How to Not Recruit

Posted by Thoughts and Ramblings on Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A few weeks ago, the Student Engineers’ Council held their Career Fair, which they do every semester. Basically, hundreds of companies reserve a table in an attempt to find people to fill their positions. In the many career fairs I have attended, I have notice a few different method of recruitment.

  1. Collect as many resumes as possible, moving on to the next person as quickly as possible.
  2. Direct the person to apply for a job on their website.
  3. Actively seek particular people to fill the exact need you have.

The first strategy effectively a scatter shot approach. It has the disadvantage of leaving the recruiter a large stack of resumes to process in order to select which applicants they wish to interview. I can see how this is a tempting approach, because the more you collect, the more likely that the best person is in that stack somewhere. The issue is they are in there somewhere, and you still have to find them. While it is possible, this leaves a very low likelihood that a tired recruiter is going to find the best applicant in the stack within the time frame required for the upcoming on-campus interviews. The second strategy is, in my humble opinion, the lazy approach. I have seen too many companies take this stance, and I have to wonder how well it works. Make no doubt about it, they are spending thousands to send their recruiters here, and if all they do is tell people to apply on their website, I have to wonder why they bother at all. I suppose it gives some name recognition, but it can’t be worth that much compared to other approaches. Personally, I have never gone to such a company’s website, nor have any of my friends told me they’ve done the same. I have only looked at companies who have actually shown genuine interest. The third strategy is definitely the most work. I could count on my hands the number I have seen take this approach, but that number is obviously limited to those interested in my field. This can range from calling people out of the crowd at a career fair, to recruiting in the buildings where they attend class, to contacting professors wishing to talk to their students. I’ve seen posts on Slashdot by employers asking how they can attract the people who are really good in their field. They recognize the fact that some employees are capable of doing the work of 2, 3, or more. Employing such a person is very beneficial, even if they have to be compensated considerably more than other employees. Of the approaches I listed above, only the third would attract them to such a company, where the first two are likely to turn them off. So, in response to this, I’ve decided to only seek employers who really care to find someone to fit a need. I went to the career fair in shorts, t-shirt, and sandals, and I didn’t give out my resume unless I was asked. The end result: the recruiters didn’t care what I was wearing (if they did, I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway), and I remembered everyone I talked to. This time around, I spoke to very few recruiters, but I don’t doubt that I spoke to those who best fit what I was looking for.