Will Online Social Media eventually kill off Recruitment Agencies?

Is there suddenly an evolution going on in the recruitment industry? Is Social Media pushing out the 'bricks and mortar' recruitment agencies?

Social Media is becoming so powerful that Hiring Managers, HR, RPOs etc are now resorting to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN and other Social Media networks to find both active and passive talent for various internal remits simply because it is FREE, reduces their recruitment costs and effectively produces a ROI. Managers are finding ways to invest their time in researching and tapping into the rich resources of the Social Media.

I believe the generalist recruitment agency will struggle to deliver relevant candidates to their clients and expect a placement fee when the same talent is freely available using Social Media search techniques. The argument I suspect would be that Hiring Managers simply don't have the time to sift through the social media to find relevant talent. But I say that Social Media is becoming so sophisticated that it will eventually reduce the time to search for relevant candidates. 

So I guess the question is.. with talent freely available on the Social Media, why pay for the services of Recruitment Agencies?

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Paul- Very Good points... Social Media will kill ALL under performing recruiters. (The Internet/Universe is not biased on CR or TPR, and anyone that assumes that is being lead by there EGO)

Answer to your question:  Influence/Persuasion

I think to a point it will always come down to time investment. Yes, companies can have their hiring mangers, in-house recruiting staff, etc spend time on the searches but as with anything else - the more people in the crowd the longer it takes to find who you're looking for.

As social media continues to explode in numbers there will be more and more potential candidates out there that will pull up in search results no matter what search criteria you end up using. There's that break-even point of, "How much time is being spent to click through pages of search results" vs. "Pay an agency and save time on finding candidates and even getting some of the initial pre-screening out of the way".

Depending on the position and level of career you'll have greater or lesser time in response from candidates you reach out to. I don't expect to hear back from a VP-level candidate as quickly as a fresh college grad - the one is likely 10x shorter on time than the other. Once I finally hear back, now I still need to get the conversation and questions going - the agency likely has a lot of that done already.

Do I think that the social media revolution is going to create some difficulties for agencies - yes; but do I believe that they're going to shut out recruitment agencies? As Brian said, only the under-performers.

Smart and effective agencies will be and are changing with the tide - let the others be left behind where they belong.

Oh please. Tools are readily available at my local AutoZone but that doesn't mean I won't stop investing in my mechanic. Unless it's used properly to build relationships and influence/persuade someone at Brian mentioned, it's all just noise. The only "recruiters" who have anything to fear from Twitter or LinkedIn or any other so-called magic bullets are the ones that shouldn't be in the business anyway. I'm not worried.

Will Online Social Media eventually kill off Recruitment Agencies? 


Next Question.

I recently went to a recruitment expo in London, an interesting statistic emerged from one of the seminars...

'65% companies hired through social media sites last year'

Dec 2011 Online Stats:

1. Twitter

2. Facebook

3. Totaljobs

4. Jobsite

5. Monster

@Brian and Kyle - Firstly, in-house recruiting staff normally consist of ex-recruitment consultants and head hunters etc therefore isn't building relationships, influencing and persuasion part of their 'make-up'?

I totally agree that 'under-performing' recruitment agencies will struggle and the 'time investment' is still a selling point for majority of recruitment agencies. However, in the current economic climate on both sides of the Atlantic, hiring managers are looking at alternative methods to reduce their recruitment costs and the Social Media is providing that avenue therefore is time investment something they are prepared to sacrifice to reduce costs? 

@Amy, you actually have a good point with your analogy  - maybe it could just be all noise. But if you have the tools (social media) readily available and you're an ex-mechanic (internal recruiter) then why invest in another mechanic?

No.  Social Media will not kill off recruitment agencies.  That's because not every one is on these websites.  just because people can find other people on the websites, that doesn't make them recruiters....

Just like not everyone uploads their CV profiles to Online Job Boards and actively searches for a job! The other people are 'Internal Recruiters', Recruitment Managers, Talent Acquisition Managers, Hiring Managers working specifically for an end-user clients. Of course, I don't expect a Customer Services Manager to go on Social Media to find other Customer Services Managers, but what about his / her internal recruitment department?

Social Media has revolutionised the way we communicate, nowhere is this more relevant than for the recruitment sector. Look at the rise of LinkedIn? It is now a significant part of the recruitment landscape. Social Media technology allows Internal Recruiters to create their own on-line candidate database.

I agree to a certain extent for specific sectors,for example, I probably can conduct a search campaign for Graduates, IT,Banking & Finance Professionals on LinkedIn etc and receive several responses with CVs to my inbox. However, there are other sectors such as Construction, Medical (Doctors, Nurses etc), Government etc that might be tough to find relevant candidates on the Social Media because as you say Raphael ' not everyone is on these websites' Also I agree with Kyle that is does come down to time investment but is this just a temporary hindrance?

But my question is a future tense, Will Social Media kill off..! Will Social Media become so popular in 5 - 10 years time, that at a 'click of a button' I can start building my own 'free' candidate database of relevant candidates for all sectors from these social media websites? 

I am saying 'yes'! The 'High Street Brand', 'Bricks and Mortar' (whatever you want to call it) Recruitment Agencies will become non-existent due the ON-LINE social media phenomenon. I mean, when is the last time you walked into a Travel Agency and sat down with the 'smiley rep' and purchased an airline ticket or a holiday / vacation , majority of travellers purchase their travel on-line to save time and money! 

Paul, it's an interesting question but I don't see social media killing recruitment firms. It's just another tool at their disposal. Over the past 2 years we at eSocialMedia have seen some recruitment firms embrace social media and others shun it as a quirky novelty. It's just a tool, it's no different to the telephone or company database in that respect.

As for paying recruiters - someone still has to strike up the relationships. Decisions are still made face to face far more frequently than not. Company decision makers are time poor, recruiters will still have a gap to fill.

I think social media makes it easier for coworkers and friends to make hiring referals to their employers.  It is easier to stay in touch with people that you have met before or spent time with in the past at a conference, worked with at a former company, etc.   That might cut in a little, but not much. 

So I don't think it will come close to killing anything.   Recruiting still takes a lot of time that employers don't have.

Elise, I think that's the key - time. Most firms have time poor decision makers. That time requirement will continue to be outsourced. Here in the UK even recruitment firms that claim to 'do' social media have yet to fully grasp how all encompassing that term actually is. Of course Facebook and Twitter are social media and they serve a purpose but their use in engaging with decision makers is very limited indeed.

We have come a long way since 1993 (or so) when we started searching for jobs online. Social media will change the roles of recruiters but don't see it being eliminated. Employers still need Decision Makers on Candidates (whether its internal or external)

I think we reach a point that we stop using the word Social Media, it will be part of what most people do (we are getting there). Just as no one uses World Wide Web anymore, because it is getting world wide.

The winners are Jobseekers..and they should be.

Saying that SM (or any shiny new toy) will kill off recruiting is saying that candidates ("talent readily available on SM") are simple commodities that can be picked off the shelf when you need them. Someone still needs to manage the process which, quite frankly, can involve a lot of wooing of said talent. Secondly, use of SM is NOT free - someone has to take the time to search through loads of information and qualify the leads. (SM won't kill sourcers either.) My time doesn't come cheap - how about yours? 

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