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Do you do any of the following?

  • Drive your car with each tyre at half pressure, all the time?
  • Throw out half the food you have purchased, every week?
  • Knowingly, pay 50% more tax than you have to, every year?

I very much doubt you do any of these things.

Yet there is a fair chance you are doing something very similar at work, right at this moment.

I suspect that you are posting a job on a job board, or using some equivalent external source for candidates, rather than conducting a comprehensive search on your agency’s database for the candidates you need for a vacancy you are desperate to fill.

How do I know?

The most recent HHMC Business Intentions Report (July 2021), supported by SIA, Staffing Industry Metrics and Vincere, provides stark, and uncomfortable, evidence.

When asked why their own database was not the ‘first port-of-call’ when sourcing candidates, the survey respondents (most commonly the owner or managing director of the business) nominated

  • Unintuitive Search tools: 47% responded that their Recruiters don’t know how to do detailed searches within their ATS
  • Data Integrity: 45% believe their CRM’s data is flawed, with incorrect tags or poor key-wording rendering search useless
  • ‘Easier to post on a job board’: 42% responded in agreement with this statement ▪
  • Boolean is dead: Over one-third of respondents believe Boolean searching of resumes to be too broad
  • Database not populated: 26% responded that not all applicants are added to the database

SEEK executives must be delighted at how easy the recruitment industry makes their job of continuing to raise prices without a corresponding decline in revenue; in Microeconomics 101 I learned this was called inelastic demand (”..when people buy about the same amount of a product or service whether the price drops or rises”).

I first wrote about how badly recruiters utilise their databases nearly 13 years ago and it seems, unfortunately, very little has changed since 2008.

For the first three years of my recruitment life I worked off 4” by 6” index cards which had me truly appreciate the massive competitive advantage that a database offered; provided it was utilised to its true potential.

As much as I was a hard-working temp recruiter who built strong relationships with my candidates I leveraged this strong platform for success because I was fanatical about being up-to-date, accurate, and complete with candidate information in the database (DOS, mind you, not Windows).

This gave me a big advantage when a client called in with a job. I immediately brought up a list of relevant candidates and talk confidently about the most suitable ones (without disclosing names).

Few clients would have put down the phone feeling unsure about my likelihood of confirming a great temp to start their assignment promptly.

Unfortunately, the current chronic level of recruiter database underutilisation simply confirms what SEEK have been telling their shareholders all along (‘aligning price to value’); SEEK prices still represent value for most recruiters.

How so?

Quite simply, if their consultants’ sh*t database usage was truly costing recruitment agencies more than the higher SEEK prices you can be sure that agency owners would be laser-focused in driving down advertising costs by mandating more rigorous database protocols.

The fact that 42 per cent of agencies are hunting more candidates ‘in the wild’ (mostly on SEEK) rather than farming the ones they have already captured says everything you need to know about the certainty of SEEK’s executives becoming even aggressive with future price hikes, confident in the knowledge that their job board revenue will keep rising for the foreseeable future.

I hope I’m wrong.


Related blogs

Recruitment Database Crimes – Chapters 1 to 14

Bassat blunders (again) as agency anger with SEEK spills over (parts 1 & 2)

Agency owners focus on flexible work options and their databases (at last!) 

‘Sorry, they are already on our database’: The lazy corporate rip-off

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Brett Iredale

Hi Ross

These are all valid points. I think one of the biggest problems is volume, not just quality.
The quality is there in most recruitment databases, but it is obscured by tens of thousands of out of date, irrelevant resumes. Search gets blamed (and there is truth there), however, it’s quite obvious that looking for a needle in a haystack is a lot harder than looking for a needle in a sewing kit.

If recruiters want to do something that will change their lives during Covid, I’d highly recommend spending a few days and doing a massive cull of their database. Reduce the volume, noise and clutter by 60 or 70%, retaining only the candidates that you know you will be likely to use in future. It’s easier than it sounds, and if you’re stuck, a good ATS provider will also be able to help.

Bob Olivier

I imagine the stats would be worse for consultants as it’s not their money!

This might has been okay when we were paying around $20 per ad on Seek in the early days but at current prices that’s insane.

At Hro2 clients pay for the ad. Never had a complaint

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
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