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Blog: Finding Talent Online

By Bridget McCrea

We all know that it’s not enough to post a 3-line, classified ad on your local Craigslist job board and sit back while the job candidates pour in. Not only will you be inundated by a huge number of resumes from decidedly unqualified candidates, but you’ll also be competing against thousands of other employers who are using the same method to fill their ranks and ramp up in today’s recovering economic conditions.

So what’s a distributor to do? A good first step, says Howard Dover, a clinical professor and sales competition coach at the University of Texas at Dallas, is to set up a LinkedIn profile for your distributorship. “I don’t know a recruiter who doesn’t use LinkedIn at this point,” says Dover. With more professionals using the online business-networking platform, LinkedIn has become a 2-way street for recruiting:  distributors can cull through and handpick potential candidates while also advertising their own job openings.

Becoming a Groupie
Going a step further, LinkedIn’s “groups” feature allows companies to join groups that align with their recruiting efforts. As a LinkedIn user you can join up to 50 different groups, but you can move in and out of them as needed. (If one group lacks participation, for example, you can “drop out” of it and find another, more productive set of LinkedIn users).

Some groups are open to all applicants while others require moderator approval to join. The key is to join those groups that are related to the individuals and categories of people (recent college grads, distributors, etc.) and then participate in the groups in a way that makes your company – and its recruiting efforts – visible to the other members.

“When you start using groups and notifying members that you’re looking for sales reps or executives,” says Dover, “you’ll get a much more targeted collection of candidates than you would using a job board like Monster or CareerBuilder. It’s just another way to hone your options and make sure your efforts are being channeled in the most productive manner.”

Going beyond LinkedIn, some of the other online job search platforms to check out include CareerBuilder, CoolWorks, Jobs in Manufacturing, TopUSAJobs.com (a “niche” job board for the distribution field), and Indeed.com. Be sure to check out the current listings before posting job openings as each board comes with its own nuances and policies. 

Going Beyond Craigslist
HR expert Michelle Benjamin, CEO and founder of workforce solutions firm Benjamin Enterprises in Middletown, NY, sees industry group sessions and presentations as yet another way to find good job candidates both online and offline. The strategy works especially well in a clearly defined industry – such as electronics distribution – where not just “any” candidate will do. “You can use these events to gain mindshare from appropriate candidates,” says Benjamin, “within a specific industry.”

The key to hosting a successful event, says Benjamin, is to come to the table prepared with a high-quality, interactive presentation that keeps participants engaged. “Staff the program with personnel who can answer questions as they are submitted (via a chat-style mechanism, for example),” says Benjamin, “and be sure to capture follow-up email addresses so that you can communicate with your attendees after the presentation.”

Regardless of the specific online platform that you use to find your new employee, the key is to craft an ad and/or position your company in a way that assures that only the most qualified, appropriate individuals will apply. This will save you both time and money and get you in touch with your prime candidates faster and more efficiently. Check out Monster’s Write Effective Online Job Postings or SimplyHired’s 10 Secrets to Writing a Great Job Posting for tips that you can use to construct the kind of ads that net the best candidates.

Editor’s note: Come back to tedmag.com on Wednesday for a follow-up to this article on the basics of the hiring process.

McCrea is a Florida-based writer who covers business, industrial, and educational topics for a variety of magazines and journals. You can reach her at bridgetmc@earthlink.net or visit her website at www.expertghostwriter.net.

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