring rule No. 7: Open source tips the balance

For many developers, the deciding factor often comes down to the opportunity to work with an open source company.

“There are a lot of advantages to being an open source company,” notes Tim Clem, who oversees product and corporate strategy for GitHub, the open source collaboration platform. “You can leverage a much larger base of people who are building things just for the love of it. It’s nice to have that kind of visibility into a product. Once you understand the advantages of using open source technology, it’s hard to do anything different.”

Clem adds that GitHub avoids publicly posting new jobs because it gets overwhelmed with applicants. Instead, it uses personal referrals and developers’ own history of code commits to filter potential employees. Code doesn’t lie.

“The best job applicants build things for me,” Clem says. “They redesign part of GitHub and put it on Hackernews, or they take apart an app like GitHub for Windows and tell me what’s wrong with it. It’s the reverse of the normal hiring process.”

“We believe an open source community, if stewarded and led by the right people, can out-innovate any individual technology company at any time,” says Herb Cunitz, president of Hortonworks, a company that helps enterprises integrate Apache Hadoop. “But developers don’t just come to you for the technology. What they’re really looking for is whether they can be part of something special — a real journey into something that’s fundamentally changing the market and driving innovation.”