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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  January 28, 2004
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Where Do I Go to Find the Resumes?
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by Charles Black

There's one question that, when asked, tells me more about a recruiter's ability than almost any other:

"Where do I go to find the resumes?" While performing recruiter training at a past event, a novice corporate recruiter once asked me, "Well, all of this search stuff is interesting. But when are you going to show us where to go to find the resumes?"

A recruiter that asks this question can be compared to a card player in a poker game who inquires, "What do they call the cards with the red pointy symbols?" You may not know exactly how long they've been playing, but you're sure it hasn't been for very long.

I was somewhat shocked when the recruiter asked me this question. The question asked identified a problem that the recruiter was having: a misconception of recruiting. She believed that there was a pool of candidates, a pool of candidates with resumes all up-to-date, and that this pool was a little-known secret that I was going to share with her.

Unfortunately, she was missing the point! The point of recruiting, especially for the agency recruiter, should not be resumes.

Recruiters who focus on "finding resumes" are missing more than they realize. While finding resumes can be a quick fix for many of the mainstream requisitions recruiters needs to fill, their inability to look beyond resumes can cripple them when criteria outside of the mainstream needs arise.

As any sailor in the crow's nest knows, it's not the ice that they can see that will cause them problems, but rather what they can't see beneath the surface that can get them into trouble. Being able to look below the surface of the recruiting field, below the level of resumes to what might seem like casual information, can often be the critical step that results in a placement of a candidate for that hard-to-fill requisition.

Resumes Aren't Your Only Option

There are a number of tools and methods for finding candidates that have little or nothing to do with finding resumes. Many of these are highly productive and can result in finding candidates who have not posted their resumes on the Net. Why wouldn't a candidate post her resume on the Net? Why would we want to find these candidates? One common reason: They are successful, happy at their current position, performing the responsibilities of their job at a high level, their company is rewarding them ďż˝ and therefore they aren't looking!

Who would want a candidate like that? Most every company that is their competitor, that's who! Most likely the manager for your requisition, too.

If that's the case, why spend so much time and effort sourcing from job boards and so little time targeting these competent, satisfied, successful candidates? There is only one reason ďż˝ it's easy! Finding candidates on job boards is easy. Finding these satisfied employees working hard for their employers is a little harder.

A recruiter whose ability is limited to finding resumes is like a carpenter whose only tool is a hammer. Every problem he runs across looks like a nail. If you were a carpenter, you wouldn't expect to perform your job with only a hammer. You might also utilize a level, a saw, a marking pen, a ruler, and most likely other tools I know nothing about, as I am not a carpenter! But the point is, you would be expected to perform your job to the best of your ability, and that would include using a number of tools and methods at your disposal.

This is especially true for the agency recruiter. Corporations most often utilize a myriad of job boards and their recruiters are always working those job boards. Submitting job board candidates to corporations is a hit-and-miss venture at best. Agencies that spend time submitting to their clients only candidates from job boards run the risk of losing these clients when the client realizes these are candidates from the same job board the corporation subscribes to.

So, what other tools are there that a recruiter can use? They are numerous! The web for one is a phenomenal tool for sourcing candidates. A lot of the same commands utilized in the browsers to find resumes can also be utilized to find targeted candidates, quotes from candidates, affiliations, membership lists, patents, user group memberships ďż˝ and these are just a few. There were well over forty pages of information detailing the names of different directors when I went to Google and typed in ("Director of" AND Motorola) or the company of your choice.

This is just one avenue and there are so many others. I am always amazed when I hear recruiters tell me, "I don't have time to learn." It doesn't take much time! Learning a few Boolean commands and how to utilize them effectively can enhance a recruiter's abilities greatly. Sometimes just learning to look beyond resumes can be the start of an education that proves profitable.

For those who consider only resumes as candidates, aren't the individuals identified by the above search also candidates to be recruited? If I was looking for a director of marketing from the high-tech field, I'm sure this list would suffice in at least giving me a name and a title. Any recruiter should be resourceful enough to follow up armed with a name, title, and the company that employs the individual. A quick call or two and there should be candidate a plenty.

I think that job boards are great. They help provide us with low hanging fruit, but they have also crippled so many recruiters by making it easy to find mainstream candidates, so that when it comes to those hard-to-find candidates too many recruiters have had little practice searching beyond the job boards ďż˝ and they get overwhelmed or become myopic in their search efforts by looking only for resumes.

Charles Black () is the president and principal consultant for SSI Inc., a recruitment and consulting firm that provides recruiter training, business consulting and retained search assistance to agencies and corporations. Charles possesses 15 years of executive, technical, and professional sourcing and recruiting expertise. He has mentored and managed recruiters in the most competitive markets and has been retained for extended engagements with large national consulting firms such as Perot Systems, Price Waterhouse, KPMG Peat Marwick, and Keane Inc. Charles has traveled both nationally and internationally to facilitate recruiting engagements and has provided consulting and recruiter training services to agencies and Fortune 500 corporations alike.

(Copyright 2002 Electronic Recruiting Exchange. All Rights Reserved)

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