Every organization with a significant hiring need is faced with the all important question, "Should I subscribe to an online job board to 'surf for resumes' and post my positions or should I hire the services of a professional recruiter. The thought process often begins with “there are a lot of people actively looking and I might find someone just waiting for my call. Furthermore, using recruiters can be expensive."  There is no right or wrong answer to this question.  The answer is dependent upon the answers to several questions such as: what are the number of positions that need to be filled, are the positions "strategic hires" for the organization, what does the position cost your organization by being vacant, what is the level of the position, are you seeking a niche skill set required, is the hiring time frame critical, what is your hiring budget, do you have someone dedicated to the recruiting process and how many hours  you and your staff are willing to devote to the "hiring" process in lieu of your day to day obligations.  These are all issues that factor into the equation. It is also necessary to determine if the approach to talent acquisition will be  "active" or "passive".

As many have discovered, Job Boards can be very costly, and unlike other things in life, you don’t always get what you pay for.  Monster Board is probably the most well known site and it can be quite effective although it may not be the best site for your needs. A single Monster Board license costs approximately $10,000 annually and includes a basic membership. For additional charges you can form specialized packages, and add additional licenses.  Other sites are generally found to be priced directly proportional to their value. Multiple Job Board subscriptions incur additional costs. After subscribing to Monster Board , it is quickly evident your investment of $10,000 or more is merely a sunk cost. You still do not have a single candidate. You or another member of your organization must now invest valuable time to review resumes, contact prospective candidates, screen candidates for both personal and professional skills and make sure that they are qualified, interested and compensated competitively. It is then necessary to manage the follow-up phone calls, sell your opportunity, confirm their availability window of opportunity coincides with yours ensure that they accept the offer extended. If you are willing and able to manage this process   your "cost per hire" may theoretically be less than using a recruiter will charge 30% of the starting salary for candidate hired. The advantage of the recruiter is that you incur no out of pocket expense without the guarantee a candidate will be hired. The disadvantage of a recruiter is that multiple search fees can become expensive. On the other hand, after investing $10,000 or more with the online service and expending significant amount of your time you may have no viable candidates to pursue. 

Is the position that you are hiring for critical to the survival and growth of the business? Is the position you are hiring for critical to resolve existing business or revenue threatening problems? Most firms cannot afford to leave  critical positions vacant, nor can they afford to hire the “wrong” individual.  It must be determined if you looking for Senior or Leadership talent from a person who has "Been There, Done That" or if it does not matter? Can you afford to take a passive approach and hope that you get lucky in that the perfect person that you are looking for also happens to be looking for a position at the very same time versus actively seeking and recruiting the talent that you need from your competitors? Remember, the person you are looking for may not be an active job seeker and may not have posted his resume or responded to your ads. If the positions you are seeking to fill are "nice to have" but not critical perhaps the talent you need can be found on the job board. If criticality of the position is a factor, a professional recruiter will be your best choice.

 While all specialists are just that they might not have the particular specialty to help you with your specific problem. The same is true for Job Boards. While some job boards will claim that they represent all kinds of technical candidates and job postings, some are better and more specialized in certain areas than others. If the skill sets you are looking for are uncommon skill set on the Job Board you are wasting your company’s money.   Generally these specific talents are not very widespread on most major job board sites. In addition, a number of these specialties have very small and well-known communities of individuals that are less likely to advertise that they are seeking new employment on a job board. In most cases, an active multi-approach recruiting effort is the only way to find the talent you are seeking. Passive strategies simply do not work. Recruiters can use their skills to network active candidates and query their talent communities to zero in on prospective candidates for your organizational needs.  Passive recruiting via job postings and searching databases will not yield the same results. On the other hand if you are looking for more mainstream and general  skills the job board may be the most efficient, economical and best choice.

Timing ­ is also a critical factor in determining which source to use. If you can afford to wait for the "right" person to become available then by all means the job board approach may be the best avenue. Conversely, if this person must be on board in a critical amount of time the active approach of using a Professional Recruiter may be your best solution.

Obviously if you have limited resources you may be limited to using job boards and no decision needs to be made. However, don’t be fooled by the dollar amount that you are really spending to hire someone with this approach. If you must manage the hiring process such as writing and placing ads, reviewing responses, calling and screening candidates, selling the company, closing the candidate, etc. there is an inherent cost to this. If they are doing these activities they are not doing the things they were originally hired to do. An employee’s hourly wage and benefits although somewhat hidden in the process is still a relevant cost that must be calculated in the "cost per hire." Furthermore by using in-house staff that are not professional recruiters you may not be able to attract the right talent you are seeking or interest people in wanting to come to work for you. You may wind up with an inferior candidate just because they were available and easy to find. And don’t forget the fact that good outside recruiters also serve a role of "Marketing Agent" for you company shedding positive light on your product or service as well.

As pointed out above, there are many factors to consider in deciding what approach to hiring that you wish to take. You must decide whether you need is important enough to warrant an active or passive approach.

Job Boards provide a "passive" potential solution, require significant out of pocket expense on the front end, demand significant staff time involvement, may result in an inferior candidate in many cases and do not guarantee any results whatsoever. However, they may be appropriate for you if your needs are not critical and the skills you seek are not very specialized and/or in demand.

On the other hand, a talented and experienced professional recruiter (i.e., one who knows the market, has a good reputation, is skilled in various search, recruiting, and sales techniques, and markets your company, and takes the time to thoroughly understand your need) is an "active" approach and offers great value for their service. While the fees incurred will be more than the Job Board approach, a competent top tier candidate that helps your company prosper and grow is an investment in your company’s future and only a minor one time blip on your bottom line. 

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