I’ve been involved with hiring dozens of fine folks at Crowd Favorite over the past few years and I (think I) know what has and has not worked for us. While our sample size isn’t large enough to draw definitive conclusions, and our industry (web design, development) is unique is some ways I’m curious what others have found to work well.
I see at least three big approaches to finding a good candidate for a job.
I was hired by Alex after reaching out to him through his blog and after having met at a few local meet-ups (including the inaugural Startup Weekend, where we also met our company counsel). One of our front-end developers was interviewed and hired after meeting Alex at a Refresh Denver meetup. I’ve seen plenty of startups and other companies bring on individuals (and merge with other companies) only after long-time personal and professional relationships are fostered — and I’ve seen those work very well.
People often tout “getting a job is all about who you know” which is fair, but doesn’t tell the whole story. It helps to have an “in” because the more opportunities and availability you have to get to know someone and how they work, the better off you both are at deciding if you’re a good fit for each other.
Alex recently posted a position on his blog in lieu of placing it on the company website — ideally he can find that right fit through a more “personal” channel.
I’d say this is the default mode of operation for most companies in our industry: write a job listing that describes the company, what you do, what the position needs to do, what experience is needed and so on. Applicants read dozens of these descriptions, but they’re much like a resume form the hirer’s perspective: they usually do no more than snag someone’s attention to get them to investigate further (visit your website, check out the team, etc.).
While this approach certainly casts a wider net (for a small fee) beyond your social circle, existing industry, and so on, it also means a bit more work is needed to find the signal in the noise. We’ve had mixed results with all these job listing sites:
- Craigslist: great for reaching a wide audience
- 37signals: good to find folks in the industry, but high visibility means you may be skipped past for ‘sexier’ opportunities
- LinkedIn: able to cater very well to existing skills and folks currently employed (usually matches intent)
- Authentic Jobs: great for a narrower set of design-minded individuals looking for opportunities
- Careers 2.0: aimed at fairly technical developers, but low volume (does not usually match intent)
- Company Website: only good for people who already know about you
This is arguably the most expensive approach (depending on how much your personal and professional time is spent evaluating applicants, going to meet-ups and conferences, getting to know folks personally) but can yield high-quality results with little-to-no effort on your part.
Finding the right fit and getting into a routine with a recruiter is just as hard as bringing on an employee or key service provider (lawyer, accountant). You set expectations, you provide feedback, you go back and forth, you communicate a lot. But once your needs are ‘locked in’ you can have excellent candidates dropped in your lap.
Of course, the typical pricing model incentivizes recruiters to be good at finding you the right candidates: they get a percentage of the employee’s salary that you ultimately hire. So they’d be wasting their time (and profitability) qualifying and presenting candidates that aren’t a good fit.
Do you have someone full or part time (Human Resources? Office Manager?) in-house and dedicated to finding good candidates, exploring the above avenues, reaching out proactively?
We’ve not attempted to have position like this ourselves. Mainly because we don’t necessarily have the churn or volume of hires needed to justify the position. But, we’ve pondered this outbound and inbound hiring approach as we realize many larger agencies and companies employ it for good reason. At a point it’s cheaper and easier to get good candidates as a good hiring manager already knows the culture, what a good fit looks like, can talk about the technologies, processes, etc. and dedicate their time exclusively to finding matches.
These are my observations on posting jobs and different approaches to finding job (career?) candidates. What have you found works well?