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Datapeople Analyses Reveal Flaws of Hiring Via Post-and-Pray
The recruiting analytics experts at Datapeople have looked long and hard at the post-and-pray approach to hiring. Their analyses reveal a number of weaknesses in the traditional and widely used strategy.
“Post-and-pray recruiting assumes that publishing a job post, any job post, is enough to attract applicants,” says Datapeople’s Charlie Smith. “But that overlooks the fact that job posts are technical documents, and job hunting is a technical process. It’s akin to publishing a website and expecting traffic to arrive without doing any of the technical things necessary to make your site rank highly in internet searches. It doesn’t work very well.”
First, Datapeople points out that job descriptions and job posts aren’t the same thing, so it’s important not to conflate the two. A job description is a comprehensive, internal document used by human resources to lay out all the details of a position. Meanwhile, a job post is an external document used by hiring teams to attract job seekers to an open job. Hiring teams shouldn’t just turn a job description from their human resources department into their job post. Or just make one up on the spot without a lot of forethought.
Second, job titles are really important. Just as with job descriptions and job posts, internal job titles and external job titles are two different things. A job title used internally at the company isn’t always the same as a job title used by candidates searching in the marketplace. Hiring teams have to use titles that are clear and industry-standard (even ‘boring’). Because those are the titles that job seekers are searching for and that job boards are using as keywords to respond to those searches.
Third, job post content matters. Diversity statements, for example, are something that many potential candidates care about. Yet sometimes hiring teams leave them out of job posts because ‘they’re assumed.’ Same thing with benefits and perks. But candidates don’t make assumptions about these things. In fact, Datapeople analysis shows that diversity statements increase the perception on the part of job seekers that a company is committed to inclusive employment practices. Even when the diversity statement is ‘common’ or ‘legalese.’
Fourth, language can be a deal-breaker. Unfortunate things can happen to job-post language when hiring teams take the post-and-pray recruiting approach, the company says. One, biases can seep in. Two, wordiness, vague phrasing, jargon, and even grammatical errors can seep in as well, confusing and possibly deterring qualified candidates.
If the job post doesn’t define the role clearly, the company says, it’s hard for job seekers to determine whether they should apply. Qualified job seekers may get confused and not apply. At the same time, hiring teams will see a lot of ‘one-click-apply’ applications, filling candidate pipelines with unqualified applicants.
Fifth, where hiring teams publish their job ad matters because job seekers have multiple options when scouring the marketplace for work. While some job boards like Indeed aggregate ads from other sites, not all job seekers use these broad search engines. And unless a company has unusually strong brand recognition, very few job seekers are likely to visit the company’s careers page.
Sixth, it’s important to measure results. Post-and-pray recruiting basically ends when a job ad goes live. The hiring process doesn’t end, of course, but the initial push ends. After a hiring team makes an offer and a candidate accepts, the team simply closes the book on that job. But questions go unanswered with this approach. And they go unanswered again and again, making it hard for a hiring team to learn and improve over time.
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