Job Boards Are A Failure Of Human Resources

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I’m on my way to San Diego where I’ll be moderating a panel for IAEWS. What the heck is IAEWS? It’s an association — like SHRM — for job board companies. (Yes, there is an association for everything. If you wear Hanes Her Way underwear and Dearfoam slippers, you can join an association. I’m the founder.)

Anyway, this is how my panel has been described.

A panel of senior level talent acquisition executives will discuss the criteria they use to select vendors for the array of recruitment products and services they purchase. They’ll explore what differentiates a vendor in their minds, which variables have the greatest impact on their decision-making, and what changes they expect in both their budgets and strategies in the next 12-24 months.

Hm. Let me ask you something. As a Human Resources professional, does it make sense to spend money on a third-party vendor to list your open vacancies? Do you really need a job board if you have a smart and talented group of Human Resources professionals who are integrated into the business and understand the world of recruiting, talent management, and technology? Do you really need an alternative website or a metasearch engine where people search for job opportunities if you have a robust recruiting strategy [sic] that — when properly executed — reaches candidates in a direct and authentic way?

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I know that job boards serve a purpose. We’ve talked about this before. Some ‘niche’ employment websites act as social networks. There are job boards that operate as a CRM for small to midsize companies that can’t afford to buy technological solutions to manage the recruiting & hiring process. And some job boards work because they’ve developed great relationships and understand a company’s recruiting process better than the Human Resources manager understands it. And I know that my colleagues who work for employment websites truly feel as if they’re doing something noble — and they are. They are getting Americans back to work.

That’s more than I can say for many HR departments.

But I’m not asking if job boards should exist. I’m saying that job boards exist because HR has failed.

  • I am sick of hearing my HR colleagues complain about the lack of talent in the marketplace (even as we experience the worst economy in decades).
  • I am sick of listening to HR peeps complain about being overwhelmed by resumes.
  • And I am sick of watching HR professionals place an ad on an employment website and expect great things to happen.

It’s beyond post and pray. It’s post and whine.

And if Human Resources professionals ever wanted to prove their worth and demonstrate value, they would stop using employment websites like it’s 1999 and become employment experts themselves. It doesn’t take much — courage, forethought, and a little leadership — for HR to take ownership of the world of work. What else should HR do, anyway? There is nothing more valuable than finding the right person to work for your company. There is nothing more important than filling a vacancy within your organization. And there is nothing more meaningful in this world than giving someone an opportunity to work for your company, earn a paycheck to support a family, and shine with pride.

And call me paranoid, but there is nothing more destructive to Human Resources — and to shareholder value — than spending money on a job board when you could be spending money on training & developing your employees and improving the infrastructure of your company.

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But I am still rooting for Human Resources professionals to pull their heads out of their asses and find a pathway towards relevancy and accountability through recruiting — and away from external employment websites of any kind.

That would be progress.

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