funny-referee-picWhen it comes to engagement, recruiters walk a fine but distinct line. On one hand, recruiters are faced with the intrinsic necessity to reach out to candidates and connect with top talent by any means necessary; however, too often, that communication can leave those same job seekers drowning in a deluge of spam.

While advances in recruiting technology such as marketing automation and CRM capabilities have made it easier than ever to scale candidate communications, too often these tools are used to replace, rather than augment, personalized outreach and individualized engagement.

This results in candidates often feeling inundated and overwhelmed, a volume that leaves many unable to distinguish between legitimate opportunities and the recruiting equivalent of a Nigerian prince looking for a quick bridge loan.

Refereeing Job Postings: Blowing the Whistle on Worst Practices.

2016-02-19_12-08-54It’s no secret that a small cadre of recruiters and staffing agencies out there have long preyed on unsuspecting job seekers using deceptive practices.

While these scam artists represent only a small fraction of the millions of dedicated, passionate and legitimate recruiting and talent practitioners on the market, the truth is, these outliers seem to have an oversized impact for everyone in the industry, and these worst practices are hurting all of us, every day.

The duplicitous deceptions employed by these RINOs (that’s ‘recruiters in name only’) include a fairly wide range of scams and schemes.

These range from luring candidates into giving them contacts or connections by contacting them about a fake job, or, more often, posting a job that misrepresents its true responsibilities, compensation or its actual location.

While most job seeker scams rely on errors of omission, misrepresentation or just plain old hyperbole, many involve what can only be construed as overt fraud, such as requiring candidates to pay money up front in order to be submitted for a role or considered for an opportunity. Another increasingly common example involves capturing confidential information from candidates through what’s essentially phishing, leading to a rise in recruiting related identity theft.

Whether these schemes are simply dishonest or overtly criminal, the fact is that these lies negatively impact everyone, at every level. For job seekers, there’s an erosion of trust and increase in suspicion regarding recruiters, which in turn obviously makes it much harder for real recruiters with really great opportunities to break through to top talent.

This inability to attract and engage highly skilled, highly qualified candidates, in turn, obviously has a deleterious impact on the employers who n
eed these mission critical hires to survive and thrive in the world of work today – and tomorrow.

This increasingly endemic problem plaguing our profession has emerged as a significant challenge for all of us, and everyone in the industry must play a role in cleaning up the mess. We’re no exception to this rule, and recognize the significant impact we can have on contributing to a scaleable solution for this persistent and pressing problem.

As the world’s number 1 job site, Indeed is a major source of candidates to recruiters and employers across industries, functions and locations, and as an intermediary between job seekers and the companies looking to hire them, take our role very seriously. We recognize that by taking action, we can help create real change.

While we’ve always been driven and remain committed to the high standards for search quality and pride ourselves on having the best, most relevant jobs, the fact is that even at Indeed, sometimes deceptive postings can slip in. While it’d be easy to ignore this issue, or else blame it on volume and scale, instead we’re taking specific actions at Indeed to help turn the talent tide when it comes to job search scams, fake listings and the litany of other online schemes specifically targeting job seekers.

Search Quality: 12 Job Posting Standards Every Employer Should Know.

nfl-replacement-ref-meme-4_crop_northThat’s why we’ve created even stricter filters and instituted a much more rigorous vetting process than ever before to ensure that only legitimate jobs from legitimate companies are posted to Indeed.

And if our algorithm isn’t sure whether or not a posting is legitimate, then we add a level of personalization to our finely tuned automation, manually reviewing these listings with our committed team of in-house search quality professionals.

Either way, if we discover a listing does not meet our quality standards, we will immediately remove the listing from our platform, whether it’s posted directly to Indeed or aggregated from another site.

We’re hopeful that by taking these steps and doing our due diligence to preempt problematic postings, we can inspire others in our industry to take action and play their parts in cleaning up the mess left by these worst practices and change the perceptions of recruiting by changing the way recruiting gets done.

To that end, for the first time, Indeed is sharing its guidelines for job postings, and we invite recruiters, staffing agencies and other job sites to join Indeed in adopting our search quality guidelines.

Here’s a list of our search standards that we’d encourage every staffing and recruiting professional to consider before publically publishing any job posting, period.

  • Don’t Use Offensive Language. Ask yourself, would a reasonable person consider any aspect of your listing to be inappropriate or offensive? Can any language or wording conceivably be construed in this way, regardless of intention or context? If so, it’s got to go.
  • Use Specifics, Not Clickbait. Make the job title on your posting for any particular job the same title that will ultimately appear on the successful candidate’s business card. Don’t add any extraneous information or eye-catching gimmicks simply to drive applicants; the job posting must stand on its own. Every job description should include the specific information qualified candidates would look for as well as any other details about the position or your company that you think are relevant for a candidate to know to enable accurate applicant self-selection.
  • Don’t Use Job Content That’s Not Yours: Every job on Indeed must be offered by an authorized representative of the company seeking to fill a position, and we will remove any listing found to misrepresent or mislead candidates on the poster’s affiliation with the company they’re purportedly representing. We would encourage all online job listings to consistently commit to and follow this model; failure to do so implicitly condones this worst practice, and in fact, only exacerbates an already significant problem.
  • Offer Real Jobs. Indeed, like most online career destinations, are more or less search engines for jobs. Non-job content, such as spam, scams or other offers, will not be shown to job seekers nor indexed by Indeed.
  • Don’t Try To Game the System.  Like other search engines, Indeed uses algorithms to provide the freshest, most relevant content in response to searches. Listings that attempt to exploit these principles by reposting roles within a short timeframe or posting roles in more locations than the job is offered for increased visibility will not be given the same visibility as a more relevant job.
  • Tell the Truth: Job seekers deserve to know the true details of your job, including its location, duties and whether the job is being offered and by the hiring company or by a recruiter on the company’s behalf.
  • Fill A Job, Not a Pipeline. Online job search engines or career sites can be an invaluable tool for recruiters, but each posting should represent a real job that’s really available – use job postings for just-in-time recruiting, all the time. Attracting applicants for the purpose of building a potential pipeline of possible matches isn’t an honest use of a job posting.
  • Don’t Discriminate: Jobs posted online must be made available to qualified candidates without regard to age, race, gender or sexual orientation. There may be specific exceptions for some kinds of jobs, but these exemptions must be specifically outlined and justified within the posting, and employers must demonstrate that those exemptions are necessary for core job responsibilities, not “culture fit” or other nebulous and potentially discriminatory hiring criteria.
  • Pay Reliably and Fairly: Posted jobs should have hourly or salary wages associated with them, and include how compensation is structured within the listing, even if an exact range isn’t provided. Furthermore, no job posting on Indeed or any other website should ever charge candidates anything to apply for jobs, interview or begin work.
  • Make Your Application Process Accessible and Transparent: Job seekers should never have to navigate through complicated steps or spend an undue amount of time finding out how to begin the application process.
  • Treat Every Candidate With Respect. Applicants should hear back from companies to which they apply and if they are invited to interview, they should be updated on their status in/at reasonable intervals. Most importantly, the privacy of the job seeker is paramount and information you get in the application process should be safeguarded.

Simply put, if you try to post a deceptive job posting or any listing on Indeed that violates the above rules, you will get caught, and you will no longer have the right to post on Indeed, nor have your listings indexed or displayed in any of our searches, in perpetuity.

This is our commitment to job seekers and employers alike – and we would encourage everyone in our industry to follow our lead to eradicate this problem for good. Remember, recruiting starts with posting a job, and so too does candidate experience. And we can’t fix one without fixing the other, first.

Editor’s Note: Indeed is a Recruiting Daily client, however, Recruiting Daily was not compensated for this post. The opinions expressed in this guest post do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher, nor do they constitute an endorsement for Indeed’s products or services.

About the Author: Paul J. D’Arcy is a Senior Vice President at Indeed, the #1 global search engine for jobs. A member of Indeed’s senior leadership team, Paul is an experienced technology industry leader and digital marketing entrepreneur. His areas of expertise include workforce trends, demand generation, digital marketing, and leveraging data to drive revenue.

Paul has published articles in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CIO, and the Huffington Post. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and holds an MBA from Harvard University. He lives in Austin, Texas.

Follow him on Twitter @paul_j_darcy or connect with him on LinkedIn.