Technology has transformed the workplace and the recruiting process is no exception. Gone are the days of recruiter rolodexes and job postings in the Sunday paper bringing in hundreds of faxed resumes from hopeful jobseekers. With the advent of the applicant tracking system (ATS) as the new rolodex and the emergence of the jobseeker’s market, recruiting norms have changed. Similarly, recruiters must change their approach if they want to fill their positions with top quality candidates.

Old versus new recruiting“Today’s recruiting is not your mother or father’s recruiting” says Meghan M. Biro, CEO of TalentCulture. “The emergence of global markets, social media, and analytic tools is transforming the business of hiring and retaining employees.” Professional networking sites, like LinkedIn, make it easier to find candidates’ contact information and expands recruiters’ reach, but that introduces a new problem to replace the old sourcing problem.

It is equally easy for all recruiters to access candidates’ contact information through the new technology, however. “The challenge for sourcers and recruiters today is no longer in finding names and contact information – that part has been automated and simplified over the past several years thanks to social media, people aggregator tools, etc” says Elizabeth Theodore, Director of Shared Services at Manpower Group. “The challenge has shifted from building lists to actually engaging people.” Because modern recruiting technology has made it much easier for recruiters across the board to access candidates, it is now much more challenging to gain and maintain the attention of candidates.

How Recruiting has Changed

Old Recruiting: You go after candidates in the places where candidates looking for jobs are, such as job listing pages in newspapers.

Not to long ago, active candidates were the main source of new hires. When there was still more of a culture of employee-employer loyalty, employees would spend 10 or 20 years at a single company, if not their entire careers.

Because the bulk of potential hires were those who were either just beginning their careers or unemployed, recruiters just had to get job openings into the places where actively hunting candidates would look for jobs. Newspaper ads could be expensive, but a flood of applications was as good as guaranteed.

New Recruiting: You have to have a presence everywhere where jobseekers are, including non-job oriented social networks.

Social RecruitingIn the modern day, the average employee stays with his or her employer for only 4.2 years before moving on to greener pastures at another company. According to theFuture Workplace 2012 “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey, in which 91 percent of millennials said they expected to stay with their currently employer for less than three years, that number is set to decline even further in the coming years.

With more employees open to leaving their employers for more lucrative opportunities, better fit, or a myriad of other personal or professional reasons, a greater percentage of a company’s potential workforce is already part of another company’s workforce. These potential candidates are often passive — they’re willing to take the leap if the payoff is great enough, but they’re not actively on the hunt for a new position.

Because passive candidates aren’t hunting for opportunities and thus aren’t looking at the traditional sources of job opening information, recruiters have to get in front of these potential candidates in other places. From Facebook to Twitter, modern recruiters have to try to reach potential candidates where they live, not where they look for work. “If you’re not building social media into your recruiting efforts at this point, you’re not really recruiting on par with the industry standard” says Biro.

Old Recruiting: Once you make the connection, candidates are excited for the opportunity to apply for the position you’re offering, assuming it comes with an at- or above-market salary.

After a recruiter identified the right candidates and the hiring manager agreed to one or more of them, a recruiter’s work was more or less over. Unless the offer was unreasonable, the candidate would likely accept the offer and the recruiter would move on to sourcing for the next position.

New Recruiting: Top candidates are pursued by multiple recruiters at a time, often when they’re not even on the job market, and compensation alone is seldom enough to seal the deal.

Modern recruiters have to get in front of potential candidates, win their attention, maintain their attention, and sell the job. This means adopting a sales mentality and make the candidate king, as the customer has always been. “Top-quality candidates have more choices than ever” says Biro. “If they can’t connect with you seamlessly, then they’ll likely pass you over in favor of someone else.” Recruiters must be accessible, communicative, and able to to pitch jobs and employers in appealing ways.

Especially in industries like tech, where compensation is almost universally high and accompanied by a host of luxe perks, recruiters and hiring managers have to set their offers apart with cultural fit. As the candidate’s first taste of the company, that means making themselves appealing and human. “Recruiters and sourcers should attempt to inject a little bit of their personalities into all communications” says Theodore.

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