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Quality trumps volume of applications for association career centers in 2017.

Across the board, association members tend to represent the segment of niche professionals who are most committed to:

  • career development
  • continuing education
  • and their professional field or niche.


Recruiters often turn to association member pools to snag high-quality talent from this target-rich environment. However, talent is still frequently difficult to find.

So, recruiters hedge their bets and recruit in multiple places, including job aggregators, such as Indeed—a destination for massive amounts of active job seeker traffic. When it comes to job views and applications, aggregators often deliver lots of volume. Although it’s tempting to view these channels as high return, a deeper examination shows it’s just not true. Extraordinary quantity does not mean quality.

Highly qualified definitely outweighs a bad fit.
Consider your own hiring journey. Have you ever sorted through mountains of irrelevant job applications or resumes and wondered why such underqualified people were applying to your job? Yes, it’s frustrating.

Ultimately, employers are looking for the shortest route, not to applications, but to quality hires. If you position your site to be an employer’s top hiring source of quality candidates, it doesn’t matter how many resumes are delivered.

Actually, a small number of highly-qualified candidates is far more valuable than a mountain of unqualified ones. The giant staffing and head-hunting industry, which dwarfs job postings in terms of market size, has proven just that.

Active job seekers alone aren’t your answer. Don’t forget about your members.
To better meet employer expectations, association career resources must grow the number of available, highly-trained and qualified candidates for the employers who pay to market their jobs. Associations can pursue improvement by ensuring the jobs posted on their career centers aren’t limited to just active job seekers. Members also like to see their association is a good resource for professional opportunities.

One solution calls for associations to integrate job content into all of their member communication channels, including job widgets throughout their website, job distribution through social media channels, job emails to members, job notifications published in member newsletters, and so on. This is key, because a member, who may never see it on the job board, may respond, for example, to a job ad in a newsletter.

Associations have direct access to tremendous pools of niche talent to offer employers. As a result, associations are expected to find proven methods to provide employers with access to the quality talent they represent.

To do so, associations are best served to focus on implementing effective solutions that deliver quality candidates likely to be hired. Not by competing with the mass job boards that offer a larger number of far less qualified talent.

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