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New year - new recruit (& some clear MI)

posted by Alex Hens
19 January 2010

Towards the end of last year we set about recruiting to expand our development capability (which has, thankfully and with some great results & delighted clients, been working flat out for some time). I can confirm what I've read other people reporting to be true, in that irrespective of the swelling ranks of the unemployed, when you're looking for talent you've still got to search damned hard (although ironically in this instance it turned out we actually hired one of the very first applicants).

I have to say as well though, the quality of many of the applications was appalling. I wonder if anyone could create an index for the %age of job seekers who deserve to stay where they are/without a job on the basis of number of random applications outside of skill set they make (many have a clear inability to read a simple job description), terrible overall presentation (be that CV or answering questions in legible English) and overall seeming apathy towards life?!  :-/

So firstly let's welcome Brett on board. A few weeks in and he's clearly a nice guy who, I think, has settled in well (certainly there's plenty to keep him occupied) and quickly become part of the team, but most importantly he clearly "LOVES code" - which is what you want in a developer in our opinion. We all spend more than enough time doing our day to day, so having a passion for what you do makes such a difference to both your life and the end result, so here's to many years of keeping his passion stoked and delivering great facilities and service for our clients.

Secondly - I thought I'd just share with you some of the recruitment MI, because that is, after all, what we built HARBOUR ATS to do, and because it's good to share :).

The media channels used were: our website; twitter; google docs; PHP forums; Gumtree; CWjobs; Planet Recruit (& Hot Group network); Jobserve.We paid for CW Jobs, Planet Recruit and tried the new Pay Per Application model with Jobserve (limiting it to 10).

The specifics were that this was a Junior Developer role in North Essex (although we were pretty flexible about remote working).

The applications came from:

  • 3dmarcomms.com - 3
  • Jobserve - 6
  • Gumtree - 9
  • Planetrecruit (et al) - 12
  • CWjobs - 35

The campaign MI headlines are:

  • Worth testing: Planet Recruit - 1; 3DMarComms.com - 2; Jobserve - 3; Gumtree - 5; CWjobs - 15
  • Telephone interview: Jobserve - 1; Gumtree - 1; 3DMarComms - 2; CWjobs - 2
  • Talent Banked: CWjobs - 2; 3DMarcomms - 3
  • Hire: Gumtree (specific cost = £0)

My personal feedback:

I thought that Planet Recruit was, to be blunt, absolute bobbins. The team there were very nice and tried hard (with a lot of additional collateral), but for this role I was very disappointed with such a poor response (particularly in quality - but also in volume, which may, considering the quality, have been a blessing I guess). My conclusion is that Planet Recruit (& network) has a very poor for Junior PHP Developer reach, particularly in the East of England.

I didn't take to the Jobserve experience at all really. The lack of ability to integrate directly into an ATS (something I've long rallied against as a real barrier to use on this site) proved an issue here where out of 10 applications I paid for (on the PPA model) 4 then couldn't be arsed to complete a simple application form I directed them to (although of course I'm sure some bright spark at Jobserve will try and sell this as a useful "motivational fit" sift :-s). However when you're on a Pay Per Application basis, that kind of lazy candidate reflects very badly on the site. The lack of human involvement I also found made it a poor overall posting experience & actually as it all worked out rather expensive for only 3 OK applicants (despite the filters set in the Jobserve facility) who were even worth inviting to partake in our online test. On this experience (and if I can make the time I'll blog some more on this for sure ) - Pay/Cost Per Application isn't a model I'll be looking to use again (or at least certainly not on the Jobserve site).

I have to admit to always having like CWJobs as a site - but perhaps the thing I liked best about it was the fact that it generally delivered for my clients in the past. And I wasn't let down this time either. Good service that delivered good volume and decent quality of applicants. Thanks guys.

And what can you say about Gumtree? Well for me it just emphasised what's so difficult about the crowded web, proving that you have to do your damndest to think like a candidate in a very noisy market place - in this instance thinking local to "get our man".

I also, of course, had quite a lot of interest from recruitment consultants trying to sell me their "stella" candidates. There's probably a blog post there too in regards to how important it is to get the attention to detail right first time every time, particularly when you're trying to open a door that's pretty firmly closed anyway. All I can say is there are a lot of Recruitment Consultants out there who will rightfully (and hopefully) go out of business if their terrible attempts to win my business accurately demonstrates their overall integrity, ability & professionalism. However, it's always good to find the exception that proves the rule - and I was so impressed with Kirsty Brewer's quirky, personal & through that ultimately stand-out approach (she's from Senitor (although god knows their website needs some serious overhaul!!)) - that I've made sure I've kept her details just in case.

Anyway - that's more than enough reminiscing about how we stepped into this year. It's back to the grind stone, but all very much feeling glad that we have a grindstone to return to and that it's thankfully seeing some serious action already this year :)