As recruiters, we’re always on the search for a way to fill positions with the best of the best. We want to be efficient, we want to be effective, but most of all, we want the sought-after candidates with proven success and enormous potential. Sometimes this quest can feel like the search for the perfect formula. We try to determine what works, what doesn’t, which websites we had the most success with and which keywords stand out. Among these contributing factors that lead us to finding the perfect candidates lays another question: does quantity equal quality?
Binomial recruiting believes that it does. Binomial recruiting is the practice of reaching as many people as possible with the goal of receiving as many applications or resumes as possible. In statistics, binomial distribution evaluates how many occurrences of success there are among a given number. It’s the probability that something will occur. In talent acquisition, binomial distribution is the idea that the more candidates we have applying for a single position, the more likely we are to have a better-qualified candidate to fill our role.
Great in theory, great in practice?
On the surface, binomial recruiting sounds fantastic because we, as talent acquisition leaders, are always striving for the very best candidate to fill our job openings. However, it also presents a number of challenges.
The first and most obvious obstacle it brings is that many companies are already receiving a large number of resumes with each job they post. This may sound like a recruiter’s dream, but it’s both a blessing and a curse. The sheer volume makes the task of filling the position daunting and time consuming. Making this aspect of the hiring even more frustrating is the fact that a growing percentage of applicants aren’t even qualified for the position. From education requirements to experience level to not possessing a very specific skill needed for the role, candidates often breeze through a description and believe they’re qualified or see that they’re not but cross their fingers, and it takes a toll on recruiters who have to sort through an enormous amount of resumes just to narrow it down to those who meet the minimum requirements. Binomial recruiting can be a challenge for this reason alone.
The other thing that could be keeping companies from choosing this method of recruiting is that it costs more to reach more people. For many companies, it’s a smaller consideration than the time commitment, but it is important to note. Casting a wide net can be considerably more expensive than using a focused approach.
Using the technique practically
However, even with these challenges, many organizations and recruiters find that quantity does equal quality, making it worth the time, effort and expense of handling a large number of resumes just to find that one special candidate. On the other hand, there are just as many, if not more, companies that can’t see how this type of recruiting could make sense. Essentially, it can’t in the way most people use and think of it. More resumes may lead to better hires, but it’s not just a numbers game. Most companies that are seeing success with binomial recruiting are thinking about and using it differently than the average person, and they’re onto something.
Learn about the tricks of the trade in part two of this series to find out how your company can make use of the method in practical and effective ways.
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Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology anthropologist specializing in HR and recruiting. She's the Chief Blogger and Founder of Blogging4Jobs and author of The HR Technology Field Guide. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmillermerell.
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