Cemetery with old gravestones and black ravenThe recruiting world has changed along with everything else in the last decade or two when word of mouth referrals were the modus operandi and professional networks were limited to friendships, one-on-one contact and face-to-face interaction.

So the question now is will traditional recruiting (as we know it today) die a slow, natural death in the next decade or even sooner?

Some recruiting professionals, social media watchdogs and HR managers believe that it will. One of the factors that could drive the last nail into its coffin will be social networking websites while websites such as Monster.com, hiring-hub.com and workfu.com will only act as catalysts in the process.

Of the main suspects, LinkedIn may be the one that changes the face of recruiting most, as many independent surveys have concluded. An article in Smart Planet seems to suggest recruitment will be the next industry that will be turned upside down on its head by the complex economics of internet and information technology.

Few can argue against the power of the internet and how it has already redefined recruitment, doing away with expensive classified advertisements with very limited reach and time consuming direct interaction with each candidate. Most people in their 30s can probably recall queuing up for interviews behind 20 or more candidates on a day. To its credit, the internet has also given birth to the concept of shortlisting before interviewing.

Thanks to social and professional networking sites, we are now connected to millions of people around the world. In the not-too-distant past, job searches and hunts were limited to local markets while few recruiters offered national outreach. Today, the ball is no longer in the recruiters’ side of the court and HR managers can screen candidates from across the globe. Even contemporary newspaper classified sections have started including national and international vacancies.

Another aspect of the professional experience that is fast-changing thanks to social networks is the post-employment scenario. Unlike in the pre-internet and pre-social networking era, employees can now maintain direct contact with their colleagues long after leaving a job. This makes them privy to inside information about the company’s hiring opportunities as well as being exposed to other opportunities outside the company, such as when the HR manager moves to another company and starts talent hunting for them.

As discovered in a survey by Job Doctor Board, 75 percent of HR professionals today use social networks to facilitate their recruiting process while two-thirds rely on referrals as their main source for recruitment.

To their detriment, recruiters are finding out that such trends are eating into their share of the recruitment industry cash but can only observe as spectators on the side-lines for now. One of their possible options may be to evolve with the winds of change and find newer ways to regain their position as the go-to people for recruitment.

Another way around it would be to cut costs because that’s the biggest advantage social networks provide to employers and talent hunters. Moreover, recruiters should also look into value addition that these websites aren’t providing. In the real world, it’s all about gaining that edge and that’s what we’ll have to do in order to survive and outsmart the competition.

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in Job Trends]