Historical data gathered over the period 2006 to 2010 shows that upwards of 60% of job vacancies in Germany were successfully resolved through the medium of personal and professional contacts.

This is a pretty vivid demonstration of a continuing culture of reliance on trusted networks,  at the same time illustrating the relative inefficiency of online and print job advertising and the limited reach of employment agencies and recruiting companies.

Online. Perhaps most surprising is that despite perceptions to the contrary, the explosion of online job advertising possibilities, and an increasing sophistication and diversity in job portal offerings, doesn’t guarantee client engagement with the target candidate community. Although the Web 2.0 climate continues to drive job-seekers to consult online, vacancy/candidate matchings are not apparently as frequent as might be suspected.  Why is this?

One potential interpretation is that the sheer volume of information available to the job-seeker makes the task of identifying suitable opportunities that much more difficult. Trawling the internet for jobs is a time-consuming and often dispiriting pursuit. It's not only a question of where you start to look, it's often a question of when to stop.

Perhaps perversely, those job-seekers who do apply online - by the simple condition of being active seekers - may not always be the optimum candidates. Clients invariably set out to seek the best talent available, but is the best talent actively looking for a job - adequately rewarded, challenged and content as they may well be in their current role?

An important factor, too, is that advertisers may not be presenting their vacancies in the best light. There is no guarantee that the hiring organisation possesses the skills to create a compelling advertisement, and so otherwise interesting opportunities can often be overlooked simply because the message is weak, or the job title summary just doesn't capture the right kind of attention. "Programmer Wanted - Urgent" isn't always going to turn the right heads. Moreover, candidates need to be seduced by job adverts, not tested by them. A long list of required skills can create doubt amongst candidates, whereas a snapshot of an exciting project evokes a far stronger motivation to be part of it.

Print. Contrary to expectations, statistics for Germany show there has been an increase in job advertising in the printed media, and its effectiveness in leading to successful placements has seen marginal growth over the period studied.

However, it’s a hit-and-miss scenario, costly and risky. There's no guarantee the target candidate community buys and reads the paper or magazine in precisely the period the advert is published, and the trend is clearly not for job-seekers to study back-numbers, just in case. Print advertising may not offer the geographical range required to engage with appropriate candidates, either.

Employment Agencies and Recruiting Houses. Public Employment offices are generally not focussed on providing a service to the client and priorities will often be geared towards the management of job vacancy information relevant to less-skilled job-seekers or other labour demographics less relevant to the objectives of an increasingly technologically-oriented hiring market.

In the Recruitment sector, those companies robust enough to survive the current economic climate have had to adjust levels of service to restrict and control overheads, especially where their commercial model is based on a Success Fee approach to searches.  The specialised and well-managed search process has in many cases given way to a practise based on churning CV databases and spitting out candidacies not generated through reliable or focussed filtering. This has produced a decline in confidence on the part of the client community in the accuracy of results and the reliability of candidate recommendation criteria.

The Added Value of the Independent Recruiter/Headhunter. The client who places a job offer in the public spaces discussed above can potentially reach an infinite number of candidates, but might also receive anywhere between zero and an infinite number of applicants – none of whom might meet the requisites for the vacancy. Visible costs could in some circumstances be negligible (although this is generally unlikely), but the invisible costs of managing applications will invariably be high – certainly in terms of processing information generated, as well as the preparation of the campaign itself. 

What’s more, where online job advertising is the chosen route, the web 2.0 window to the world is an area to be managed with caution, most notably from the perspective of brand visibility. Unanswered applications passively give a negative impression; awkward advertisements can project an image damaging to client reputation, with a potentially unlimited audience. 

The Headhunter is an extension of and a participant in the vital area of personal contacts.

Sharing information within and sourcing throughout an extended professional network, the Headhunter personalises and reinforces the client's message, taking the search direct to the passive candidate community.

If the target is the best-qualified and most promising talent, it’s the Headhunter who's most likely to get there first.
 

    Patrick Collman

    Headhunter, Recruiter and Staffing Solutions Consultant connecting Spain with the rest of Europe and beyond. Loving husband, father, son, brother and friend.

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