An email discussion with Elaine prompted my blog item this week. Last’s week’s thread ended up having some fun discussion.

Elaine: Do you think search firms are posting ads for jobs that don’t exist so that when the economy turns around, they have a pool of resumes to search among? 

Dave: If anyone is doing that they are doing nothing more than learning an expensive lesson. That would be just plain stupid. That said, I am sure someone IS doing that somewhere. My guess is that bigger companies in search or staffing or any field are more likely to do that than smaller ones and some probably do it all the time and not just in times like this.  I firmly believe that experienced recruiters from companies in the industry average 1 to 5 person sized companies are not doing this because they are too busy trying to make a placement happen.

Elaine: Is this really the case or are job hunters just assuming ads are bogus because they aren’t getting called for interviews? If these do exist, how can job hunters tell them apart from ads for positions available right now? Does it pay for job hunters to apply anyway?

Dave: I had not heard that job hunters were assuming job postings are bogus. That’s probably the knee-jerk reaction anyone would have if they didn’t get called. Back when I had some experience with postings and responses around 1999 to 2001 I found the vast majority of respondents to be stunningly unqualified for the positions they applied for. I don’t even use boards anymore but I talk with people who do and it seems like nothing has changed.

I’d guess most jobs are real when they are posted but consider this. 

If, say, IBM needs a Java software engineer and they post the need on their website and they give it also to the, oh, maybe 100 people on their ‘approved vendor list’ who also then turn around and rewrite it a bit and post it on their own site and aggregators like indeed.com and boards like Top Echelon it now looks like there are a couple hundred software jobs. So even if an actual Java software engineer replies to only 20 of them and hears nothing because of all the noise and dilution he thinks it is fake…Then consider that it is probably being mostly responded to by some COBOL veteran who wants to work for IBM so he can LEARN Java.

To tell you the truth Elaine, I hope this never changes. It is just job security for those of us who do what we are paid to do.

As for the part about whether it pays to apply anyway…I just can’t think of any response to that that I would want to see and claim 5 years from now. I’ll put it this way…as useless as I think it is, I’d probably do it myself if I were in their shoes. I’d just treat it the same as I do when I pray for that 7 to make my inside straight. (i.e. ain’t gonna happen and I have no right to ask).

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I was thinking about the time I put into a couple ning-things when they came out and several others that I didn’t even join and I happened across a suggestion by one of the founders of one of the networks that ‘friends’ be limited to 150. Then some guy said that was way too few and this is what resulted. For sure, these things do no harm but I’d sure like to hear more about what value they are providing.

The comment:

“150 would be too limiting” is exactly what’s wrong with the world. Anyone treating even 150 people (in their own field) like friends can’t be billing much…but then…’billing’ might be a term many do not have to worry about. Maybe those 100 base-players Google is letting go. How can people be RECRUITING if they are interacting with that many others who are also supposed to be doing something other than interacting with each other (RECRUITING maybe)?

God help me, I LOVE recruitingblogs and fordycenetwork is ok too but most of the time spent there is in handling random requests from strangers who want to be my “friend” and never contact me again if I accept.

I consider Jason a friend because I have met him and we sometimes have interesting things to discuss. Dennis Smith is another guy I actually met and enjoyed talking with. Animal, I hardly know, but he puts out a lot of value for free. I guess, if I try to find SOME value in all this I can point to meeting Dennis on rb.com …but wait.. that came from Dennis commenting on a Bill Vick video who then told me about Animal and I met Jason at a Pinnacle meeting.

There HAS to be value in these networks somewhere…If there weren’t then former phonebook brokers wouldn’t steal them. I guess value for me is to give me something to complain about (but then, I can complain about 80% of everything. I like them. I am glad they are here but I need some help with the value. At least I got a blog post out of it…but wait. This came from a comment on Animal’s site 🙂

A Shameless Plug

January 9, 2009

Well, since I am all happy and have nothing in the recruiting world to complain about today, I’ll take a moment to abuse my privilege of having access to at least a few eyeballs now and then. I’d like to invite anyone within, say, a 3-hour drive or a short flight like Chicago to come to the Annual Conference of www.tennesseerecruitersassociation.com on January 23rd. Details are on the site with a link for registration.

Sure, this is an ad. Yes,we’d love to sell a few more seats but that’s not why I put this here. It is here because the two  Charles Wadlow seminars I attended back around the turn of the century gave me a few philosophies and techniques that changed how I do business. There are a few trainers (VERY FEW) who combine entertainment and content well enough to make me go see them whenever I can. We can’t have them EVERY year so I sought out Charles and convinced him to stop making placements for one day so he could share his methods with our membership.

Charles has not been on the road, because unless you are one of the ‘very few’ I mentioned, there’s a lot more money in headhunting than there is in training.

Finally,  and somewhat sadly, we have some extra seats because I am hearing some instances of the old paradox… “We can’t afford to train ourselves to be good enough to survive.”

P.S. Attendees will get 10% off a Fordyce Letter subscription!