Last week, I discussed some of the emerging technologies that will have an impact on recruiting over the rest of this decade, if not century, and ones that you might include in a world’s fair of recruiting technology. Over the next few years, the role of the recruiter will become, to some degree, one of understanding and using technology ó the Internet, computers, software and applications ó to the benefit of her organization. Recruiters who do not use technology well will be left behind in a global, mobile, and very complex world of interlocking networks of people. Some of the technologies we discussed last week are interesting, but none as intriguing as the emerging social networking tools. Social Networking Software Social networking software searches your databases of contacts, your calendar, your emails, and sometimes the contents of documents on your hard drive, to find the names of people you know. Content is not catalogued ó only the names and contact information of people you write to, telephone, or otherwise seem to know. This information is then used to build a network map of whom you know and who knows you. Some of these tools can scan an entire employee database and catalogue who communicates with whom, internally and externally. These network maps can be used to match against the databases of others to see who knows the same people. If you wanted a business introduction to someone at Global Learning resources, for example, and didn’t know anyone there, you could query the software to find someone in your network that has a contact at GLR. For example, if you had Joe Smith in your database and he has Kevin Wheeler of GLR in his database, you will have established a potential link between yourself and Kevin Wheeler. Some of the tools match people on interests, hobbies, professions or other criteria that you provide when you sign up. Others make potential matches and suggest introductions based on organization affiliation or titles. Many of the tools also evaluate the strength of the relationship using proprietary algorithms. This way, it can determine if your friend’s link to Kevin Wheeler is strong or weak. Of course, the stronger the link the more likely the introduction will be made. Spoke, one of the most prominent of these tools, is designed to help generate sales leads by getting you introduced to people within companies you have an interest in. For example, if you want to meet a recruiter at XYZ Corporation, but know no one there, you can ask Spoke to query your network and see if anyone has a contact at XYZ Corporation. If someone does, Spoke will send that person an email from you asking them to introduce you to a recruiter there. Social Networking Software as a Recruiting Tool These tools can be useful for making possible introductions to candidates and for helping find information about people or functions within a company. Recruiting will soon return to being a battlefield as we all scramble to find qualified candidates. These tools can give you an edge by cutting the time it takes to get in touch with potentially interesting people and by quickly being able to drill down within an organization for key players. I think this software may become pivotal in proving the competitive intelligence you are going to need to at the senior level, particularly. The firms providing this type of software are rapidly appearing. Here is a partial list of companies that you will want to explore. You might want to try Friendster, which is focused on dating and building a network of friends or Ryze, a service that has been around for a while now and has a strong following. Similar to Spoke, Visible Path is effective at making business and sales connections. Other software includes Zero Degrees, LinkedIn, Interaction, and Tribenet. Wireless Technologies Tie It All Together A scenario: John is a recruiter at XYZ Corporation, a large services company with branches all over the world. He is on vacation in Hawaii and has no access to a wired computer or telephone. But his trusty cell phone can do it all. He has just received an emergency requisition for an operations manager with a very specific set of skills. The successful candidate has to have worked internationally for several years and speak French and German. He also needs to have a strong business background and ideally to have worked for a French company so that he understands the culture and HR requirements in France. On top of that, he has to have technical background and at least 12 years of experience in a related area. John, who has never been to France and can’t speak French, is not fazed. He simply queries his social network software and is instantly presented with a list of contacts who may know someone who has lived in France and has a technical background. He sends out a few emails, automatically generated by the social networking software, and settles back to sip his Pina Colada. Within minutes, one of his friends lets him know he may have a contact and to please give him a call. John pushes a few keys and is talking to his friend within seconds. It turns out that his friend knows someone in a similar company that might be interested and has the right general background. Getting the email address of this contact, John fires off an inquiry to see if this person has any interest in talking about a possible move. Before the day is out he has received two more contacts from his network and has gotten a response from the potential candidate. Good news! He is interested. John asks him to go to the website at his firm and provide the information there about himself that John will need. He also stresses that the website will help him get a better idea about the company and whether it looks like a place he would like to work. The candidate is also asked to take a short skills test, a brief French test (that John set up right after he got the requisition by calling the testing company and getting a link put on the recruiting web page), and the results are emailed to John’s phone within hours. By the following morning, John has a viable candidate to present to the hiring manager ó by email, of course ó and is still enjoying the Hawaiian sun. From requisition to French-speaking, qualified candidate in less than 24 hours. This is the future of recruiting: wireless-enabled, web-based technology carefully networked into a system that will allow you to handle much more volume with greater ease than you handle less volume today. Everything we need to make this scenario real already exists and most of it you probably have on your desk. The trick, as always, is making all the pieces work seamlessly together. This is our challenge and our future.
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