I recently read a blog which talked about how social media and networking sites were going to be the death of the recruiter. I disagree, if anything I believe the role of recruiter has become ever more important, but has also changed.

The argument in this blog was that the internet has enabled accessibility to candidates that would never have been possible before the internet revolution. Therefore by posting a few ads and doing some poking around on LinkedIn HR team can now source candidates directly and cut out the middle man.

This argument is sound if you accept that a recruiter is merely a way of sourcing or aggregating candidates. However, here is where I (predictably) disagree. I believe previously organisations used recruiters because they had lots of cards in their rolodex (I'm a bit young to have seen one, but I have been told about them) and could provide them with access to their networks. Now that organisations can directly source candidates fairly successfully the question becomes, as quite rightly asked in the blog I read, what is the recruiter for?

The answer (in my humble opinion) is about selection rather than sourcing. Recruiters need to become experts in selecting candidates, they need to be better than the client at predicting which candidate will succeed in each role in each company. Sounds ridiculous?

It shouldn't, the recruitment processes of most companies (CV based interview) is about 25% accurate (according to research conducted by the CIPD). The job of a recruiter is not to find the candidates but to help the client select the right person for their business. The British Psychological Society has shown that by using the right psychometric tools and behavioural interview techniques hiring accuracy can be raised above 75%.

Therefore if you're a recruiter and you want to stay ahead of the game you need to up skill big time. Recruitment consultants of the future will not be the salesman of old flogging candidates to anyone who'll have them; they will be a mix of occupational psychologists, management consultants and project managers.

If you are an organisation currently using recruitment consultants, you may want to have a chat with them about what tools and expertise they are using to select candidates. If the answer is 'I've been doing this for years, I know a good one when I spot one' then I suggest you go looking for a new one!

Anyway back to my original point, I don't believe the increasingly easy access to candidates the internet offer will be the death of all recruiters, however, as Darwin so aptly figured out years ago, it will kill off those those who don't adapt and quick! As Rupert Murdoch put it "The world is changing. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow."


Views: 102

Comment by Brian Meeks on November 13, 2009 at 3:01pm
I was in the recruiting game 21 years ago and the point then, was to take the good people from one company and sell to another, hence the term 'head hunter'. I am curious, do people actively 'Recruit' anymore? This blog makes it sound like recruiters only collect an analyze CV of people who need jobs. Am I wrong?

I would really like to hear what people think, because I am desperately trying to get a feeling for the current landscape, and any feedback would be appreciated.

Also, if I am way off the mark, then I would like to know that as well.


Brian Meeks
Comment by KC Carpenter on November 13, 2009 at 4:59pm
The same thing was being said when monster, 6 figures, career builder etc. were becoming popular. Recruiters who continue to actually 'recruit' (as Brian touched upon) will utilize all available resources to recruit the candidates that result in fees being paid.
Comment by Hassan Rizwan on November 14, 2009 at 3:57am
Powerful thought. Sourcing could be easily done by any talent assessment and ATS. So whats's the job for the recruiters then, is it only forwarding the work done by assessment tools and ATS? No. The actual role is to select the candidates. This would make the middle man even more valuable and simplify the job of the end clients. (HR managers). So all those recruiters who are willing to ONLY SOURCE are killing their entity in real.
Comment by Maureen Sharib on November 14, 2009 at 4:50am

What is missing here is the real role the Internet is playing in hiring. Sure, it's exposing some candidates that hitherto had not been exposed. Think about it as Job Board II, following the explosion of Job Board I where some candidates realized they could expose themselves through their resumes by posting on sites such as Careerbuilder, Monster, etc. Now some candidates realize they can "expose" themselves through a casual posting that reveals (oh my goodness, did I do that? ) their work title, working place and current contact information, all important tell-tale signs on any resume and, as Hassan intimates above, something anybody with a computer and a connection sitting in some mud hut somewhere on the planet can scrape with basic search skills or, worse yet still, some automated system that does the work for them.
It's being done today at pennies on the dollar what used to be done for good money and its value is not increasing and neither is yours if that's all you have to bring to the shooting spree.

Brian hints above at the real gold in the stream - the fruitfully engaged worker hard at work inside the brick and mortar walls of the company your client admires and would pay big money to have you scoop them out of. That's the part everyone's missing because they can't figure out how to go in, identify, select and then entice away the candidate to other employment (oh, did I say the word "poach"? Oh? I didn't? Good. ) Job boards I can't do that, Job Boards II can't do that. What can? Only someone with those skills and you know who you are. As Joshua Letourneau said in a recent string over on ERE, "Do what the machines can’t do, and strive to do it better than everyone else." Sure, it may take more time to do it this way but in the end you're going to be way out front.


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