Maybe it come from having been in the industry for a while, but some things just keep recurring: Bill Warren, John Sumser, Joel Cheesman, and job matching sites, to name a few. Seriously, though – although much has changed since the mid 90s, some things really haven’t. Ignore them at your own peril. For instance:
- Resumes rule: Despite repeated attempts to kill, eliminate, or otherwise obliterate them, resumes continue to be the lingua franca for the recruiting world. Why? Because, in their own quaint way, resumes offer at least a passing glance at standardization of candidate information. Will they someday disappear? Maybe – but they’ve been remarkably tenacious thus far.
- Candidate behavior is slow to change: It took the job board industry about a decade (and millions of dollars) to train candidates to look at job boardsfirst when searching for jobs. Social recruiting – which has had more trouble monetizing itself – may take another 5-10 years to change candidate behavior. Or it may not – some job boards are folding social recruiting into their offerings, and some social recruiting companies (think LinkedIn) resemble job boards more and more.
- Referrals don’t get no respect: Despite showing up as the #1 source of hire in almost every survey from the past decade, referrals have yet to attract the investment and innovation that social recruiting, job boards, ATSs, and other links in the employment chain have. Why? I don’t know. I’ve seen a number of promising attempts to harness the power of a referral network – but with the possible exception of LinkedIn, I haven’t seen anything gain any traction in the marketplace. Maybe 2013 will be the year of referrals?
- Technology matters: Why did job boards dislodge newspapers as the primary purveyor of job ads? Technology. They were cheaper, faster, and better. Jump forward to now: what technological changes seem to matter most in the recruiting world? For my money, it’s the omnipresence of mobile devices. They’re the computing platform for many candidates. If a particular technology or platform matters to candidates, then it has to matter to the recruiting industry.
- HR moves slowly: Face it – the HR department is always overworked, understaffed, and underfunded. Does that sound like a recipe for rapid change? Not really. When HR finds something that works, they stick with it – particularly if it’s inexpensive and quantifiable. For job boards, that means delivering reliable, repeatable results at a fair price. For those who would dislodge job boards, that means…a challenge.
Please don’t misunderstand me – the above is not meant to imply that nothing is changing in the online recruiting world. Quite the opposite. But even in the midst of changes, some things stay the same. It’s worth your while to step back – understanding that candidate and HR behavior change very slowly is critical in determining how a new service or feature can succeed.
So…what other ‘eternal truths’ did I miss? Let me know!