Are You Stockpiling Candidates You'll Never Place?

I think it’s fair to say that we recruiters are great at collecting CVs and building lists full of candidates. The problem is that much of this data never provides us a return on all the time spent administrating it, and it’s likely that it will never become a placement either.

Rows of faces.But let’s face it… when that job comes in, it’s comforting to know that you've options. But how many of these potential candidates are actually serious contenders?

When helping clients migrate their recruitment database into Firefish, I’m always amazed at the amount of useless data that’s been collected. There’s information on candidates who never want to work in the area that the agency recruits in, and there’s data on candidates who live in entirely different cities, sometimes even countries! Why do recruiters hold on to this data? Because, well, you never know… maybe one day…

Wasted candidate data, unfulfilled client expectations, and squandered administration time are some of the main problems with a database full of useless data. When working with new clients, I quickly get their database on a ‘lean and mean diet’ and the results are always sexy, streamlined, and efficient.

Signs of Candidate Stockpiling

Let’s have a look and see if you recognise any of these tell-tale signs:

  1. Is your recruitment website attracting the wrong candidates? Check your drop down menus and your search parameters. You may be advertising for industries that you don’t work in leading to a poor return in terms of relevant applicants. Candidates will quickly become disappointed with your agency, damaging your brand, and weakening your value statement if your website promises things that your agency doesn't deliver.
  2. Are you finding that every time you do a search you have to ignore more candidates than you consider as they’re totally inappropriate or looking for jobs/locations that you’ll never offer?
  3. Are more than half of the candidates on your database out of date? Have they not been in touch or had any engagement with any of your recruiters in a while?
  4. When times are tough, do you take on extra jobs in areas that you don’t specialise in? This leads to inefficient stockpiling of candidates who are perfect for that one random placement, but unsuitable for your usual niche and area of specialisation.

These four signs mean you're attracting candidates that you'll never be able to help. You’re providing obstacles for your recruiters to work around and even worse, excuses for them to be busy administrating, reaching, and engaging with the wrong candidates.

The Problems With Candidate Stockpiling

Stockpiling candidatesLet’s look at the direct cost to the business of stockpiling data that seemed like a good idea in the moment but in the end causes: 

  • Extra Work
  • Wasted Time
  • Difficulty in Finding Good Candidates
  • Inability to Scale the Business

The recruiters with the biggest database do not make the most placements, and what’s more, if your database is full of bad prospects, your results and success ratio will reflect this.

Be Honest

You can change this. Be completely honest when looking over CVs, and just keep ones that fit your business. Think about your agency’s identity and the type of clients that you work with – then make sure that any candidates that you keep slot into your identity.

Specialised or Generalised?

From your London office, you can place a candidate in the backwaters of Australia, but how realistic is this, are you going to spend lots of time on a one off job? (If you do, at least make sure to secure a retainer for all of the hard work you’re going to have to put into it!)

Don’t keep ‘dead’ weight. Forget the impossible to place candidates, and only work with the likely ones. Your time will be far better spent in this way. 

Quality vs. Quantity

stockpiling candidatesIt’s easy to stockpile candidates, hoping that one day you’ll be able to use them. But for the most part candidates don’t remain static and your database can become full of dud data quickly.

A database needs to be thriving, and full of candidates that can actually make you money. You don’t want your recruiters to be unable to meet their targets due to impossible to place CVs in their database.

Be Selective 

There are plenty of good candidates with relevant qualifications. Many times recruiters ignore them in search of a perfect placement. This means that too much time is spent waiting in the hope of better applicants.

Be selective, but don’t go overboard. Keep the client and the job in focus. You want all CVs to be relevant, and you want to work with suitable candidates. You need to monitor and make sure that the candidates that you keep are ones that you will actually use/be able to place.

Rethink Your Screening Process

Consider how you evaluate CVs, how you decide who to keep in your database, and who to reject. Some things to keep in mind:

  • The scope of your agency and whether or not it can actually place the candidate
  • The specific job description and whether or not a candidate fits the requirements

Throw Back the Ones You Don’t Need

Let the candidates that don’t fit within your agency go. Throw them back, and keep your candidate pool brimming with potential. Stockpiling candidates is a sign of a poor selection process, and recruiters need to be honest with themselves about this.

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Wendy McDougall

Wendy McDougall is Chief Fish of Firefish Software. In her spare time, you'll find her playing squash or feeding her inner geek with the latest technology!

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