When thinking about the coming months (and who isn’t!), I suggest that you keep in mind that job boards – by their nature – are followers, not leaders. We can’t compel employers to hire certain people, or focus on certain types of jobs. We can’t compel employers to do anything, actually, that they don’t want to – witness the fabled hiring black hole. No matter how many times you ask your employers to communicate with candidates, you can’t make them do it.
I realize that this may be a hard concept to accept. After all, who wants to just be a follower? I suspect we’ve all thought at times (perhaps in private) that we are truly leaders, pointing out the way for our employees, clients, and friends. Maybe in our personal lives we are leaders. Maybe as a job board, we use our insight to anticipate what employers actually want, as opposed to what they say they want – and then provide that to them. Maybe that even looks like leading. But ultimately, we’re following the employer’s lead – we’re doing what they want to do.
Why? Because if we don’t do what our customers want us to do, they find someone else to do it.
Now, that’s not to say that we can’t slip in a little intelligent guidance here and there. Let’s say our employer client wants to hire a bunch of remote customer service reps. We can guide them to a skilled and diverse population that perhaps they would never have reached without our help. We can show them how these diverse candidates tend to work harder and stay longer than the average hire. We can show the employer how to leverage the PR value of such hires. We walk away being heroes. Ultimately, however, we are following the employer’s need: to hire remote customer service reps.
But you know what? That’s ok. It’s fine to follow the customer’s needs. It’s fine to uncover and describe the customer’s unstated needs, and then turn them into something you can fulfill. You won’t be ‘revolutionizing the recruitment marketplace‘ or whatever phrase is currently fashionable. But you will be satisfying the customer’s needs.
And if you still want to lead? Here’s a suggestion: figure out a way to teach every high school student – everywhere – how to find work that fits their skills, desires, and hopes. Most candidates don’t have the vaguest idea how to find a job – any job – let alone find one that is something they want to do. If you could teach them how, you would truly change the world – and you would be a leader. You would be leading them to a better life (and you might make a few employers happy, too!).
Me? Gotta say I’m a follower – and I’m fine with it.
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