2010 and recruitment - the year of lost opportunities

As the recruitment market picks up in 2010 and companies start hiring again, we’re going to see recruiters getting busy. They will do exactly what they were doing prior to global financial crisis. Nothing much will change.

In parallel, we will see a tremendous amount of innovation in the social, mobile, real-time, and collaborative technology space. We will see more and more of the potential job seeker market participating in the social and mobile web. The small cluster of prominent recruitment commentators will continue to espouse the merits of social recruiting, in their crusade to convert and educate the industry. There will be great debate at conferences regarding what all this technology means for the industry.

There will be pockets of innovation in 2010, from a splattering of employers and recruitment technology vendors. However, the majority of employers will not really do anything different or innovative to get closer to, and engage with, their talent communities. In fact, many will not know where their talent resides. They may question the ROI of social recruiting but have no idea of the ROI of their existing practices. Maybe some should be targeting the nearly 74 million monthly active users on Farmville. The user demographic is older than you may think.

We will not see much resembling “social” in 2010, like using technology to build affinity, rapport and trust with jobseekers. Hardly any of this activity has happened up to now on corporate careers sites, and if the past is the best predictor of the future, there’s nothing to indicate this will change any time soon. Instead, we will see more vacancies being syndicated to Twitter, LinkedIn etc. But very few recruiters or employers will be attempting to establish an emotional connection with jobseekers and promote a conversation or an experience.

As the employment market improves, the power will shift to the jobseeker. They will become more discerning in their career choices. But will the jobseekers really see the merits or differentiation of one employer over another in 2010? Jobseekers will be thirsty to find out information about an employer. If an employer doesn’t have a footprint on the social or mobile web, then the jobseeker could potentially discover a trail of bad news left by others about an employer. Reputation is important. Online reputation is important too.

I still come across a significant number of HR professionals who say that they're not into the whole social networking or technology thing. No amount of persuasion or statistics shift their thinking. They don't care if their employees or jobseekers use these platforms. They're more driven to maintain their relationships with third party recruiters. To be honest I wonder what 'some' HR professionals and corporate recruiters do. I'm even aware of employers who have employees and consultants assigned to working on their recruitment strategies for years, and nothing ever gets implemented. In some cases none of them participate on the social web. Not all marketing professionals get social networking either, but the art of thinking about consumer demographics, buyer patterns etc is a knowledge set that the modern day HR professional and recruitment manager should possess. It also perplexes me why many HR professionals don't champion the adoption of collaborative technologies within their company. I don't view it as satisfactory that an employer in 2009 or 2010 has not set up a successful Facebook page or Twitter account. But these platforms are just the bare minimum. HR professionals should be community DJs, community augmenters.

A lot of people and jobseekers complained about the recruitment industry prior to the global financial crisis. We've had a mini ice-age in 2009, but as things thaw nothing much will change. Recruiters will still be focused on LinkedIn and chasing the next sale. However, technology will continue to progress at avalanche speed. If the recruiters don't keep up then their role could be fully automated. Real-time recruitment, with live-streaming technologies and predictive algorithms could soon be a reality.

Though my sentiment has been dour, I look forward to grasping the opportunities in 2010. We all just need to shift the conversation from discussion to action and execution.

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Tags: 2010, recruitment, social

Comment by Hassan Rizwan on January 2, 2010 at 6:10am
Nice post Paul. From talent management standpoint, i would like to suggest that a talent assessment platform this way becomes really important because the aggressive approach of recruiters on linkedin and twitter will increase the choices for job seekers and they will become more selective. The control might shift in the hands of job seekers. Using a sound talent assessment system would always keep them on their toes and the selection would be based only on merit and a systematic evaluation. Eventually, this will result saving time for the recuriters to screen applicants and they can speedup the screening process of candidates.

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