There's a neat little discussion over on Quora about whether the recruiting profession is ripe for disruption. One of my favorite people - period - Glenn Gutmacher weighed in with a great comment about recruiting technology and you really should click over and read it. However, since not everyone has a Quora account, here are my comments to the audience (Glenn knows my feelings on this topic so I suspect he was smiling a bit while reading):

For all the entrepreneurs-to-be in the audience, the mere utterance of the work "disrupt" doesn’t imply that you’ll be able to come up with a sustainable model (oh wait, you don’t want to sustain - you want to build and flip your way into millionaire/billionaire status), primarily because you really don’t know what exactly is “broken” in recruiting.

All the folks who want to disrupt the heck out of recruiting – Uberize it if you want to get all hot and bothered – are assuming that the process is to blame, when in fact most of the process works fine until people get involved.

Glenn identified many a tool that presumably uncovers talent but as I demonstrated at a recruiting conference back in October, identifying is an ocean apart from engaging. Let me explain because there are two important parts of this.

Jobmatching has a tremendous amount of future utility but ONLY if specific skills, knowledge, and experiences can be matched to actual performance on the job. After all, the reason we hire people is to solve the problems that need solving, to develop the products that need developing, to service the customers who need servicing. Being able to find the “perfect match” – as the datingpreneurs like to call it – can’t be effective unless you have a frame of reference against which to measure how much of a perfect match it really was.

That frame of reference is called future performance (this is part one). Technology surely can help us here.

Can you develop a predictive model to get you part of the way there? Sure can. But there are many factors that weigh into the model and in the recruiting profession we’re just starting to collect the data.

Which points to a critical limitation in developing the model.

The recruiters (this is part two). Technology can only help so much here. This is the problem.

My talk at SourceCon back in October focused on HOW talent should be engaged by the profession. Many of the tools Glenn writes of can help produce great lists of people whose content is available somewhere online. I offer the word “online” because there’s a growing segment of people who are cloaking their online behavior, even eschewing online altogether for any number of reasons.

This is where a vocal segment of the profession has begun investigating what goes into becoming and retaining one’s stature as a “great recruiter.”

Personal experience aside, you need to understand that merely “disrupting” recruiting won’t change some of the statutory obstacles nor will it make average (or worse) recruiters anything more than average performers.

Disrupting won’t make your candidate experience great; people still have to be part of the equation. Disrupting won’t turn a bad hiring manager into Warren Buffett. The delicious part that everyone sees in the Tinder, Match, and eHarmony commercials is offset by what you don’t see – the mismatches, the ugly meetings, the divorces. Tools can help but tools don’t recruit – people do.

Glenn’s point about offline partnerships has tremendous possibilities. If you study the past “demise” of many industrial trades jobs like model making, welding (can’t print everything in 3D yet), woodworking, HVAC, etc., you’ll notice that we nearly “computerized” these to death. Rather than becoming extinct, a few companies are doing what he speaks of and creating their own corporate university around training people for these scarce jobs.

It’s really a question of creating content and being able to deliver them on platforms such as the one that’s been created by Kaltura. To this end, the talent model is “build from within.”

Very smart move.

What do you think would truly disrupt recruiting?

Views: 1044

Comment by Katrina Kibben on February 16, 2015 at 2:27pm

As usual, this is awesome Steve. Just shared it on the RecruitingBlogs LinkedIn group to get some conversation going too. Thanks for posting. 

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on February 16, 2015 at 5:30pm

I'm pretty disruptive, myself...  I try to work with "disruptive technology" as much as possible.  One of my clients actually had the title Director of Disruptive Technology before become CTO at First Solar.  If it ain't the "bleeding edge", it's hard to get really excited about it.

Comment by Steve Levy on February 16, 2015 at 6:28pm

Thanks Kibbles & Bits!

Yeah Nick, you kind of have that rep.

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on February 17, 2015 at 2:19am

Without 'disruption' there can be no progress.  Can there?  Am I wrong on this?  There must be a mathematical way to explain this, perhaps using examples from transformations of Abelian groups.  Schoenberg created this musically, in his advocacy of 12-tone note rows and also with seriality, which added the complexity of rearrangements of rhythms in addition to notes.  I still remember when I walked into the office of one of the top recruiters in Los Angeles some 28 years ago, and saw a poster for Peter Maxwell Davies' work "Eight Songs for a Mad King" based on Arnold Schoenberg's "Pierrot Lunaire".   When I saw that poster, I said to myself, "that's what I want to be -- a recruiter!"

Comment by Steve Levy on February 21, 2015 at 1:19pm

I never wanted to be a recruiter; like everyone else, my initial interactions left me thinking that these bastards have God complexes - how in the heck can they know me.

Well, I learned that most can't - despite far too many believing they can.

So here I am, a recruiter by chance, and now I'm going to both call out bad recruiting and offer solutions to improve recruiting.

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on February 21, 2015 at 4:41pm

So you didn't have a collection of recruiter cards with photos and stats when you were growing up?

Comment by Christian Baudry on February 24, 2015 at 6:54pm

Great post but about "It’s really a question of creating content and being able to deliver them on platforms such as the one that’s been created by Kaltura."

Why KalturaThere are dozens of similar platforms.


Comment by Steve Levy on February 27, 2015 at 4:19pm

@Chris Because I worked there and I have friends there. Sue me (and feel free to write a post and mention KairoStar - but the Kaltura platform is not like dozens of similar platforms so I'm quite comfy saying so).


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