Is this really the golden age of recruitment?


Undeniably, technology has changed the face of modern day recruiting. Companies and recruitment agencies are actively using a wide variety of methods to find and attract applicants. These range from online job boards and social networking sites, to Facebook and mobile apps.

However, in some cases, employers are able to passively recruit by simply posting jobs on their corporate websites and waiting for applicants to find the job posting and apply. Certainly many larger companies don’t need to do anything else because of the volume of applications they receive. For example, Southwest Airlines received 193,636 resumes and hired 4,349 new employees in 2011. And allegedly Google receives over a million CVs a year.

However, for those companies who are not quite so lucky, job boards and job search engines both play a significant role in company recruiting. As does the use of social recruiting –where companies use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to advertise job openings. Recruiting potential employees in this way is continuing to increase at pace. A 2013 study by the Society for Human Resource Management in the US found that 77% of employers are using social networks to recruit, a sharp increase from the 56% who reported doing so in 2011.

And the killer app for recruiters these days is LinkedIn. The same research study found that among the recruiters using social tools, 94% said they are using LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s Recruiting Solutions enable companies to easily source candidates, share and advertise jobs on LinkedIn and create company career pages to attract and engage talent.

The explosion of LinkedIn has meant the end of the “post and pray” days where recruiter’s would advertise a job opportunity and then idly sit back hoping that good candidates would take the bait. This has been replaced by a process of talent acquisition that is something more akin to a hunt.

“We’re really at a point now where all of your employees are vulnerable to being poached. Every single one,” said Josh Bersin, principal and founder of talent consulting firm Bersin by Deloitte, in a recent article in the Washington Post.

While all this has undoubtedly changed the face of recruitment, some things haven’t changed. Posting jobs is a passive and reactive talent acquisition strategy, it offers the recruiter no control over candidate qualifications, attracts only active and casual job seekers (the minority of all people), and is ineffective at reaching passive and non-job seekers.

On top of this, while social media and social networks give recruiters a new medium through which to engage and interact with potential candidates, communicating electronically/digitally is no substitute for actually talking to people.

What also remains unchanged is the need for good talent identification skills. Again, while LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking/media sites have given recruiters and employers an unprecedented level of access to millions of potential candidates, some sites aren’t very searchable and most social profiles are very shallow sources of professional information.

Although some LinkedIn profiles are fleshed out nearly as well as a typical CV, most contain very little information beyond employers and job titles. While that level of information can certainly be used for some degree of talent identification, it’s not as effective, efficient or as accurate as using deeper sources of data such as CVs.

Of course, social networks have given recruiters access to more people than ever in the history of recruitment – and this in turn has given rise to the coining of the phrase the golden age of recruitment – simply having access to huge pools of talent does not guarantee you can find and identify the right (or the best) people easily, quickly, or even, for that matter, at all. If anything, having more access to more potential candidates only stresses the importance of good, basic, old school recruitment skills.

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