If you’re in the recruiting world, you tend to use shorthand to talk about what happens: ‘active’ candidates, ‘passive’ candidates, applies, cost of hire, and so on. No surprise – every industry relies on verbal shortcuts – otherwise we’d go nuts explaining ourselves.
But these verbal compressions tend to affect the way we think as well. Consider – if you’ve divided the world into active and passive candidates, well….then that’s all there are, right?
It’s better to think about candidates (which for our purposes are pretty much anyone outside of tenured profs and Supreme Court justices) as existing on a long, infinitely gradated scale. At one end there is the completely focused, self-aware candidate with a sweeping knowledge of the labor market as it affects her, a deep skill set with regard to searching, interviewing, and negotiating for the perfect job. At the other end there is a candidate that is clueless as to his own motivations and needs, lack of insight into his skill set, and no knowledge of how to get from point A to point B – in fact, he may be unaware that she could find another job.
In between there are almost infinite variations. For example, a truly skilled engineer with superior people skills who is stuck in a cubicle and has no idea how to get out. Or a upwardly mobile salesperson with limited skills and major ambition.
In other words, ‘the candidate’ is not monolithic. The candidate’s behavior is driven by information (or lack thereof), friends, family, bosses, financial desperation, fear, hope, and several dozen other factors.
So why should you care?
Think about the typical job board or online recruiting site. Who is it aimed at? A motivated, aware, and (hopefully) somewhat skilled candidate that knows what she is looking for – and how to find it. Not that clear about what you want? Sorry. Unaware of how your skills map into a particular job? Tough luck. Not even sure you qualify for the job? Apply anyway.
The candidate is not A or B. The candidate is a point along a very wide scale. If you don’t recognize that – and adjust for that in how you design your site – you will lower the quality of candidates that actually reach the employer. Why? Because you’ll send the employer a bunch of candidates that weren’t qualified, didn’t know if they had the right skills, or even just applied on a whim.
My advice: recognize the complexity of your candidate’s world – and do your best to match your services, functions, and site to those complexities.[Want to get Job Board Doctor posts via email? Subscribe here.].