I’m always telling my clients to apply for a job with their company to see what the candidate experience is really like.

I took my own advice recently and applied for a job on behalf of my client, and you’re not going to believe what happened. (Note: My client granted me permission to share our exchange.)

Me: Would you like me to apply for a job with your company, so we can see exactly what your candidates experience?

President: Yes.

Me: OK, but if I get a rejection letter, I’m going to be ticked off!

President: No worries. That’s not going to happen.

Me: I just hit reply to your posting on LinkedIn and on your website, and I’m now on some site called ZipRecruiter.com. The site indicates that I’ve successfully applied for your job and has recommended eleven other jobs I should consider. What the heck???

President: You’re kidding me, right?

Me: OMG, I just received three additional emails, within five minutes, telling me about other jobs I should consider as well, even though they’re a bit of a stretch for me. Hmmm…thinking twice before hitting one of their convenient "One-click apply" buttons.

President: Where the heck was this site 40 years ago?

Me: I don’t know, but if it had been around, you and I would be ruling the world!

President: We need to get this VP job off of this site.

Me: Actually, we need to get all of your job openings off this site. The last thing we want is someone we’ve worked so hard to attract, like a driver, to suddenly be applying for a ton of other jobs that are now being conveniently sent to his phone. By the way, I’ve unsubscribed so I shouldn’t be getting any more job alerts from ZipRecruiter.com.

President: OK, great. Thanks.

Me (next day): Are you kidding me? Those people are sending me additional job opportunities to consider, even though I’ve unsubscribed. Forget what I said about you sending me a rejection letter. Looks like I’ve got a lot of great employment options! Who knew?

And that’s my point. Who knew that this craziness has been going on for the past several years?

Certainly not my client. When he found out, he was horrified. But at least he uncovered this and is taking steps to rectify the situation. Do you even have a clue how effective your recruitment strategy really is?

I recently learned that less than 3 percent of jobs are filled through job postings. I’m not surprised. Yet companies keep writing checks for $395 a posting, with little concern for results. I’m betting there are a lot of employees on your staff who would be delighted to have that cash!

Here’s what to do instead.

Pump up the volume on your employee referral program.

By that I mean, make it exciting. Add features like bonus money for those hard to fill jobs. Conduct quarterly drawings for some sweet prizes for those who are actively referring qualified candidates.

Don’t have an employee referral program? No problem. Google around and learn how to start one.

Who do you know campaign.

Approach recruitment with the same vigor you use to capture sales. Once a week, ask a few people on your team for the name of one or two people who would be a good fit for the company.

Help them by giving them a few prompts. The more specific you can be, the better.

Develop relationships with third-party recruiters.

I get the fact that you may not have the budget to pay recruitment fees. However, there may be times when you will need the help of someone who's got access to the talent that you may not have.

Weigh out what it costs you every day a position remains vacant. Then if need be, make the call. Better yet, start developing relationships with these people before you need them.

This way when you call, you won’t get sent over to a junior recruiter who is new to the business.

Promote from within.

Is there someone in your organization, who with some training could be successful in this role? Why not give this person a chance? It’s usually easier to backfill lower level positions than more senior roles.

This approach also sends the message that there are growth opportunities right where people are planted.