This is an archived article that was published on in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Bill Humbert, a Park City recruiting consultant and author of "RecruiterGuy's Guide to Finding a Job" says that now more than ever, companies need to be smarter about recruiting.

What is wrong with simply using application responses to recruit candidates?

Actually, if you are a small business that is not interested in rapid employee growth, there is nothing wrong with that and calling it recruiting. Many small businesses are happy with their size and really have no interest in growing their business beyond its current scope. However, if your company is trying to aggressively grow revenue and employee numbers to support that growth, application-based recruiting solutions will slow you down. The reason is candidates have become conditioned by companies that they will never hear from — once they complete an application online. That is why you hear the phrase "black hole" when candidates complain about online posting for jobs. I call it "posting and praying."

With 20 million or more people out of work, what's wrong with that application process?

Actually the numbers of people applying for positions who are not qualified is the reason so many companies have gone away from application only. It is very difficult for a recruiter to process several hundred resumes to find 10 qualified candidates they want to screen for the best fit. Then you need to consider that recruiters very easily may have 30 open positions. Companies are trying to discourage the wrong people from applying. I suggest that the company also phone screen and sell the job to qualified candidates first, then require them to complete an application prior to the onsite interview. This tweaking of the process will enable companies to attract better-qualified candidates.

What are some other efficiencies that can be added?

A better way to prescreen candidates is to write more specific job descriptions. How many times have you looked at a job description that is fairly vague and thought, "I wonder what they really do?" This is why so many people hope they are qualified and apply. When a company includes the three-, six-, nine- and 12 month goals for a position (and for every position), the number of candidates will shrink because candidates will deselect themselves and not apply. The better-qualified candidates appreciate seeing goals in job descriptions because they know exactly what is expected. If they are interested in the position and the company, they will apply.

Don't companies need the information on an application?

Absolutely. Applications are very important because every one has a clause that states if the candidate falsified information, the offer may be rescinded or they may be fired if the lie was discovered at any time after their hire. You have heard about university presidents and coaches who falsified their education degrees on their resumes and were fired? But remember, recruiting is a sales process. You spend your time trying to attract the person you want. You do not set up roadblocks to keep them away. Forcing a candidate to complete an application prior to any contact from the company drives good candidates away because last year only about 10 percent of jobs nationwide were filled through online applications. According to marketing research, every time a group of candidates has to click to find open positions on a company website, the company loses half of them. The first click cost it the passive candidates. The nice result is the company has fewer candidates applying. The bad result is they probably lost the top performer.

Dawn House

Twitter@DawnHouseTrib Bill Humbert, author