Around December 2012 this scrappy article appeared on ERE.net and caused a viral stir in recruiting forums, including this one.....http://www.ere.net/2012/12/10/recruiters-your-days-are-numbered/ - it's premise? Technology would cause recruiters to go the way of the dinosaur. Ahh - but you see the author Lior Shamir had interesting points, albeit to me a bit misguided. What he did get right was the fact that technology is automating many recruiting and HR functions. To me this does present quite the interesting dilemma. Today more than any other I would argue that staffing is coming of age, and rather than recruiters having our days be numbered - quite the contrary these new Silicon Valley super recruiting tools of the Social Media, Technological - Web 2.0 age - Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and others - all of which have ties to the eclectic, start-up and technologically savvy Silicon Valley are giving rise to a new breed of recruiter. Every recruiting function, agency, corporate, specialty, et al are giving rise to the need and new kind of technologically savvy super-recruiter of the modern era. Masters of boolean and blackbelts in it's logic, agents of the search string, power analytical job description masters, and keyword kung fu. The days of the old school recruiter using the phone are still as effective and necessary for screening as ever but rather than recruiters going away the new breed has been born or what I call the NINJA RECRUITERS.
Lior Shamir I say to you sir - the Ninja Recruiters are the wave of the future and many of us are adopting the new technologies which are making our jobs more interesting, more challenging and making finding the needle in the proverbial haystack "purple squirrel" candidate all the more possible. In other words - Recruiters days are not numbered but rather just beginning to become all the more important.
Case in point - the business owners who outsource that you mention are turning to outsourcing giants like my company ADP may never in their day master the fine arts of boolean sourcing, candidate screening, and steps that make for a strategic pipeline strategy. They will turn to experts and "outsource" in search of that knowledge for years to come. Yes - small start - ups may or may not hire a seasoned recruiter, or may turn to a knowledgeable HR practitioner/generalist. But rest-assured difficult technical searches, with technical eyes and human touch needed to sort out the meaning will not filter out unwanted resumes. No - a human eye, and human touch, and recruiting contact Ninja-esque approach will still be needed.
I give you a vital case in point. Can a computer find a service champion? Can a computer screen for vital customer care DNA vital to retain core business customers? Can giants like Southwest, Starbucks, and other service based industries turn from the personal touch and recruiting DNA necessary to find that kind of talent? Can a computer put context to technical disciplines as found on resumes? The human eyes and ayes have it - sir - Recruiting embracing technology, not technology embracing recruiting is the core of the staffing ninja. You see - recruiting will always have the human element - that's why I cringe when I hear a manager call a person a widget, or refer to a person as a "resource" or a unit of production - that's what separates us in recruiting from others - the best of us that is - that we see the human element and foster that connection and trust of consultation with our hiring managers. That is something a computer will never do. In talk of outsourcing, change, politics, business climate changes one strong constant remains - the ninja recruiter - the human element embracing technology. That is power, that is true martial arts power in action.
The new technologies of our modern day now more than ever demand a hybrid recruiter - capable of phone screens, capable of the human element that negotiates the offer, sells the candidate, finds them and anticipates their very human needs. In short - the Ninja Recruiters of our day - old school, and new school are embracing tools as the needs of their business dictate. DO YOU THINK FOR ONE MOMENT - that staffing is a dead profession? Far from it - in fact the needs of the tech savvy, social media adept, professionally minded and multi-viable recruiting guru Ninja are here to stay.
Recruiting will always be a contact sport. Email, Phone, Internet, Social Media, Print Ads, Radio, Billboards, Walk-ins, Company Website, Career Fairs, and yes - even direct word of mouth referrels still to this day get the job done. Every recruiter I know of in our new and rising Gen X, Gen Y and even wisened Baby Boomer recruiting crews are embracing tools that make their day even more productive. The result is - recruiting functions are transforming before our very eyes.
The FUTURE? What of it? What do we have ahead as recruiting & staffing professionals? Only time will tell - but be rest assured, as society continues to evolve, as technologies evolve, as the workplace, and industry evolves - so too - will the staffing functions. Some may say - recruiting is a dead profession. But what happens when Baby Boomers do retire? What then? There may be a massive labor shortage and in truth dear friends that one demographic statistic alone should be enough to realize that when companies find that they have lost their seasoned talent, and see up and comers fill the ranks only to find there are not enough of them - it will leave the challenge to the future of key talent for key industries, only ripening the need for savvy recruiting ninjas to fill the void, and fill the seats left by an amazing generation.
The timing of this is near. Great professionals require great recruiters. Great companies need great HR functions. In a people business - it will be people whom fill jobs. For all the great things computers do - people are who make the computers make sense - and that my friends is one thing that will NEVER change.
Staffing Ninjas - and sourcing and black belt boolean masters, and kung fu keyword kings - the heart of recruiting is finding - and I would say human intelligence mastering the tools makes for an interesting recruiting function in our modern day. And that is a place I NEVER want to leave. Indeed, the opportunities for staffing are great ahead - and I only think we've scratched the surface. The DOW and NASDAQ are at all time highs - which means companies continue to find their way forward. One inevitable truth - the business cycle may come, and technology may change every area and facet of our lives, but one thing about staffing will ALWAYS remain the same: you will need STAFFING/RECRUITING NINJAS to make sense of it all. After all the wars of the past were won by strategem, and the recruiting ninja, master boolean blackbelts, and keyword kung fu masters still will win the war for talent as they master each new recruiting tool on the horizon. One solid truth though - Recruiting is and will remain a contact sport - in order to negotiate, finalize, discuss and tender the important holy grail of the staffing realm, the very power of the professional goals set by recruiters - or the staffing fill/offer/close.
That surely isn't something a computer will replace anytime soon. Try asking a software engineer to let a computer read them an "automated" offer vs. a human offer - and the human touch will win the Ninja contest EVERY TIME.
This post does not represent the views or opinions of ADP - it's subsidiaries, or stakeholders in any manner. This post is of my own creation and I am solely responsible for it's content.