RecruitDC: Change You Can Believe In

There was a time in the not so distant past (and not too distant future) where recruiters’ calendars were devoted, you know, largely to recruiting. Between sourcing and screening,
interviewing and on boarding, time for recruiting took all the time a recruiter
had. Before the recession, talent
professionals didn’t even have enough time to extend the common courtesy of
calling candidates back to let them know they hadn’t been selected, so busy
were they.

But then things slowed down. Way down. As Biggie put it best, “things done changed.”

And recruiting became a whole different ballgame. We were used to looking out, opening reqs as quickly as one could hire, getting to know the complexities of the business and the vagaries of segments and functions.
Now, suddenly, we had time to look within.

If there’s one takeaway I got from last week’s RecruitDC event, it’s that change is being felt by every recruiter everywhere. But in Washington, change is something to believe in. And I believe it was obvious
to the conference’s attendees that in these turbulent talent times,
recruiting’s changed for the better.

That’s what I tried to impart when I appeared on the sponsor panel, discussing the unique challenges, and opportunities, of Recruitment 3.0. One of the questions posed was
deceptively simple: “What is the single biggest change you see on in the
horizon in recruiting?”

I looked out at the house packed full of talent professionals, devoting time and attention (thankfully, again at a premium for recruiters) to topics like candidate experience or career paths for
recruiting. In hoarier hiring times,
such essential elements of human capital management were too often overlooked;
now, they’re an integral part of the best practices dialogue.

Judging from the event’s major themes, which all centered on improving the image and viability of individual recruiters and, in turn, the talent profession as a whole, the horizon extended to the back of the theatre,
out through the blogosphere, trickling down the line to affect anyone looking
to find a job or make a hire.

The biggest change I see is recruiters emerging from the recession with an increased sense of empathy and empowerment. Not only will our companies and careers be better for it, so too will our candidates, successful and unsuccessful.

Social media constitutes a powerful tool, but its efficacy is predicated entirely on the personalities and passions of the people driving it. And as RecruitDC reinforced, what
happens online’s merely a pretext to facilitate that whole wide world
offline. With competition and hiring
heating up, business as usual, it seems, is anything but.

We talk a lot about community building in social recruiting, but seeing employers from across the Washington area come together to share experiences, advice and best practices even while competing directly for a
finite pool of top (cleared) talent, the concept really hit home. And this community faces some interesting,
and unique, recruitment challenges.

With hundreds of agencies, thousands of contractors and the largest employee population of any employer in the US, the much maligned government sector has faced, and overcome, a unique set of hiring obstacles
which constituted another major theme at RecruitDC.

That’s a pretty remarkable feat of talent management, and indication that the public sector must be doing something right. For this attendee, this was among the biggest takeaway from RecruitDC: there just might be a few lessons that corporate
recruiters can learn from, and adopt, from the federal hiring process to
improve their own recruitment process.

Step 1: Looking at improving and updating entrenched hiring processes. If the government can challenge the employment status quo, businesses can, and should, do the

Freedom of choice isn’t just a pillar of democracy, after all: it’s the foundation of recruiting, too.

Views: 86

Comment by Sandra McCartt on June 3, 2010 at 6:15pm
I know not who you are but your writing makes me want to know you.
Comment by Ben Gotkin on June 3, 2010 at 8:43pm
Great post Matt, you captured the essence of recruitDC perfectly. It was great to chat with you and we hope to see you again at a future recruitDC event.


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