Finding the Needle Is Easier When You Go Niche

Judging from the vast majority of articles in the HR and recruiting press, you might think that your own options for recruitment marketing are LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, and Indeed.

You would be wrong.

Yes, these recruitment ‘superpowers’ can provide large buckets of candidates and lots of exposure – but sometimes in recruiting, less is more. If I only had a nickel for every time I heard an employer say, “I don’t need thousands of mediocre candidates, I need a few quality candidates!”

You can certainly find quality candidates using the big sites, but there are alternatives.

It seems counterintuitive. Why use a smaller source like StackOverflow or HigherEdJobs, when you can use Indeed? Because sometimes a big site isn’t the best place to find a top notch Ruby developer or alumni relations expert. Because sometimes, you fish where the fish are.

Niche sites like these exist – and thrive – because they are laser-focused on specific audiences. Need to find recent college grads? Turn to College Recruiter. Looking for hospitality workers? Try Poached. And so on, in every profession and industry, in almost every development economy in the world. There are literally thousands of niche sites that have flourished despite the superpowers’ domination of the recruiting press. How do they do it? By serving their audiences in an industry-specific manner that is difficult for the big sites.

For instance, consider Archinect. It focuses on architects, providing showcases for recent projects, forums for users, information about contests and scholarships, and – of course – job listings. If you work in architecture, you probably use Archinect – and use it more regularly than LinkedIn or Indeed.

If you’re someone trying to hire architects and related folks, your odds of finding them are going to be higher on Archinect – because that’s where they live.

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Niche sites didn’t have to exist – they emerged in reaction to candidate and recruiter frustration with the big sites of yesteryear, such as Monster and HotJobs. These users found that the general sites lacked the ability to capture specific information – for example, relevant industry certifications – that made a real difference in a mediocre versus a quality hire. As important to candidates was the fact that a site for every kind of job wasn’t necessarily the easiest place to find one specific type of job.

If you don’t know where to turn for a niche site for the particular role you’re hiring for, talk to your hiring manager or the employees in that role. They will probably know. And a good general resource for finding niche sites is www.jobboardfinder.net – it has listings of hundreds of sites throughout the world.

Are niche sites the answer to all of your recruiting problems? Of course not. But they are a good addition to your recruitment tool belt. Sometimes you need more than the superpowers.

Note: The author is a consultant to the job board industry. HigherEdJobs is a current client and College Recruiter has been in the past.

Jeff Dickey-Chasins is a veteran of the job board, publishing, and e-learning industries. Jeff was the original marketing director for Dice.com, growing it from $7 million to $65+ million in three years. He has worked with numerous job boards and HR-related sites over the past 20 years. His site can be found at JobBoardDoctor.

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