A guest post this time from Alex Arnot, respected advisor to more than 25 recruitment companies.
On the face of it recruitment is unrecognizable to 15 years ago. Yet at its core it hasn’t changed. If you don’t recognise these apparent contradictions then your recruitment business is going to struggle.
Let’s start with what has changed. Technology has transformed our industry. Online publishing and jobs boards have decimated or wiped out the jobs pages of the industry publications that were crucial to attracting candidates. Databases mean that it is easier than ever (in principle) to store and identify candidates. Email makes it cheap and efficient to maintain contact with huge numbers of contacts. Smart phone gives us a flexibility we could hardly have imagined yet simultaneously tether us to work. IT systems enable us to measure almost anything we choose.
And then there are websites. 15 years ago a website was an advert with some text a picture and a ‘contact us’ form accessed from a desktop. Now 50%+ of traffic to many recruitment sites is from mobiles and together with the CRM, it is the hub of many businesses and one of the most cost effective revenue generating tools available. It communicates the personality of the recruitment firm; candidates can register with the click of a button and choose how, when and what they want to be contacted about; it enables recruiters to be publishers; it shows us how people interact with the website and individual roles so we can constantly make refinements – it will even tailor what individual users see based on an individual’s previous interaction with the site. Yet amazingly a website now costs no more than it did 15 years ago. The initial price tag may sound like a lot but when you think how many extra placements a good site makes you it is a no-brainer of an investment.
And then there’s LinkedIN which was founded 15 years ago. Now it is a global database of people in all industries everywhere. A constantly evolving supplier and competitor that is simply too big to compete with and at the same time is an invaluable resource that many recruiters struggle to leverage to it’s full potential (a hint – most firms don’t need the premium licences).
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have given recruiters new ways of identifying and reaching potential candidates and clients and are again a frontier in recruitment that are delivering handsomely for a minority of recruiters.
The speed with which technology transforms our industry is only going to accelerate and recruitment firms that don’t embrace it will struggle to grow or even survive however, at its core recruitment remains a people business. It will always be about matching capabilities and desires with the need for skills. Recruitment consultants need to remember that this is where we add value and that the technology simply helps us do it more efficiently and better.
Sometimes there is still no substitute for networking, for coffees, for phone calls and for meeting people in the real world.
Alex Arnot is non-executive advisor to more than 25 recruitment companies and can be found at https://www.mynonexec.com