Jobsian Candidate Sourcing Advice
Corporate sourcing teams could take some candidate sourcing advice from Steve Jobs. The Apple founder understood better than most that “less is more”. While other tech companies opted for far too many features and whirly-gigs, Jobs opted for elegant simplicity. He gave us a satisfying revolving button on the Apple iPod. He innovated the minimalist home button on the iPad and iPhone.
Less-is-More Candidate Sourcing Advice
The Internet is serving up a near infinite number of job applicants and potential candidates. That seismic shift in the volume of executive data represents a tremendous opportunity for candidate sourcing teams — if it doesn’t kill them first.
Times Square Analogy
Imagine standing in New York City’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve, moments before the ball drop at midnight, in a packed crowd of a half-million to a million people. You know your ideal candidate is also in Times Square — only you can’t see him or her for the crowd. You start scanning an endless stream of people walking by. No, not that one. Not that one. Not him. Not her. You attempt to move to get a better vantage point to find “the one”, but your access is choked off.
Soon, you are unable to focus on anyone but those that immediately surround you, those that, thanks to the growing crowd, are now invading your personal space, inches from you. You cannot move and, for the most part, you cannot see. That perfect hire is standing right in front of you, in plain sight, only your view is completely obliterated.
The difference between LinkedIn and Times Square? Times Square has one million people every New Year’s Eve. LinkedIn has 722 million. On LinkedIn, far too many people get in the way of the candidates that deserve to be hired.
Too Many Active Candidates
Because the Internet has made it possible for practically anyone to apply with a simple click of a mouse, they all do. Applicants that bear no resemblance to the job description apply en masse. Clients have told us that only about 1-2% of job applicants meet the basic qualifications. That means 98% of the candidates are a waste of time. Keyword filters and artificial intelligence can help lessen the burden, but those filters often eliminate the very candidates you are seeking.
Too Many Passive Candidates
If that were not all, there is also an endless list of passive candidates. And, yes, it is thrilling to have all that talent within reach, as you surf the ‘net. However, there simply isn’t enough of you to manage it all. And the utter irony is that even with the millions that are now available online, only 60-75% of candidates are discoverable on the Internet, meaning that you’re missing one out of every three or four. That’s a pretty significant hole– dare I say “gaping maw” — in your sourcing strategy.
The Zen of Candidate Sourcing
Typical candidate sourcing is not designed to take you from more to less when it should. Recruiting research needs to move from the quantitative to the qualitative. Too many candidates cause searches to fail. Instead, sourcing teams need to focus narrowly on the work of finding exceptional hires. While the talent pool is near infinite, there is a finite number of executives and technologists who outperform.
Steve Jobs had it right. Sometimes the best candidate sourcing advice is knowing that less is more.
(For more about Steve Jobs, check out What Adoption Did to Steve Jobs.)