Quality of Hire Begins With Sourcing: Pick Your Method to Suit Your Needs

The first step toward achieving quality of hire is effectively sourcing the candidates from which to choose. But before discussing this crucial foundation, we'll briefly examine the concept of "quality". Wikipedia affirms: "In business, engineering and manufacturing "quality" has a pragmatic interpretation as the non-inferiority or superiority of something. Quality is a perceptual, conditional and somewhat subjective attribute …."

But when it comes to hiring, quality is not subjective—at least to the extent that it is inexorably tied both to circumstance and relativity. Hiring managers face a finite number of candidates and must judge the relative quality of each one, both against all the others and against a specific set of highly rational hiring criteria for any given job. Also paramount to every successful hire is the equally rational practical constraint that you need to fill the vacancy within a designated period of time. Indeed, the very tangible risks of a new hire are more than offset by the risk of not filling the position in a timely enough manner.

Thus it's critical that throughout the hiring process you keep things moving along promptly. And one important expedient is to make an efficient choice among the numerous options for sourcing candidates. However, we caution you strongly against deploying too many of these options simultaneously, since for most people having tentacles going in multiple directions at once is too time-consuming. It's also too confusing, since most sourcing options entail a different selection strategy, as detailed in the following list. It outlines many of the options available along with the pros and cons of each.

Your Sourcing Options

Internal Job Postings

Pros:
•Demonstrate opportunity for advancement within the company
•Good for employee morale
•You already know the work habits and strong suits of existing staff
•Existing staff already know your organization

Cons:
•You may not feel any of the applicants is appropriate for the position
•You’re faced with the tricky task of turning down internal candidates
•Once declined, internal applicants may feel the company is holding them back
•Bad for employee morale if in the end you don't select an internal candidate and opt to hire externally instead  

Soliciting Referrals from Existing Staff

Pros:
•Demonstrate that you value employees' insight
•Candidates are known to people you already trust
•Gets the word out that yours is a good company to work for
•Good for employee morale

Cons:
•You may not feel any of the referrals is appropriate for the position
•You're faced with the tricky task of turning down someone a valued employee has essentially recommended to you
•Bad for employee morale if you don’t select a referred candidate

Posting On Your Own Web Site

Pros:
•No or low cost
•Will attract job seekers who know your company or Web site
•Provides detailed information about your company

Cons:
•You still need to direct job seekers to your Web site—for which the various methods can be costly
•Without a means of directing job seekers to your site, you will limit the number of resumés you receive

Professional Networking at Industry Events, through Clients, via Suppliers

Pros:
•You already know your contacts and they already know your business
•Candidates are known to people you already trust
•You gain access to people who are not necessarily actively searching in the job market

Cons:
•It is difficult to approach people publicly without compromising the job seeker's confidentiality
•You create a conflict of interest by recruiting staff away from a client
•Potentially puts suppliers on the spot to have to consider soliciting staff away from one client to help another
•Possible breach of professional ethics


Print Media Advertising (Local Newspapers, National Newspapers, Trade Magazines)

Pros:
•Traditional way of getting your message to a great number of candidates in a given geographic and demographic area
•Continues to be a viable option for very specific positions and requirements

Cons:
•Can be expensive to get appropriate coverage, frequency, and the ability to provide enough detailed information
•Time consuming – you will receive many resumés from unqualified people
•Time delay depending on publication dates

Web-Based Job Boards

Pros:
•Lots to choose from – recruitment-industry specialist Peter Weddle reports there are more than 50,000 job boards and career portals in operation on the Internet!
•Broad exposure
•Speed of posting and response
•Lower cost than print media
•Longer-term posting
•Unlimited space to provide detailed information
•Can link to your Web site for detailed information about your company
•Ability to pay to search for job candidates rather than posting your job
•Some job seekers are beginning to write resumés that are optimized for electronic searches

Cons:
•The huge number of job boards to choose from creates confusion and frustration for job seekers and diminishes returns for employers
•Time consuming – you will receive many resumés from unqualified people and thus waste valuable resources at a time when they are leanest
•Candidates who respond may be responding to multiple postings, so their submissions are generalized rather than focused on your needs
•Candidates may have been hired by someone else or have become jaded through lack of response from past job-board submissions so may not respond at all
•If you opt to search for candidates rather than posting your job, the search options are tied to keywords within resumés. But in reality, the search options you enter often do not match the text of posted resumés. So plenty of appropriate candidates may fall outside your radar.
•Resumés optimized for electronic searches may not be clear or specific enough for lucid evaluation

Internet Social Media

Pros:
•Interactive
•Facilitates networking
•Fast
•Accessible, especially to the new generation of job seekers
•Social sites such as LinkedIn plus a growing number of closed sites with specific membership requirements are becoming a viable alternative to job boards

Cons:
•Lack of confidentiality - many of the Internet's social-networking options are accessible to everyone who signs up
•Links may include information about candidates that is unprofessional, excessively personal, or otherwise unnecessarily time-consuming
•In any mass-circulation electronic communications, the potential for misrepresentation, abuses, and legal complications is nebulous and astronomical
•Not all job seekers use social media
•Because social media are a relatively new and evolving resource, "it is hard to separate the real value and purpose from often overblown marketing promises" (quote from Kevin Wheeler, President and Founder of Global Learning Resources, Inc.)

Employment Agency

Pros:
•You get help from experienced personnel specialists
•The best ones offer you a highly interactive and supportive hiring experience, expert interviewing and negotiating skills, mentoring, and strategic advice on hiring and succession plans
•The best also deliver a humane and insightful approach to Human Resources
•Saves you time because you only review resumés of candidates whom the agency has predetermined to meet your requirements
•Agencies attract hard-to-reach job seekers who will not respond directly to company solicitations
•Quicker turnaround time since in most cases the agency already has the resumés of qualified candidates on file
•A hiring specialist helps review, articulate, and sell your job and corporate culture to candidates
•Agency can engage in candid, often more revealing third-party dialogue with candidates
•Agency’s ability to deal at arm’s length can expedite selected stages of the hiring process; for example, by keeping it on schedule or addressing the concerns or doubts of either employers or candidates
•Industry-specific firms like PrintLink have firsthand knowledge of your specialized technical requirements

Cons:
•Expensive if your time saved does not translate into time better spent on other business activities
•Contingency firm can be costly if person hired leaves or needs to be terminated after the stipulated period when the agency’s fee is refundable
•Retainer firms can be costly if the search does not result in a hire
•Some job seekers won't use agencies and prefer to contact prospective employers directly

Choosing a Sourcing Method

Your choice among the above sourcing methods should depend on a number of issues, including:

•How much is the position worth to the corporation (versus what is the cost of the hire)?
•How much of your own time can you devote to screening resumés and candidates?

The current recessionary period puts employers under additional pressure since your staff count and budget are probably both leaner than in flusher times, so every new hire counts more drastically for your business. And the hiring outlook is further complicated by the large number of job seekers who have recently flooded the market. In October 2009 Canada shed 43.200 jobs after two months of gains, while the United States shed 190,000 jobs. In the same month Canada’s unemployment rate reached 8.6 percent while the U.S. rate surpassed 10 percent for the first time since 1983. These statistics translate into lots more resumés being generated by most sourcing methods and lots more judicious, time-consuming work required to screen both resumés and candidates promptly and insightfully. Clearly in the face of today's high hiring stakes, your choice of a recruitment method will be more decisive than ever for determining quality of hire.

5 Benefits of PrintLink

Accordingly these days we find employers are attracted to our services by five main benefits:

Benefit #1 - Complex Sourcing

PrintLink sources candidates through multiple means, including:

•our articles & advertisements in major trade publications
•our high profile at trade shows & industry events
•our close involvement with professional associations
•frequent referrals from satisfied candidates and clients.
•our postings to our own Web site and other strategic locations, including selected social media. We recognize that a growing percentage of job seekers rely on the Internet to conduct their job search, so we continually optimize our Web site to attract people specific to the evolving printing industry and its evolving supply chain.

By such methods over 16 years we have accumulated an impressive inventory of candidates throughout North America, and our network of contacts constantly continues to grow.

Benefit #2 - Expert Prescreening

All our managers understand the requirements for a wide range of positions owing to their own prior substantial experience in the printing industry and sound knowledge of its traditional foundations through to its newly evolving technologies. Through personal contact, careful assessment, and expert interviewing, we prescreen the technical (or "hard") skills of all our candidates, as well as their personal and interpersonal competencies (or "soft" skills) and potential fit with the employer's corporate culture. Always but especially beneficial in recessionary times, our conversations help uncover such critical components to a quality hire as whether candidates are not only capable but also motivated to do the work, prioritize, thrive under pressure, compensate for obstacles such as a weak manager, or adapt to change.

Benefit #3 - Time Savings

We introduce our client employers only to a carefully chosen short list of qualified candidates, thus giving our clients the freedom to focus on their critical hiring decisions – not inappropriate job seekers. All our resumés and reference checks come with extensive summary notes, individually compiled to address the unique needs of each employer.

Benefit #4 - Strategic Expertise

Employers appreciate our insight into the technical demands of the business as well as our acumen in helping them realize significant returns on their human-capital investments through shrewd market intelligence and tactical advice to meet their present hiring needs and future strategic and succession plans

Benefit #5 – Moneyback Guarantee

In today's pressure-cooker business environment, our no-risk moneyback guarantee on all new hires gives employers an invaluable safety valve. It also gives them every reason not to go it alone when facing the complicated challenges of recruiting desirable candidates effectively and transforming the results into high-quality hires.