Can Anybody be a Recruiter Now?

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getting down to businessRecruiting is easier these days. The technology does all the work for you. Sourcing? Not even a necessary skill anymore.

Take a stroll around any expo hall floor and these arguments (we’ve been hearing them for years) may start to sound a little…true? I know it sounds harsh, but as technology gets more sophisticated, does the worth of your average corporate or third party recruiter plummet? Perhaps not, but that’s what many are saying, forcing entry-level recruiters to hone other, different skills, citing the need for additional attention to cultural fit and pay for performance.

The reasoning behind this makes sense. After all if people are easier to locate, contact and assess, then shouldn’t recruiting professionals attempt to be more well-rounded? Bloggers like Kevin Grossman say yes, they should:

… I’d argue that insightful leaders understand that reducing turnover, increasing team retention and improving overall quality of fit with workplace culture are huge initiatives in an ever-changing and highly competitive social talent economy. That means everybody pre- and post-onboarding on your team plays a role in “user adoption.”

So now recruiters have to focus on retention and onboarding too? In short, yes a little bit. As the economy continues to climb, cultural fit and retention are both becoming more important than ever and that’s a fact that recruiting leaders and talent acquisition specialists can’t afford to ignore.

Even as talent technology continues to improve in sophistication and automate tasks that used to take recruiters longer, our organizations and clients expect the fit to be better, the time to fill to be faster and the skills to be better matched. But even though it’s faster to conduct semantic search than rifle through a box on 3 x 5 index cards and simpler to email a candidate an after hours link to apply than it is get past the gatekeeper, the skills that create a GREAT recruiter are still the same.

From Bullhorn’s 2011 report:

The most effective means for landing candidates and securing new job orders remain the same and were chiefly related to networking. Recruiters are increasing their use of social media for finding candidates and clients, though many still struggle to maximize effectiveness. Respondents spent less time on sales, on average, than in 2009 as hiring freezes began to thaw and work shifted to filling job orders. Tried-and-true cold calling is still important despite the focus on new technology, proving “old school” methods are playing an essential role in generating new clients. One firm owner noted that a key challenge for recruiters today is, “Unraveling the social media ‘noise’ and finding time to re-connect with the telephone.”

But let’s get back to that expo floor. Many companies are adding social to the mix and even extending into mobile, trying to introduce via technology what is trickling down into other industries: a more level playing field. With many offering impressive resume search, solid social attraction tools and better, stronger distribution tools, it’s easy to think that anyone can be a recruiter… so long as they have a computer. But that’s simply not true, while the game may be changing, the qualities of the players remain constant.

The tasks may be getting faster and easier to implement, but strategic planning, networking and just flat out being great with clients, hiring managers and candidates, just cannot be automated. Recruiting leaders need to continue to focus on the things that cannot be automated – those tasks that technology cannot replace and that you need a great recruiter to do. The fact that something can’t be done by just anybody is, perhaps now more than ever, an indication of that activity’s importance.

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and content development. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the global recruitment and talent space. Hogan speaks and writes on all career and workforce related subjects. Her clients include Fortune 500 companies and SMBs around the globe. Red Branch Media was formed in 2006 as a simple consultancy. Today, the firm is a full-service B2B Marketing Agency that serves clients in the U.K., Africa, China, Israel, Europe and North America. Primarily focused on the Human Resources and Global Workforce vendors, Red Branch Media handles clients of all shapes and sizes.
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