Tag Archives: networking

Recruiting – It Has (almost) Come Full Circle

The last four years has brought on a change within the recruitment industry – corporate and third party – that at the minimum has sparked conversation around brand, candidate experience, how candidates are sourced or how they find open positions. Several articles have been posted stating how much recruiting has changed and that certain aspects of it will fade away or (gasp) are already dead. To me, it appears to have come full circle – almost.

During the pre-internet/applicant tracking (ATS) timeframe the strategy to find top talent included:

  • targeted campaigns in print advertising with select outlets that would drive the right talent to mail or fax in a resume to the organization
  • partnerships with schools and career service centers for the intern and entry level roles that included campus visits, presentations, interview days, meetings with professors and campus groups
  • research of key professional associations, industry conferences, and either attending events or finding a way to receive a directory of members
  • effective employee referral programs

These were typically done through manual processes, phone calls, letters and monotonous work of opening each paper resume and quickly scanning for fit. I remember spending hours with hiring managers developing recruitment strategies around finding the right talent to apply to our print ads in various niche magazines and newspapers. We did not want hundreds of people to apply because that meant a large amount of work going through the responses.

When the internet and ATS usage gained speed and exploded in the late ’90’s the strategy changed a little but the core points above were still a strong foundation within recruitment plans. With the advent of key word search (boolean) on job boards and in ATS’s the mindset moved from ensuring the right talent applied to bring in as many as possible because maybe our methods before missed some really good talent. These systems could hold thousands of resumes and in time millions. Recruiters would brag to hiring managers that XX number of candidates applied to a posting and that number was typically in the hundreds. They would then add to their bragging that due to the internet or ATS technology they could whittle down the number to a select few and screen them for the role.

The use of the internet and ATS tools built a wall between the recruiter and the applicant. No longer was a fax number, mailing address or email address contained in postings. They were replaced with web site addresses or generic email addresses and phrases like “no phone calls please” or “no faxed or paper resumes accepted”. Recruiters (mostly corporate) were now behind a curtain that only privileged candidates who were contacted would be able to see behind it.

However, as the internet evolved and it moved from one-way communication to two way (web 2.0) recruiters were being exposed via tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, Google searches, or other on-line communities. Those that started in recruiting behind the curtain realized they needed to gain certain skills or use the skills they learned during college in social media settings to effectively communicate with candidates. The recruiters that started pre-internet spouted that the changes were not silver bullets but just another communication tool and recruiting is still the same thing as it was 15, 20, or 25 years ago.

I think it has evolved and is similar but a recruiter can be much more effective than pre-internet. The same foundation remains as my bullet points above. Take those points in today’s terms:

  • develop an employment branding campaign that will attract the right talent to your company – this could include social media, job boards, niche industry sites, video, mobile and believe it or not – print
  • university relations and campus programs that can now be managed through on-line tools directly with the school or through other tools that have significantly reduced the workload on building those partnerships but increasing the effectiveness of on-site visits
  • research of specific industry associations, contact lists and networking events can now be done in minutes instead of hours or days
  • automated employee referral campaigns making it easier for tracking, reporting and payments/recognition

There is a mantra I use in managing recruiters today that I know grates their nerves because it goes against the mindset of the “post and pray” days between 1999 – 2008. Less resumes, less interviews, more offers. That is how recruiting has almost come full circle. In 1995 I did not want 200 resumes mailed or faxed to me and today I do not want 200 resumes submitted to a non-high volume role. I want to make sure the role is marketed to the right candidate pool, enticing enough to have them apply and given today’s tools I can quickly and effectively identify top talent through the use of various internet resources. In addition, I want top talent to find me and connect with me about opportunities within my organization, no more curtain to stand behind.

As recruiters we have always adapted to new technologies and in some cases blown out the use of a tool that was not considered as it’s original intent. When developing a recruitment plan are you relying on spray and pray that will create a habit of sit and wait recruiting, or is it an active program that drives the right talent to your organization and a go out and seek mindset? I believe the latter will move your organization forward.

I welcome your thoughts.

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I’ve Heard This Before…

Recently we moved into a house where the previous owners had left a very nice set of Encyclopedias and a special edition Philadelphia Inquirer “America: What went wrong?” from 1991. It was a nine part series that touched on everything from the “dismantling of the middle class” to jobs going to Mexico (now China) and the lack of salaries keeping pace with the rich, to big business tax breaks, the expansion of a global economy,  to health insurance, the decline of pensions and how Capitol Hill is influenced by lobbyists. The article states on the front page it will “…show how millions of Americans have fallen victim to a combination of rulemakers in Washington and dealmakers on Wall Street.”

Does this sound familiar? Have you heard this before?

I have. Do not expect me to present my opinion on these hot button topics or try to explain them. If it took two Pulitzer Prize winning reporters two years and thousands of miles of travel to conduct interviews, research and write their series, there is no chance I can present mine in a single post.

In reading the series and reflecting on those times I remember it was not much better then than it is now. In the early ’90’s we were in a serious recession and though I was in college I read article after article about how it was the worst time in recorded history for college graduates to find a job. Several of my friends who had graduated in ’90 – ’93 spent months looking for work. Most ended up in fields outside of their major. Several moved back home and some never could get their careers started and remained in entry level roles for years.

My first job out of college did not pay enough for me to live on my own and remember buying groceries on my credit card knowing full well I would not be able to pay the monthly bill. It was tough seeing the bank account always around zero. I wanted to make it on my own, I wanted to live independently but my main motivation came from my parents who informed me that if I moved home I would have to pay rent. Who wants to pay rent to their parents AND live by their rules?

I do agree that this recession is worse, and it is much tougher on people to find jobs in their chosen careers or just viable work. Especially those recent or new graduates. There are plenty of stories of how people have been creative in finding work, landing that perfect job, or having an extremely short job search. However, for every success I have a feeling there are five to ten stories of no success. This sounds so familiar to the early 90’s and 00’s recessions.

A key difference this time around…social media. People being able to reach out to friends from several years ago and reconnecting. The ability to find a job, a network connection, a reference check all through various sites that have given candidates a great opportunity to connect. Candidates have access to recruiters and hiring managers like never before and that is helping.

As with the job search in the ’90’s and about 10 years ago the job search is still about connections. Whether it is old school networking or if it is the new way through social media channels it pays dividends to build your connections/network before, during and after your job search.

Recruiters have access to an abundance of information on candidates through the same channels and that makes the search for talent that much easier and yet that much more complicated. Appreciate the fact that we impact people’s lives everyday and that by being smart about our recruitment techniques and identifying the best fit for our organization (and not just dropping a candidate because of how long they have been out of work) we will move our companies forward.

I welcome your thoughts.

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