Why Recruiters Should NOT care about The Cloud

There has been much talk about Cloud computing or SAAS recruitment software and the massive benefits for a recruitment agency to move to the Cloud. I find this quite amazing for two reasons, firstly most people I speak to aren’t really sure what this means and secondly the whole argument seems to have absolutely nothing to do with finding candidates, making placements or anything else to do with recruitment.


For the life of me I can not see what all the fuss is about, but yet, on several occasions, I've seen intelligence people talk about the Cloud, and while they talk they look up to the sky as if, somehow, the computer they are talking about resides in the heavens in some mystical place deserving of its own religion.


According to Wikipedia, ‘Cloud computing is the delivery of computing and storage capacity as a service to a heterogeneous community of end-recipients.’ For most people I suspect that this definition does not help. My definition is that you are using the cloud any time you happen to be using a computer that is not in the same building as you are. What that means in practise, is any time you use the internet, Skype or any other service that connects to some other computer. So if Cloud computing is simply using the internet, why then are people getting excited about the Cloud now when it simply appears to be a new name for something that has been with us for a while?


I write software for recruitment agencies. Writing recruitment software is not easy and I spend a great deal of my time considering how the recruitment process can be improved and then seeing if technology can in some way be used to achieve this. Notice how my starting point is always the recruitment process and not the technology. Strangely, I believe that recruitment agencies also put the recruitment process first. Or at least they put it first when they are recruiting but not necessarily first when they are looking to buy recruitment software. When looking to buy software there are so many other things to consider that often the recruitment process gets pushed to one side.


Using recruitment software and buying recruitment software seem to be two disconnected activities. As a Recruitment Software sales person I know the features customers talk about in the sales presentation are never the features they talk about in the first training session. The flashy cool tools disappear and the more mundane and more important become the top priority. As the developer of both the cool and mundane I hope that on both occasions we exceed expectations however I often feel that even then the main prize is being missed. My objective is nothing to do with software at all. I achieve my true goal when the software fades into the background and becomes the backbone of a better more effective recruitment process that is fundamentally different to what went before. Ultimately the technology is only ever there to facilitate the process and it’s that process that brings success to the recruiter.


When recruiters talk about Cloud computing I just get the sense that they’ve missed the point. Let the techies talk about the Cloud, the recruiters need to focus on the more complex task of inventing better ways to recruit.


Shane McCusker
Former Recruiter and MD of Intelligence Recruitment Software

http://www.intel-sw.com @1ntelligence

ps. For the record, Intelligence Software can be operated as either Cloud or non Cloud but I’m hopeful you wont care about that.

Views: 834

Comment by James Rowbotham on July 5, 2012 at 10:42am

What's wrong with recruiters getting excited about technology? You're right in saying that alot of people get TOO caught up in technology and lose sight of what the real important skills are, BUT there's nothing wrong with embracing technology.

Please don't take offense to this, but I think you are just misinformed in what cloud computing actually is. The reason I say this is because of your line "So if Cloud computing is simply using the internet, why then are people getting excited about the Cloud now when it simply appears to be a new name for something that has been with us for a while?" Cloud computing isn't just "using the internet". The most basic definition is that it allows companies to deploy systems on a massive scale (that can be accessed from almost anywhere) without having to actually have physical disks or software per se, which in turn saves time and money. Think of cloud computing as a mirror of sorts.. Let's say you have a sudden phone interview with a candidate come up and you are without your work computer. Have no fear, just take out your iPad or home comp, open the website for your SaaS and you can update your candidate profile from wherever you are. Now when you get back to your office it's all there! I know this is not be the most important part of recruiting but it sure makes your life easier and allows you to spend more time on the important things!

Comment by Shane McCusker on July 5, 2012 at 11:35am

Hi James,

Thank you for your comments its really great to get your  reaction.

I do have a good understanding of Cloud computing although I was perhaps being overly simplistic for dramatic effect. Cloud computing is using the internet or rather, using the internet is part of what we call cloud computing. I suppose a big part of what people refer to as cloud is when traditionally desktop applications are replaced by web sites such as Google Docs etc. My problem is, from a recruiters point of view, the difference between a Google Doc and a Word Document is trivial in comparison to wither the document represents a candidates that can be placed or not.

Don't get me wrong, I love technology, it is fantastic to see the products that are available many of which are completely free. I was not suggesting that technology is not a wonderful thing I absolutely think it is. I was suggesting that technology for technologies sake is a bad think and when latest techno buzz words are used without an understanding behind it then all sorts of problems will ensue.

I have the same problem with recruiters who want a new web site but do not have any idea what they want the web site to actually do for them. Even more frustrating is when they will not take the time to understand all the truly fantastic recruitment things that can be achieved.

Recruiters have the same problem when Clients don't think about the type of candidate they want until the interview and then give the recruiter a hard time for giving them the person they asked for but done actually want. Why didn't they stop to think about what was required rather than quoting a buzz word job title.

I once had a prospective customer whose first question to me was what computer language I write software in. That's like me asking a recruiter what type of paper will you be printing the CV on as if that's a big deal!

Anyway, that my 'Why can't everyone see the world from my perspective' rant for the day. 


Comment by Shane McCusker on July 5, 2012 at 5:09pm

Hi Rayanne,

Great to hear from you.

To some extent I agree with you but..

Technology can make the recruitment process more efficient, it can 'speed up' mundane tasks and 'free up' the recruiter to do other things. Unfortunately this view of technology really doesn't get me that excited and if this is all you're looking for technology to do then there is a whole lot more that can be achieved.

For me recruitment technology is not about doing admin work. Recruitment technology should facilitate a way of working that it is impossible to achieve without the technology and a process of recruiting that is significantly better and fundamentally different to the alternative process. Technology should not be there to help a bad recruiter increase the speed of their bad recruiting.

This does not mean that your technology is necessarily that complicated. It just means that the recruiter has to be clever in how they use it. (This is my fundamental gripe about recruiters thinking of buzz words before the cleverness of what they really can do to improve the recruitment process.)

I ran a webinar last week and showed some recruiters how to use a few Google operators. (site: filetype: etc) The operators are really quite simple to use but without them there is no other way to get the information they provide. Of course, simply knowing what the operator does is not very useful without the skill of a recruiter to use them, this is where the cleverness kicks in.

Some of the technology I work on is simply there to spot opportunities. It is about presenting information in a way that the useful stuff comes to the surface in the clutter of data that is recruitment. There is no other way a recruiter can do this manually but by really understanding the recruitment process I can automatically relate different pieces of data and give a recruiter a new way of working that just works better and makes more placements.

So, would the recruitment industry please stop looking to the IT industry for innovation and jumping on the meaningless buzzword band wagon. What is stopping us being recruitment innovators and develop a fundamentally better way of recruiting. Give it a buzz word name and let the HR industry get carried away with this sexy new revolutionary approach.


Comment by Feargall kenny on July 9, 2012 at 8:42am

I think it is more that the benefits of the cloud should be assumed so that the recruiters don't have to care about it - i.e. your CRM / ATS platform and documents accessible from everywhere, backup and recovery automatically taken care of etc etc. There is a lot of value in cloud based services for recruiters for those reasons . Once there we can work on process....

Comment by Shane McCusker on July 9, 2012 at 9:16am

Fair point Feargall.

Perhaps it is the assumptions that people make are part of the problem though. There are lots of systems that wave the Cloud flag but offer very different benefits/draw backs. From a vendors point of view, having prospective customer assume that you can do everything is a good thing however, it is very difficult for recruiters to compare all the different offerings available and when a particular benefit is assumed without investigation then problems can occur.


Comment by Edward Goodeve-Docker on July 9, 2012 at 9:45am

Hi Shane,

Nice article, I have many colleagues who have limited idea and interest in the cloud, will it effect their working day, not to their knowledge I believe.

What you really want to be asking is: Does the cloud offer agencies something that isn't replicated on a self managed mainframe server beyond remote access? We are as an agency moving more and more onto the cloud but what are we actually moving? The same database, mail servers and internal resources. Now, however we can access these from anywhere rather than just in the office. Does it inherently change the way a recruiter works? No and I don't think the majority of my colleagues would be any the wiser either way.


Comment by Shane McCusker on July 9, 2012 at 10:47am

My point exactly Ed.

Not only that, I don't know of any good reason a self hosted computer cannot be accessed form anywhere with little more than opening a port on a router. Is opening a port, moving to the cloud? Maybe it is. If so, again, what's the big deal?


Comment by Bill Schultz on July 9, 2012 at 11:53am

When I can find a resume on my phone from dropbox, i like the cloud.  

When I can fax and sign  a fee agreement from my phone with HelloFax, I thank the cloud.

(This was all before my phone fell in the river Saturday)

These technologies are not supposed to change the way a recruiter works.  If it's worthwhile, it fits seamlessly into your workflow and you just use it without thinking.  

Comment by Feargall kenny on July 11, 2012 at 10:41am

Bill sounds like your phone was getting too clever - falling into the river on its own instead of being dropped - must be from all the stuff it was learning from the cloud : )

I must try hellofax - thanks for the indirect tip

Comment by Barbara Goldman on July 11, 2012 at 11:30am

Our database has been in the cloud for quite a few years. It used to be called 'browser based'. I care about the cloud. I love the cloud. I can access data anywhere, anytime. Computer crashes don't worry me. For the past nine years of using our browser based system, we haven't lost data. Not cloudy to me.


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2020   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service