A Holiday Greeting and Reminiscence

In just a few days we end another year and at the same time greet a new one. I will kick off the New Year with my prognostications, but will end this one with a short recap of 2002 and a few wishes and hopes. All year I have harped on four themes. I believe that these four will continue on into 2003 and 2004 to be the primary drivers of change and of technology development in recruiting. Here’s a brief summary of each. Building Candidate Relationships The first theme is the need to build relationships with candidates. Whether we are in a scare or abundant talent market, there is a need to have a significant relationship with a candidate to properly assess her or to convince her to come and work at your organization. Most candidates carefully choose their employer ó even when they have been out of work for a while ó and do not easily go to work for a firm that does not meet their needs for socialization and personal fulfillment. Recruiters have to work harder than ever to create that relationship and, given smaller staffs and rising productivity expectations, they will have to use technology and the Internet. The inefficient and slow face-to-face approaches of the 20th century will give way, as they have in banking and most other service professions. That does not mean we will not meet the candidates personally. It means we will meet fewer ó and better ones ó so we can spend more time with each and create an even stronger bond. The Recruiting Brand The second theme is the need to create a distinctive recruiting brand, and with that, a great website. Candidates will not come to you unless they know about you. It’s that simple. You have to spread the word about who you are and why a candidate might want to work at your organization. This probably means you have to work with other HR people to make sure you understand your company thoroughly and can make a convincing case to a dubious candidate. (This is also a reason why outsourcing may not be a good thing as we move into a real talent-short market.) You will have to know where the candidates that like your company come from, and you will have to do market research and a lot of experimenting to get it right. You will have to spend more money on branding and selling your organization and you have to have a stellar recruiting website. Screening Candidates The third theme is that screening candidates for fit and skill at the website can be a positive experience for you and the candidate and lead to hiring better quality people. In the end, finding a quality candidate that the hiring manager is comfortable with and confident about is the only thing that matters. Good screening technology will slowly become important to you over the next year or two. I will continue to write about this early next year and show you some great examples of how screening can be done in a tasteful, positive, and high quality manner. People like feedback when it is pertinent and useful. Recruiter Skills The fourth theme is that the skills recruiters will need as we move into this century are changing and, in many cases, are entirely new ones. I have written and spoken on the five new skills you will need to be successful, and briefly list them here:

  • You will need to raise transactions to meaningful experiences for candidates and hiring managers. Just doing something without meaning and clear purpose will not be acceptable.
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  • You will need to understand the business and labor markets much better than you do today.
  • You will have to be an adopter and heavy user of technology. You will have to drive technology to new levels to remain successful and productive.
  • You will have to be able to develop meaningful metrics, and not just report transactions. You will need statistical models and predictive tools.
  • You will need to be a top-notch salesperson, so that you can close candidates with high rates of success.

You can peruse the archives of ERE to find many articles that more completely discuss these four themes, and I will continue to write about them in coming months. I also would very much like your ideas for future columns. Please drop me an email with comments, thoughts, wishes, or ideas. While I cannot always respond personally, I do get them and do read them. But for the rest of 2002, I hope you take the time to relax and enjoy a few days of quiet. The New Year promises to be filled with challenges ó especially for those of us in the “human capital” business. You will need to be in peak form to deal with the ever-changing landscape of recruiting. Peace and happiness to each of you.

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.

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