Tuesday, September 16, 2008

10 tips to keep down the cost of recruiting

The whole job recruitment process is very expensive: the cost to post the jobs, the cost to contact candidates, the cost to fly them in (or the warm fuzzy feeling that it gives your candidates when you tell them you can't/won't pay), and then the cost to close the recruitment. And the cost we sometimes avoid: when we have to repost the position and go through the same thing all over again.

Here are some tips to keep down the cost of recruiting:
  1. Post the job on your website and make your job page into an RSS feed. Obviously, people who want to work for your library can subscribe to that feed, but you can also submit the feed to vertical search engines like simplyhired or indeed.com. If they include your feed in their database, you can get greater exposure on the aggregator.
  2. Distribute via listserve and newsletters. Most people are doing this, but sometimes they forget, or they just blindly send the information to the library school recruitment office. Yes, you should send it to them, but don't put something like, please post. Please post where? Get it on the student listserve, and ask if they can distribute it to the local professional listserve. If they have a newsletter, including the alumni newsletter, ask if your vacancy can be advertised there as well. Always include a closing date: if you don't, it's your own damn fault that they keep calling.
  3. Stop printing the resumes that come in. Do you really need a paper copy of all of the resumes that arrive? You're just being hidebound if you said yes. Now is the time to start reading on a screen and making your comments with the comments feature, or making your notes in a separate document. Take your laptops into the room when you interview. No, really, it isn't intimidating. We know what computers look like, and we want you to save some trees.
  4. Interview with Skype or MSN messenger and a webcamera. Do not incur any additional long distance fees. Yeah, yeah, you've already paid for the long distance charges. Are you getting the most out of the long distance fees, or do you only rarely make long distance calls--except during recruiting season? 
  5. Have you thought about interviewing in Second Life? How about having a recruitment event, including virtual interview rooms, in SL? I think results have been mixed when using SL to recruit, but it is a way to have an information night outside of the conference season. You can also make a machinima of your talk and post it on YouTube--and with an avatar, you don't have to worry that you look splotchy, only too furry.
  6. Do they need to come in for a presentation? Can they post the presentation on YouTube--or can they mail in a disc with the presentation? There's still a grey area around the appropriateness of using internet video in recruiting, but if you have already seen the candidate over the web cam, you know what they look like. Ask them to post their talk on YouTube and allow them to take it down within ten days. Personally, I like the disc option better, but you also have to destroy the discs--no uploading without permission, no matter how hilarious they are--when the recruitment period is over.
  7. How many rounds of interviews do you really need? Three or more? C'mon. This is just prolonging the agony of the candidates--meaning they could get snatched up while you shilly-shally--and taking people away from other library work. Librarians need jobs, not a thousand interviews.
  8. Do proactive hunting. You could post a job and wait for candidates to come--and you could make a list of librarians in your area, who you found via Google and invite them in for an interview. Even better, start handing out your business card at local library meetups and make sure they write down your job feed on the back of the card. They will still have to follow the rules to apply, but why not make use of the pool who is currently available? Also known as networking, which both employers and job seekers could make better use of.
  9. Repost, but ask your second and third choices back. You put them on the list for a reason, and they are still pretty high on your list. In some cases, number 2 just missed being number 1 because they had less experience in one area than you thought you wanted.
  10. Ask the successful candidate about how he/she found out about the position.Why was this campaign successful? Do you really know which strategies worked in the past, or are you just doing the same thing over and over because this is how you have always done it? Take a poll right now amongst the people who have worked for you for less than 3 years and find out how they heard about the job. Put your money and effort where you found the majority of your successful candidates.
If the cost of recruitment can go down, you can use the money for other aspects of HR, like training or extending contracts.You can also streamline the recruitment function by keeping notes on what worked, also known as "best practices". Bring some evidence-based tactics to your recruitment process.


Anonymous said...
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Ari Herzog said...

This is great advice and not just for librarians! I don't know much about Second Life, but the notion of video interviewing is a no-brainer to me.

Colleen Aylward said...

Great to see you mentioning video as it is a major topic of discussion in recruiting these days. My recruiting firm did some of the initial recruiting for Second Life, and in fact, created an actual InLife Recruiting Room for candidates with avatars etc. It was cool.

Moving forward in technology:
We have now developed a complete candidate profiling system including videos, if you would like to consider using this new tool: www.interviewstudio.com. You simply ask the candidate to create a showcase on this portal and send it to you... It includes a resume, results of an assessment test (optional), their endorsements, a profile page, and a video interview they can do on a webcam using our easy step-through instruction. Contact me for details and I'll set you up to try it!

As an aside, I was one of the first sales people to represent library automation software on the east coast back in the 80s... convincing libraries to dump the card systems for computers (first for Carlyle Systems and then for Geac Library Automation Systems)... small world...

You librarians are some of the first real proponents of SEARCH technology!!