Micro Recruiting is bringing sexy humans back

Talent Management, Talent Management, Talent Recruiting

Micro Recruiting is bringing sexy humans back

Something stinks in recruiting. It’s costly, noisy and disengaging and the future of HR Tech isn’t paying attention. Micro recruiting can save us, if we embrace it.

The Recruiting industry is in rush hour gridlock

In 2017 there were 41M candidates looking for work, 6M job openings, and 4.1M graduates entering the market. The recruiting industry is big, like $400B big.

Despite how immense it already is, it continues to grow alongside an expanding economy. The digital revolution has furthered that growth with Online Job Boards, Professional Networking websites, Applicant Tracking Systems and more.

These tools and platforms have promised and delivered an increase in data and a means to share/find that data rapidly. But there’s SO MUCH data and SO MUCH sharing today that the Recruiting Industry has become a lot like rush hour gridlock in LA.

Despite this gridlock, the Recruiting Industry is investing more and more into tech to automate the proliferation of job and candidate data. There’s only one little hitch, we are moving further away from the most important part of recruiting, people.

Macro Recruiting and it’s dependence on HR Tech

Macro Recruiting is the part of recruiting that deals with big stuff, like Reach and Volume. It amplifies a candidate search by posting a job on many boards while it sources many candidates by casting a wide net in deep rich talent pools. It leverages technology like Social Networks and Ad Networks to broadcast far and wide, then, like a giant shop vac, sucks up a high volume of resumes.

As a result of all this Reach and Volume, a new generation of Tech has overtaken the HR industry. This tech focuses on Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and automated Chatbots. The goal is to help recruiters and hiring managers manage their candidate gridlock. AI, for example, would use algorithms to sift through the high volume of resumes and qualify candidates instantly. Automated chat bots would prescreen the many candidates at the top end of the recruiting funnel and send them auto replies before a single human recruiter saw a resume.

Macro Recruiting makes sense for very large organizations which experience large swells of growth and attrition from one quarter to the next. In these companies employees are like krill feeding the whale of corporate growth. Recruiting looks a lot like commercial fishing with giant nets cast across deep talent pools, or a giant data farm with bots constantly scraping career and resume sites. Recruiting never sleeps.

Macro Recruiting is about reach and volume in a systematic, robotic, sleepless and unbiased way (if the criteria is set by an unbiased Recruiter).

What Macro Recruiting is not, however, is human.

How Macro Tech has hurt Small Business

A tale told by many SMB owners details how Recruiting Tech makes the hiring process more cumbersome. Their intent is simple, find local workers to fill a job. What they get instead is a tsunami of added work.

A grocery store gets overwhelmed

Take the story of a family grocery store with 16 employees, in a small town outside of Chicago. Wanting to do less manual resume management, they purchased a license for a popular software to post a job for a part-time cashier. In the past, they had used the classifieds in a local newspaper. The software automatically posted on 150 job boards with a single click. Over the next two weeks they received 250 resumes just like the software had promised.

However, most of the applications came from outside the community. Only three applicants lived within a three hour travel radius, and less than 100 came from within the US. The other 25% came from people in India, Europe and Africa. Of the 3 local candidates, one seemed like a decent fit and was hired. After two weeks, the company fired that person for skimming from the till.

After a year using the software, the grocery store had posted 5 jobs, looked at over 2000 resumes and made 2 hires. Only 1 hire lasted longer than 6 months. As a result, they reverted back to posting jobs in the local newspaper and Craigslist. They’re no longer willing to try anymore new HR tech solutions.

“We were exhausted from seeing so many freakin’ resumes from everywhere in the world but here. It was a colossal waste of our time.”

All Small Businesses are feeling the pinch

Stories like this one came from brick and mortar businesses like design agencies, real estate firms, legal firms, stores, restaurants, and more. The overlapping results were almost identical to eachother despite being in different industries.

The common thread with every story, was that the software dumped a ton of data in the lap of the small business, without any support on what to do next. Even seasoned recruiters were feeling overwhelmed by so much data to sift through, and a lot of it garbage data.

To go through 2000 resumes per year is a big time suck on top of 50-70 hours a week. By taxing SMB owners, they have dramatically reduced how much time they invest in qualifying each resume. This leads to mistakes and missed opportunities, like disqualifying qualified candidates. Not isolated to SMBs, we are also hearing from seasoned recruiters who say the same. So HR tech has made it so much harder for an SMB owner to find that needle in a haystack.

Candidate Noise & Burnout

More adverse affects of Reach and Volume have included candidate noise, or garbage data. Noise includes unqualified candidates who misunderstand or ignore job descriptions & prerequisites like experience, geography or certification and blindly apply to jobs nonetheless. It’s easy to call these candidates lazy, but the bulk of them aren’t lazy, they’re disenfranchised. They too are victims of Macro Recruiting, as they invest hundreds to thousands of hours only to have to keep using a new ATS and re-enter their career description over and over and over again.

After 7 months, 120 job applications, and 15 interviews, I finally landed a job offer!

A story about an individual who finally found a job.

Dedicated candidates spend an average of 110 minutes looking for a job. That includes finding a job listing, researching a job, researching the company, tweaking the resume for that job/company, writing a cover letter and then entering all that information all over again in an ATS. Over time, candidates get tired, become less dedicated and start to cut corners to their job search, investing less time into research, prep, and delivery of each job application.

Over 8 years, Ted has applied to 1,276 jobs on LinkedIn and heard back from only 30.

2.35% response aren’t very good odds for job seekers

Tools like 1-click-apply, which deliver candidate applications to multiple companies with a single click give the appearance that the odds have improved for candidates. As if more darts thrown at the dartboard will eventually land a bullseye. Unfortunately, this is false. The lack of targeted dedication lowers the quality of each application, and reduces the chances of finding a job. It’s just becomes more noise for a recruiter and hiring manager to sift through.

This explains how a mom and pop grocery store in Smalltown USA, looking for a part time cashier, ended up receiving resumes from Europe, India and Africa.

Candidates hit back with Ghosting

Adding insult to injury: half of candidates never hear back during the hiring process. In a poll with 1300 participants, 54% of people said they never heard back after applying to a job.


So, with a twist of karma, candidates are giving recruiters and hiring managers a taste of their own medicine by abandoning the hiring process, not showing up to their interview or worse, not showing up on the first day of work. It’s called ghosting.

Millennials aren’t the only ones that Ghost

Millennials have become the poster child for ghosting. “These entitled kids expect to have everything handed to them for nothing, so when interviews get a little hard, they just vanish”.

That’s not entirely true. Contextual data gathered from conversations with job seekers has revealed every age group ghosts. Their reasons are:

  • the salary or position wasn’t what was advertised
  • feel their gender is the only reason they were hired
  • felt bullied
  • suspected they were lied to

When we dug deeper into these experiences, people admitted that they should have done the right thing and warn the interviewer about not showing up. However, disillusionment and burnout pushed these candidates beyond the tipping point where ghosting was their best option.

According to our own poll with over 3000 participants, over 1000 admitted they had ghosted a job interview and/or never showed up for their first day on the job. That’s 1 out of 3 candidates. In a job market with 41M candidates that’s 13M incidents of ghosting in the US.

Missed Opportunities

It’s not just that recruiters lose a lot in time spent but there’s the cost of missed opportunities if others shortlisted had moved on, and brand damage to the relationship with a client. For some recruiters, a ghosted candidate has lost them the client entirely.

TRY THIS: How much has a single ghosted candidate cost you? A loss in business, in time, effort, and/or dollars.

Some say the cost is a tiny blip like a few hours of lost productivity, that’s it. Others say that a candidate not showing up on the first day of the job can cost tens of thousands in on boardings, legal and financial prep, not to mention the lost opportunity of runner up candidates who found a position elsewhere.

Somewhere in between the two scenarios is an average cost. Multiply that cost by 13M and you start to understand just how severe an impact ghosting is having on the Recruiting Economy.

The Path to more problems

Ghosting, candidate noise, talent drain, disengagement, lack of trust, poor resumes, etc – these aren’t just soft fluffy problems to the jobs economy, they account for billions of dollars in wasted resources and missed opportunities.

Macro Recruiting’s answer is more tech, taking recruiting further down the path of dehumanizing the recruiting process. Two examples of why that’s the wrong path.

Artificial Intelligence promises to eliminate bias from the hiring process, this while researchers and experts voice concerns that AI will amplify and perpetuate human bias. Amazon discovered this to be true while trialing a recruiting tool powered by AI.

“Because AI systems learn to make decisions by looking at historical data they often perpetuate existing biases. In this case , that bias was the male-dominated working environment of the tech world.”

James Vincent @ The Verge

Chat bots promises to prescreen applicant traffic and disqualify bad candidates before a recruiter ever sees a resume. However, there’s a disdain for chat bots and robocalls that can have an adverse affect on qualified candidates. In a twitter poll with 2000 responses, 70% of job seekers said they would hang up instead of answer a robocaller’s prescreening questions.

Less is more

There is another way to counter the costs spurred on by Macro Recruiting without dehumanizing it any further. Micro Recruiting is about the small stuff, like a resume and a job description. It’s the overlooked runt of the HR Tech investment community and found under the tall shadow cast by Macro Recruiting.

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A candidate resume with Pounse

Micro Recruiting is the art of understanding context in experiences and how that relates to a clients job description to eventually form a match. It is nurturing candidate engagement through collaboration to get to the ultimate goal, job fit.

What’s collaboration got to do with it? For example, on a job description, collaborating between a recruiter and hiring manager can clarify job expectations. At the same time, collaboration with candidates can clarify job fit.

Micro Recruiting is old fashioned, like a face to face conversation, or a phone call. It’s genuine and empathetic, honest and transparent. And best of all, it’s reliant on the human touch.

At Tesla, real life Ironmon, Elon Musk, tried to completely automate the automakers production line with robots, but it didn’t actually work as well as something that still relied on the human touch. The most efficient workflow turned out to be automated stations which do the bulk of the work, where humans who manned the machines also moved materials between them.

“It has to some degree renewed my faith in humanity that … the ability of people to adapt rapidly is quite remarkable.”

Elon Musk

Micro Recruiting is about the in-between stuff, like collaboration, transparency, and presentation.

Arguably the most important part of a candidate search, before the job ad is posted and candidates are sourced, is the job description. Without tailor fit measurements of the ideal candidate, the hiring process will be based on bias, intuition and gut instinct. A detailed job description should identify:

  • skills and experience expectations
  • company and role competencies
  • payroll expectations and growth opportunities

Don Bearman, describes how a job description template found on the internet just won’t do because it’s not tailor fit for your company, but it can be a start. Likewise, no one person can write that description, it takes a village involving the hiring manager, legal, payroll, leadership, team members, recruiter, and HR.

Let’s Fix Work by Laurie Ruettimann


Collaborating on a job description can be as simple as two people sharing a document back and forth, updating with edits and notes. Ideally it would be in a digital format where it can be accessible by all collaborators to build as well as reference, like a recruiter building a job ad, or as a measuring stick for performance management and succession planning.

The second most important piece in a candidate search is the resume or career profile. It’s the key that unlocks the job locket. A good resume, like a good job description, needs to detail a candidates career with context around skills, education and work.

Let’s face it, writing a resume is a hard exercise, especially since hiring managers, particularly the bias ones, may reject a resume based on presentation, font treatment or choice of words. What makes a resume good or bad? This is where a recruiter can help.

Like staging your house for sale, a recruiter can help present a candidate by polishing up that resume. Many recruiters rewrite the resume entirely for the candidate. Micro Recruiting can fix that with collaboration. Collaborating on a career profile is often the difference between placement and not, as a good resume will appeal to a hiring manager while a bad one won’t.

Remember those burned out candidates who felt disconnected from the hiring process and will probably ghost the first day on the job? Collaboration will engage them and reduce ghosting.


Micro Recruiting is about transparency with candidates and clients during all parts of the candidate search. It’s easy to not get back to people, sometimes they fall through the cracks, but for many, it’s just easier to wade through the mass of resumes and dump the rejects without word back.

Spamming 400 candidates with a cold email or personalized message on linkedIn or twitter and not following up contributes to the noise. Instead, a direct connection through a personal note will have a jump in response rate and curb ghosting. It’s an investment but only a fraction of the cost if a recruiters practice of ghosting candidates were to somehow get back to their clients.

Sending a quick note to a connected candidate as they move through the recruiting funnel is a best practice. If that’s much too expensive, then have your ATS or CRM automate some sort of notification at each significant step. Better yet, show candidates a window into the hiring process through your platform.

“Sorry, we decided to not move forward with your resume” is so much more valuable to a candidate than crickets.

Micro Recruiting is good for business.

Who benefits from a productive relationship? Everyone. Who benefits from less churn, less garbage data, and less abandoned candidates? Everyone. Who benefits from a good fit, a happy candidate and a happier hiring manager? Everyone.

Recruiting doesn’t have to be gross, or a landfill of wasted cost. It doesn’t have to be noisy and impersonal. It doesn’t have to be cold and robotic.

Sure, Macro Recruiting is responsible for a lot of this mess, but it doesn’t have to do die. Instead we need to realize that more tech like AI and Automation may be harming recruiting more than it is helping. Recruiting tech needs more accountable solutions, and platforms built for Micro Recruiting can do that, platforms like Pounse.