A Portrait of a Recruiter in the Year 2005

The world of the traditional recruiter is waning rapidly. The traits that characterized the 20th century recruiter and those that will be essential for the 21st century “fastcruiter” can be summed up in a table like this:


Traditional Recruiter

Article Continues Below


Focus Internal to the organization External/Global
Personal Style Structured Flexible
Resources Paper/Resumes Relationships
Time Expectations Weeks Hours
Recruiting Strategy Passive/Wait for candidates Active/Networked
Skills Sort/Screen/Process Relations/Sales/Technical
Measures Number of candidates Number of hires

With a broad and global reach and perspective, the modern recruiter will eschew resumes in favor of relationships. If fact, relationships rule the world of the recruiter in the year 2005, as they should even now. A successful recruiter will have developed a living and dynamic talent circle of people who have skills and abilities that can be matched up against ever-changing needs and demands from hiring managers. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*> “I need a person who can oversee a programming project involving programmers in three countries and that will be used by people in a fourth country,” will be the kind of challenge really senior recruiters will face. And they won’t fill a demand like that by running a keyword search, or by using robots, nor will they find that person sitting neatly on some job board. No, they will have to use their network or circle of talent to develop a profile of what skills a person capable of doing this job would need. They can put the job to the network and ask, “What would a person need to have for skills to do this job? Would they need project management skills? Team building practice? International living experience? Fluency in several languages? Knowledge of a programming language? Good sales skills?” And the answer will come from the network as some combination of all of these. The recruiter will sort through the answers and, perhaps augmented with assessment tools, create a skills profile that she can “sell” to the hiring manger. This profile will have to include an understanding of the supply statistics for that area and for those skills. This recruiter will have to answer questions like: “How many people with those skills live in this area?” How many of them work for Company X?” Or, “How many students in College Y are studying this subject?” By tapping into government databases and perhaps even creating proprietary ones, the recruiter can get a good understanding of the market which can be used to help hiring mangers understand what they can expect to find and what will be very difficult to find. Most recruiters today have almost no grasp of the figures around unemployment, the number of people with specific skills sets, or any other relevant statistics. Without that knowledge, it is impossible to make a business case for or against anything. The recruiter will stay connected to her talent circle through email, e-letters, the telephone and even face-to-face contact. But the circle 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 employment. The recruiter will be the creator of this circle and the hub that holds it together, but it will have its own life as well. Time will also be a major ruler in this world. Managers say, “Get me someone in two or three days; this project is crucial.” And the candidates 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 a fastcruiter 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. Again, the technology we now have of adaptive intelligence, sophisticated databases with powerful search features as well as common sense will underpin success. The only way the recruiter of tomorrow can be fast is to be technically skilled, innovative, and able to see what is emerging and adopt it quickly. The ability to grasp technology quickly, use it, and dispose of it equally rapidly will be essential. 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 a totally relationship-oriented fastcruiter with a dash of ?lan.

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.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *