Whether you’re looking to fill a single critical position or multiple positions within your company, there are two primary schools of thought when it comes to sourcing resumes of potential candidates: quantity vs. quality.  The quantity approach focuses on finding the greatest number of potentially qualified applicants as possible in the shortest amount of time, while the quality approach centers around finding a small and tailored “short-list” of highly-qualified candidates in whatever timeframe necessary.

Obviously, time is a critical factor in any hiring situation, and everyone would prefer to have their positions filled as quickly as possible with the best available candidate.  However, difficulties can arise when you choose to focus on the wrong method of obtaining candidates – challenges that can cost you more time or money in the long run than taking a slightly slower approach.

The Ideal Hiring Process

In an ideal world, a streamlined hiring process would have you obtaining perhaps 8-10 high-quality, experienced applicants who fit your opening’s requirements very well and possess all or most of the skills you requested.  These would probably then be whittled down to the 3-5 “best-fit” applicants, ranked by the skills they possess (both in relation to your job posting, as well as additional “extra” skills that could prove useful), the amount of experience they have, and the likelihood that they will be a good fit with the company.  The individuals from this short list would be interviewed, and the choice would be made to hire the candidate that best fit the position and skills required.

While it would be wonderful if that scenario played out every time, anyone who has ever had to hire – or recruit – for a position knows that’s definitely the exception and not the rule.

No single approach will work for every job opening or company – but overall, most companies will see better results with a higher focus on quality, regardless of whether or not they are using an outside recruiter or simply sourcing applicants on their own.

Jayson DeMers of AudienceBloom notes in his article on entrepreneur.com, “Hiring should not be a race to fill up seats in your office to get more hands on deck; this is advantageous only if you need to hit a deadline and more hands will get you there faster…  For the most part, you’ll want to be judicious in whom you hire.”

The Quantity Approach: “More Is Better”

This first volume-based method is what we at Bankers Crossing and Bankers Select dub “the fly-paper approach” – throwing as many applicants as possible at the wall and seeing who sticks.  (Just for the record, this is not our preferred way to work, nor is it the preferred method of most of the other recruiters we know.)  From a recruiting standpoint, this is requesting a large volume of candidates, with little focus on how well they fit the job requirements – or requesting candidates without providing a solid job description for the recruiter to work from, giving them only loose guidelines with which to select resumes to send through to your hiring department.  From an internal standpoint, this would include posting one-click apply jobs – jobs that allow an applicant to apply literally with a single click of a button, no other information required.

Advantages

  • Provides fast fills if you just need “bodies” to bulk up a team for a specific deadline or project when having a perfect skillset match is not critical.
  • This approach usually takes less time initially to hire a candidate.
  • One-click apply jobs offer a higher volume of applicants and show respect for the job seeker’s time.

Disadvantages

  • More time is usually required to fill positions due to greater scrutiny of potential candidates in order to match them with the necessary skills for the position.
  • One-click apply jobs may result in a slew of applications from job seekers that didn’t read the full description, apply despite knowing they don’t meet the job requirements, or “curiosity clicks.”
  • From a recruiting standpoint, requesting bulk resumes of partially- or poorly-qualified candidates takes time from their other searches and will most likely yield few, if any, hires.
    • Allowing recruiters to delve into candidates’ backgrounds and skillsets saves not only company time – since the hiring manager will have fewer resumes of better quality to go through when selecting who to hire – but also the recruiter’s time in the long run.
    • Christine Santacroce of Recruiter.com notes, “[Recruiters] would rather have one quality candidate that gets the job than three good candidates that almost get it,” – or a slew of “so-so” candidates that probably won’t even end up in the running.
  • Striving for applicant quantity requires more work on the part of the hiring manager, who must ultimately sift through all these partially-qualified resumes to find the best fit possible from the candidates provided.
    • “Quality over quantity has become a business cliché, but it has especial importance to staffing. Providing a large swath of resumes actually defeats the purpose of the staffing firm’s service, since it then puts the onus on the hiring organization to screen for the right candidate.”  – Project Assistants
    • In the event that a candidate is hired who ends up not being a good fit, you have additional costs associated with the turnover of that “bad hire” – that could have been avoided if the applicant was more carefully vetted at the beginning of the process.

The Quality Approach: “Less is More”

The second method is one in which more care is taken initially to control the quality of resumes received for a position. 

From a recruiting standpoint, this means supplying the recruiter with a detailed job description including responsibilities, skills required, “nice-to-haves,” required education level or amount of experience, etc.; in addition to giving the recruiter enough time to source appropriate candidates for review by your hiring manager. 

From an internal hiring approach, this would entail turning off one-click apply on jobs, instead opting to send applicants through your career site, and potentially even including screening questions to further weed out individuals who do not fit the specifications of the job.  Bear in mind, though, that even with this approach, it is still advised to widely advertise your jobs on appropriate platforms – you still want to maintain exposure of the role, but by requiring the application to be filled out on your site, you will gain more control over the quality of applications that come through. 

Advantages

  • Disallowing one-click applies should help weed out “curiosity clicks” or applicants who are just going through and applying to anything and everything regardless of whether or not they meet the requirements; additionally, screening questions can be utilized to further ensure candidates meet a minimum of the requirements for the job.
  • Allowing recruiters more time and greater freedom to pre-screen the candidates they send to you – utilizing a detailed job description you provide for the position you want to fill – ensures that the candidates you receive will be a quality fit with the opening you have.
  • Your hiring managers will save time in the long run because instead of screening 50+ applications of people who are a partial or poor fit, they may only have to go through 10 that meet most or all the requirements and narrow it down from there.
  • You will also reduce turnover and costs associated with “bad hires” – by vetting candidates more closely, you will be much more likely to end up with someone who is interested, fits all the requirements of the job, and who also fits in with the culture of the company.

Disadvantages

  • By disallowing one-click applies, your apply volume will most likely drop considerably – however, the quality of the applications you receive should much more closely align with the job qualifications, especially if you use screening questions during the apply
  • Filling positions with this approach may require a little more time initially, both internally (reduced apply rate without one-click applies), and via recruiters (more time spent vetting candidates before they are passed to your hiring managers).

Other Things to Remember

As we said before, no one method will always be right for every job or every employer.  However, in our experience, most non-entry-level jobs typically see better results using a more quality-based approach than a more quantity-based approach.

Kerri Mills recommends in her article on Sourcecon that you should find someone who is an expert on the position you’re sourcing.  Bankers Crossing is exclusively dedicated to the banking and financial services realms and is, therefore, an excellent place to advertise your open positions targeted to professionals in those fields.  In addition, we also provide recruiting services via our Bankers Select brand; our in-house recruiters are experts in the banking and financial services fields with over 50 years combined experience sourcing high-quality candidates for our clients.

 

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