How & Why the Definition of Recruiting Must Evolve Today

Over the course of the last 5-10 years, many considered “recruiting” as a process that focused on the following efforts:

• Locating candidate leads in job boards, social media and other Internet centered efforts
• Spreading the requirements for a position to fill across many websites (title, duties and compensation)
• Contacting individuals with expressed interest electronically
• Providing electronic information to potentially qualified people
• In most cases, repeating the steps above in an effort to dig deeper

Employers (and recruiters inside and outside of the hiring company) have become increasing frustrated with minimal results obtained from the failing techniques and steps taken as described above. Many critical openings have gone unfilled despite very dedicated application of those steps that worked fairly well until this year. In my conversations with employers, this year we are told of vacancies and new positions remaining open for a year or more. The real cost of a critical position remaining unfilled is stacking up as this perceived talent gap ensues.
Conditions that lead to slow (or no) results recruiting period are nothing new. As the past decades have shown, some employers have adjusted to these circumstances by settling for whom they have found or patiently waited until “things” got better. When the economy is slow or in recession, people tend to blame those circumstances as a rationale for failing to fill tough jobs. As past economic downturns improve, optimism grows, as successful recruiting projects conclude. In short, the “problem’ seems to fix itself and we can go back to applying what we did in the past for successful talent acquisition.

Now, the resurgence of our economy has inspired growth and related hiring of crucial talent. The expected improvement in recruiting results has not measurably improved. For those unaware of the causes of recruiting shortfalls, they may assume that increased efforts of applying the recruiting steps they are now taking should create the desired hires. It is widely known now that is not working and frustration rises. The blame game and finger pointing at those who are earnestly doing what they believe is best (or all they know to do) simply adds to frustration.

Employers and talent acquisition professionals can find the “fix” in re-defining what recruiting has become today. A process of direct and personal contact is central in effective recruiting now. This “art” took a back seat for many years to the rapid and seemingly simple path afforded by technology. The resurgence of “personal recruiting” is driven by these facts:

• The pool of talent is widely aware of the shortage of qualified people.
• The critical positions demanding candidates are more complex than before the great recession.
• The personal interests of many competitively skilled people have evolved.
• The motivations for career change demand deeper investigatory due diligence

All seeking out candidates for consideration and hire must take these facts seriously. The best recruiting practices that land the talent are centered in what is best described as direct recruiting. This means, literally, picking up a telephone and reaching out to where the people are. They are at work (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, clearly shows that 97+% or more of professionals are not out of work.

The most qualified take very little of their precious time “spiffing up” their Internet presence. This benign neglect has made the once trusted Internet watering holes pale in their value to talent acquisition success.
The art of direct recruiting requires specific skills not often found in “E-cruiting” practices. Mastering the recruiting processes that find and secure those competitively skilled and experienced candidates in demand today is irrefutably at the core of effective talent acquisition and recruiting.

The conditions will not radically change the limited candidate pool for the next several years or more. Some talent acquisition programs will embrace the need to adapt and evolve in their practices. Others will try to await a change that they hope will allow them to stick with what they know. Which group do you identify as yours?
In nature, all things face evolution. What embraces evolution remains. What does not ceases to exist. There is no argument that change is in demand.

This recruiter has evolved for three decades and has seen many casualties of those who chose not to adopt practices and processes that would bring the results they sought. Others still seize the opportunity to fix what is not working and they thrive. This is an exciting time for our candidate pool. They seek change and opportunities with creative and progressive employers.

It’s not difficult to draw the analogies in this picture to the run ad, get a resume, sort, then try again. The present system of advertising is crumbling for the same reason that many databases and social networks lose population. The professional* unemployment rate has held steady since 2014 at about 2.5%. The population representing this group is assumed to be inactive in seeking work for a variety of reasons.

As we rapidly approach the time where most employers see the handwriting on the wall, They are behind the power curve. Playing catch up in a recovery isn’t near as nice as riding the wave’s crest. Recruiters with the best OLD/NEW school training will rarely get their suits wet but will make many more trips to the banks.

* 25 YOA with a college degree

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