I recently read a blog which talked about how social media and networking sites were going to be the death of the recruiter. I disagree, if anything I believe the role of recruiter has become ever more important, but has also changed.
The argument in this blog was that the internet has enabled accessibility to candidates that would never have been possible before the internet revolution. Therefore by posting a few ads and doing some poking around on LinkedIn HR team can now source candidates directly and cut out the middle man.
This argument is sound if you accept that a recruiter is merely a way of sourcing or aggregating candidates. However, here is where I (predictably) disagree. I believe previously organisations used recruiters because they had lots of cards in their rolodex (I'm a bit young to have seen one, but I have been told about them) and could provide them with access to their networks. Now that organisations can directly source candidates fairly successfully the question becomes, as quite rightly asked in the blog I read, what is the recruiter for?
The answer (in my humble opinion) is about selection rather than sourcing. Recruiters need to become experts in selecting candidates, they need to be better than the client at predicting which candidate will succeed in each role in each company. Sounds ridiculous?
It shouldn't, the recruitment processes of most companies (CV based interview) is about 25% accurate (according to research conducted by the CIPD). The job of a recruiter is not to find the candidates but to help the client select the right person for their business. The British Psychological Society has shown that by using the right psychometric tools and behavioural interview techniques hiring accuracy can be raised above 75%.
Therefore if you're a recruiter and you want to stay ahead of the game you need to up skill big time. Recruitment consultants of the future will not be the salesman of old flogging candidates to anyone who'll have them; they will be a mix of occupational psychologists, management consultants and project managers.
If you are an organisation currently using recruitment consultants, you may want to have a chat with them about what tools and expertise they are using to select candidates. If the answer is 'I've been doing this for years, I know a good one when I spot one' then I suggest you go looking for a new one!
Anyway back to my original point, I don't believe the increasingly easy access to candidates the internet offer will be the death of all recruiters, however, as Darwin so aptly figured out years ago, it will kill off those those who don't adapt and quick! As Rupert Murdoch put it "The world is changing. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow."