The world of the traditional, reactionary recruiter is gone. The traits that characterized the 20th century recruiter are summarized in the table below, along with those that will be requirements for a model, proactive 21st century recruiter.
|Item||Traditional Recruiter||Proactive Recruiter|
|Focus||internal to the organization||external/global|
|Resources||resumes, job boards, physical||referrals, relationships, virtual|
|Recruiting Strategy||passive/wait for candidates||active/networked|
|Measures||number of candidates/hires||speed & quality of hire|
|Job Definitions||job descriptions||competency & skill profiles|
With a broad, global reach and perspective, the modern recruiter will eschew resumes in favor of relationships and job descriptions for competency and skill profiles. A successful recruiter will use a host of tools, including email and referral software as well as sophisticated search tools such as ZoomInfo, to build competency profiles and to find, reach out to, and build relationships with a wide variety of potential candidates. If you have seen or used MySpace.com or Facebook, you are looking at the type of tools recruiters will be using in just a few months. Do you have a profile on MySpace? Why not?
Even when they’re looking for people to fit positions that are clearly defined and routine, they’re not likely to find candidates by running a keyword search or by using Google, nor will they find that person sitting neatly on some job board. They’ll have to tap into their own network, or the network of a friend or colleague, and then set up communication with potential candidates. An essential skill will be the ability to create enough interest in yourself and your organization to get the attention of a potential candidate. The most successful recruiters will be those who can be funny, articulate, friendly, and authentic, but still be focused on assessing and finding good people. Recruiters will also use these same tools to help the hiring manager build a realistic and comprehensive job profile, depending on how complex the position will be. A manager may say, “I need a person who can oversee a programming project that will involve programmers in three countries and that will be used by people in a fourth country,” or “Can you find me an MD with experience in a developing country who wants to do vaccine research?”
These are actual searches that some senior recruiters are in the midst of today, and before they can even begin the search process, they need to clearly understand what the job competencies and requirements are going to be. Working with hiring managers to identify the competencies such people need is tough and could be powerfully refined by reaching out to the network of practitioners and also of fellow recruiters and colleagues who are willing to offer suggestions and collaborate with the recruiter and hiring manager to build a profile that is realistic. Recruiters could put the request to the network and ask, “What skills would a person need to have to do this job? How important are project management skills? Team building practice? International living experience? Fluency in several languages? Knowledge of a programming language? Good sales skills?” The answers will come from the network as some combination of all of these.
Article Continues Below
How mature is your hiring process? Answer these 5 questions and find out.
The recruiter and hiring manager will sort through the answers and, perhaps augmented with assessment tools, create a skills profile that can be used on the candidate network. The recruiter will stay connected to her talent circle through email, blogs, instant messaging, the telephone, and even face-to-face contact. At Microsoft, Heather Hamilton has built quite a following of potential candidates with her marketing-oriented job blog, and the company has embraced blogging as a recruiting technique. Take a look at its Jobsblog page. Blogs are fast becoming a powerful way to add authenticity and allow candidates a peek into the organization’s culture. The talent community (or pool or circle, as you wish) will be ever-changing and open to referrals from current members. In fact, no one will consider himself or herself to be a member, but rather a participant in something with benefits. The benefits will include the sharing of ideas, the ability to help profile jobs and use the collective wisdom of the network as a filter, collaboration on projects, friendship and communication, and eventually employment. The recruiter will be both the creator of this circle and the facilitator that holds it together, but the circle will have its own life as well. Time will also be a major component and driver of the recruiter’s life. Managers will say, “Get me someone in two or three days – this project is crucial.” And the candidates will say, “I have three offers and need yours by Friday so I can decide over the weekend.” The time between ask and get is falling to zero. So, the future recruiter has to be able to respond fast as well. Time has never been as important a focus in recruiting as has quality – or at least the illusion of quality. Now recruiters are asked for both. A grasp of the numbers will help the recruiter develop an “odds sheet” on how likely and how quickly a candidate can be located. And, the technology embedded in the talent circle will help hone in on the two or three most likely candidates.
With time being so important, meeting people at bars and social events can only be used effectively as a way to get more people into your network. These face-to-face encounters are too clumsy and slow to ever be a mainstay of a high-volume recruiter. This underlines why it is so important to proactively build large networks of diverse potential candidates using virtual tools. This will require some drastic rethinking about how we work and about how we meet people, but MySpace has already opened the door to this world, and Generation Z (that’s what they’re now calling people under 18) has already embraced it. Industries may have to collaborate and integrate recruiting approaches, as well. The medical, engineering, and IT professions could benefit if there were a meta-recruiting website not focused on any one company but on all of them. This site would provide information and marketing materials to attract students and young people into considering a specific career. Recruiters could tap into this through email and organization-specific sites.
The future will be a highly virtual space. It will be fast-moving, dynamic, and techno-focused. The old world was built on stability; the new world is built on change and flex. The emerging world will require fast, flexible, passionate recruiters who have an active orientation and a grasp of facts and data. And, they will have to be able to put all this into a personal style that is persuasive, fun, and engaging. In short, the recruiter of the 21st century will have to be totally relationship-oriented and embrace the virtual.