Do you feel it? Spring has finally sprung! Flowers are blooming, March Madness, The Masters, Spring Break, the impending summer months! Wow, that first quarter went by quickly didn't it? Are you looking forward to the fun times which lie ahead as the weather warms?
A week ago, as I watched the NCAA basketball tournament wrap up, I noticed, through various channels of advertising, that "recruiting" is becoming more automated every day and therefore, presumably, easier. There are many commercials that speak of streamlining your staffing activities with a "simple click," flooding your HR with "qualified applicants" who are "ready to take your company to new heights." Sigh…if it were only that easy.
Now admittedly, technology has advanced many functions of the business cycle. These include digital payments, email, databases, business reconnaissance; not to belabor the point but these are just a few shortcuts that super-sharp application developers and the assorted internet ilk have constructed. Heck, when was the last time you "let your fingers do the walking"…are you even aware of what I mean? If not you should Google it sometime.
With this digital innovation at an all-time high, it is easy for leaders and strategic minds to want to lean on innovation in ways to help them cut costs, make money, save time, and/or streamline processes. It makes total sense to faithfully use proven tools which automate sectors of your workflow. It also makes sense to identify and locate new tools as you go, ideally for immediate and positive gains but at the very least, to uncover if you should continue using that tool based upon value and results. While this technological revolution has been worthy in many aspects of business, it has not been as successful in others. My point is that although we have technology to help us grow, there are tried and true methods which routinely net better results than their automated counterparts.
Now with the existing tools you can identify and contact individuals who initially fit a job profile, but the amount of time needed to thoroughly attract, vet, and schedule interviews with those desirable individuals typically takes a consistent approach beyond a few phone calls and emails. With the shifting, temporal demands of leadership, allocating time to spearhead a recruiting initiative is a daunting task. As things are today, there is no software or virtual recruiting solution that can attract, assess, and validate candidates (desirable or otherwise) as effectively as a real, flesh and blood recruiter. Allow me to explain.
Where the rubber meets the road for these automated options is that the data you purchase is limited, dated, and sometimes inaccurate. By the time you find and begin to visualize a great potential candidate, that person's information has more than likely been viewed multiple times by multiple competitors and if the quality of that candidate's work history is in high demand, the chances of successfully landing that person is greatly reduced.
Another pitfall is that usually the people who are the most sought after are up to their eyeballs in work and therefore not even looking for opportunities outside of their current employment. These are those engaged individuals who have too much going on to even KNOW that they may be missing out on a great opportunity. These coveted people are whom I refer to as the "hidden market" and they also include stars who intentionally keep a low online profile as well as those who do not post their resumes to the open job market, even when they are looking.
When you factor in these variables, active recruitment is still the most crucial piece of the contact puzzle.
By engaging a good recruiter, you get real-time, qualified data on a:) the market and b:) those people who are performing deep within their respective organizations, passive, and too busy to look. It is a good recruiter who PROACTIVELY calls the market (hidden and otherwise) to check in and consult with this passive talent pool. These methodical and thoughtful conversations build rapport over time and will ask the most sensitive questions that uncover whether or not those people are qualified or open to your specific opportunity. The point is a recruiter can synthesize and explain your opportunity and broadcast that message to a targeted group of professionals versus casting a wide net that consists mostly of unqualified people.
As a fan of technology, I am excited to learn what innovations lie just beyond the horizon, but if using these nascent methods have netted less that favorable results, it may be time to partner with a recruiter.