A Vision for the Future of Recruitment: Recruitment 3.0

(This article, co-authored with Amy McKee, director, global talent acquisition, at Autodesk, is a greatly abridged version of an in-depth article also co-written with McKee and published in the June Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership.)

There has never been a better time to be a recruiter.

What we do can quite literally make or break a company. If we can’t attract and retain the best staff, then our company will lose ground rapidly, financials will suffer, and it will die a slow painful death.

Recruitment is undergoing a change. Not just a small scale evolution but a fundamental seismic shift. A change that will see the recruiting landscape change forever. A change that will see many traditional recruiters falling behind and being replaced by new, differently skilled recruiters, ready for the challenges of Recruitment 3.0.

Indeed, it is not only recruiters who will be found obsolete in Recruitment 3.0 but many of the current recruitment leaders in top companies today, criminally not preparing their Fortune 500 Companies for the new realities of a changing recruitment landscape. Recruitment leaders’ version 1.0 are real, out there in abundance, so obsessed in process and introverted to the point of not seeing outside the window of their office, damaging the prospects of the very company they seek to serve.

Why the need for change?

The current global recruitment landscape is changing. The global war for the best talent is real, (note the use of “best”); talent is geographically mobile and happy to move for the best job; talent is more demanding, not only in pay but career progression and training and development; the experienced talent pool is shrinking in volume; convergence of talent, as recruiters fighting in a smaller talent pool attract candidates across different sectors; the graduate pool is scarily becoming “less skilled” as graduates come out of universities with watered-down degrees, ill-preparing them for working life; talent is less loyal and happy to switch companies every two years on average; competitors are getting smarter in mapping out talent pools and attracting your staff away; and recruitment agencies are failing to be creative in attracting unique talent to their databases, hence perpetuating “recruitment chess” of the same talent across companies.

Those are a lot of dynamics at play.

So are many of the Fortune 500 recruitment leaders applying Recruitment 1.0 solutions to the new world? Let’s first look at the core philosophical differences between traditional recruiting and Recruitment 3.0.

The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: Not everyone is looking

This is the fundamental underlying core essence of Recruitment 3.0. Not everyone is looking for a job. Different market research exists but the benchmark seems to suggest that, for any given role, only 10% of relevant/experienced talent is actively looking for a role at any given moment in time.

That means that 90% of candidates relevant for your role/s are not engaged in job searches. The best candidates typically among them.

Hence in a candidate short market, with a host of competition for particular skill-sets, the global war for the best talent is being fought out among 10% of active job seekers.

So ask yourself this: Why is my recruitment leader focused on using recruitment agencies, posting on job boards, and CV searching, when they are not reaching out to the 90% non-active segment, which could include the best candidates?

The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: Everyone is a potential candidate or brand ambassador, even your consumers

Photo by David Manaster of 2006 ERE ExpoAt the core of the philosophy of Recruitment 3.0 is the definition of a candidate. We typically define one as someone who has nominated themselves to be part of an election process. A voluntary act.

But at what point does someone volunteer themselves to be a candidate? When they see your advertisement? When they apply to your advertisement? When you interview them?

So if they are not a candidate until they volunteer themselves, what are they?

They are your average person sitting drinking a coffee in Starbucks, or leading a team at work, speaking at a conference, running down the road, watching TV, or having a pint of the finest ale down the local pub.

What turns a regular person into a candidate? A whole host of reasons. Not being recognized for their contribution at work, poor relationship with their manager, lack of career development, lack of challenging work, poor remuneration.

A company either waits for the moment that someone presses the button and turns themselves into a candidate and then jumps on them, or makes a proposition that is attractive and tempts them into candidacy.

Hence at the core of Recruitment 3.0 is that everyone is a candidate. And it is up to us to create candidates not wait.

The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: employment brand is pivotal to your success in talent acquisition

What is a brand? Simply a person’s gut feel to a product, service, or organization. Many companies spend millions on their corporate brand identity. But they spend little or no time on defining an employment brand. Indeed some companies are so arrogant they believe their corporate brand is enough to attract people to work for them. Amazing how many well-known corporate brands are nightmares to work for as the arrogance of senior leadership and management feel it is a career pleasure to work for them and spend no time on developing/retaining their core assets.

What is an employment brand? Libby Sartain brilliantly defines it: How a business builds and packages its identity, from its origins and values, and what it promises to deliver to emotionally connect employees so that they in turn deliver what the business promises to customers. Building the employment brand from inside the business, with a consistent substance, voice, and authenticity, may be the most powerful tool a business can use to emotionally engage employees.

Note some of those terms. Particularly “emotion” and “engage.” Big new terms for recruiters to adjust to and understand.

Take a look at your employment brand. Can you define it? Probably less than 3% of the Fortune 500 has a clearly defined EVP.

Put simply, imagine going into a supermarket, seeing lots of product on the shelves, but all of it looks the same and is in white packaging. Would your company allow its product/service offering to be so bland and not stand out? So why allow the employment brand to be that white, blank packaging that is not unique and stand out?

Employment brand is a vast subject and in the full article in the Journal cutting-edge ideas are given on how to impact on the full employee experience. But consider this.

Does recruiting have a role in PR?

If your company wants to reach out to new talent, unfamiliar with your brand, and build employment brand recognition on a wider scale, then PR and  use/partnership/manipulation of the media is critical.

Google your recruitment leader’s name today, alongside your company name. What do you see? The vast majority of Fortune 500 recruitment leaders have no identity on search engines. They don’t promote their company brand.  They don’t speak at events. Recruitment 3.0 leaders will be fired for not being a proactive champion of their company as a great place to work.

The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: The Psychology of People

People are naturally social. They love to talk. Engage. Gossip. They are hungry for information.

When forming a relationship, they want honesty, authenticity, integrity, transparency and communication. Two-way communication.

A good salesperson knows this. Build a relationship. Relationships sell.

When looking at employment branding, people want relationships with people, not faceless, bureaucratic companies.

So the key is allowing people to have transparent, trustworthy, two-way communication with your company. And yes, a relationship.

The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: You are not in control of what people are saying

Everyone’s talking about your company, whether your executive leadership like it or not. Be it your products, services or leaders … and, yes, even your company as a place to work. Google today: “Working for *****” (insert your company name). You can see what people are saying on blogs, websites, and Twitter feeds. Log into Glassdoor.com. Those conversations are taking place right now, (sadly few are taking place on official company channels/sites, as many don’t allow or are closed to any form of engagement or comments).

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People love to talk. The difference in 2011 is that they tell their friends about their views via larger mass communication channels and their friends are now large communities. Word of mouth spreads like wildfire.

So why are so many companies not adjusting to this reality? Corporate PR and Marketing are educated in a specific old school way; it’s their DNA to just push out a message and leave it out there, not to engage in conversation. Heaven forbid, it could distort the core message and can even lead to the message being overturned!. That’s a massive miscalculation in 2011. Not engaging with communities is harming many corporates.

Yes. This is pretty scary for modern corporates. Business can no longer control what is said. Today there is a shift in the balance of power. Technology is shifting the power away from the publishers, media, the elite, corporate to us, the people. Recruiters need to embrace this, as must as their PR & Marketing departments.

Those companies that listen, are humble, have “official channels” that are open and seek to solicit the opinions of their community will be the winners of Recruitment 3.0. But how do companies listen and seek opinions?

The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: Building relationships and communities is key

The growth of the power of the Internet and communication is unstoppable. The “Twitter revolutions” in the Middle East show that people are grasping and using technology to communicate their views, much to their anger of the elite.

Social media and networks are on fire. Whatever you look at — Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter — the growth stats and usage is phenomenal. People talking, 24/7.

Why have so many recruiting leaders and Fortune 500 companies failed to grasp the importance of social media and engaging and building talent communities?

Yes, many companies can beat their chest and proclaim they have a presence on Facebook or Twitter but they are using them in a style reminiscent of Recruitment 1.0 “post, pray, and spray.”

Leap onto some corporate Twitter feeds today. You will see that many are de-facto job boards. A long list of jobs with a hyperlink back to their jobs site. Try replying and communicating with that company and you will more often than not never receive a reply. Indeed some corporate Twitter feeds post more jobs in the course of a week than they have followers.

Let’s cut to the key point. Social media is not about immediate bums on seats. It will not lead to immediate mass new hires or pipeline. It is a vehicle to take people on a journey. A journey that people will board at different junctures. But when reaching the destination, the goal is that they are either someone who wants to work for your company or that they are a Brand Ambassador. Brand Ambassadors are people who may not want to work for you, but they engage in your community, participate in discussions, sing your praises to friends and act as a champion of your brand.

Why do people join at different points on the destination? Some people know your brand and have a feel for your company and hence can reach the end of the journey quickly. Others may not have even heard of your company and hence a long journey of discovery and education awaits. The key is how you attract their attention and how  you engage with them.

Social media is a great vehicle to take people on that voyage of discovery and hence asking yourself some deep questions about why social media is key. Questions like……

  • What’s the purpose of our social media sites?
  • Who is the core target audience?
  • What experience and takeaways do we want our community to have?
  • Will these sites generate repeat visitors?
  • How are our sites “sticky” so people want to stay on them?
  • What’s the difference between our social media sites and our jobs board?
  • What’s the word of mouth likely to be on our social media?

The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: Recruitment is boring

Yes. Sorry folks. Recruitment is boring.

Ask yourself how many recruitment job sites or recruitment social media sites you visit when you are not looking for a job. The answer is maybe zero. When people are looking for a job they will happily visit your jobs board and social media feeds but if they are happy in their job — that 90% of non-active candidates — sorry, but they won’t visit your sites regularly. Unless they are particularly dull people.

So, goal is to create engaged communities who spread the word. That means that any communication has to be two-way and interesting/informative/entertaining to the reader.

The full article in the Journal gives some great ideas on engagement.

The New Recruitment 3.0

Recruitment 3.0 is about building engaged communities, telling a story, listening, discussing and fostering an emotional attachment with new talent.

Recruiter 1.0 and 2.0 will be a dying breed in the coming months and years, replaced and thrown on the scrap heap by Recruiter 3.0 who can combine a range of skills including:

  • PR & messaging
  • Marketing
  • Direct Marketing
  • Market segmentation
  • Candidate Relationship Management
  • Sales
  • Presentation and Communication Skills

Are your recruiters ready?

Is your recruitment leader ready?

All will unravel over the coming months and years and we will see which companies can be transparent and build engaged communities. Will yours?

As I mentioned at the outset, “A Guide to Recruitment 3.0” by myself and Amy McKee, (Global Director of Talent Acquisition of Autodesk), is published in the June edition of the Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership, now available to subscribers. For those who wish to read it, email ERE Editor in Chief Todd Raphael at todd@ere.net and request a copy. This paper is an insight into the strategy of Autodesk Talent Acquisition in the next 12 months in which much will change and be updated to reflect this philosophy. Please feel free to judge us against our own criteria in the coming months.

You can view my presentation on Recruitment 3.0 here.

Matthew Jeffery, pictured at center, cited as one of the world's leading recruitment strategists and leaders, is VP, head of global sourcing and employment branding for SAP. Previously, he was head of EMEA talent acquisition and global employment brand for software giant Autodesk. Previous to Autodesk, he was the global director of recruitment brand for Electronic Arts.


256 Comments on “A Vision for the Future of Recruitment: Recruitment 3.0

  1. Without a doubt, this is one of the best and most relevant articles I have read on this subject. To pick out every single great point that was made would make this a lengthy comment.

    Bottom line is that these are processes and behaviors I myself have been doing for years and I have seen the success in my recruiting functions. If a recruiting department or individual recruiter has not adapted these principles, my advice is to do so quickly – get them in place, start building relationships and start reaping success.

    Moreover, the sooner we as recruiters realize that recruiting is about selling an opportunity and building relationships, the more successful we will become.

  2. Finally! It’s my turn to recruit without all the process, procedures, the dont’s etc. I loved this article I think I’ll stay in the game another 20 years, now it becomes fun.

  3. Nice article, I truly appreciate the very bold statements calling out the Recruiting leaders to step up or step out.

    I would change one word of one of your core points from ‘even’ consumers to *especially* consumers! I’m always shocked at the lack of recruitment that occurs from the pool that is quite literally in front of our faces. What a better employee to have than one who is most intimate with your product or service. Most important as we step into the world of ‘viral’.

    I also believe that Recruiting IS Marketing now. There should be a solid partnership between these two departments,(in my perfect world, recruiting reports into the SVP of Marketing and not HR) sharing media budget and event opportunties. What better way to attract this elusive 10%, than to appear where you are least expected. Plant your recruiters/sourcers on the trade forums, in the commercials, on the air – they should be going where your top sales people are going.

    Good stuff!


  4. This is a great article! Amazingly, so many companies are oblivious of the image they portray to the potential talent. More often than not, traditional recruiters do not believe in returning candidate calls. Even though the job market is favorable for employers, exceptional talent is left out because of poor or total lack of candidate relationship management. The article is unambiguous in pointing out the bold approach to recruiting.

  5. Great article, however, I have to say this should not be “new” or dubbed “3.0”. The saying of “everyone is a candidate” is as proverbial as the saying of “everyone is a recruiter”. I have been recruiting long before we even had access to the Internet. “Back in ‘nam”, we were excited when we upgraded our 9.6KB Dial-Up Modem to a 14.4KB Modem, only to get kicked off of Monsterboard (not Monster.com yet) and CareerMosaic…remember that?

    3.0 really comes down to what I know as “Recruiting 101” – networking, networking, networking. It is ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIP-BUILDING! Take away the Internet and all of your social media strategies (you do have one, right?), and it all boils down to good ol’ fashioned one-on-one, in-person relationship building and networking. THAT is how you become a successful recruiter – having the desire to just meet and talk with everyone you come across, even when not in any type of work environment.

    I think the 3.0 strategy should have a pre-requisite disclaimer notice that says, “must be extroverted inside/outside of the office, yet not self-centered or egotistical.”

  6. The article did a great job announcing the change of the horizon for recruiting. However, these are not new thoughts entering an age old profession.

    The passive candidate has been the target for each and every headhunter I know since I entered the industry. It is not news that not everyone is looking.

    3.0 is as Mr. Dimacali put it Recruiting 101. And if that is the shift, that is very good news.

    What I think you are seeing is a shift versus some sort of evolution or revolution within the recruiting field. Marketing professionals will be (and have been) very suited to bring value to a company’s recruitment process.

    Successful companies will have a long term approach to gaining the talent they desire versus transactional needs as they arise.

    Headhunters (or as people like to say 3rd party vendors) have been pursuing the passive candidates for years with all the skills you list – marketing, sales, etc.

    It is all about the relationships created over a long period of time.

  7. Thanks for the comments guys. Some great reflection points here.

    @Ginger. That is very cool and forward thinking that recruiting reports into the SVP Marketing. Super impressive with your companies thinking. In most organisations recruiting reports into HR. Making a very generalist statement, HR can be a very conservative function, (have to exclude my current company from this), but marketing is and should be a fast changing and evolving change led function. Great to see recruiting treated in that domain. In many ways a perfect fit.

    Eric, I agree with you. but what is scary is that many leading companies, think Fortune 500, dont get it. Their recruiting leaders dont get it. In fact many recruiting leaders are transactional and process focus and miss the whole engagement piece out. No focus on Employment Brand, social media or building communities. I would love for you to read the full version, (please email todd@ere.net), and I hope you see some new ideas in there that are ahead of the update in modem speed ;). Would love your views as well. Please email me direct 🙂 (matthew.jeffery@autodesk.com).

    @ Derek. Again, I agree. Headhunters have been building relationships for years. But question is how we, ‘corporate teams’, build engaged relationships with community pools across the world. Break down the barriers and create communities of brand ambassadors, evangelists, whatever you want to call them.

  8. I work at a Fortune 50 company and I’m proud to say that if you message or mention our Company’s Careers account, we respond!

  9. Hi Todd,

    Well stated! The challenge of finding the right talent in the current economy plus the instant availability of word-of-mouth-level social media information presents an opportunity for recruiters who “have game”, while threatening companies whose recruiters don’t adapt.

    Here’s a simple branding exercise: when someone Googles your company, what comes up first? And once someone discards the links to marketing and recruiting boilerplate, what do they see? Often this is social media. At my biggest client (where I provide social media strategy and coaching) we find that the world at large, and particularly recruits, check out the company’s social media as a matter of course. For this reason social media should be the focus not only for branding but for starting meaningful conversations showcasing your value proposition as an employer. Fortunately customers tend like places that look like they have engaged, committed employees, too.

    Please update us about your campaign at AutoDesk as it evolves! Thanks,

    – Bruce

  10. Bloody fantastic. Brilliant. Thanks for such a well written and though through piece. So much to agree with. So much to be both daunted and excited by. I so want to be a part of the new 3.0 world order. Tremendous stuff!

  11. @ Sukie Be proud. Tell us who they are. It is a rarity and deserves championing 🙂

    @ Bruce. Will keep you informed of the journey at Autodesk. We have clear goals and we are honest that we have a long way to go. But it’s cool to aim for the stars 🙂 I can never remember the rest of that expression 😉

    @ Andy. Wow. Thanks for the comments. What is exciting is that recruitment matters again. More than ever. What we do really affects the bottom line. In many ways we are more vital than ever. In the past there was plentiful talent to go round. Today, real talent is sparse and it makes all the difference how we attract it. Really exciting.

  12. @ Matthew Jeffery:

    Don’t get me wrong, as I definitely do understand your points on the importance of social media strategies, employment branding, community building, etc. etc., I agree 100% that the majority of the Big Co’s out there, are still used to the tracking results of their recruiting professionals by means of their ad postings, # of interviews and candidates submitted to a hiring manager, blah blah. What they are failing to recognize is providing the necessary resources to help us network better. We should have a strong brand recognition and should be a pivotal player in terms of PR and Marketing…Recruiting IS Marketing. A lot of what we do as recruiters, can’t even be calculated in some Excel spreadsheet for them to show off to their investors. Recruiting is much more than gauging how good a recruiter is by the amount of LinkedIn Connections he/she has! It is all about the intangible qualities that a recruiter possesses, and how he/she can put it to use in terms of growing the company. Building relationships is not an overnight task and can take several months to develop…similar as to when I had to headhunt C-level talent for past organizations. It becomes a “courtship” that develops over time. Sooner or later, it evolves and produces for you down the road.

    In any case, I do enjoy all of ere.net’s articles and postings. I appreciate you bringing back a lot of core values that recruiters with less than 10 years’ experience may not necessarily possess, which is the traditional forms of recruiting: networking and relationship-building. The definitions of those should NOT be solely related to social media networking. Instead, I believe social media networking is yet another tool that recruiters can utilize in this new age of headhunting for talent.

  13. Thanks, Matthew. A very thoughtful article.

    I’d like to address your points:


    “There has never been a better time to be a recruiter.”
    1998-2000 was better- we never made more money before or since, and we were very highly sought-out.


    ” The global war for the best talent is real, (note the use of “best”); talent is geographically mobile and happy to move for the best job; talent is more demanding, not only in pay but career progression and training and development; the experienced talent pool is shrinking in volume; convergence of talent, as recruiters fighting in a smaller talent pool attract candidates across different sectors; the graduate pool is scarily becoming “less skilled” as graduates come out of universities with watered-down degrees, ill-preparing them for working life; talent is less loyal and happy to switch companies every two years on average; competitors are getting smarter in mapping out talent pools and attracting your staff away; and recruitment agencies are failing to be creative in attracting unique talent to their databases, hence perpetuating “recruitment chess” of the same talent across companies.”

    There is NO war for talent for 90% of the employed workforce (let alone the ~16% un[der]employed in the US).
    If your company isn’t prepared to offer the best (salary, benefits, opportunities, QOL, something tangible) you shouldn’t expect to get the top 10%, anyway:
    “To hire the best, you have to BE the best.”
    Go for the 10th-20th percent, and you will get your pick of hardworking, loyal employees who’ll be there when you need them.

    Also, read these economic forecasts:

    Economic Forecasts

    Economic forecasting survey, June 2011 (WSJ): economic growth = 2.7% in 2011, 3% in 2012; unemployment at 9% in June 2011, 8.6% at end of 2011, 7.9% at end of 2012; inflation = 3% in 2011, 2.4% in 2012; Fed raises interest rates in 2012Q1

    AP economic survey (June 13): economic growth = 2.6% in 2011, unemployment declines to 8.7% in Dec 2011

    Wells Fargo Securities Economic Forecast (latest monthly forecast, June 2011; latest weekly forecast, June 3): economic growth = 2% in 2nd quarter of 2011, 2.4% in 2011 and 2.6% in 2012; core PCE inflation = 1.3% in 2011 and 2% in 2012; CPI inflation = 3.4% in 2011, 3.1% in 2012; unemployment rate declines to 8.8% at end of 2011 and 8.1% by the end of 2012; Fed begins to raise interest rates in 2012Q2

    Bloomberg (June 2011): economic growth = 2.5% in 2011 (2.3% in 2011Q2, 3.2% in second half of 2011), 3% in 2012 and 2013; Fed begins to increase interest rates in 2012Q2

    World Bank (June 7): US economy to grow by 2.6% in 2011, 2.9% in 2012

    NABE May survey (CNBC): economic growth = 2.8% in 2011; CPI inflation = 2.8% in 2011, 2.1% in 2012; unemployment rate averages 8.7% in 2011, 8.2% in 2012

    Survey of Professional Forecasters (latest survey May 2011): economic growth = 2.7% in 2011, 3% in 2012, 2.8% in 2013; core inflation (PCE) = 1.5% in 2011 and 1.6% in 2012 (overall PCE inflation = 2.6% in 2011, 1.9% in 2012); unemployment rate = 8.5% in 2011Q4; average unemployment rate = 8.1% in 2012, 7.5% in 2013

    Fed Forecast as of April 2011: economic growth = 3.1-3.3% in 2011 and 3.5-4.2% in 2012 (note: these are from 4th quarter to 4th quarter while other forecasts compare yearly averages); unemployment rate = 8.4-8.7% in 2011 and 7.6-7.9% in 2012 (estimates are for 4th quarter of the respective year); natural rate of unemployment = 5.2 to 5.6% (range = 5 to 6%); inflation as measured by core PCE index of 0.8% to 1% in 2010, 1.3 to 1.6% in 2011 and 1.3 to 1.8% in 2012

    Quarterly economic survey (USA Today – Apr 2011): economic growth = 2.9% in 2011; unemployment = 8.5% in fourth quarter of 2011

    IMF (Apr 2011): includes global forecasts; US economic growth = 2.8% in 2011, 2.9% in 2012

    Univ. of Michigan Economic Forecast (executive summary – March 15, 2011): economic growth = 3.6% in 1st half of 2011, 2.9% in 2nd half of 2011, 2.9% in 2012; core inflation (CPI) = 1.2% in 2011 (overall inflation =2.4%) and 1.6% in 2012 (overall inflation = 1.6%); unemployment rate averages 8.8% in 2011 and declines to 8.4% by end of 2012

    OMB (Feb 2011 – see pdf page9): economic growth (end of year comparisons) = 3.1% in 2011, 4% in 2012; unemployment (end of year) = 9.1% in 2011, 8.2% in 2012; inflation = 1.4% in 2011, 1.9% in 2012; natural rate of unemployment = 5.3%, growth in potential GDP = 2.5% (economy returns to potential at the end of 2017); see pdf page 12 for comparison with other forecasts

    Reuters Survey (CNBC – Feb 2011): forecasts for 2011 – economic growth = 3.2%, inflation = 1.9%, core inflation = 1.1%

    CBO (Jan 2011): economic growth = 3.1% in 2011, 2.8% in 2012; unemployment = 9.2% in fourth quarter 2011, 8.2% in 2012Q4, core PCE inflation = 1% in 2011 and 1.2% in 2012; growth in potential GDP = 2.2% from 2011-2016 and 2.4% from 2017-2021; natural rate of unemployment = 5.2 to 5.3% (don’t reach that rate until 2016)

    Livingston Survey (latest survey – Dec 2010): economic growth = 2.5% in first half of 2011 and 2.9% in second half of 2011; unemployment rate = 9.4% in June 2011 and 9.2% in Dec 2011; inflation (CPI) = 1.6% for 2011 and 2% for 2012


    The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: The Psychology of People

    Beneath a thin veneer or rational profit maximization, companies basically are run by their executives following the GAFI Principles:
    “Greed, Arrogance, Fear, Ignorance/Incompetence”. Deny/neglect this at your peril.


    “The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: You are not in control of what people are saying”

    I agree with you. A company should work to treat its people as professionally and as decently as possible, and hope for the best. The hype-meisters don’t rule as effectively anymore.


    “The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: Building relationships and communities is key”

    Who has time for this? Applicants want jobs NOW. Recruiters want to fill positions NOW.
    I’d love to create pipelines, but it’s rare that companies have/create bandwidth to do so.
    “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone- let’s hire em!”


    “The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: Everyone is a potential candidate or brand ambassador, even your consumers”
    Let’s re-state this: “Everyone is a potential candidate or brand ambassador, even your employees”. Loyalty= Cash-flow


    “The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: Recruitment is boring”
    I’ll approach this a bit differently:
    Recruitment should be boring- a well-planned recruiting strategy should reduce unexpected contingencies to a minimum- “no surprises”
    Recruitment is boring, but it shouldn’t – anything possible that is non “creative (to borrow the usage from Prof. Richard Florida)- low touch, low-value add activities (essentially anything you wouldn’t pay a recruiter $50+/hr to do) should be no-sourced, through-sourced, or out-sourced. (BTW, most of this low-touch stuff is the boring stuff, at least to me….)


    “The New Recruitment 3.0
    Recruitment 3.0 is about building engaged communities, telling a story, listening, discussing and fostering an emotional attachment with new talent.”

    I call your “New Recruitment 3.0” and raise you my “Agile Recruiting Manifesto”

    Manifesto for Agile Recruiting
    (This was “sampled” from the Agile SW Development Manifesto. -kh)

    We are uncovering better ways of hiring people by doing it and helping others do it.
    Through this work we have come to value:
    • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    • Quick, quality hires over comprehensive documentation
    • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    • Responding to change over following a plan
    That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

    Principles behind the Agile Recruiting Manifesto
    We follow these principles:
    • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of quality hires.
    • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
    • Deliver quality hires frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
    • Internal customers and recruiters must work together daily throughout the project.
    • Build projects around motivated individuals.
    • Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
    • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a recruiting team is face-to-face conversation.
    • A quality hire which is on-time and within budget is the primary measure of progress.
    • Agile processes promote sustainable employee development.
    • The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
    • Continuous attention to professional excellence and first-class service enhances agility.
    • Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work NOT done–is essential.
    • The best requirements, processes, and hires emerge from self-organizing teams.
    • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

    I challenge staffing organizations to adopt, implement, and maintain these policies and principles. Don’t know how? I’ll be happy to show you.


    Keith Halperin

  14. Great article Matthew. You’ve really hit the nail on the head across all of those points.

    One of the key points that really resonates with me is that this seismic shift really sits with the cultural change. It’s a change from simply focussing on technology and process to really understanding the psychology of people that will underpin our value to business moving forward.

  15. The article is a nice collection of things that smart capable recruiters have known for quite a while. That doesn’t mean that the wisdom is wisely followed, so it’s worthwhile to write it, but it’s hardly fair to suggest that this is Recruitment 3.0. It is, as someone said, 101. Employer brand, passive candidates… of course.

    If there is a 3.0, it is the online version of what the very best companies do, nearly all of them, which is to use science to make hiring much more effective than any other approach. Good assessments – of BOTH job and person – work and they work wonders. The evidence is incontestable. It will go entirely online, IS going entirely online, and that like social networks as the 3.0 version of networks, is the future of recruiting.

  16. @ Keith. Wow. First off thanks for the reply. There is nothing more rewarding that writing an article and then seeing someone craft a reply and pushing alternative views. Love it. And thanks for going to the effort. Please do ask Todd for the full version as I would love your views.

    I would also love to go to an event and see these subjects debated on a panel. Certainly something that could be good at a future ERE Event.

    Phew. Where do I start.

    ‘There has never been a better time to be a recruiter’. I agree with your point…from a financial perspective. Certainly agency recruiters could cream off commission a few years back. I was looking at it from a job satisfaction and personal internal satisfcation viewpoint. Recruiting has traditionally been seen as the poor cousin of HR. Given all the demands today, that is way off the mark. Especially given some of the new skills and different experiences. In many examples, recruiting has been ahead of the curve adopting social media and engaging compared to internal marketing departments. Just think that the low skilled easy days are past recruiters. Financially, yes…you are right…not great times.

    ‘War for Talent’. Being honest most companies in the Fortune 500, (yes there are exceptions), who just rely on the 10% active job seekers. Using agencies, especially in EMEA. Job boards, post pray, spray is prevalent. Maybe some internal referrals but building a predictable talent pipeline is not on the cards. Shame on those companies as the ‘recruitment chess’ they are playing is just leading to increased salaries and sign on bonuses/relo support awards.

    Cant argue with the economic data. Times are tough. Austerity is the by word. But companies need great talent. It is even more important to hire those people who can develop new products, open up new markets, create new sales, market new ideas. Companies on hiring freezes and not recruiting are going to have a painful climb out of the recession. It is up to recruiters to put on the plate of hiring managers and directors THE BEST employees they can and push the hiring agenda.

    Psychology of people: Many have your view. But if many companies are not run for profit, profits that shareholders often reinvest, (to earn more money), creates new jobs and more money in peoples pockets. The more entrepreneurs we have in the world, the better for workers and the general standard of living for all. This of course leads us to the edge of a debate on capitalism and socialism and that is for another site….;)

    Building Communities: Key is timing. Will investing and building communities now, (yes a time factor), help reduce recruiting pain and time in the future. Technology is helping us get closer to our talent and that is great they at last can see behind the corporate iron curtain and speak and engage with real people. That’s a massive advance. And if more and more ‘structured’ community building reduces your time in the future finding great candidates I am sure you will cheer.

    Agile recruiting v Recruitment 3.0 Now theres a debate that I would love to have with you 🙂 I hope we get the chance 😉

    Again, thanks for your great comments and I am sure you will have more 😉 (If there is a delay in my reply on here, don’t forget I am a Brit and bed time looms).

  17. @Paul: I had this discussion recently here- ISTM that until assessment can be made effective across a wide range of positions and environments, cheap, and idiot-proof, it will remain a niche market.

    @Matthew: I thank you for your full and kind response at a late hour. It may speak to your British politeness.
    It seems we agree on far more than we disagree on. I would very much enjoy being on a panel again to discuss these and other matters. (HINT, HINT, TODD!)

    “I was looking at it from a job satisfaction and personal internal satisfaction viewpoint.” I would respectively disagree with you here. It seems that over the past several years, there has been a downgrading in the regard that both internal and external recruiters are held. Instead of senior hands hired for their advisory and consultative experience, more companies (which hire recruiters) look for junior recruiters who act in a more order-taking perspective, and are less likely to challenge dysfunctional practices. I would prefer to think of this a side-effect of the need to economize on recruiting expenditures rather than a deliberate plan.

    “Just think that the low skilled easy days are past recruiters.” I’d like to think so, but from my perspective: large amounts of money are made in the recruiting business on the basis that clients are unaware of better, more cost-effective solutions. For example: I happen to think that contingency recruiting is a vital and necessary component of recruiting, and it should be paid 30% or more for when it’s truly needed for searches that otherwise can’t be done, but it is unjustified paying 20% for a particular position that a company could fill with an ~$100 search on a number of job boards, or $11/hr for a virtual sourcer to find the same people.

    “But if many companies are not run for profit, profits that shareholders often reinvest, (to earn more money), creates new jobs and more money in people’s pockets.”
    I have no problem with the profit motive- I like it in fact. “Profits are like manure- spread them around to make things grow.” I do have problems with increasing concentrations of wealth- “giant bonuses for a few, nothing for most, layoffs for some.” Beyond that, I think that the desire for power, for control often trumps pure economic gain. Just look at companies with bloated and dysfunctional hiring practices who waste millions based on the prejudices and biases of those in charge. Thus, the “A” part of “GAFI”: ARROGANCE.

    “Building Communities: Key is timing. Will investing and building communities now, (yes a time factor), help reduce recruiting pain and time in the future.”
    I agree. Companies need to be willing to spend the time, effort, and MONEY to do it effectively, and for Heaven’s sake DON’T have the same recruiters who are responsible for filling a couple of dozen reqs. NOW also be responsible for creating viable communities/pipelines in a year- the goals and processes used are radically different and often opposed to each other.

    “Agile recruiting v Recruitment 3.0 Now there’s a debate that I would love to have with you 🙂 I hope we get the chance ;)”
    Me too, Matthew. ?


    Keith “Once Contracted for Autodesk in San Rafael” Halperin

  18. Matthew – a watershed article that needs no accolades.

    You have articulated the key issues with the last 60 years of inefficiencies and lack of evolution. To say in 2011 that most of the underpinnings of what the industry relies on (resumes, job ads, screen outs, ec.) would be easily recognized by Edison or Ford, is to make the case that antiquated systems need to change. As many have pointed out, this is not news…but what you have brought in to the open is that with social technology norms now accepted and used by grandmothers, that the game as we know it is changing forever. There is a tidal wave of people that get responses from celebrities on Twitter more readily than they do from a company they have applied to and they are not going to stand for it anymore – and they aren’t.

    Of course 75% of the workforce don’t go to job boards, view job ads or visit career sites – mostly because of the way they have been conditioned to interact with employment practices that are completely geared to the active job seeker…why would these potential “career consumers go there?

    Everyone should ask themselves why it is that 75% of all jobs are attained through referrals – could it be that they don’t want to deal with the Recruiter or their systems or processes? Totally agree that the non actively looking worker will run in the opposite direction than join a career site or work building a career. On this website, Dr. John Sullivan pointed out that less than 5% of US workers invest in their careers when they don’t have to find a job. That metric in itself tells the whole story.

    I can attest that if the majority of workers were confronted with a situation where they aren’t made to feel small – that there would be an avalanche of prospective workers wanting to get to their dream calling (been attracting this sort with a contrarian approach for the last 10 years). It won’t matter if the people working in empoyment push back against this tide as they will be run over. The world is more than changing and those that embrace it and make a strategic plan to begin engaging with their career consumers will win the day. The term “Social Relations” may crop up as a new department to add to OD, LD, ER, Bennies and the term recruitment may go the way of the resume or buggy whip…great article!

  19. One last thought…

    Career building should be one of the most exciting, enriching, rewarding and fun things a person invests time in…let’s face it, what we do in our career is 70% of our time spent!

    Sure, not everyone will “work” at what they love to do – but shouldn’t that be the goal of every worker? Instead we describe it as a dream…

    If there were pathways for people to tread down that get them positioned for the work they love to do then the term “work” may not retain its current meaning – and Happy Hour Friday may not be the most coveted time of the week! Think about it – it can happen!

  20. I’m going to rock the boat a little and say this is a horrible article…some of the underlying points were well made (more on this in a moment) but the self-righteous holier than though way it was presented was just awful.

    First, I’d really like to understand how we jumped from 1.0 to 3.0? Why are we contrasting 1.0 with 3.0 and neither of them with 2.0?

    Second, what’s with the bold assumptions about the incompetence of past recruiting standards. For example:

    “Not Everyone is Looking – So ask yourself this: Why is my recruitment leader focused on using recruitment agencies, posting on job boards, and CV searching, when they are not reaching out to the 90% non-active segment, which could include the best candidates?”

    I’m sorry, when did this become new? First, any recruitment agency worth their salt will focus on passive candidates for hard to find positions, this isn’t new, it’s where the term “head hunter” came from and it’s decades old. Second, there’s a very obvious reasons companies don’t reach out to the passive market nearly as much as they should…they don’t know how! Seriously, everyone knows most of the best people in highly skilled niches are already working someplace that’s never been a question, the question has always been “how do you reach those people?” Third, there’s a reason they post on job boards etc. Because those people are low hanging fruit, moving a high quality highly skilled employee from one of your major competitors can take a year, sometimes more, it’s a long and slow process of (as the article says) developing relationships and showing them the merit of your employment brand. On the other hand active job seekers can be hired with 2 weeks notice or less in many cases, which is a critical requirement for today’s staffing needs. YOu want to talk about the real world of recruitment 3.0 or 2.0 or whatever you want to call it? Try flexible staffing. The need to ramp up and down quickly, to bring on the right people for a short term contract, perhaps doubling or tripling the workforce of a a software or oilfield company practically overnight. You don’t do that through targeted passive job searching in most cases, not without considerable planning, which would often be a waste because plans change so quickly in today’s fast moving world. Yes, it’s important to have that core team and just as targeting active job seekers isn’t ever going to go away so to will targeted courtship never go away, but neither is hardly the be all and end all.

    “Recruitment is boring”

    Again, this is somehow new? Last time I checked no one has ever gone to job fairs regularly unless they were looking for work, same goes for checking newspaper listings, etc.

    “Building relationships and communities is key”

    I’d say the communities part is probably somewhat true, especially due to shifts in the importance of geography with respect to communication, but relationships aren’t anything new. My grand mother told me stories about the importance of relationships in the job hunts/hunt for talent decades ago.

    I won’t go through point by point, but suffice to say that these “Grand revelations” touted as some sort of ground breaking up coming reality are rarely anything so dramatic (more on this in a moment).

    “What is an employment brand? Libby Sartain brilliantly defines it: How a business builds and packages its identity, from its origins and values, and what it promises to deliver to emotionally connect employees so that they in turn deliver what the business promises to customers. Building the employment brand from inside the business, with a consistent substance, voice, and authenticity, may be the most powerful tool a business can use to emotionally engage employees.”

    Wow…that’s not what an employment brand is at all! A brand is not “how a business builds…” that could be the process of branding. But it’s not what a brand is. A brand was simply defined previously, it’s the feeling people have about you. In the case of the employment brand it’s the feeling people have about working for you/with you. How that’s shaped is quite another matter (it’s also worth noting that it can vary radically from person to person, with one person having great things to say and others having poor things to say. This by the way is the fundamental challenge of employment branding as compared with personal or corporate branding. Branding is ALL about consistency. Unfortunately, human resources is anything but consistent. There are too many people involved and people by their very nature tend to vary as individuals, let alone as a group. The larger the organization gets the closer it gets to average (take a look at religions, doesn’t matter how noble the principles are that they were founded on the people by and large are pretty much the same). You can implement standard policies across an organization. You can implement consistent training. You can broadcast a fixed message. All of those things help, but really, in today’s world your managers become your assets, not that this is anything new either, but from an employment branding standpoint this probably needs to become the focus, pushing individual employment brands of managers as opposed to larger corporate employment brands (this would be a dramatic shift in operational approach to employment branding that could signal a “3.0” type shift).

    Then there’s the other side of employment branding, which is really the key piece I’d like to address with respect to the article and many other writers overall, that is to say the issue of ROI. It’s nice that you invest a lot in employment branding (polls of senior management, HR Directors etc. typically list employment branding very low on their list of concerns by the way with change management being #1) but the question is what’s the ROI? As a general rule, focusing on the people to get to the goal isn’t as effective as focusing on the goal to unite the people. This is the point with respect to all the self proclaimed social media gurus’ rhetoric regarding transparent, authentic communication, joining the conversation, etc. It’s very nice but at the end of the day Coca-Cola gets better ROI off their superbowl advertising than Pepsi does off an equivalent amount of money poured into social media. Often these “gurus” spout off the importance of this conversation stuff without really understanding the economics, or perhaps more importantly, why conversations are important and consequently where they fit and where they don’t.

    Here are some considerations:

    1. Undoubtedly conversations are important in certain transactions at certain times, in fact they are the transaction in some cases…but not all, not even the majority

    2. Economic scale comes from minimizing conversations because conversations require our most scarce resource, time – as has been discussed in other threads we simply can’t afford the time necessary to converse and engage with all 16 000 people applying to Google each day…but do you know what? It’s not decreasing the extent to which those people are applying, because they want to be a part of something big and amazing, conversations are a very inefficient way to communicate with large groups, they are fantastic for key relationships and key occasions, but there’s a reason for the success of mass media

    3. There are 3 fundamental reasons conversations are effective:
    a) they allow for much higher quality feedback much more quickly (note that’s high quality not high volume, you have to be able to turn quality into volume to make large amounts of money)
    b) they stand a better chance of being heard through the noise – in a world of mass advertising where we are bombarded by hundreds of messages per day we tend to tune most of them out and listen only selectively, conversations tend to be better heard, but this is tricky because key conversations tend to be better heard others are often tuned out as well
    c) they speed up the communication loop meaning issues can be worked through much more quickly

    Those are areas where conversations are the better option…in many other cases broadcasting a message is still far better because it’s just more efficient and plants seeds for the community to have conversations of their own (many people seem to fail to realize some of the key value points arising from social media, which is the issue of context, which is where we get meaning, that they don’t necessarily need to be involved in the conversations, those conversations can serve them either way). The art of social media isn’t siting there having conversations with 12 000 people…it’s planting a seed that causes 12 000 people to have conversations about you with each other in a strategic way and pass that message on to many others. Look at Apple for perhaps the best example of this. Apple isn’t out there having conversations, as a general rule Apple communicates hardly at all…that’s been one of their most successful approaches, in fact they work hard to shut down conversations that come out from the company. But that’s ok because everyday thousands of blogs and forums have tends of thousands of conversations about them promoting and exposing their brand, and millions of individuals do the same. THAT, not paying your staff to sit on Facebook and Twitter engaging with the audience is what the power of social media is about.

    If there is a Recruitment 3.0 it will be about 3 key things coming together:

    1. The focus on HR as a driver of profit and share-holder value

    2. The focus on micro-brands within the company to drive employment brands and recruitment

    3. Leveraging audience conversations as opposed to company conversations to drive ROI of the employment brand(s)

    Ultimately, businesses exist to make profit, so it’s got to come back to that and how technology and cultural changes will help, not hinder, reaching that goal. Social media is a wonderful tool, but the real value has yet to be explored. That value is understanding the context of conversations, of having key conversations with community influencers who are going to engage with their own audiences and start other conversations, as opposed to spending millions of dollars spreading a message to people with whom it won’t matter.

  21. Great analysis Matthew

    For me, Rec 3.0 will be going back to the principles of rec 0.0 – sourcing. We have lost the ability to source in the last 15 years, relying instead on our sole ability to attract. That would have been fine if the veneer of the employer story had not been undermined by the difference between truth and reality, which has increasingly been hard to hide over the last decade.

    The War for Talent is a myth – thats not so say its going on all around us but its totally pointless and unnecessary. In fact if you are actively engaged in the war for talent you are missing out and deploying unnecessary resources. There is no shortage of talent – the problem lies in the distribution and supply chain. Of course there is a perception, but thats simply because, as you rightly point out, most are fishing in that small 10% pool of ‘active candidates’.

    Our friends McKinsey wrote a great paper but it has turned out to be one of the most mentioned but least actually read paper of all time. MK were not saying that there will be a shortage of talented people and you therefore must wage a war to grab it all, per se. No, what they were actually saying was, that in a future world of super competition, changing demographics (fewer people entering the working population) and changing expectations of those people (They dont believe the BS anymore) you better have a GREAT proposition. Effectively what they were saying was you need to engage, do it authentically and make it compelling. Most companies are still failing miserably to do this.

    The brand – i agree the employer brand is key, but i think its a mistake to think of it separately. The smart organisations have a compelling proposition – period. They realise their brand, their being, reaches across all groups – customers, employees and potential employees. Dumb organisations are still treating these groups as separate entities. Worse, they actively seek to keep them apart. Of course, social habits are breaking these barriers down and as you rightly point out again above, its out of the organisations control. Those that get it have a seamless experience across all groups.

    Forget social media and the hype – what is happening here is that the desire and ability to connect, share and support is now able to grow globally, through the power of the individual. The organisations we belong to no longer provide the technology framework – hardware or software – that we needed in the past. Someone else did!

    So we can, and should, look forward to an incredible decade where our ability to connect and share will undermine any amount of brand spend you can throw out there. Forget employee referrals – thats so rec 1.0 – what about ‘customers referring employees’? And being rewarded for it? And it being tied into their existing customer loyalty program? What about new employees who have been loyal customers getting greater staff discounts??

    The potential is huge but as yet, the leadership prefers to mumble on about policy and control.

    And a note on small businesses as asked by my good friend @mervyndinnen The new social dynamic levels the playing field. Employer brand spend is no longer the differentiator. A micro business can go global overnight on social channels. Small businesses can create compelling propositions and outgun the big guys.

    Thats what i love about this collaborative momentum.

    Great post, got me going this morning as you can tell. Would love to read the full paper and really need to get that coffee in soon 😉

  22. Excellent article. Problem for us futurologists is we are seen as visionaries bordering hype – even at the point of when something becomes real and is happening now!

    Many recruiters are indeed applying web1.0 rules in socialrecruiting – broadcasting noise to no one listening that have certainly not been pre engaged in anything relationship at all.

    Those recruiters not engaging will tend to be stuck to the limitation of broadcast mode to only the 10% active candidates looking now, yesterday and the day before. Still working for some – but cannot come in to future.

    So now how to influence mindset becomes key – in the right places, the right people, the strategy, the c-suit?

  23. Wow. Getting a lot of great information, comments and some great debates reging on here. I wish some of the Conferences I attend have this level of informed/intellectual debate. Very cool.

    @ Keith. Again, love the reply. My British politeness LOL. That caused me to chuckle. Yes a panel discussion would be something that would be awesome to have with you. Some meaty points that need the oxygen of people listening and debating and then making their own mind up. These debates should be taking place in Boardrooms not just the ERE forum 😉

    On your point of job satisfaction, I do get where you are coming from. But it is fair to say that, a few years back, recruiting was a lot easier than today. And dare I say it, lower skilled / lower experienced people could be successful recruiters. Some could rely on agencies to find candidates and then push them through the process and bizarelly companies were happy to pay these often vast sums. Alternatively, posting a few job specs on different job boards, could yield results. And lets be honest, that was not rocket science.

    Fast forward to today, there are far more challenging conditions to be a recruiter. Roles are more speciliased, technical and harder to find. The experienced talent pool is shrinking as companies still grow, (even in austere times). So recruiters have to be more skilled and savvy on how to identify, reach out and attract top talent. Anyone can attract medium talent but none of us are in that game. Dont get me wrong, jobbers are great but the brief from hiring managers is upper quartile talent. hence recruiters, as we move forward have to be even better reaching out into the passive community. That makes our role more valued as companies need skilled recruiters to survive. Hence from that viewpoint being a recruiter could be seen as being better valued. I get more satisfaction today than a few years back because the remits of recruiting are far bigger and allow greater greater creaticity, mostly due to technology advancement and culture change, (people living their lives online). However, in the boom thimes, hell yes, agency side, we could earn far more as hiring was super easy.

    I think recruiting agenmcies still have a huge part to play. And the clever ones will survive and thrive. Goal is how they reach out and build their own communities and identify ‘unique’ talent. By unique I refer to talent that is not readily available. If I register a role with 5 agencies today, odds are, same candidate names would be forwarded to me by several agencies, (hence that old chestnut debate who owns the candidate and who was first….tiresome), and then, once at the end of the hiring process, to find the agency has sent them to 4 competitors and they have 4 counter offers and so begins the game of offer poke, and as salaries are often pegged internally for equity reasons, the sign on bonus kicks in. So, a companies goal is how if reaches outside of the active looking pool. We agree on that I am sure.

    Profit distribution. Totally get your points and I am sure most reading will agree. Trouble is that profit distribution has always been thus so. Fascinating debate subject over a late night glass of wine 🙂

    And I look forward to meeting you. And hell yes, a panel debate would be great. More of them 😉 Panel debates with an audience on fire with passionate feelings always trumps the traditional Powerpoint ;)…over to Todd.

  24. @ K C Donovan Thanks for the great compliments. And love the analogy you make. ‘There is a tidal wave of people that get responses from celebrities on Twitter more readily than they do from a company they have applied to’. That is so true and so shameful. I was recently at a University job fair. Several companies were there and they had invested lots of money in a sexy booth and paid for lots of their recruitment team to attend. Obviously the Grads lapped it up and those companies got lots of cv’s / resumes. Boxes full. I asked the recruiters what they would do with them. Answer was shocking, we will ask the best ones to interview but the rest would be filed away. Wowsers, the hard work had been done, a great booth, top engaging recruiters….the candidates won over and wanting to work for them. But then….many would not hear again. Candidate experience…..shocking.

    What’s fascinating with the celebrities is that people perceive they now know Rhianna, Obama or Oprah because they reply to some Tweets and people get that feeling of a ‘relationship’. Again perceptions and reality are so different. Something that companies can learn from as they engage with their communities.

    Great comments on Social Relations. Thanks KC.

  25. @ Michael Rosmer.

    A boat rocker!!! LOL Love it. All debate is good. There are two sides and you make some awesome points. We may not agree but certainly loving this discussion.

    Sorry you felt the style that Amy and I presented was self righteous and holier than thou, and the way it was presented awful. I hope that you have a chance to look at the full version. Certainly the goal of the piece was to stimulate debate and thought, it was not to preach as you allude. Indeed, many of these elements we dont have in place at Autodesk and our goal is to take the journey. We will make mistakes but we felt it good to set out and share our goal. Many do it better than us, hence so self righteousness involved. 🙂

    Recruitment 1.0 jump to 3.0. 1.0 to 2.0 was such a small evolution. 2.0 as you know was the evolution to online recruiting and job boards. The jump to 3.0 is potentially huge as involves so much more in recruiting. Much of the stuff in 3.0 is new to recruiters. ASsking them to get involved in PR, Marketing, Direct Mail, building communities is not something that is in many job descriptions. You can argue that elements were in 1.0/ Had to write a good spec and market it on Monster/Total jobs but if you read the whole piece from Todd, you will see that the ‘marketing’ in 3.0 is far wioder, deeper and outside the remit of many recruiters today.

    The low hanging fruit you refer to is easy and you are right. Recruiters have to go for the low hanging. But thinking that at any stage only 10% of those qualified for a role is looking means that the best candidates could be in that 90%. In the 10%, ie those with agencies and on job boards, many of them will be multi interviewing and hence the road will lead to offer poker and companies cant up salaries because of salary quity internally hence sign on bonus, which is more prevalent.

    You are right that this takes a LOT of work to identify and build these communities. But people are out there, technology allows us to track them, build relationships. Of course head hunting and pin point targetting is older than man, but recruitment 3.0 takes this wider, allowing us to take more people on a journey. Headhunters dont track all the best people, just the easily identifiable. Some of the best talent out there is in a small startup or medium enterprise. Building communtieis with these people in them, will lead to more proactively on behalf of the candidate approaching a company. There lies the key. Our goal should be to get candidates / top talent apply to us, rather than need the head hunt. Visionary. Yes. Long way off. yes. Achievable. Yes…and some are doing it.

    Timing will always affect recruit. Totally agree hiring managers want someone 2 weeks from opening a req. Hence why recruitment 3.0. Trying to build that ‘predictable talent pipeline’ that recruiters can delve into. The power of an internal database should be immense. But many are not. The appeal of LinkedIn shows that recruiters are being more proactive now in reaching out.

    Recruitment is boring. Yup. We agree. So why are many corporate careers sites and Facebook fan pages and Twitter feeds, dull and a list of jobs. Take a look at Sodexo, PepsiCo, EA, they get that engagement and posting content that people can engage with is key. 2 way transparent communication. Why shouldn’t a job board be combined with a blog and act as a social media aggregator. People will then have a reason to repeat visit. They wont with a pure jobs board.

    Both our definitions of relationships are different here. Of course relationships aren’t new to recruting. But what is new is relationships with your talent pool of hundreds of thousands of people. I have no idea what Lady GaGa is like. Never met her. But I feel that I know her through her Twitter musing and she replies back to many of her fans tweets. Hence there is in many peoples minds a perception they have a relationship. So our debate should be between ‘real’ relationships and ‘perceived relationships’.

    You make the point that we cant converse and engage with all the 16,000 applying to Google each day. I disagree. We can have 1.2.1 friendly chats. But that 16,000 is great for targetted newsletters, special events, maybe joining in with the blog debates, Facebook community or Tweets. They will feel closer to the company and what is happening. What happens now? That 16,000 go into a recruitment database and then they will be lucky if they hear again from the company unless a recruiter stumbles on them in a search. That 16,000 new people in the database are not just candidates, (many wont be suitable to hire), but they are Brand Ambassadors.

    Pure broadcasting of messages wont engage. The social media networks allow us to engage. Just as we are doing now. We can debate on the ERE blog and others can join in. And we are all the better for is.

    Michael. Loving the quality of the points you have made and discussing 🙂

  26. @ Gareth.

    Lots of great points. And on the point you raised via @mervyndinnen about smaller companies v bigger ones. I agree with you.

    Smaller companies, be they start up, small or medium enterprises, can more faster/are more nimble than the corporates, they are certainly more innovative and creative in their solutions. And yes, because they can adjust to commercial realities far more quickly they can out manouevre the larger corporates.

    But what is shocking is that the large coporates and their larger budgets and ‘strategic departments’ are just not getting it. Hence my reference to the Fortune 500.

    So you and @mervyndinnen are bang on the money. Please do let me know your views on the full paper. Thanks Gareth. Hope your coffee was good.

  27. @ Stephen. Love your points. Pointing out the need for change will alienate many as change is tough.

    What is fascinating is that many companies are just shouting their message in the wind. Just leave it out there. And then they dont get why they dont have many people in their community. Push messaging does not work in 2011. All about pull and engagement.

    Keep on leading the way with your futurology Stephen 🙂

  28. I had to respond to the point “Some of the best talent out there is in a small startup or medium enterprise”
    This is so true. I meet many of them. But some of the business’ that profess to search for candidates in “new and innovative” or “3.0” ways are still stuck in other traditional ways of thinking. FMCG springs to mind. The amount of times a client has briefed me for something pre prescribed, that is recogniseable as being “one of them” and as must have the typical classic FMCG CV, well I’ve lost count. For me this is just one of the many reasons that the FMCG sector has fallen out of favour with some candidates. FMCG has also been typically slow to embrace the digital age. And now they realise they need to play catch-up I’m getting briefs from FMCG players asking for digital marketers – but wait for it – they must have FMCG experience. LOL!!

  29. Excellent article. I could not agree more with your points!

    We at Sibily.com believe that any employee should become a Company Ambassador and promote their company reputation and values both inside and outside their company – online as well as offline!

    The best candidates – even if they do not know it yet – are out there willing to know your company!

  30. Matthew/Amy
    Really interesting & thought provoking article-look forward to reading full version.
    Agree with all your points.Think there is real opportunity as the landscape of recruiting evolves from push to engage , to really support our business leaders in embracing this view.We know good talent will do a lot more due diligence in companies before even thinking of talking to us in whatever form,then we need to support,help,educate our leaaders to be in social media space.Agree with the point made apart recruitment being much more closely alligned with marketing and brand.
    Great reading.

  31. “The Core Philosophy of Recruitment 3.0: Not everyone is looking” – Really? Who knew? Answer: Anyone who knows anything about recruitment. Historically the best people have never looked for jobs. That’s why people have tried to lure them through radio advertising, geographically targeted press advertising, poster sites etc. etc. What’s changed dramatically is, since online became the norm, many recruiters have got lazy or come to the party so late that they know no other way than to shove ads on job boards and post links on twitter etc. Do you honestly think the best people spend their days trawling job boards and reading lame cut and pasted job descriptions with absolutely no sell or checking on Tweetdeck every few minutes to see what’s out there in their line of work? Good luck with that theory!

  32. @ Andy Young. Love your championing on small and medium enterprises. With you there buddy. Often the best talent struggles with the shackles of bureaucracy and layers of management in a large corporate and hence this limits their impact, kills their motivation and forces them to move on where they can be a trailblazer…in a small or medium enterprise. Agree re FMCG and in some ways Financial Services, closed shops of communities that play recruitment chess and swap candidates between companies. Some would call this tick box recruitment …. and they would be right 😉

    @ Sergio Torres. Great stuff that Sibily.com recognise and foster Company Ambassadors.

    @ Charu Malhotra. Thanks for the great comments. Hope you get value from the full version. We tried to fill it with useful suggestions which will hopefully spur imaginations and bigger and better things can be done 🙂 Marketing, Brand, PR and recruitment have never been closer. Maybe recruiting will report into VP Marketing in the future?

    @ Alastair Murray. Agree with you totally when you say ‘What’s changed dramatically is, since online became the norm, many recruiters have got lazy or come to the party so late that they know no other way than to shove ads on job boards and post links on Twitter’. Scary but you are right. That is recruitment 1.0 and the dumbing down of what we do. The best recruiters out there who get it Alasdair like you, will help lead the reputation of what we do to sky heights. Keep on trailblazing…..

  33. Fantastic article. Obviously preaching to the choir here. The only thing missing is the requirement to consistently and consecutively sell this message to the internal clients who want recruiting to be Cost Per Hire and under HR and may be under-informed about the work that is done. A colleague of mine once told me that the Boardroom looks at recruiting as an expense and not a Profit Center and 10 years later, I am not sure how much progress I have personally made to change that mindset. Even with remarkable hires, death-defying campaigns and results, most mornings I think most managers think I am as only as good as my last hire. And if anyone knows me, they know that is not from lack of evangelism, re-selling, re-branding, re-implementing day after day of AGILE, Just in Time results. So I don’t know if that is because I work for the wrong people or I just can’t expect change to happen until those people retire. And I work for an exceptionally successful, happy, and rewarding boss and company! It’s the Line Managers where the rubber meets the road. We don’t use agencies so its not their fault. Recruiting as a profession is an under appreciated black art.

    And for the gentleman with statistics, I am in the cutthroat, knowledge worker, global software market – we ARE in a massive Talent War. Those stats don’t apply to our quarry. And really never have. Even during downsizing in 2001, 2002, 2008, 2009 heck even in 1997 – we were ALWAYS headhunting and top-grading. So I don’t know what those stats mean to me or to anyone I have worked with since forever! We are Exempt, Top-Tier school or Target company snipers. Just a bizarre piece of random statistics. Thank you for the article. It was totally worth the read.

  34. Matthew –

    The jump from Recruitment 1.0 to 2.0 may or may not have been a small evolution, but I believe that period had a major impact on recruiter efficacy. It was a key turning point in which recruiters abrogated their skills due to technology. Who can blame them? It seemed so easy. Post a job, get 400 responses and, surely, you’d have the candidate slate of your dreams from among them.

    That didn’t really work out as planned, so enter the ATS solution. Billed as the white knight riding in to make sense of the enemy army of job seekers, it failed miserably. Its one saving grace is that it provides at least some sense of security (even if a false one) from running afoul of regulatory compliance, and perhaps also provides some metrics for management (even if the data is flawed).

    So now we’re at 3.0. I’m with the other posters who believe that it’s just a return to original recruiting, you know…before job boards and ATS technology caused us to lose our way. Will the new technology landscape be the twist that validates 3.0 as separate from Recruiting 101? Time will tell. You make some compelling points in favor of “relationship recruiting” (which, BTW, I’ve favored since 1998 but it didn’t get much traction back then). There are also valid comments about the time it takes to effectively implement such a recruiting platform. I say they’re valid because I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen great ideas pushed aside because of the time, expertise and/or expense involved, only to be replaced by an “instant gratification” idea (e.g., the ATS).

    With respect to the issue of finding the “best” candidates, the biggest obstacle I’ve seen is that the majority of companies wouldn’t know their “best candidate” profile if it hit them in the face. From an absolute point of view, there are a very limited number of “bests” in the labor pool. Like any other segment of society, workers and their abilities fit into a bell curve. Most of us are adequate at what we do, or perhaps a bit to the plus or minus side of adequate. On the extreme ends are the very bad and the very good, in both cases the numbers being much fewer. And let’s face it, if every company wants candidates from the “best” pool, well, there’s only so many of them to go around.

    So here’s where I think most companies miss the mark. Plotting companies in a bell curve shows the same pattern as with workers. Most companies are “okay” employers, with several more on the plus or minus side. So would it make sense for an “okay minus” company, for example, to pursue candidates at the extreme of the worker bell curve? Are they going to land the top MBAs from the top schools? Not likely. So the term “best” is really a relative one. While there are exceptions to every rule, usually the right match is a pairing of company and candidate from at least the same region of the bell curve. Coming to grips with that reality makes for much more successful recruiting campaigns.

  35. Excellent article! I echo many of the other comments here that although great recruiters have been utilizing many of the techniques since recruitment 1.0 (i.e. pre-online), your updating and placing this in the context of the current economic/technology/demographic landscape does highlight the seismic shift needed in our approach to recruiting. Looking forward to the continued vigorous debates on these topics!

  36. I must jump back into this fray…many have stated that recruitmet 3.0 is a return to the good ol days…well I lived through those good ol days and there were no communities of camera operators for my film company in 1979, or communities of chefs for my restaurant in 1984, nor were there any sales people hanging out in a group waiting to talk to me for my wine sales company in 1988, nor were there any communities for the Network Admins for my Data Center Company in 1999! Don’t know what most people are talking about? Must not have been around then…

    The term “resume” was coined in the 1950’s and was the new name for the Application for Position (here’s the history of 20th Century recruitment – http://owl.li/5iHHA), that dates back to the 1920’s. From the 20’s until 1995 when OCC merged with the MonsterBoard recruiting was unchanged. Place a job ad in the Newspaper Help Wanted section or your businesses window and hope someone applied or ask a friend if they knew anyone. It was unheard of and actually culturally taboo to steal an employee. If in the early ’80’s I had gone to the 2-3 restaurants I loved to eat at and tried to woo the chefs to my restaurant – I would have been shunned in the restaurant community (not the most savory industries back then I might add…). It just wasn’t done.

    Those who say that the major cultural shift in how we interact with brands, companies and each other is a throwback to the old days – weren’t there in the old days…

    My grandparents didn’t have a Facebook account or Skype their grand children in the old days – I assure you – and neither did you! The world of engagement that is upon us NOW has never existed in history, and the inefficiencies buiilt in to traditional employment practices are going away with it (resumes, job ads, and screen outs particularly). The new humanized interactive world where people know more about their Facbook interest group than they do about their company job choice will not be allowed to continue…the use of a resume that “diminish our skills and demean the complexity of our experiences” is already being replaced with online profiles from Linked In (not much difference from a resume, but its a start)…and job ads although king right now – will be phased out once every company develops a community through engagement that supports their growth – and communities will NOT be built from shilling job ads…and finally the phone screen will be put to rest through live video engagements (and this is already happening with HireVue and others…).

    If you think other wise, that this is all nonsense or won’t happen in your lifetime – just ask your self what it was like just 3-4 years ago before Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In – and then think how different the world will be in 2014 that is just around the corner…

  37. K.C. –

    I think the references to the good ol’ days were with respect to recruiters searching for the hidden candidates. 3.0 has not changed that.

  38. I was just taking another look at some of these comments, and thinking that there are a lot of people on this page who would be great at writing a post for ERE. Let me know if you are interested. You can check out https://staging.ere.net/about/content-guidelines/ and you can shoot me an email (todd@ere.net) or phone call (212-671-1181, ext 806). Meanwhile, I’ve gotten more emails about this article than I’ve gotten about any article for a long time … including from Mongolia, Brazil, Cameroon, and many places in between.

  39. Richard

    With all due respect, you should ask someone who actually recruited in the 1980’s what it was like. Most if not all of the search for “hidden candidates” was relegated to the executive suite only, representing less than 3% of all hiring. There was no hidden market pursued (except for maybe someone you knew peronally), for all other jobs it was ads mostly.

    Sure, there are exceptions to everything, but the active job seeker market back then was much greater than it is today. I understand your point that recruiting is recruiting is recruiting regardless of the sourcing it still takes someone to pitch, cultivate and close. The difference is that with evolved Social Technologies the pitching and cultivating will already be handled and all that will be left will be the close – I’ll rely on my Social Relations team, who will have queued up the candidate, to handle that phase of recruting as well…

    Its here and it might not be a bad idea to embrace what companies like PepsiCo, Starbucks, Opower, Amyris and Deluxe (among others) are doing…

  40. Think I’ll go back into the “fray” (You want to see a “fray” go see 13 Assassins!) Anyway:
    @Matthew: “That makes our role more valued as companies need skilled recruiters to survive.”
    If by “more valued” you mean: looking for 1st rate candidates for 2nd rate companies with 3rd rate positions and being paid less in constant dollars (or pounds) than we did BEFORE the Dot.com boom, I’d say “Yes, we are more valued”. At least we are working….

    @Alison: if you mean the highly vital 30%+ work of headhunting a person from one company to another, that “war” is never-ending, but for the vast majority of candidates IT WILL NEVER TOUCH THEM.

    @Somebody: What I believe MAY transform recruiting will be the replacement of much of sourcing through cheap-yet-sophisticated data collection and data mining for recruiting purposes.
    If you knew where anyone you might want to hire was and what they were doing, why would you need to source them? If organizations are serious about obtaining the best (through building long- term relationships) it would be logical “to know everything about everybody” so as to know who you want, who you don’t and who you might, and as early as you can. How soon is too soon? How soon does someone have a public online presence? I can imagine in a few years a big (then a medium-sized, and finally a small) SW company sending gift cards (nothing too extravagant0 to middle-school kids who have been doing well at computer competitions/events that the system has flagged as “interesting”. Nothing wrong with that, is there? It’s all public information. You wouldn’t want your talented child to opt out of the chance for a good life, would you? I’m waiting for someone to compile a digital dossier out of only-publically accessible information, along with realistic extrapolations based on them. (I’ve seen some folks come close to that, but not close enough or accurate enough for me.) I also wait for biometric scans to become really good and cheap- wait ‘til you just hold up your smart phone camera to a person or their business card, and in a few seconds/minutes up comes a complete digital dossier of that person, or have it scan an address/image of a building and up come the DDs of everyone in that building. I wonder if Google or Facebook will offer that first, or if they’re too scared. Oh well, if we don’t, bet the Chinese will….”Do you Baidu? I do, I do!”

    @Todd: I wouldn’t mind writing something again for ERE- maybe it could help me get on a panel or something… (HINT, HINT) I do have to admit though, it may be more fun being outside the tent and p***ing in than being inside the tent and p***ing out…..


    Keith “Read Too Much Cyberpunk” Halperin

  41. Keith – not sure how far I want to go w/the analogy, but maybe you could do a little of both.

  42. K.C. –

    Actually, I started my recruiting career in January 1980. Certainly, I did not source hidden candidates from day one, but within a year it was clear to me that if I wanted to differentiate myself from the scads of recruiters, I needed to find unique prospects. Mostly I mined alumni directories, but I also monitored business pages in the daily newspapers and trade journals for “people on the move”. I also found (and called) sales professionals who were listed as the contact in various product directories.

    I hope I didn’t imply that the resources available to us today via social media shouldn’t be used. That wouldn’t make sense. I, along with some other posters, was simply saying that if 3.0 is about finding hidden candidates, then it’s no different than back in the 80s. That’s what we did. Maybe many others did not, but I and my contemporaries did.

    And as a point of interest, while it can be debated to a great extent, some folks believe that those who put their profile on, say, LinkedIn, are not really “hidden”. They know they’re visible and want to be, even if their profile settings lead us to believe otherwise.

    In any event, thanks for the compliment on my age. :>)

  43. Here is the deal with 3.0 recruiting…

    For 90+ years the vast majority (I mean more than 75%) of recruiters have ventured no further than the active job candidate…due to cattle calls and numerous other poor activities for candidate experience by our industry over the years the general career consumer got the message and all but stopped building their career. For years our job ads, ATS, screen outs all told the marketplace that if you aren’t actively looking then go away. So the “majority” (ie not everyone) did just that and for several decades we have only been trading in about 25% of the workforce – bypassing the rest…

    The new community based tools – through engagement and interaction – can now help to entice the 75% back into the market. This will change your recruiting world whether you started recruiting in 1980 or in 2011…this is the BIG game changer. Those of you that work in the TPR world or have time as corp recruiters to direct source – will realize that the folks they struggled to obtain as candidates – as Richard so eloquently described in his last comment – will have a much easier job – BUT so will the average corp recruiter who doesn’t possess this skill…

    In other words, as a former recruiter from the TPR world myself, I guess what I am trying to say is “watch your back!”

  44. @Todd: That sounds good, and I’ll drop the analogy right now for fear of p***ing off our Gentle Readers’ delicate sensibilities….

    @Richard et al: I pose a question- What percentage of North American (no, I’m not Canadian) individuals 50 years old or under who make $100k+/yr can NOT be found on a board, an internet search, or a SN/BN site like LI FB, or Twitter? I would give these folks the moniker of “Purple Squirrels”. (Irina S: I hope you’re reading this….)

    Keith “Comments Too Much on ERE” Halperin

  45. Keith:

    Clearly, the majority of people in the category you mentioned are online somehow, someway. Of course, not everyone recruits in the $100K+ arena. Lower salaried workers are much harder to find online. Gotta take a page from the 80s to find those folks. :>)

  46. Smart article. A new and direct voice. Honestly, is this not sooo much better then reading about passive candidates? Really now!

  47. I still don’t buy into this engaging communities mullarkey. Many good people don’t bother wasting their time on such things. In many ways we have made recruitment far more complicated than it needs to be. Time was when if my client wanted to target lets say aerospace engineers, we would pinpoint certain geographical pockets of the country where we knew these people to be prevalent and run commando style advertising raids – eye catching ads in the regional and trade press, radio campaigns, open days etc. Yes, it cost a lot more than a job board entry, but investing more time, effort and creativity produced better quality people. You identified and targeted the people who probably weren’t looking and had perhaps never even considered working for the company you were advertising on behalf of. And it worked! That was what engagement was back then. Not done over years or months, but just days and weeks.

    These days, never mind the people who aren’t actively looking and how you reach them, the poor active job seeker must be as confused as hell. One day they’re told job boards are the place to be looking, the next that the job boards are dying and social media is where it’s at. They click on a job to find a badly written/cut and pasted job description but in desperation fire off applications to 50 or so jobs, only to hear back from maybe 2 that their application has been unsuccessful. The other 48 leave a nasty taste in their mouth. they think to themselves ‘do I really have time to engage/form a relationship with a company I may never work for? hey, do I even want anyone else to know that I am interested in that company other than their HR department? If so, why don’t I just contact them direct or send them my CV? Do I really want to ‘engage’ with them over a period of months or years in the vague notion I’ll one day get a job?’

    In short, the theory is fine, but the reality is a bit of a mess. As I say, we have made recruitment way more complicated than it used to be and in this day and age should be. There are ample channels out thereto get your message out as a recruiter, but so often the message is at best garbled and at worst semi-literate and dull as ditchwater. What’s needed is a better quality approach. A more coherent and consistent message. Better candidate service (how many people have you failed to get back to, and how would that make you feel as a job seeker?).It ain’t rocket science, we’ve just shunned creativity for technology, thinking that technology alone can crack the recruitment code when if anything, technology is actually making it more confusing and harder to crack that code. it makes too many assumptions, the main one being that the world and his wife/her husband want to sit round engaging with companies who go on about how great a place they are to work. it’s a halcyon vision but not a wholly realistic one. As I said at the outset, many of the best people aren’t looking and never have been. It’s about how you reach them that is perhaps the key here. They, more than the active job seeker, aren’t going to be spending their lives ‘engaging’ online.

  48. @Matthew

    “Recruitment 1.0 jump to 3.0. 1.0 to 2.0 was such a small evolution. 2.0 as you know was the evolution to online recruiting and job boards. The jump to 3.0 is potentially huge as involves so much more in recruiting. Much of the stuff in 3.0 is new to recruiters. ASsking them to get involved in PR, Marketing, Direct Mail, building communities is not something that is in many job descriptions.”

    Recruitment is essentially, and always has been marketing. The easiest way to understand this is to look back and recruitment posters from WW1. I see what you’re saying when you start talking about job descriptions because truly most recruiters haven’t viewed themselves as marketers…they still don’t (to their and their company’s detriment). So perhaps the easiest way to understand how recruitment has changed is to understand how marketing has changed.

    At the end of the day the fundamentals are the same, you do effective targeting, you build a compelling offer for the market and you choose the methods and language for distribution. In theory you surround your audience to ensure they see you multiple times from multiple positions but really the medium of communication isn’t really the point if the message/offer and targeting are right.

    So what’s changed? We’ve got new technology, that opens up new possibilities for how we communicate, but perhaps more importantly it heightens the potential degree of competition for top talent.

    What else has changed? I don’t buy the oft claimed significance of different values with younger generations, I believe those are highly overstated, and I don’t believe the values of business have changed. What I do think has changed is enterprises ability to measure and their desires to measure effectiveness in recruiting. No one can claim quality of hire is a new thing, but quantifying the value of HR in financial terms and demanding returns is I think a growing trend.

    What else is changing? Though not particularly new there is a growing desire of industry to be much more flexible in terms of their human resources practices. Scale up and down quickly, respond to change rapidly and cost effectively. This creates new or at least a new degree of recruiting challenges.

    Finally, perhaps the scope has shifted. It used to be that you’d get a few dozen applications off a newspaper ad, today you could get hundreds or thousands off a web based ad. Likewise, top employees can receive far more offers than they once could.

    “But thinking that at any stage only 10% of those qualified for a role is looking means that the best candidates could be in that 90%.”

    Let’s talk context here for a moment since this is a HUGE deal. There’s a lot of talk about the importance of quality of hire and yes there’s something to be said for that…but there’s also not…depending on the context. Realistically, if you’re hiring for someone at McDonald’s for the most part if someone meets certain minimum disqualifiers it doesn’t really matter which person they are, they’ll work and the economic value of screening harder, taking longer, etc. simply becomes a waste of money. On the flip side the difference between hiring one individual and another as CEO for a multi-billion dollar enterprise (say like the decision to bring Steve Jobs back to Apple) is absolutely incalculable in financial terms.

    My point here is there’s often a scarcity mentality that enters into recruiting around finding the “best” hire when often good enough is good enough. Is that to say there aren’t differences in quality? Not at all, nor is it to say that we should abandon a pursuit of quality, but rather that sometimes the extra work costs more than the gains. I truly believe Recruitment 4.0 will include a critical component related to assessing a much more diverse and flexible model of staffing, where metrics will be used to understand the predict which types of positions deserve more or less attention to speed, efficiency, and quality (for example typically short term contractors driving down costs are the best decision, for other positions getting someone fast is often the best decision, and in other cases quality of fit and/or retention are the best focus). This is all part of the shift I see as not having been recognized and yet having been started in what I call “the Age of Meaning” (the Age we’re in today that follows the Information Age). Right now we are in a period equivalent to about the 1950s when people didn’t fully understand the impact the information age would have, they thought of it merely in terms of faster communication, when really it involved an entirely new process of communication and operation, the shift from assembly line processes to network processes, from scarcity economics to abundance economics, from closed and controlled to open and free. We triggered the Age of Meaning around 1998 with a move from considering information to considering context. This, not better communication and network processes is where the value in the new era lies. The key is to start contextualizing everything, to draw data, to form strategies, to select people, etc. based on context. As I mentioned in the previous email not having conversations with 12 000, but rather contextualizing 12 within their own networks and engaging in meaningful conversations with them to create a larger synergy of results. This will fundamentally alter the sales process, strategy, and selection, but it’s something we’re still a ways away from as people come to appreciate this important shift.

    “You are right that this takes a LOT of work to identify and build these communities. But people are out there, technology allows us to track them, build relationships. Of course head hunting and pin point targetting is older than man, but recruitment 3.0 takes this wider, allowing us to take more people on a journey.”

    Here I’d like to talk a little bit about scale. Staffing.org had a great article I think yesterday discussing how small companies can gain recruiting advantages over large companies. I think it’s worth recognizing these CONTEXTUAL differences. I read a case study not too long ago about Microsoft’s recruiting and particularly social media strategies…very impressive in terms of their depth and scope…but they are Microsoft, they can justify building all these communities because their scale allows them to leverage the efforts many times over. If you’re a 10 man IT company located in one big city it doesn’t make any sense for you to pursue those strategies because you’re measuring inputs vs. outputs. You hire one or two people per year, how much can you afford to spend on finding them? So, you have to rely on different methods.

    Here’s the thing, next generation recruiting shouldn’t be about big companies trying to be small and it shouldn’t be about small companies trying to be big. It’s about big companies using new technologies in ways that small companies can’t and small companies using other advantages to offer advantages the larger companies can’t. This raises some really important questions for recruiters around how closely they can work with the employers to customize recruitment offerings to win candidates. In a small company perhaps you become an owner in a company that may be ten times as large by the time you quit (not likely to happen in a large company like Microsoft where shares are worth half today what they were 10 years ago). Or you have greater autonomy and ability to affect change, or tighter culture, or a different type of work. While bigger companies can perhaps offer higher salaries, work on more expansive projects, etc. The question is how closely do recruiters get to work with department managers, HR managers, etc. Again, not something necessarily new but collaboration on these issues, recognizing that all aspects of the company factor into the marketing of the position is important.

    Bottom line, I don’t see recruitment shifting to building communities etc., it might for some businesses, but to paint such a brush across the whole industry would be utter nonsense. If anything we’ll see a broader range of recruiting strategies employed simultaneously. The companies that will win in the future are the ones best able to contextualize their efforts and decisions to make those decisions faster and more effectively.

    “Recruitment is boring. Yup. We agree. So why are many corporate careers sites and Facebook fan pages and Twitter feeds, dull and a list of jobs. Take a look at Sodexo, PepsiCo, EA, they get that engagement and posting content that people can engage with is key. 2 way transparent communication. Why shouldn’t a job board be combined with a blog and act as a social media aggregator. People will then have a reason to repeat visit. They wont with a pure jobs board.”

    Again my question comes back to ROI and scale. There will always be a place for a dull list of jobs, because that fulfills an essential service, just like there will always be a place for a catalogue of products to purchase. Will we see larger brands engaging people more continually through entertainment, etc.? Absolutely, just like we’ll start seeing an increasing move to entertainment as marketing as opposed to purely for direct profit…but the purpose won’t be recruitment, it won’t be a corporate career site, it will be a broader corporate exposure. To understand this again consider the move from Information Age to Age of Meaning, from the value of information to the value of context, from a network process to a synergy process. What you’ll see will be a dramatic reshaping of the silo nature of the business and increased synergy and alignment between various business functions. Instead of trying to advertise a ton in specific recruiting forms the business will instead engage the customers to become employees in a more active manner and candidates to become customers and so on. Thus, the engagement won’t be as a form of recruitment for the purpose of careers but rather broader brand engagement with a personalized experience enabled not by one on one two way transparent communication, but rather by technology primarily in the form of social identity portability (imagine bringing this social identity with you as you engage with various brands and those brands will in turn engage with you based on that current social identity (you’re looking for a job so that becomes part of your current identity and gets factored into the brand’s engagement with you). But this is all talking more like Recruitment 4.0 because technology, adoption, and understanding haven’t reached the point yet where it’s practical.

    “Both our definitions of relationships are different here. Of course relationships aren’t new to recruting. But what is new is relationships with your talent pool of hundreds of thousands of people. I have no idea what Lady GaGa is like. Never met her. But I feel that I know her through her Twitter musing and she replies back to many of her fans tweets. Hence there is in many peoples minds a perception they have a relationship. So our debate should be between ‘real’ relationships and ‘perceived relationships’.”

    I’m curious to see this notion tested. Is this any different than people feeling like they “knew” Churchill or Rosevelt when he would give his regular radio addresses?

    “You make the point that we cant converse and engage with all the 16,000 applying to Google each day. I disagree. We can have 1.2.1 friendly chats. But that 16,000 is great for targetted newsletters, special events, maybe joining in with the blog debates, Facebook community or Tweets. They will feel closer to the company and what is happening. What happens now?”

    Interesting point about being more up to date, you might be right, I’ll give this point some thought.

    “Pure broadcasting of messages wont engage. The social media networks allow us to engage. Just as we are doing now. We can debate on the ERE blog and others can join in. And we are all the better for is.”

    But how many people are truly engaged with it and what’s the ROI? I enjoy our conversation here but the reality is I know from an ROI perspective it’s not valuable. Is someone more likely to accept a job offer because you chatted with them for hours on a message board? (Stats show yes, but the question is was it enough to justify the chatting? It comes down to questions of economics, particularly opportunity cost, chats like these are expensive).

    Thanks for the comments.

  49. Wow. The comments keep on coming. Again, so great to read some great and very informed commentary. This is a rich debate on here that I am getting a lot from. Thanks for everyone taking time out. Totally agree with @Todd that there are some excellent writers in this thread who should be encouraged to write their own articles for ERE. Good stuff.

    @ Allison. All I can say is sound. Agree with you completely.And thanks for the nice comments. Internal clients are tough and need to be educated. Traditional recruitment stats can be manipulated. Time per fill….great, some recruiters take a little more time to search the market for the best candidates, whilst others fire in a shortlist of crap that a hiring manager, worried that they can fill their role before they lose their headcount, will accept less than average candidates. Does that make a more successfull recruiter because their time per fill is better? Nope. Comes down to quality of hire. Cost per fill. Again an emotive area. It’s all about quality of hire and I would be happy to have a higher cost per hire if I was convinced I had the ‘best’ candidate.

    I get quite frustrated on metrics and measurement, because the wrong things often get measured. I can relate to working agency side, which is very metric driven. Some of the stats measured were maddening. Number of Interviews per week, (target 10). I would often fall below this stat, (despite billings being high). I would only want to see candidates I could help and I knew my clients would want. I could never just see candidates for the sake of hitting stats. Those candidates I would see to hit stats, I could do nothing with and hence it was a negative experience as that candidate sat in the database rotting. Far better to plan my time and activity. I understood the argument, the more candidates seen, more canddiates in database that others could place. But it was a qualitative position for me.

    Same on business development. Making x calls per week and client visits. These stats were at a time that I had exisiting clients I was building relationships and deepening business with, (and lots of revenue opportunities). Focusing on hitting stats for the sake of it, (when billing were high and projected billings strong into the next few months), was always frustrating. Agencies in particular need to look at consultants as running their own businesses and leave their consultants more latitude in driving their business instead of artifical stat chasing. A little off subject…but worth making the point 🙂

    And @ Allison we will always only be as good as our last hire. Life goes that way. Suppose it is the same as a footballer. They can be top scorer one season, break all the records, then the next season, have a poor patch, and then people start writing, where’s the next goal coming from, lost their form etc. Life is life 😉

  50. @Richard. You again make some sound points. healthy debate areas. I love that you touch on ATS. There is so much disquiet about the functionality and success of ATS’. For me the perfect solution is a combination of an ATS and CRM. As we become more focused marketers, we need our database to be able to segment and hence target core candidate groups with targetted campaigns, newsletters, event invitations etc. From my many years of experience, I have yet to see a system that can do this successfully, that recruiters love to engage with and enjoy using. The day someone can perfect that technology, a combination of ATS & CRM, they will makes millions, (no doubt som companies will reply they have done it already. My reply. If they had it would be the most used system in the world right now). The power of a database, a list of names, is key to a marketer, even more so to a recruiter in recruitment 3.0. And let’s be honest, a lot of recruiters focus more on running their recruiting actrivitis through linkedIn recruiter than theyr own internal technology. Makes sense. LinkedIn is the most up to date cv/resume database in the world, (more than our internal databases), but this of course weakens the effectiveness of internal databases if not kept up to date.

    I dont share the view that we are returning to the days of the values of 1980’s recruitment and recruitment 101. Given the need today to identify, reach out and attract ‘unique’ talent, with niche skillsets, out of the passive pool, (representing 90% of people qualified for a role), I dont think many recruiters today can utilise the new skills. In fact I think a direct marketer, used to segmenting markets and targetting would make a better recruiter in 2011 than a 1980’s recruiter 101.

    If we are agreeing that social media is key to the future of recruiting, we need people who can build communities. That is marketing. eg in facebook. Use of tareggtted advertising, producing rich and engaging content, understanding what can and cant be said, (as the media watch for slip ups; I could go on. Same principles for the recruitment database. Say there is a million on there. How do you keep in touch with them, build relationships, have the comms skills. Recruiters in the 1980’s could never do this. And they weren’t.

    In terms of relationship recruiting, I retrun to offering the argument that there are real relationships and perceived relationships. Headhunters and recruiters 101 are in the business of real relationships. Of a small, niche defined pool. Recruitment 3.0 are in the business of obviously real relationships but more so perceived relationships. I follow a number of celebrities on Twitter eg Rhianna, Katy Perry and Paris Hilton. I have never met them. But I feel I know them. I can see what they are doing. I see they communicate and they do reply back to tweets. I have a subconscious relationship with them. Same with companies who tweet. Engaging large communities. And this is not all about bums on seats. It combines that goal with a goal of creating brand ambassadors. That is a big thing that recruiters 101 never ever had the potential or capability of fulfilling. Such a rich area to discuss and debate.

    And @Richard, at one with you on the definition of best. Each company will have different definitions. Goal is though to increase choice for a company of a range of great candidates. That is not the case if a company only operates in the 10% active pool. Having a great choice will upskill a company.

    Lets put it like this Richard. Let’s say you are the best at what you do. Others should be building relationships and seducing you, so when you make that subconscious decision to change jobs, you have a number of options. You wont be looking at job boards or reading print ads because you are the man and companies are fighting over you. Some of those companies you would never have considered working for may have built up a different image in your mind and hence have a chance in landing you. Yes theories…but easy realities.:)

    Would love to have a cold pint with you Richard and discuss one day 🙂

  51. @KC. Totally with you on this. In the ‘good old days’ headhunters would be calling company recrptions and posing as various people to try and map out and speak to people in companies. Totally, we can reach out and map out companies in a matter of minutes. Boolean search via goofle, or identifying talent through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and even Skype is powerful Yes….the data in Skype is powerful enough to search on.

    Key is engaging with mass talent over a longer period. That is so different to the old days. The old headhunter or recruiter 101 would generally take a rejection from a candidate as a rejection. In 2011, social media, communication channels allows for the chance to take people on a journey, (yes marketing focused), into either being in a position they want to join the company or they are a brand ambassador who joins in conversations, posts on their wall or even tells their friends to work with a company.

    You are so right to say people did not have relationships with companies. In the good old days companies would get superb in telling people what they wanted them to hear via 30 sec tv ads or great media one pagers and of course manipulate the media agenda via press releases or press conferences. Mass communication has changed that relationship today. Those companies pushing messages are struggling. People talk. They are talking over the internet to large audiences. They are talking about our company. Better they do they on our own web site than elsewhere. Better we engage and people will appreciate seeing behind the spin. We know so much more about companies, behind their iron curtain, than we ever did. And yes, we can now question them and they have to react. Times have changed for the better, hence the need to develop new employment brand strategies.

    Exciting….hell yes.

  52. @Alastair I so hope I get a chance to rock back and sink a bottle of wine and talk the world to rights 🙂 That would be a good evening/into early morning…the day after lol.

    So your definition of targetting intrigues me. Recruitment 1.0 did indeed sort of target via bill boards, and adverts in relevant print media. kind of blunt targetting. But that targetting is not effective today. Bill boards as you say are expensive and hit and hope, pray and spray, strategy. Targetted print is a dying art. Print and tv are dying as a messaging vehicle. Communication channels are so diverse. And messaging is a dying form.

    I was reading in a study that people now trust in peoples opinions more than they do spin from a company. For example, before I go on holiday I consult now with Trip Adviser and see what people see about the location. But more importantly, I ping my friends with a Facebook status update or a Tweet that I am thinking of going to X/Y/Z and ask for their views and experiences. People trust in their closest friend groups and their ‘purchasing’ decisions are far more effected through that than anything a company can do through a targetted bill board or press ad.

    Hence, recruitment 3.0 jumps into that theory. How can we target and build relationships with all engineers in the UK, then focus on all engineers in say Ipswich. We can then influence and communicate & engage in their channels and friends channels. The art is how we catch their attention that they take note. This is targetting at its best. And technology allows that.

    My other form of disagreement with you is the term engagement. Engagement is a huge term that encompaases not only people sending a cv but people who may never want to work for you but who take part in your community, engage in discussions, debates, banter and act as a brand ambassador….telling friends about how great your company is. And yes…this is wider than recruitment, this moves into company branding…hence why recruiting most likely will report into marketing in years to come.

    Please do get the full article from Todd. This snippet really does not do the whole thing justice. On reading it I think more will become clear and there ideas in the full document I am sure you will say….yup I get that recruitment 1.0’s would never be able to do….and hopefully say…this is a sea change in skill sets. Let’s see. Would love to know and carry on discussing that with you both here and hopefully over that wine 😉

  53. @ Michael. Phew. What a great reply you have written there. Love it. Thanks again for taking the time and putting thought into some great points. I know that I am getting a lot from reading replies and reflecting, I really hope others are, as some great stuff in the comment thread. As Todd mentions in one reply, I would encourage you to write an article for ERE. I love your style and power of intellectual reasoning. Great stuff.

    @ Michael. You raise a fascinating point of quality of hire. I agree that searching for the best is not going to be top of range for a company like McDonalds as long as someone meets certain minimum disqualifiers they should be fine. Not to say McDonalds dont want the best but investing more and more money into assessments will yield a negative return.

    Why I am interested here is that the boss of McDonalds UK recently caused an outcry. Background is that many graduates are coming out of UK Universities with, being generalist, tin pot degrees, that don’t set them up for success or relevant job opportunities that match their degree eg BA in the history of the Beatles, BA in the history of videogames etc. Many of these Grads come out of University into the recession facing a lack of real jobs. They also have, on average, a debt of, on average £25,000. So, poor qualifications, no jobs, no prospects and big debt. As the UK looks to pay off debt, the Government have announced a new funding model, which, cutting to the core, could see students on 3 year courses paying £27,000 course fees plus living expenses on top, hence leaving University with circa £50,000 debt. This led the boss of UK McDonalds to say that students could start straight after school at McDonalds as an apprentice and work their way up.

    I Know I have gone off mark here but this is a huge area that we as recuiters need to input into. What qualifications get you noticed, get you jobs and how your build your personal brand. Fascinating debate again….sure you have views on that @ Michael. But the best hire, at an early age is often defined by University degree. maybe we have to redefine that if the best take a different route into the workforce?

    hhhmmm You raise some great points. Will relect more and come back 😉

    Enjoying this thread…..

  54. @Richard. I agree- nurses are/were particularly hard to contact, and are only one of many in the category you mention.

    @Michael: Sorry to bring it up again- It may be due to my limited intelligence (or perhaps being permanently contaminated in the ‘80s by a “Simple and Direct” business writing course I had in grad school), but could you make your points again in 25 non-business jargon words or less for each one? I’d like to understand your meaning.

    @Alisdair: once again Scottish practicality triumphs!
    As you say, candidates don’t want relationships- they want DECENT JOBS, NOW! Recruiters don’t want relationships- we want GOOD CANDIDATES, NOW!

    @You Relationship-Building Lot: Here’s what you do-
    “Hire an $11/hr virtual sourcer to come up with a substantial number of folks you’d like to ‘relate to’ (or should I say ‘relationate to’?).
    Have your $2.75/hr virtual candidate care rep go and make phone and email intros.
    See who responds and follow up accordingly as needed.
    Rinse and repeat.” or because your company is governed by the GAFI Principles of Greed, Arrogance, Fear, and Ignorance/Incompetence, the “powers that be” decide to spend 10-100X more and take several X as long on hiring special SM Consultants to create a Twitbook Web-presence with all the latest “bells and whistles”. Of course, none of the existing recruiting staff were really consulted about what would work and what wouldn’t and don’t have the time to deal with it, and “since we don’t want to increase headcount by hiring people just to work on this,” not all that much is accomplished, except “the powers that be” get to tell all their friends and colleagues at EREcon “how wonderful it all is and how they should do just the same!” (Which may have been pretty much the purpose all along!)



  55. For the sake of something. Not sure exactly what after all this verbosity but let’s suppose that we decide to build this community where somebody spends all day and night engaging with folks who come on a site called the xyz company community.

    Let’s say that we are looking for a CFO so we tweet and do all the other outreach and research and we stir up oh say 50 financial types who log on to the community blog. We have someone who is not a financial type, say a recruiter or one of Keith’s 2.50 an hr remote virtual folks engaging these CFO’s who are hanging out in the community. Can they really engage a group like this? Whoever is doing all this engaging has a private 1 to 1 chat with two or three of these folks then they are moved forward in the process, one is hired. Now what happens to the other 40 who didn’t get past the engagement process and are wondering who got hired and why they didn’t get further engaged? Does the virtual engager chat in the community about a hire being made? If so do the other 40 who have been engaging continue to check in to the community or become a “brand ambassador” when they didn’t get more than chit chat?

    Perhaps i am missing something here but it sort of sounds like to me that we are talking about having a big fraternity mixer so we can see who we want to pledge or anouncing that we are going to have a big party and asking folks to hang out and audition for an invitation. If they don’t get pledged and some do, they don’t get an invitation and some do get to attend the party what is the incentive to continue to be a part of a community?

    At least at a frat mixer and a cocktail party the booze is free.

    Are those 90% we keep hearing about really going to go home at night and surf the net for company communities on any kind of regualr basis?

    And by chance what happens to a community if the jerkweed of the group is the one that gets offered a job with the company when 15,000 other community members think he’s a jerk? What does that do for the company brand?

  56. Nice commercial, Bill. Taking the “community” concept to heart.

    I did look at your web site. Very interesting, but you might want to let your marketing folks know there’s a typo (“…Top TIer makes it easier THEN ever to…”). Should be THAN.

    To all: I guess you might say I tend to use the “bell curve” to illustrate my opinions because I again find myself thinking how these communities are extremely likely to be represented by people across the entire spectrum of competency levels. Since we can’t control who participates and it’s a random collection, so to Sandra’s point, you can be sure there are some number of people who will NEVER be hired, no matter how long they participate in the community.

    Kind of reminds me of the old job fair days. Attend just a few of them and you start to see the job fair “groupies”. I honestly felt very bad for them, as they lacked the variety of skill needed to even keep up, let alone excel, in corporate America.

  57. Sandra you have struck upon the very issue with Talent Communities that most “recruiters” don’t understand. A recruiter is off to find the best candidate and fill jobs. Its a mindset – but this doesn’t work for the 90% (more like 75%) who don’t care about investing in their career. These people avoid recruiters – and in many cases talk ill of them – based on the predatory tactics a good one will use to fill jobs – that’s where the “hunter” comes from…

    The concept that is hard to grasp is that these folks that dodge you still want to advance themselves and through an exchange at a conference or meeting of some sort in the past they would network and learn about the 75% of jobs you never fill…(to clarify these are filled with referrals). Now these conferences or meetings were nothing like the frat parties you speak of – in fact they are places where ideas are exchanged, connections are made and careers got advanced. I’m sure you are familiar with what I am referring to…not alot of booze at these events unfortunately (at least not until much later…).

    Today Talent Communities are much like the conference or meeting and have enhanced the opportunities for “professional networking’ sessions – without having to attend a conference. People don’t come to them with the main objective of finding a job – in fact most wouldn’t join one if that WAS the objective. Whether a person gets one or not is not going to phase any of the other participants – in fact they are usually thrilled to learn that someone did! (…and hires ARE made, lots of them and recruiters have a limited role – certainly TPR’s are not ever in the mix).

    Obviously, we’re all talking about the typical recruiter perception v. the passive job seeking – yet career ambitious person perception (that’s a mouthful). They don’t go to a Community all the time and companies don’t spend night and day as you seem to think cultivating and managing them. With great topics to discuss, with challenges to over come, and with various options for interaction most people enjoy the hell out the experience – coming and going as they please – at their own pace. Most importantly, the Talent Communities I have managed never have 15,000 people in them – in fact 150 is the max we will allow per group. 15,000 people is not talent Community – that’s a hockey game or a rock concert – not alot of interaction happening there…(well it depends what you’re into I guess… 🙂

    Sandra, we’ve gone back and forth on this topic a few times before and I am not really trying to convince you per se of anything – but anyone else interested else in Talent Communities – they absolutely DO provide immense value to both company and participant (my firm has been managing them successfully for almost 10 years), and as the Social Web has caught up, I am convinced that every company will have one…

  58. @Matthew – thanks for the compliments I’ll consider submitting something to Todd, would welcome your feedback when you come back with more thoughts

    @Keith – You didn’t bring it up before but since you’re asking:

    1. The one size fits all approach to recruiting, any recruiting is nonsense and advocating one is ignorant

    2. Many of the trendy let’s build communities and use social media approaches to recruiting are a waste of money

    3. Significant progressions in recruiting need to result in better business economics meaning lower costs and higher output, new technology or trends that don’t achieve these goals aren’t new eras, they are just hype and will die fast

    4. What determines whether a certain approach is good or bad is based wholly on the context (number of employees being hired, types of positions, state of the market, etc.)

    5. The next generation staffing is going to be based far more on flexibility (the ability to rapidly change and get results) than any concepts of community, conversation, and engagement

    6. Concepts like community, conversation, and engagement are only good in so far as they further business objectives such as the ability to rapidly adjust and get results

    7. A long term inevitable trend in recruiting will be the unification of different areas of business to operate together more effectively (such as not considering marketing and recruiting to necessarily be different since they both might approach the same audience)

    8. Making people feel good is only good so long as it contributes to business objectives of growing profits, market share, and market cap the real question isn’t whether someone would like to know whether they got the job or not but rather whether not hearing back would prevent them from taking the job in the future (in my experience generally not, hence why the “black hole” of resumes continues)

    9. The standard in #8 applies across the board, what is the minimum you can get away with and still get the result? Does someone come to work for you because you engaged in a bunch of online conversations with them for months or because you placed an offer first or offered more money?

    10. Recruiting is marketing, thus recruiters of the future will need marketing skill sets, it’s true that many companies still don’t look at the two the same way

    11. There are a ton of positions where pushing for higher quality of hire actually costs the company money

    12. Quality of hire isn’t the be all and end all, recruiting in the future will use metrics and algorithms to tell you what the most important metrics are for a given position and project

    13. The next generation of recruiting will be much more focused on how HR is tied to profit

    I probably made a bunch more in there but those are some of the key points. In case you haven’t noticed I’m skeptical about the ROI of current social media fads. I think most recruiting companies are essentially lazy and not particularly valuable, focusing on using job boards (which everyone is using) instead of doing real research. I think a good percentage of the gems of individuals probably won’t participate in these communities and frankly it’s not necessary to engage them through those communities because you can engage them directly and I’ve yet to figure out what’s wrong with that? I understand why someone who is afraid to pick up the phone and call cold candidates or who does all their sourcing through job boards might see social networks and community groups and forums as some great new method. But great sourcing research will produce more and better lists of passive candidates by far, and contacting them directly is far more efficient than carefully building relationships through long term community efforts. Those direct communications can be widened over time through the use of mail merge functions and occasional checking in and that will work very well for the majority of passive candidates who are worth putting that kind of effort in for. For the masses, keep using your online advertising and job boards because there are more than enough candidates out there and it doesn’t make sense to spend the time and money trying to get someone to move away from their existing job when you’ve got someone who will do just fine knocking at your door offering to come work for you tomorrow.

    All of this being said, managing employment brands is and will be important.

    Are communities irrelevant or unimportant? No, they definitely have a place, just the notion that they will replace other types of recruiting is false.

    Perhaps more importantly, something that hasn’t been discussed, is the role of social media on screening candidates to determine quickly and accurately who are the winners and who are the losers based on their social networks. This is a true progressive use of the medium that’s only just starting to be explored.

  59. “Are those 90% we keep hearing about really going to go home at night and surf the net for company communities on any kind of regular basis?”

    Nail on the head Sandra. It’s pie in the sky theory from social media evangelists/early converts.granted the likes of Coca Cola, Virgin or Microsoft may be able to engage with people, but hey, people have ALWAYS wanted to work for those companies. When it comes top Joe Schmoe & Co however,it’s a different ball game and the fact is, most job seekers or indeed, normal people, don;t go home at night to sit at their PC and ‘engage’ with strangers as part of a prolonged and very speculative job search. No. They go on facebook to chat inanely with their friends, or they watch a show, or access pron or go for a beer.

    As I have said before,we are making recruitment far more complex than it need be. What do the majority of job seekers want? Good honest vacancies advertised in an easily accessible place. They want a two way relationship with a recruiter who looks after their interests rather than files their Cv away and forgets about it. Above all they want immediacy and hope, not long term online schmoozing with a company that may or may not employ them or one of the hundreds of other people that are supposedly competing in these talent communities. It’s a nonsense. Recruitment is a people business. Always has been, always will be. With all the will in the world the parameters and hopes and expectations of those looking for a job aren’t somehow going to magically change, despite what the social media evangelists will tell you. Pick up the phone and treat your candidates with the respect they deserve rather than just another CV in the database. Technology may be many things to many people but it cannot come up with anything that manages hopes and expectations quite as well as a human being does.

  60. Through discussion, many times clarity emerges. That’s what’s so great about this thread.

    With respect to communities, I just don’t think they’re of much recruiting value if the communities are created by a company. As many are saying, these members are people that are typically already in the job market and you can find them easily several other ways. The “90%” aren’t bothering to participate.

    The key to success in leveraging communities is for recruiters to participate in them, not own them, thereby interacting with those 90% who are online doing non-job-hunting things. It’s very similar to the old days (yes, I refer to that again and again because I do believe that, with respect to reaching out to non-active prospects, what’s new is really what has already been), when recruiters would lurk in message boards and listservs. Those were communities, too. There is no difference except that now those communities are more ubiquitous and they have not (yet) been taken over by spam messages.

  61. It’s interesting to see inhouse recruiters learning what the better search & selection people have been doing for years. It’s a bit like a new generation of teenagers thinking they’ve invented sex.

    This new breed of recruiters now have the opportunity to evolve this approach more broadly. The tools are there, but will they get the budget backing from their boards? I’m not convinced that most CEOs see recruitment as that business-critical.

    Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable article, well-written and that made some excellent points.

  62. Superb debate. Cheeky question….

    Fot those that say that Head Hunters have been building communities for years, since the 1980’s, and identifying passive talent…..I ponder…..

    If this is so…….why does it cost me a 1/3 of the total fee to generate a shortlist and take 3/4 weeks to form that shortlist. That get charged another third for that shortlist!

    If some are suggesting that head hunters have ready made identified communities / talent pools / whatever and they are charging fees for shortlists that take minimal effort to generate and cost lots of money…..? Well I am being ripped off then…surely? 😉

  63. Maybe Matthew, maybe.

    I think we need to keep things in perspective when we talk about ‘talent communities’, if only because I’ve seen little evidence that they actually exist. I think sometimes a vision is created of ‘El Dorado’ type sections of an ATS that have these groups of uber-talented people just waiting to let at a vacancy.

    I’m sure we both know that the reality is a lot more informal than that – regardless of the era.

  64. To compare an interactive Organized Group (Talent Community, etc.) with a static Recruiter’s Rolodex or Database – is hard to fathom…. The whole concept is to maintain vibrancy of the group through member interactions and engagement. It’s pretty easy to do this – don’t forget they all have an interest in common or they wouldn’t be there and as Amy and Matthew’s article in the Journal describes so eloquently, people love to talk and are hungry for information. Throw in a bit of spice and activity – and Group members will take it from there. We have been building these Groups for years – is it that hard to understand?

    The objective of a Talent Community is to NOT play to the active job seekers. In fact, the very raison d’être for a community is to attract the very people that aren’t going to apply today in the first place. The object is to provide them interesting info about the company culture, the brands, and the company’s place in the industry, whatever – in order to move them from blasé to being interested…

    The traditional and antiquated practices that are being used to drill down and screen out people are diametrically opposed to what the vast majority of career consumers in the marketplace seek…those that keep drilling and screening instead of engaging and interacting will continue to alienate the 75% of passives in the labor market, and instead will continue to pass around the same 25% they always have…

    Stop and take a moment…think about how a Group of the talent you need are engaging and interacting with your hiring managers while you cultivate the hires among them…it’s a very simple concept to comprehend (unless maybe you’re a TPR and feel threatened by a Community). No matter how you think about this thread – it is happening all around us – Communities and all types of new engagement techniques are happening at companies of every size, every day…and will only grow. Do you think that people who Tweet every day, comment on Blogs, review products and interact in hundreds of ways we only thought about 5 years ago are not going to want to interact for their careers too? Here’s your answer…they already are!

    Instead of pushing against the tsunami about to swamp you, it may be a good idea to think how you can contribute to a world where people engage instead of being ignored or worse told “you’re not good enough!”

  65. @KC – The question isn’t whether those exist (they do) or whether you can make contact with potential candidates there (you can), but whether you’ll find people there you can’t find otherwise (unlikely if you’re actually good at identifying passive candidates in existing companies), and whether they’ll be more likely to join the company you represent because you’ve been interacting with them in this community (I’m skeptical).

    Let’s take LinkedIn as an example since it’s an easy one, there are lots of potential candidates, and lots of potential candidates in specialized fields, it’s easy to get a fair amount of resume type information on them to qualify them, and there are groups where individuals interact and engage. Whether those groups are created by companies attempting to leverage them over the long term for recruitment or set up on their own (it’s in theory more efficient to simply join existing groups but there are some inherent efficiencies to being the group creator). Now, LinkedIn is hardly an exhaustive list of all available passive candidates, though it’s improving. And it’s certainly true that by participating in these groups you can make connections with potential candidates (of course you could pay for the LinkedIn services use Inmail and introductions as well). But how much interaction through the group do you need to have in order to make it more likely that this candidate (who you could have found in a number of other ways) will consider a job opportunity you present them with than if you’d just contacted them out of the blue and touched base periodically (perhaps by email where mail merges can be used for efficiency)?

    I mean essentially what you’re suggesting is hanging out in some of these groups, commenting, participating in discussions, adding value, etc. is going to result in a greater ability to recruit these people. I’m arguing that I’m skeptical about how much more likely the candidate will be to take a job opportunity because they’ve interacted with you in that way. I think the determining factor is much more likely to be a combination of current job satisfaction and quality of the offer. Additionally, I’m suggesting that all the time required to participate in these groups and communities could be more effectively be put into contacting candidates directly, screening them for interest quickly, building automated follow-up systems to check in every now and then, and crafting better offers.

    Now, the theory goes (if you look at case studies of for example how Microsoft or major engineering firms have worked using these tactics) that the thought leadership, content supplied, etc. isn’t about building relationships so much as it’s about presenting the company as an exciting place to work (Microsoft will seed these communities with internal Microsoft research, which is cutting edge and exciting to the members, who will then in turn talk about how exciting those projects are and want to work there, at which point Microsoft sends them an invitation to apply). Note the difference between this approach, which is about MARKETING (I’ve been stating for this whole thread that recruiting IS marketing) and seeding the information in particular places (targeting), where the information creates an offer that’s appealing to the candidates. This is NOT the same as sitting around building relationships between individuals one on one, which is extremely expensive and isn’t scalable (Microsoft does profit per employee of about $220k, they couldn’t do that if their people sat around building relationships one on one, it’s ALL about creating scale).

  66. Michael – Linked In or Facebook or any other 3rd party site is not a talent community…that is a group at a third party Social Netwrok – totally different and it is hard to compare with company hosted groups…

    You are using your TPR mindset in this – and that is hard to assimilate…I get that…

    I’m not saying that recruiters hang out and participate in the discussion – but emps of the company are encouraged to do this…mostly recruiters use the info provided by the members in their profiles to see if there are any who would fit in…they then reach out to these members and engage them further for potential hiring opportunities – not as predators but as promoters of their ability – if a passive job seeker hears about a challenge that is more compelling than their current situation they will listen…that’s it!

    Its way more than showing the employee brand – these folks are getting that from content fed to them via text or emails from the “mother ship “the company” – just as if a blogger sends info daily or weekly whatever…they have already been given that…they are there because they really like what they have discovered and like the conversation they are getting from the experience – engagement, interaction – FUN!

    Sure, marketing is a big part of it as a recruiter and I definitely get YOUR message about this as you have made it clear…the point that I would separate from your idea is that you DO develop relationships in this activity and its fun. Many of my favorite people that I know are from hanging out and chatting in company specific Talent Communities…and I have 10K connections in Linked In, 3K in Twitter and 600 in FB of people that I have a “relationship with” – they’re active and engaged…what do you think my level of support to these people may be – pretty strong…if I were to only recruit or sell these people – I assure you I wouldn’t have nearly as many connections…something to think about…

  67. @ Sandra: Like your style, Ms. McC. I can see you having 15k people who get an email 1/Q, and 1.5k who get a phone call 1/Q, 150 who get an involved phone call 1/mo, 15 who get coffee/lunch/dinner 1 mo. Everybody ends up feeling well treated- that’s not so hard. Example; 4 yrs ago, MS flew me up to Richmond for an interview. I didn’t really think well of MS- thought of them as the “Evil Empire”. Well, they treated me really nicely- everything was smooth, easy, they made me feel I was welcome and valued. I didn’t get the job- they decided they needed someone local. But they left me with a hell of a good impression- I got better treatment NOT getting a the job than I’ve received from places where I DID get the job. As I said, it doesn’t take a lot of money to have everybody feel good about your company, just the will to do so. And as to feeling bad about how the jerkweed (who comes in at the last minute and gets the job ’cause he’s the SVP’s cousin’s brother-in-law) that ALWAYS happens.

    @Michael R: My mistake it was a different Michael from a different column from 6/8 that you also participated in:
    “@ Mike: Thank you for your comment. You clearly have done a great deal of work/research on this particular topic.
    Unfortunately, as I am of limited intelligence, I do not understand the point you are making. Please re-state it more simply.”……..
    That being said, I agree with some of your points and disagree with others- when someone here says something is “inevitable” or “will need,” I tend to doubt much of what else they have to say. (We already have far too many of those folks on ERE.) Also, many of your points were longer than 25 words (some MUCH longer) and they weren’t jargon-free: I caught “engagement,” “thought leader,” “employment branding”. Bottom line: too long, too much jargon makes it hard to finish and get all the good points.

    @Alasdair: Spot on again. I’d like to add that you can have the $2.50/hr person pick up the phone if you don’t want to.

    @Richard: I agree- why would anyone trust a non-user group company-sponsored talent community? Why should anyone in a talent community trust a recruiter? Also, why not just harvest and data mine the community for useful prospects? As I said before: if you know where they are and what they’re doing, you don’t have to look for them. Finally, aren’t we talking about a very small segment of potential employees for a relatively short period of time? It won’t concern most employees and it won’t concern most recruiters.

    @Matthew: Most sourcing can be done for $11/hr retail, and what they can’t do can be done by the Maureens of the world for $40/name, and I think would be well-worth it.

    @KC & KC (again): I still don’t understand why anyone would want to bother with a company-sponsored talent community- if they can’t quickly get a job or SWAG and you can’t trust it to be objective, why go there? I can understand going to a user group or something outside the company- but a company-sponsored talent community sounds like either a vague long-shot effort to network for a hypothetical future job, a major time-suck, or both. What am I not understanding here?

    @Michael R (again): I understand and agree. Let’s begin here: isn’t ERE a Talent Community of a sort? What have we got out of this, except the pleasure of reading each other’s words? Except for some pompous prognosticators (who shall remain forever nameless, or at least until I am one of them), who has gotten something tangible- a job, a consulting contract, a paid speaking engagement, merchandise , SOMETHING? Hope you have Sunshine, cause it sure ain’t me….. If my comparison between ERE and a corporate TC is correct, I liken a TC to what Shakespeare’s Falstaff said about honor:
    “Well, ’tis no matter; honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? how then? Can honour set to a leg? no: or an arm? no: or take away the grief of a wound? no.
    Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? no. What is honour? a word. What is in that word honour? What is that honour? air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it? he that died o’ Wednesday. Doth he feel it? no. Doth he hear it? no. ‘Tis insensible, then. Yea, to the dead. But will it not live with the living? no. Why? detraction will not suffer it. Therefore I’ll none of it. Honour is a mere scutcheon: and so ends my catechism.”
    Henry IV Part 1 (5.1.4)


  68. @KC – Let’s start with you enlightening my ignorance, what does TPR mean?

    Second, what is the material difference between what you’re defining as a “talent community” and a group on Facebook, or LinkedIn (or really any private website, or heck an association website etc.) dedicated to a group of individuals with specific talents/skills/interests who discuss their field of interest together?

    “mostly recruiters use the info provided by the members in their profiles to see if there are any who would fit in…they then reach out to these members and engage them further for potential hiring opportunities – not as predators but as promoters of their ability – if a passive job seeker hears about a challenge that is more compelling than their current situation they will listen”

    Again I come back to the key question, which is how much more likely till they be to take the opportunity because of the talent community than they are if simply engaged directly? AND, what are the associated costs to accurately determine a cost benefit analysis?

    “Its way more than showing the employee brand – these folks are getting that from content fed to them via text or emails from the “mother ship “the company” – just as if a blogger sends info daily or weekly whatever…they have already been given that…”

    Not necessarily, and those are all great aspects of marketing the corporate employment brand, but I digress.

    “they are there because they really like what they have discovered and like the conversation they are getting from the experience – engagement, interaction – FUN!”

    Yes yes, we get that, as far as I know no one has ever disputed that, the question is how much more likely is a person to come work for you because of that and what are the costs compared with alternatives?

    “the point that I would separate from your idea is that you DO develop relationships in this activity and its fun”

    Relationships are developed through any sort of communication, believe it or not to some extent you and I are developing a relationship here and now, it’s not significant, but it is present, and I happen to enjoy it, but that doesn’t mean it’s effective (produces ROI that increases shareholder value).

    “Many of my favorite people that I know are from hanging out and chatting in company specific Talent Communities…”

    No one is disputing that you build relationships that way, the question is is it a good way to recruit? And by good I mean both effective and efficient when compared with alternatives?

    “I have 10K connections in Linked In, 3K in Twitter and 600 in FB of people that I have a “relationship with” – they’re active and engaged…what do you think my level of support to these people may be – pretty strong…if I were to only recruit or sell these people – I assure you I wouldn’t have nearly as many connections…something to think about…”

    I’ll leave my skepticism about just how much of a relationship you have with you 10k connections on LinkedIn for a moment since I actually don’t believe it’s possible to have a real personal relationship with that many people simultaneously (you can have a reputation with them but that’s different). As to your assessment of “only recruiting or selling them” I don’t think anecdotal evidence (such as the 18 million Facebook followers of Victoria’s Secret, which really does nothing more than sell it’s followers) refutes your hypothesis. But more importantly perhaps you and I have drastically different ideas of what it means to “Sell” or “Recruit”. You make it sound like a bad thing that people will run from, what I see as recruiting is quite the opposite. It’s extending an invitation, and my network, which doesn’t include 10k LinkedIn followers but is nevertheless pretty significant has been built in large part through that exact sort of activity. In fact as a general rule I find it’s a much more effective starting point of a relationship than an interaction without purpose because it immediately provides common ground, a way to identify each other, a place to start, and a place to go…something to think about

  69. @Keith Thanks guy, your numbers are pretty close a little ambitious but fairly close.

    @KC – You must have been a pushy recruiter when you did that. I have never had much problem talking to a person who was not actively looking and have been well received with courtesy and even in most cases the people i contact seem a bit flattered that i would contact them out of the blue so to speak. But then i am not a hard sell recruiter. Been called a lot of things but predator has never been one of them.

    I am all for our industry moving forward as all things must but i am always amused by the young lions who pontificate about how all these new things are happening when good headhunters have been marketing themselves, their own company and the companies they represent since we crawled out of our caves. How pray tell, is someone who has been in recruiting for 10 years knowledgeable about what recruiting was like at 1.0 other than what he hears from the big boys and girls who have survived rather well through 1.0, 2.0 and are classically bored with all of the excitement about new things happening when we talk about engaging with candidates who are not filling out job applications. Finding and engaging the elusive head is not new. It got lost a bit in the shuffle that was created by the advent of the internet.

    Marketing is not new in the recruiting industry, being a part of a group is not new. The Jr. Bar association has been a specific talent community as has the AICPA local chapters and on and on. Many recruiters have been a part of the fun and frolic of these groups long before recruiting got all bogged down in way too much and way too many groups, blogs communities and now you want more. Specific to companies, limited to 150 people. Which begs the question what happen when a wonderful curious “not the mommy of the job seeker” flops upon a company talent community online and decides to fill out a profile (as if most non jobseekers would actually fill out a profile for a company other than their own if they were not interested in a job there).

    Our non jobseeker clicks in ,fills out his profile since he is one of KC’s 10,000 personal relationships. Opps, he is number 151. He gets a screen that says, “sorry we are full, please check back to see if anyone has moved, quit or died so you can be a member next week.” Or does somebody see the profile and say, “wowser, this guy is with one of our competitors wonder if he is interested in joining us or wait, what if he is here to do a little intellectual property mining.”

    What happens then KC, do you cull one of the talent community so you can let Mr. Big in. How you do dat. Go through and take a look at who signed up but has never made a comment ,send him an email and tell him he is off the list and send Mr. Big an email letting him know that you killed one off so there is now room. Do people who have been interviewed and turned down as a loser get to be in the talent community or do they get the gong so they don’t take up the limited space in the TC? How do you verify that someone is who they say they are?

    If these things are truly like a conference where ideas are exchanged and everybody has a barrel of fun when they feel like it, then why call them talent communities why are they not called company online conferences or the SYZ company networking group and why the hell are we talking about them as related to recruiting if they are not related to recruiting and who would be dumb enough to think they weren’t if they started getting calls from internal recruiters to see if they might be interested in speaking to them about a job. So then if they were contacted and said they were only there for the fun of it and wouldn’t go to work for the company ever. Would you then dump their happy ass out of the not a jobseeker talent community or what if they started bad mouthing the joint as often happens at conferences. Gong, out o’ there i would guess.

    But i do think they would be a great thing to have to have something for marketing interns to do that would be entertaining since most of them can’t write a full sentence at this point.

    It is just funny to me to have the new breed running around writing white papers about all the new and exciting stuffola that is happenng in recruiting. It isn’t new. It is faster and it has been so impersonal due to all the online crap that everybody is simply sick of the impersonal so they are going back to the personal engagement the way it was before the last crop of brigh young newbies got all excited about how if recruiters didn’t dump it all online we would be out of business in six months.

    I shall leave you with this thought. A personal relationship or engaging with another person is not a tweetup, a tweetchat, an inmail, a chat room or a talent community that is really not a talent community but an online conference. It’s not 5000 followers who may be robots or your old aunt Mabel on Facebook. A personal relationship is meeting a person, talking with them on the phone, visiting their office. So if 3.0 wants to know how to do something other than push marketing. quit talking to avatars, stay off of dating sites and go meet somebody. Ya know, like a real person then you can send them an email and hook up online in a chat room.

  70. Whew! I am glad you’ve had a chance to blow off some steam… Seems a cord has been struck…maybe its the semi full moon…

    Michael – TPR is Third Party Recruiting – and I doubt anywhere in my post I regarded anything you mentioned as ignorant…if so I certainly apologize as you personally seem brilliant pertaining to the subject!

    …also jousting about the value of having a group of folks to draw from for strategic hiring is not time well spent if its something that doesn’t resonate with you…(with dozens of companies it does!)

    Sandra – Not much to respond to…your usual wit is missing here…

    I will say one thing…your one point about limiting the size of a group to 150 members is a bit silly…of course a second group would be added for that funtional area (or a 3rd or 4th group as we’ve added on occasion) – not unlike a Kindergarten class with too many students…the only other thing to add is that you seem to think that this is something happening way off in the future..its not! We’ve been managing Talent Communites very successfully for almost a decade…Social Technology has only made it easier and way more sucessful for our clients…

    Keith my friend…. keep in mind the people that join a company sponsored community are not actively pursuing a job! They join because they respect the company, want to learn alot more about it and have an interest in potential long range career designs for that company – some of which they realize are just that – long range…they also get to network with folks of like mind…places where they enjoy hanging out! I’m sure you can understand the interest and desire…

    It seems as if there is a whole lot of negativity around engagement v. tactical methods – I assume most of you that feel this way are agency recruiters and that makes perfect sense… Other than that, we’re just people sharing ideas – right?

  71. @KC – I don’t think there’s negativity being tossed around, just strong opinions communicated in a strong manner (I’m personally a fan of that style as I think it’s both more engaging and challenges us each to up our game more). Thanks for the clarification regarding third party recruiting (I think we could have a whole discussion around the value of third party recruitment agencies, where they fit, what their long term value is, etc. but we’ll save that for another conversation).

    “…also jousting about the value of having a group of folks to draw from for strategic hiring is not time well spent if its something that doesn’t resonate with you…(with dozens of companies it does!)”

    By resonate do you mean “you enjoy it”? If so that’s a completely separate issue. I have no illusions that for the most part hanging out here making comments probably doesn’t have great ROI, but I do it because I enjoy it, just like I chat with friends about trends in technology, and read fantasy books because I enjoy both of those things. But businesses aren’t organizations to create enjoyment, they are organizations to create profit. So, if you can get people to do extra work they wouldn’t normally do on their own time that might not have as great efficiency or effectiveness, in addition to what’s optimal during work hours, simply because they enjoy it, great. And there’s validity to that argument. I certainly don’t think it deposes conversations of best resource application for the company and consequently isn’t going to signify a shift in recruiting representative of a change from 2.0 to 3.0 but rather an addition.

    To some extent this comes back to Sandra’s comments and the old adge “the more everything changes the more it stays the same”. What’s the same and what’s different:

    1. Quality of people are still an asset and competitive advantage – what’s changed is the significance as a whole of expertise on returns on shareholder value (as compared with the influence of capital) has increased dramatically

    2. Recruiting is still a process of broadcasting the message to the target market, conducting screening, and selling those who fit by way of incentives and influence – what’s changed are the technologies used to broadcast those messages, the degree of complexity in terms of the applicants, geographies, etc.

    The real differences are issues of scale, pace, and understanding (good financial metrics pertaining to the influence of HR on sustained bottom line profitability are fairly new). (Flexibility in the workforce has definitely also been a growing trend over the last 20 years or so and will likely become an increasingly hotly contested issue as companies struggle to balance retention with adaptation (what’s the cost of letting someone go if you can’t get them back when you need them?))

  72. Interesting comments as ever 🙂

    Interesting to define that recruitment agencies need to adapt or die in these modern times. Something not addressed in the thread. Some seem to feel that agencies are still on the cutting edge, especially search/headhunt agencies. Maybe worth re-examining that.

    Keeping things over simplistic, lets define between those contingent recruitment agencies and retained/headhunters, (many other shades but for time keeping it simple).

    For those contingent operators, (ie those that are a cv shop, give them a brief and you receive back 10 cv’s the next day), they have to re-examine their model. How do they position themselves and get ‘unique’ talent, (definition of unique here is passive non active talent). At the moment if you brief 3/4 agencies, it becomes a rush who can send candidates first, (and we know that when a candidate is looking they will register with a number of agencies). Hence the cv sprint starts for agencies, supplemented by their advertising on job boards. Nothing spectacular there but is simple, worked in the past but is stressful for those involved. And not a great sustainable model for the future.

    Now the question the contingent agencies need to ask is whether building their own communities and reaching out and building relationships in the passive pool, whether that will give them a competitive advantage. And yes, it is about building that cheesy of terms, a predictable talent pipeline. Perhaps that will position them uniquely and give them access to more non active talent.

    And those contingent operators could be even more creative and installing recommend a friend aspects to those communities that see those that recommend given ‘badges’ and rewards, that can be monetary, product gifts or just credit/recognition. The power of ‘recommendation’ communities has not been recognised at all, esp via social media communities. (and I would most want to be doing that in LinkedIn discussion groups).

    For the headhunters, as discussed earlier, they dont have ready built networks of talent, they have starting points, otherwise they would not need to spend 3/4 weeks reaching out and building a shortlist. Or we are being ripped off for 3/4 weeks as they re-fashion old searches 😉

    What is interesting here is the new breed of ‘agencies’ / talent solutions partners. For example, if I have difficult to search for roles and want ready-made pipelines and dont have the current budget to invest in a search or have the headcount to add a sourcer on the internal team, I have another option. Companies like Talentworks, who provide market mapping, talent pooling and recruitment research solutions, give me a new solution. I can brief a role and they will reach out and map competitors and identify & qualify relevant candidates. This is done at a fairly low competitive cost, compared to a traditional search and selection agency operating at 30% of total remuneration/basic. And in addition, it is worth rembering that of that 30% fee, generally a third is based on commencement of a project, then a third on shortlist, then the remainder if a candidate is hopefully on placement. Hence 2/3rds of a 30% fee is spent on delivery of a qualified shortlist.

    My philisophy is that I want qualified leads, (companies like Talentworks provide those lists), but of course not qualified to the degree of a Headhunter, as headhunters interview and assess. But I believe that internal assessments should be strong, hence we can interview and make our own assessments, we just need a list of those interested in the role, been briefed, plus we get a list of people with contact details that we can then build relationships with, be it direct, be it inviting to communities, or be it via mailshots. All this at a minimal fraction of the cost and with potential communities/individuals to market to boot.

    Point is that companies like Talentworks could soon force traditional search companies to readjust their business models. And yes….believe it or not, they focus on building communtiies, building relationships…and it works for them to get referrals and build knowledge and relationships.

    Hence, agencies need to adapt or die. That adaption is to get to passive talent quicker than their competitors, build relationships so candidates register with less agencies and build those talent communities and a predictable talent pipeline. Some of this is not new but the vehciles to do so are new and exciting.

  73. Another interesting point to consider is if Recruitment Leaders and their recruiters dont adapt to these new communities and focus on traditional methods, will CEO’s and Hiring Managers ask why the need of internal recruitment teams. Hiring Managers can argue that they can allocate some of there time and do a search on LinkedIn and get their PA’s to post on job boards. That’s not high tech recruiting.

    Now the argument will come back, quite rightly, that this point misses out on the ability of the recruiter to assess and pre-screen candidates and build shortlists. But controversially, many recruiters use their hiring managers to define their shortlists.

    Hence those organisations that are reaching out, building communities, spreading positive brand messages and engaging, are adding extra value to their business.

    The power of word of mouth is not to be underestimated for a business. This is what in encompaased in Recruitment 3.0.

    And those that dont build communities, don’t build compelling employment brand propositions, don’t engage in social media, don’t reach out and market and build those ‘predictable talent pipelines’, let’s regroup and see where they are in 2/3 years….if they are still around 😉

  74. Mobile Recruiting.

    My last point/debating idea for the day before I go and enjoy a cold beer. 🙂

    The next big thing for recruiting, especially those that are focused on building engaged social communities is mobile recruitment.

    Before people leap on and say this always existed, this was more text message based….we have a job for you click this or call me to discuss.

    With the growth of Smart Phones, (like iPhone), and Tablets, (iPad, Galaxy, Blackberry Workbook etc), people are able to manage their careers on the move. Recent reports show that the average job seeker is now searching for jobs on their mobile device, (and then applying when they get home).

    Companies like AllTheTopBananas have grasped this and been ahead of the curve…but more exciting than this is that they have looked at the big picture and created downloadable Apps, that allow for a candidate or community member to not only search for jobs in your company, (and apply), but also aggregate all social media feeds, hence acting as a one stop shop that people can see all content posted on your company Twitter feed, Facebook wall, watch your YouTube videos etc and of course see latest blog articles. And more importantly, people can participate and engage in company communities whilst on the move be it on the train, plane, bus, car, sitting in Starbucks, waiting in the queue at Best Buy or sitting on the loo. Mix into the App, Employment Brand messaging and company information, these ‘mobile communities’, will certainly become common place and be a central part of Recruitment 3.0.

    As a prediction, these Mobile Apps, will be THE big thing in recruiting this year….and that is another reason why recruiting will be exicting in the next year/two years.

    Long live mobile 🙂

    Ok…..beer calls…….

  75. Wow!

    Some great comments on here on the back of a very interesting article. Where to start commenting??

    Maybe I should start on the area closest to heart. Talent Pools and pipelining with the passive job seeker in mind!

    As the owner of TalentWorks International it has been somethng I have been speaking about for the past 4 years.

    Giving In-house recruiters something different than traditional contingent or retained recruiters. Rather than available “active” talent clients want to see the best available in the market not just on the market. This is the “passive” talent.

    For years contingent and retained companies have ruled the recruitment world and now they have a new challenge to face. The rise of the In-house and direct sourcing model.

    Yes thats right, internal recruiters can now access the active community just as easily as agency recruiters can. They can post on job boards they can develop social media platforms and they have corporate job portals through their web sites.

    Ask most active candidates this question… If you can now find the contact directly linked with the company posting the job would you rather send your CV to them or to a third party recruiter?

    Sorry guys but direct wins nearly every time.

    So what can the industry do to compete with and add value to the In-house model? Offer something different!

    Change the way you work, change your offering, become more dynamic in your approach to sourcing and present candidates that the employer has less access to.

    The passive community is where you can make a difference. Yes it means working harder, yes it means taking a different approach and yes it means adding value and earning that recruitment fee. But guess what? Your clients will love you for it!

    In-house recruiters have a number of goals but two of the clearest are to reduce the cost per hire and increase the quality of talent attracted to their business.

    By developing passive talent pools and demonstrating that great talent and the best talent is not always active will put you ahead of the pack.

    We have spent years and we still are developing our strategy at TalentWorks International. We have spent months with clients asking what they need to make their job easier and add more value to the resourcing process.

    It is first about building and identifying the talent through market mapping but equally important is the first engagement with the candidate.

    Do you understand your clients business well enough to represent their valuable employment brand?

    Are you skilled and knowledgeable enough about your clients business to make that first contact and make it engaging.

    Can you make that passive candidate become an active candidate but about that one opportunity or business you are representing?

    If you can then you are on to a winner. In-house models are gearing up for the “recruitment and assessment piece” Where suppliers can make a difference is through the resourcing and engagement of the passive community.

    If you can be the first to identify the talent and you are geared up as to how to manage that passive community then you have a real USP to offer.

    The methods of how to do this are not new but the offering and the package to do so are.

    It needs a change in mindset and some experience and know how but you can make a bigger impact than you might expect.

    Adapt and you will never look back.

    Best of luck to all

  76. Great article / vision.
    The hard real fact was 3% of Fortune 500 have no clearly defined EVP – if the offer is not clear, I bet the execution is worse. And it IS!

    We live in a digital world, there is constant chatter about engagement and Social Recruiting with a sprinkle of employer brand thrown in for good measure. But these efforts are frequently executed as a tick box not with passion like the authors of this article. Doing it is not enough – you need to do it properly!

    Online Recruitment has been hanging on for 15 years surrounded by job boards and in many cases hard to use career portals. Its is time for a CHANGE. The market has already MOVED ON.

    Recruitment 3.0 is engagement, social and focuses on everyone – but the world has changed, you have changed. You have a smart phone in your pocket. You read your email everywhere. You access the web when and where ever you need it. You chat on Twitter / Facebook everywhere on your Mobile Phone. The future of computing is cloud based and Mobile devices WILL be your primary method of connecting to the Cloud or the Web.

    The mobile will be the job seekers first point of contact with your company. It will be via mobile websites and mobile apps. There is already a search engine that directs people to apps to answer their needs instead of web sites.

    Today, too many companies recruitment / communication strategy fails to realize the communication channel of the web has changed. Plenty of companies claim to engage using social media, which is normally just a tick box exercise. How are potential candidates consuming your companies Tweets? Well today 40% of them are reading these tweets on a mobile phone. How many of the tweets have links to follow as a call to action? How many of these links work on a mobile phone?

    Online recruitment, has traditionally, focused on process and making it easier for the recruiter. Well that stinks! Recruitment 3.0 needs to put the prospective candidate in the driving seat. The experience needs to be friendly – easy. The experience needs to support the channels that the market are using. It is not difficult, but you need be consumer focused- or candidate focused.

    Here are some key areas you should be thinking about now:
    1. Can candidates learn all about your company on their mobile?
    2. If they search AppStore or Google Market Place for your company what do they see – nothing? A competitor?
    3. Does your community support mobile?
    4. Do you force community sign up to fit your CRM process or can your candidates login with their Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account.
    5. Do you email your candidates, or offer Direct Messages via Twitter or Facebook?
    6. Can a candidate scan a QR code in your shop or on your products to go and see your entire offering on their mobile?

    As a candidate that is interested in your company, I should be able to see everything you offer in one place. I should be able to choose which social channel to communicate with you on. I should be able to use my mobile, you should be able to update me with highly interesting content or vacancy alerts. I should be able to register my interest in specific jobs. And you should update me about the application process via my chosen channel.

    Please stop ignoring the HUGE switch to mobile Internet and start making candidates life easier!

    Learn more about Mobile Recruiting at MoRecNews.com a site dedicated to spreading the vision.

  77. @Matthew – Great comments regarding the inadequacies and slow death of contigent and retained recruiters. I think it’s actually more serious than you’ve suggested. Let’s consider the real value of such services (and recognize that the service needs to correlate to value if you’re to achieve scale and sustainability (you can always con a few people here and there out of a 20% fee when getting the candidate was no more difficult than placing an ad on Kijiji but you can’t do it consistently and on a large scale, which means the economics become self defeating (you spend more money trying to get those clients than you gain by charging so much for so little)).

    Here again I’m going to go back to my argument about context, because I think it’s something most recruitment agencies don’t consider. Really small companies are typically too small to afford expensive recruiting services, meaning you lower your prices or don’t get them as clients, but what they generally have as a problem is the owner is usually the recruiter and lacks time, so there is value in freeing up that time. What does this mean in terms of economics? It means you can charge approximately the equivalent of what his time is worth (let’s ballpark it at around $100/hr., which sounds good but is hardly a fortune when you consider the customer acquisition and retention costs, administrative overhead, etc., it leaves a small margin but not a significant one and these sorts of clients are notorious for not valuing their time enough to pay).

    There’s another group of companies where the skill level and abundance of labor available on the market means they won’t reasonably pay much if anything (this typically includes retail, restaurants, hotels, etc. with some special exceptions such as bringing in foreign workers). Thus, these are only a feasible target when the market is extremely tight and finding even basic employees is a challenge, again, they aren’t willing to pay a lot and so the merits of going after them are difficult to rationalize.

    This leaves us with two groups I’ll term regional companies, and enterprise/government. I’ve frequently seen recruiters flock after the giants, Microsoft, Google, GE, GM, Boeing, etc. etc. etc. Enterprise. These are companies that have established employment brands, meaning that most active job seekers have already applied there. And the ability to do all the basic sourcing tricks (job boards, etc.) on their own, in fact they’ve usually got internal recruiting teams. Historically, the value contigency and retained recruitment firms could provide to these organizations that justified their value were passive candidates, and for high quality passive candidates the fees were justified. The problem is that most of the value here was in the form of sourcing names (it’s not like 3rd party recruiters have ever really had a massive ability to motivate an individual to move from their current job to a new job that the company themselves couldn’t offer since really it’s a matter of corporate culture, and compensation, which are both set by the company and not the recruiter). The problem for 3rd party recruiters is the ability to source names is getting A LOT easier. Take LinkedIn as a simple example, there are literally millions of passive candidates searchable by field, experience level, company, education, etc. for a pitence of cost compared with third party recruiter fees. To be fair, there’s a window while companies pick up on these services when 3rd party recruiters can use the services to make some relatively easy money, but those days are fast coming to an end.

    This is why the real niche and target for 3rd party recruitment companies right now should be regional companies. That is to say companies limited in size and in particular in geographical reach/scope. The reason is really simple:

    1. They don’t have strong employment brands or if they do that employment brand doesn’t reach people in other geographies so frequently candidates haven’t already applied

    2. They don’t have the resources to build strong internal recruiting teams, develop best practices, etc. so they can’t be sourcing passive candidates internally the way large enterprise can

    3. These companies are large enough to afford the services and hire enough to provide repeat business that justifies the sales efforts

    Keep in mind, none of the above inherently have to do with talent communities, or social media, or mobile (mobile is a HUGE deal in terms of technology and best practices, but it’s not going to change the fundamental nature of recruiting, just like video conferencing (doing interviews over Skype) won’t). However, the trends do threaten the usefulness of third party recruiters to most of the market.

    Bottom line – in evaluating the changes in the market 3rd party recruiters need to shift their focus to particular types of clients more so than particular new technologies.

  78. Oh no, already a typical ostrich with there head deep in the sand, “mobile won’t change recruitment, bla bla bla”.

    If we get down to basics, this is very right- unless recruitment follows sport, where teams go looking offering jobs, instead of candidates applying for jobs then nothing will change recruitment. But if we consider any strategic detail or operational process it should change quite a lot!

    99% of applications are currently online. 20 years ago many people laughed at such a change. But the heads in sand resulted in the online power being owned by job boards. Still today applying for a job many company websites is a shocking experience. You would think these companies don’t want talent- guess what they don’t, online creates potential volume of applications! Process and forms reduce the volume, but what about the talent level?

    Ignore me, listen to Gartner or Google, Mobile web will be bigger than desktop web in 2013. What are job boards doing- building apps and mobile sites, I know we have helped many of the leading boards!

    What should companies do – well they should take their heads out of the sand! It may only be technology, but the phone has had the biggest impact on business ever, and history will repeat it’s self this decade.

    Now is the opportunity to engage, to be their among the first, to own the space! Now is the chance to break free of obstructive processes that are impractical on a mobile. Now is your opportunity to shine as a company and offer a candidate experience that focuses on the talent instead of internal process.

    Now is your opportunity to reach candidates, to stay connected via mobile technology and to fill more vacancies with better people.

    Social is changing recruitment process, but social already IS mobile, you consume social every day on your phone! Guess what? So do your consumers.

    Or, you can sit back, ignore social, ignore mobile and in 2 years time pay Monster.mobi $1m a year to pick up the seconds!

    Wake up and embrace the change!

  79. @Neil – Great points regarding direct vs. through recruiting firms. At the end of the day why would anyone want to go to a recruiting firm if they could go direct? Unfortunately, the recruiting firsm offer them no advantages (this is a potential business opportunity by the way).

    @Dave – What you’re saying is true, but it’s not the core issue for 3rd party recruitment companies. There’s a difference between method, medium, and business, mobile is a change in medium, the fundamental process (method) remains the same. The bigger deals in terms of deep, far reaching, and far lasting competitive advantage will come in changes to the method and the business itself.

  80. Matthew: Just a bit of clarification from someone with several years of retained executive search experience…you have made the point that when a firm splits a fee in thirds that it is for specific tasks as performed…I must tell you in my experience that this is not the case at all. Our goal for every project was to only find one candidate that was spot on and hopefully if we did that type of search consistently – it was only a matter of getting that person on the phone – one phone call, one candidate, one submittal, one hire… $100K fee in the bank.

    We split up the fee for two reason, so the client would not be hit with a large one time sum, going into sticker shock, and so we could layer in Administrative fees over the three payments…this is very much common practice…

    Oh and yeah – you’ve been ripped off forever by the contract search business…but it isn’t really a rip off when you are willing to line up and pay now is it…one of my clients used a top five Exec Agency and paid them $500K for a CFO search and never got a hire…so they brought in one of their competitors and paid them another $500K and once again the search was not filled. In frustration, they asked us if we could do it and in 15 days we had the successful candidate interviewing with them (not because we were so great…but because we cared about getting more work from the client…we also didn’t charge them $500K…) At times the big boys don’t want to succeed – they get paid anyway so it matters little to their reputation and they know that they’ll get the call next time no matter what…

  81. In order to bring out useful conclusions from this discussion we need to make some key distinctions. The first is between 3rd party recruitment firms (specifically contingent and retained, since temporary, RPO, etc. have some very different dynamics and value points) and internal recruitment. These are two completely ball games because the lack relates purely to questions of efficiency and effectiveness, while the former requires considering competitive value and business models (as I’ve mentioned in a previous comment this business model is in danger over the not too long term, not of being entirely eliminated but being greatly reduced by competitive offerrings such as LinkedIn).

    The second distinction is between the nature of recruitment and the job description of the recruiter. At a basic level the nature of recruitment hasn’t changed that much in decades, but the skillsets and job description of a recruiter might have and will continue to evolve radically as technology and broader marketing campaigns become an increasing part of the role.

    The third distinction is between method and medium. I hear a lot of arguments over differences in medium, these last few posts battering on about mobile. Social media is in many regards a new medium but it also has the potential to be something more, while mobile is limited to being a different medium. Changes in medium are important, they have always been just as the difference between advertising in a trade journal vs. a local newspaper has made a difference. But it doesn’t signal a change to the underlying process, which is much more profound. For examples of the former, whether you post ads on paid job boards or in paid local classifieds, whether you send emails or text messages, whether you send them to a web page or a mobile app the process itself is the same. We build in convenience/accessibility into our processes to maximize the availability to the talent pool and etch out some small and short lasting competitive advantage, but it’s a difference that lacks depth by which I mean trends will force adoption and it will occur somewhat naturally, while shifts in method take much longer to deal with and replicate and can offer far more valuable competitive advantages.

    The fourth distinctions to address are those pertaining to business (for example, Google has revolutionized a lot of business models by taking services that cost money and making them free, or in the case of Android, less than free) these deeply alter the landscape of competition and the market, I’ll leave these distinctions for another post though.

    The point of introducing these distinctions is you can’t make blanket statements that apply across all of them. I originally started my comments on the basis of referring to internal recruitment then noticed based on the author’s feedback that they were directed more towards third party recruiters, and towards job descriptions as opposed to underlying fundamentals. This is fair enough, but it creates dissention if the constraints aren’t understood up front.

    So, let’s focus on where the changes are most interesting, which I believe are third party recruitment firms in terms not of the medium, but the method. Yes, everyone will move to adopt mobile in some form over the next 5-10 years. Yes, everyone will apply old methods to social media over the next 5-10 years. Yes, people will move from posting on large paid job boards in many cases to posting on LinkedIn and comparable solutions, they’ll harness candidates through their corporate Facebook and LinkedIn pages as opposed to just through their corporate site. Yes, they’ll send messages through Facebook or send text messages instead of emails, they might even adopt IM technology, they’ll benefit from social workplace portability, more consistently defined identities to avoid re-screening the same people over and over. Yes, they’ll use Skype to perform video interviews rather than flying people in. But these are all just ways to make the machine run slightly faster, they aren’t changes to the machine itself. We’ll still do workplace mapping, we’ll still post ads, we’ll still send invitations to apply (whether by phone, text, email, direct message, group message, tweets, online postings, etc.), we’ll still receive resumes (though they might be a part of your social profile), conduct interviews, negotiate and extend offers. Those are not the exciting things and the reason they aren’t exciting is because they don’t create fundamental underlying changes…oh they’ll change the 3rd party recruitment market because the costs that made sense 30 years ago don’t make sense today and certainly won’t make sense in 10 years when a simple internet search lists a mass number of passive candidates to approach, and a click of the mouse sends out an invitation to apply or job offer to all of them at once. You just can’t charge people 20% for that if they can purchase it for themselves for a fee of $10k/yr. But let’s talk about how the underlying methods are going to change.

    1. Personalization – it’s interesting that for all the talk of recruitment 2.0 or 3.0 of social and mobile or whatever one thing glaringly absent from the conversation has been the mass trend towards personalized search, the filters on your Facebook newsfeed, iGoogle, etc. Think about this from the candidates perspective. Candidates often have to make finding work a full time job…that’s ridiculous when you think of it. Going to a half dozen job boards on a daily basis, hanging out on social networks, visiting corporate career sites, applying and re-applying every time a job posting shows up, it’s highly inefficient and it could end very quickly with the advent of a lot of the personalization technology…imagine if someone visits your site and only sees jobs they qualify for? Imagine they only apply once or twice because they know everything they see they have a good chance of getting, and fits their goals? This is rapidly becoming possible with persistent online identity, social workplace portability, and inter-network connectivity (services such as Facebook connect). Why is this likely to happen? Because it’s way better for both the candidates and the employers, it involves less work for both parties because it’s more automated, which means more resources can be put towards finding a best fit with a small pool of candidates instead of just sorting through a large ocean for vague fit.

    2. Crowd screening – it’s the wikipedia model, the ebay feedback model, etc. etc. etc. right now a candidate could undergo dozens of interviews even several with a single firm, let alone the many firms they interview with over many months or even years. It’s inefficient for both parties. We’ve already got an alternative in systems like Guru, ODesk, and eLance, where the cloud provides you with an employment reputation score. There are obviously potential privacy issues here but the reality is systems like this where screening candidates (and employers) becomes a sort of wikipedia model with the cloud gradually filling in more and more data so before you even go to an interview you can decide not to hire someone or not take a job, where you’ve got more than just a listing of people with job history, you’ve got feedback from colleagues and past employers, data about what they’ve been paid. Imagine job seekers being able to see in real time what others in their location with their skillsets and ratings are being paid by other employers and employers being able to see what other employers are paying. This would fundamentally alter the nature of recruitment and even equalize the employment markets as a whole. It’s part of the untapped power of the social web.

    3. Social screening & sourcing – I’ve beat up on the usefulness of recruiters hanging out building relationships with potential candidates in the vain hope it will help with recruiting down the road. But there’s a bigger more valuable play to social networks that has yet to be tapped. Imagine being able to see a matrix of every individual in your industry and who they know, who their friends are, who they interact with most, who is most connected, etc. Now imagine how you could use that as a screening and sourcing tool. Not getting it? Think of this, “birds of a feather flock together” so if you have one superstar working for you it’s probably likely his friends are superstars too…at least more likely than the friends of a dead beat. So now you can start finding under valued pockets of talent not by going after the 1% top talent, but going after the people they associate with who are probably a little lesser known but likewise very skilled. More than that you can start to apply analytics to social networks to determine the extent to which this is the case, what indicators there are based on a person’s connections of whether they’ll fit well with your company or not. What sorts of connections (maybe what things they like on Facebook) people who fit well into your corporate culture have in common and you can target new candidates on that basis. Further, while I attacked spending great periods of time building relationships as a recruiter, the reality is relationships do play heavily into what decisions people make so you can determine based on social network connections who the low hanging fruit are. Perhaps you can quickly see that an individual has a strong local network and therefore isn’t likely to move (again, all things you can learn and track with complex, but automated analytics), while another individual has connections in the place you want them to move to so you target the one who is most likely to move over the other. Again, it totally changes the recruiting game because it makes it dramatically easier to make great decisions about retention, quality of hire, etc. No longer is it a question of looking for people on the basis of qualifications alone. No longer is it a question of placing random ads. Instead, perhaps you target the social network around a person who you want to win over and leverage relationships to get them to move (their mother sees an ad that would fit with their son and hey, it’s located in her home town so she forwards it to him with a note, or a girlfriend, etc.) The way you win candidates changes and which candidates you try to win changes.

    These are things we haven’t even started to delve into yet, but they have the capacity to rock the world of recruiting in a way nothing we’ve seen to date in this social media/video/mobile craze has even come close to doing.

  82. Neil – love your business model and hope that it catches on more and more – not sure that US based HR Recruiting is ready for you yet as many of the 365K companies with 500 employees or more still seem content to hire vendor managers for their recruiters – but as some have noted the world is CHANGING

    Dave and Matthew – You are both so right! In just about any way you slice it mobile is the key for now and moving forward…there is a terrific Gary Vee video where he does about 10 minutes at the L2 conference in NYC – you should try to find that video as he specifically tells a roomful of luxury goods marketers that if they do one thing in 2011 its to make sure their business and brands are mobile…the points you make about mobile career investment I don’t think go far enough however…people are not just going to be looking for jobs on their phones – with augmented reality functionality any company can enhance their employment marketing message, brand/products, the latest CEO interview or whatever to anyone that passes by sending it right into the smart screen. Also, I think its going to be more about integrating and engagement with a Community instead of looking for jobs…

    Michael – By “resonate” I am referring to understanding and accepting it…if its not within perception – that’s fine too…

    It is fun to have such a terific conversation from both sides of the pond – it doesn’t happen that often – and we certainly have Matthew to thank for that (and Todd for putting his article on ERE). It is clear that with Tribepad, TalentWorks, Brave New Talent and many others that the English are embracing Social Recruiting with some fantastic innovation – we’ll try to give you a bit of competition – and soon with our new launch I think we may…all fun guys!!

  83. K.C. Donovan thanks for your kind words on my post.

    I sure hope the US are ready for us as our first venture into the US launched last week. But who knows!

    I agree that some may not be ready but as you say people are waking up to the fact that times and the world are changing.

    If left to long to change then unfortunately HR and In-house recruitment will get left behind and their competitors will stream ahead.

    We have seen this in Europe and through our offering in Asia Pacific.

    If left too long to adapt to new technology and also new resourcing methods then they will soon find out they are left behind and their competitors have already embraced a more pro-active direct sourcing methodology for attracting and engaging with the passive market.

    The result? Their competitors will already know where the “best talent” is and would already have started to engage with them for current and future hires.

    Those that are market mapping and building passive talent pools of those candidates the traditional vendors or contingent suppliers do not have access to because they are not doing anything other than the norm will be in pole position to win the race.

    Imagine if you engage in this model and have already identified the industry leading talent in your competitors sales teams for example.

    Imagine if you have engaged them and understood their frustrations in their current company and roles (We all have them, even the top performers) and you have managed to then develop a proposition that makes it more attractive for them to work for you?

    Now I am not saying all will be attracted but I am saying you are one step ahead. You also have less competition for their signature because the traditional recruiters have not engaged with them.

    Identifying and courting industry leading talent will put you in the driving seat. It will allow you to not only assess the best of what is out there but to also look internally as to how you can adapt and attract this talent.

    The crucial thing is you are building to address current need but more importantly future need and talent gaps within your organisation.

    OK, So now you have addressed your resourcing strategy what is the other key impact?

    The Candidate experience! If companies can own the candidate experience and they have the skill internally to do so then they are now in control of the recruitment process aswell and in turn their own employment brand.

    The candidate journey should be owned and controlled by the employer NOT the 3rd party recruiter. Resourcing companies and recruiters should be the identification and introduction source.

    This is where they need to be different and innovative and this is where clients should demand and look for suppliers offering something different.

    The candidate journey stays with the employer. This is their first chance to engage with the candidate and to show what type of organisation they could potentially be joining.

    This is a whole other subject and I could write all day so will leave it there as I think you get where I am going with this.

    It has taken and continues to take time to educate recruiters all over the world that they should bring the model in-house and look for suppliers that offer something different to tap in to the passive talent market.

    Make your suppliers work harder, make them challenge the norm and deliver you candidates you can not find yourself.

    I hope the US are not ready for us as this means we are in a great position to do the fun part! Show them that there is a different approach and educate and change peoples thinking.

    Being a driver of change is what is exciting! Doing the same as everyone else and expecting better results? This is madness!

    I am lucky enough to work with global companies in many countries and see ideas develop and enhance their ability to attract the best available talent.

    We already have some great clients in the US who are thinking ahead of the game and many in Europe also and it is great to see models changing. I do not think there are countries that are not ready for this and would be unfair to say that any particulare country or region is further behind.

    It is people that are driving the change not countries leading others. Those who challenge and break away from the traditional will achieve the exceptional.

    It will take time but things are changing and there are other options that work.

    Thanks to all of those who have taken time to read my posts and make comment it is much appreciated.

    Look forward to catching up with you all in future posts off the back of a great article comes great debate!

  84. @Michael totally agree. Just determined that our industry does not miss the boat with Mobile.

    @Donovan Thanks I will find it. the future of the web in primary connectivity via Mobile, regardless of other tricks like AR.

    @Alasdair true, not everyone reads any website or ever visits a job board either. Print still exists too. But the majority market of the future is what matters! Today 40% of all tweets on made from a mobile phone (source Twitter CEO) and FaceBook has 200m active Mobile users (source Facebook.com media page). I expected most readers of ERE to be in the more advanced half of all worldwide social network users!

    I do not suggets mobile should be the only channel, just that it will soon be the biggest channel!

  85. This thread keeps on giving…lol and drawing me back as soem great comments made.

    @KC Donovan. Quite frightening your ascertion that the big boys are content to just take 2/3rds of the payment and run. Job done. Knowing their reputation wont be harmed because they are brand X, and they will get the business down the line. Operational arrogance at the extreme.

    Its also fascinating to learn that some Senior business leaders and Hiring Managers out there put themselves first rather than their company. Let me explain that. Often internal search teams or individual recruiters can deliver on roles BUT hiring managers/Snr business leaders want roles to go to the big external search firms BECAUSE….they want to curry favour with the search partners so when the Business leader wants to move on, the search firm will be more likely to help them. Not that it works like that in reality, as the search firms are that loyal but the hiring manager feels that little big better. Individuality over company.

    Cynical maybe….born by reality, many stories will back that up, as witnessed by the great late night conversations at the bar at #EREEXPO.

    I do think that @Neil’s business philisophy is one that resonates and will be one that will shake up the big search firms.

    Will be fascinating to watch.

  86. @ Michael. I really hope to have a bottle of wine with you and put the world to rights. Lol. Now that would be a good evening/early morning/lunch/next evening….lol

    Interesting points again you raise. One that I wanted to take up that you brilliantly raise is that of the Employment brands of companies like Microsoft, Google, GE, GM, Boeing and add to that Apple, Nike, Coca Cola, Diageo and a host of other sexy brands. All are phenomenal companies. The best in the world. No debate. Most reading this article will have aspirations to work for them…..

    But what is interesting here @ Michael….could you summarise / articulate what the Employment Brand proposition is of any of those big hitters? This is where Corporate brand is so strong, people want to work for that company, no matter what. For some of those companies people want to work for them because their potential is great and stock will rise, maybe because their products are seen as cutting edge/the best out there, or that they are seen as so damn hot it will be cool for their career/cv/resume.

    But in terms of Employment Brand, that is harder to define. Hence the point that sometimes working for a company does not match the thrill of the corporate brand perception. Take a look at Glassdoor and the realities of working for some companies does not match perceived reality, (and before someone raises this point I am now talking more generally about large companies, not those phenomenal names above).

    Why is that? Maybe the individual gets lost in the crowd in a big organisation. Not as much effort is invested in training and development. Maybe hiring is so fast that opportunities for promotion are lost to new recruits. There are a host of reasons.

    Hence again, we return to those companies who have to work on their Employment brand when their corporate brand is not as sexy. They have to work harder to impress. 🙂 Work harder internally to retain and provide that great place to work that ultimately people desire.

    Sometimes, more often than not, smaller can be better….!!!!

  87. Gee, I missed a lot of discussion having had to go off and do some things. It’s a bit too late to comment on all that I’ve missed. But I’d like to contribute perspective on some points (unfortunately, the perspective is only U.S. based). Before doing so, since I rarely participate in these ERE discussions and people don’t know me, here’s a brief history that I hope will provide a backdrop to the comments.

    • Six years as a contingency search recruiter, starting in 1980
    • Ten years in corporate HR with a focus on staffing, evolving into a broader leadership role
    • Ten years of contract recruiting and staffing consulting gigs
    • Since 2005, a mix of independent contract recruiting and executive search (TPR)
    • In addition, I’ve held volunteer leadership roles with SHRM entities, including the staffing-focused SMA chapter in my state (NJ)

    On the relevancy of third party recruiters, I agree that the fees are way higher than they should be for the service provided. I’ve been preaching this for the past few years, and have been surprised that companies have turned a dear ear. In addition, I’ve always thought it odd that employers were willing to pay more for retained search than for contingency. Retained search gets guaranteed money regardless of result. Company takes on all the risk. Makes no sense, especially these days when the real value they used to provide (finding “hidden” candidates) has largely been supplanted by today’s technology.

    On the projected demise of the TPR, I agree that all the changes in tools we’ve seen over these past few years are having an impact on TPR viability, but there’s an element I’ve not seen mentioned that is a huge driver in using external resources. While we all know that recruiting is not rocket science and it can be performed in-house, the fact is that the majority of hiring entities don’t like doing it. That’s why they’re willing to pay. I can easily mow my lawn and rake the leaves, but I hate using my free time to do it, so I pay someone.

    Yes, many larger companies have an internal recruiting capability, but surprisingly, a good number of them have failed. I’ve been a part of some of them during my contract recruiting days, so I’ve witnessed it first hand. But the failures I’ve seen were not due to incompetence of the recruiting organization. More so, it was due to lack of acceptance by hiring managers, and by senior leadership not holding those managers accountable for outside spend. In other words, senior leadership couldn’t care less about the value the internal capability brought, and without that support the budding recruiting organizations were doomed to failure. Of those companies, many moved (and are moving) to the RPO model. My prediction is that they will see an even larger drop-off of service. RPOs tend to have junior level (read: low paid) recruiters servicing clients. The pent up backlash will reverberate through the HR ranks that proposed that strategy.

    Smaller companies without the resources of their large brethren will continue to rely on TPR, but obviously with many changes going forward, as you all have highlighted. Not only do I agree with evolving to new ways of doing things, I’m actively formulating my own new system to contribute to hiring companies’ toolbox.

    Good luck to all who are moving forward with new ideas. Condolences to those resisting change.

  88. Matthew –

    Wish I saw your post before completing mine. Yes, HMs giving business to search firms for the reason you mention is a HUGE reason why many internal recruiting organizations have failed. Not incompetence. Just not given the work.

  89. @ Richard. Great post. Loved that. Thanks. It’s fascinating to map out the future for some of the Search firms. Some people on this thread will argue forcibly nothing will change with them until some Hiring Managers stop thinking of currying favour for their next career step and trust in their internal team or go for the solution posted by @ Neil.

    I really think that @Neil will shake up the look and feel of the Search industry as his model takes off, (which it will).

    There are several phases in this whole development for Search 3.0…..

    Phase 1 is that @ Neils model is poised to take off. Why so positive that Neil’s model will be popular? As several on the thread have identified search fees can be extortionate and paying 2/3rds of a 30% fee of total compensation/just basic is a big investment if the ‘right’ candidate is not found. The bulk of the fee is not success anchored. That is the weakness of the model. But time has cemented it as the norm.

    Key in may ways is the first part of the process ie identification and gaining a candidates interest. After that internal assessment techniques and the ability of the internal recruiting team to ‘sell’ Employment Brand takes over.

    Hence getting a list of pre-qualified, (not assessed), candidates at a fixed rate fee at the fraction of a Search firm is a huge appeal.


    @ Neil, also has his challenges. Maybe we call this Phase two. He knows that utopia for many companies is that for many Corporates they expect their internal teams to be the model of choice than outsource. They will be tasked with delivery at all costs.

    The best ones will be identifying talent, reaching out to them, building communities and moving to the holy grail of a ‘predictable pipeline of talent’, where a Hiring Manager gets a green light and the internal recruitment team can just switch on the tap and ‘best’ cv’s/resumes flood out.

    But this requires investment and patience. Many small and medium enterprises dont have this luxuary…as noted.

    Hence conversely, teams may not have the budget to add a sourcer headcount, maybe need to move at speed and @ Neils offering provides a solution, or the service received/quality from the external provider exceeds that of the internal team in certain markets.

    @Neil will also face growing competition as other react to his model and ‘copy’ / plagiarise the model….fundamental truth in the laws of markets forces.

    Facsinating times lay ahead. What will be good to see traditional search pricing mechanisms, offerings and output change and modernise….

  90. Last point as @ Michael and @ Dave have really stimulated my afternoon wine drinking reflection on this. 😉

    @ Michael, I get what you are saying that mobile is a medium of communication, in the truest sense of the defintion.

    But in many ways this medium is so potentially huge that its impact on the whole, makes it a phenomenon in its own right. This medium becomes a driver of change and behaviour in its own right.

    I will hold my hand up and say I am not the most technologically advanced person on this thread but the iPad, for an example, has changed my own behaviours and life methodologies.

    I have noticed that having the iPad has made me more hungry for information, (IMMEDIATE INFORMATION), to network, and engage…pass comment on things, share with friends and virtual groups of friends. I listen more to new ideas and perspectives. I debate with people to expand my own thinking. I trust in people’s opinions more than I do marketing spin eg TripAdvisor.

    You could say that the same applies to a PC or Mac / fixed PC as the internet has widened that up. But mobile drives that faster and harder for me. I dont want to sit in front of a PC. But, (unusually for a man..lol), I like to multitask. If I am watching tv, I will also look at content on the iPad. I will read the iPad in between cooking, in the bath, travelling on the train, bus, waiting at the airport lounge, waiting for the kids to come out of school, in the queue at the supermarket, even as some have mentioned, people read in the loo. Much of that is normally wasted time. Down time. Now this medium has driven a behaviour change…for me and many millions of others on their Smart Tech phone/tablet/pad.

    Since I have had an iPad I no longer buy newspapers. I have an app and get The Sun, The Times and Daily Telegraph. Why? Because the content is better. These newspapers are now improving the news experience by adding extra content for iPad readers like video interviews, video content, extra photos, hyperlinks to online content and of course, the ability to comment in online comment threads. Hence my own knowledge is being fuelled and I am learning more than a quick read on the PC at work lunchtime or with a dirty black print newspaper provides.

    Like everyone, I have a limited amount of time to read and learn. Hence I look to content aggregators to give me the best news. And I want to have this whilst on the move.

    In many ways the whole impact of mobile is being underestimated. I certainly dont know where the cloud is taking us.

    As a recruiter all I do know is that I want people to have a reason to engage with our company on the move, hence the Tablets and Smart phones can provide that vehilce to engage, provide information, entertain and of course hopefully convert people into candidates / brand ambassadors.

    Exciting times 🙂 I would love to know where a visionary like @Dave even thinks mobile will be in 5 or even 10 years? The power of the cloud…..

  91. @Matt – I got your latest comment emailed to me, but I cant see it on the site. If and when it arrives here is my reply!

    Mobile is only the hardware, the real game changer is the volume of people and frequency that people now connect to the Internet. If your overlay facebook growth / activity with mobile Internet growth the results illustrate that having the Internet always on in your pocket / handbag has had a huge impact to social networking and truly enabled networking such as FourSquare.

    The easy of switching on a tablet (like an iPad) or a smartphone (like an iPhone) and searching the web, consuming web based media either via a function based App or a browser is easy. Now imaging that Facebook does not work on a mobile and lets pretend they dont offer an app. Would mobile have had much or any impact on their traffic and growth – NO!

    In the next couple of years we will see more and more industries, services and disciplines realize they too can offer an ever growing audience the opportunity to interact and engage via mobile.

    The key to these new services – where the web frequently fails – is easy to use. The mobile apps are simple, they do one thing and they do it well. No one needs an instruction book. The touch interface mixed with bo keyboard forces great UI (User Interface) design, where the web allows rubbish UI to survive (eg many job search / application web pages).

    In 5 years time wireless payment using a mobile will be mainstream. Searching for an app instead of a website will be common place. The simple easy to use graphical web connected app will be the entry point for could based computing. Already Apple has had huge success with Mac Apps, and Chome OS which is now available on Chrome Laptops is heavily web App based.

    Our dependency on local storage will reduce, while our desire for smaller, faster, hardware with better screens, better battery and nice touch interfaces will grow.

    The always on device will spread to the laptop, the chrome laptop already boots in 8 seconds! But the tablet / smartphone will be the primary Internet device.

    Our media mix will remain – Written articles, Images, Glossy Articles, Video, Music, Audio. But mobile devices / tablets allow the Internet to finally offer all of these media types unteathered from one every increasingly sexy device. This is why Matt is not buying a newspaper. This is why I buy few printed books.

    But being always connected changes our behaviour, it allows us to be always connected with our network, it enables us to answer any question at anytime, it changes how we shop, etc. It reduces thinking time between thought and research, there should be no need to remember to look that topic up – you can do it now!

  92. For those interested here is more information taken from my blog on various topics I mentioned…

    Why Mobile is so Darn Exciting – http://mrdavemartin.co.uk/2011/06/18/why-mobile-is-so-darn-exciting/

    Whats a Chromebook – http://mrdavemartin.co.uk/2011/06/10/5-days-away-from-chromebooks-bring-on-webgl/

    Web traffic growth from Cisco http://mrdavemartin.co.uk/2011/06/09/cisco-say-web-traffic-will-quadruple-in-4-years/

    What does iOS 5 do http://mrdavemartin.co.uk/2011/06/06/ios-highlights-from-wwdc-2011/

  93. @Dave – “I do not suggets mobile should be the only channel, just that it will soon be the biggest channel!”

    And more importantly it will be the fastest and most convenient, meaning someone could have accepted a job they found on their phone before they can get back to check out the other sites on their desktop. A lot of competitive advantages boil down to speed.

    @Matthew – A bottle of wine addressing the world’s ills would be enjoyable.

    Regarding employment brands, it is undeniably true that there is often a disconnect between corporate brands and employment brands. This is one of the many ways where I think we’ll start to see cross organizational synergy developing as companies work to unify the two since in a sense they can kill two birds with one stone by promoting their brand as a whole rather than differentiating (people buy into the products because of their employment philosophies and buy into their employment because of their product and market philosophies). Google I think is one of the best examples of this where they are renowned for open management practices, open product development, and open business models. I wonder how Steve Jobs famous perfectionism would sell as an employment brand?

    We could have a whole discussion about employment brands, the challenges of managing those brands when compared with many corporate brands, I think the significant thing to consider is that most regional companies just don’t have any reach with their employment brand. We’ve seen this a lot in my company with respect to placing individuals. It’s very difficult to place individuals who are even half looking with the large enterprise clients because everyone knows who they are and everyone has already applied there, knows someone there, has opinions of there. On the flip side, someone on one side of the country generally doesn’t know about a small company on the other side of the country and that’s where we make far more money than working with the big players. I really believe that a strong potential change in social media and a strong change that should develop to the concept of employment branding (though there are strong enterprise reasons to resist it) especially for recruitment reasons is a shift from global employment brands to individual manager employment brands, since frequently this will make a massive difference and allow greater hiring flexibility (of course it also means the value (and hence cost) of those managers goes up and your need to retain them increases…but then they become a sort of weather sock to tell you about the companies, if all the great managers start moving to a particular employer what does that say about the employer?)

    Long and the short of it, employment branding isn’t a very reasonable strategy for most smaller companies simply due to a lack of resources they can devote to it, but if they can transfer that employment brand to their company through management and the managers have self interest in their employment brands because it increases their value as individual employees now you’ve got a win – win.

    @Richard – The challenge with fees is the question “where are they justified and where are they not?” Hence my earlier comments about the next generation recruiting being tightly tied to metrics and providing data to answer those key questions quickly and accurately. I’ll give you an example, we just finished working on a deal where we’d be courting the division manager for the client’s number 1 local competitor for the last 1 year for a position the client has been trying to fill for 2.5 years. Now, in that situation, a 20% fee was more than justified, and it’s because of situations like this that recruiters continue to get away with such high fees. The problem is in the majority of situations it’s not justified…but it’s hard to tell, especially prior to having the client put in a year without success to fill a position what those positions are. I’m sure the client didn’t start out thinking “hey, this will probably take us 2.5 years”, in fact I believe if they’d known that they could have settled for someone slightly more junior and trained them up (which is something they should be doing anyway and aren’t aggressive enough about in my opinion).

    I am also seeing a lot of lower fees because recruiters often feel like “it’s worth it to get the placement”, after all, for most recruiters they cull Monster, Career Builder, etc. all day long and send the ones who they think are a moderate fit and what’s the cost of that? Pretty low. As a result, I’ve seen much lower fees all over the place and I think we’ll continue to see that. The problem is this undermines the profitability of the recruiting organizations and commoditizes them. I mentioned the basic economics of outsourcing the work because you don’t like doing it. Yes, you’ll do it, but you won’t pay vast sums for it. As an employer I might pay $50/hr. to do so, after all, many aspects of the job are a $10/hr. job. And you might say “great, then we’ve got $40/hr. of margin”, but it doesn’t work that way because you had a customer acquisition cost of a few thousand dollars, which the client wouldn’t have as a cost themselves so you need to raise your prices to compensate, then you’ve got operational overhead that cuts into your margins (hence why they are willing to pay $50/hr for a $10/hr. job because they don’t have the costs of hiring the person, payroll liabilities, office space, technology expenses, training, management, etc.), then you’ve got account management costs they wouldn’t normally have, and perhaps retention/satisfaction guarantees that you’ve put in place to try and win the customers, plus there are times when you aren’t able to find someone or can’t do so fast enough so another competing firm gets the placement and suddenly all your expenses have to be ammortized across other placements. You factor all of this together and you realize that you’ve got maybe $5-$10/hr. left in profit if you’re lucky and you start to wonder whether it was worth it. It seemed great when you were collecting big $20k fees for each placement, but at $1000 you have to make 20 times more placements and your expenses are basically the same. The industry is commoditizing, technology is making it a job anyone can do and that is dooming the future profitability (there are still a few years to go especially depending on where you’re located and there will always be some market in certain niche pockets, but it’s dying). I’ll post more on this in a moment.

    RPO is similar, I’ve been working for the last couple years to shift to a different business model, considered and implemented a number of different changes and I simply don’t see the profitability in RPO, not to mention the fact that the general industry concensus seems to be that RPO’s been a disaster and human resources should be kept as an internal function. I know the Staffing.org guys are bullish on the ROI that can be had from RPO if it’s probably executed but I think there are inherent problems with outsourcing these functions because who can know your organization better than you? When it comes to issues such as cultural fit, etc. how can an outsider make an accurate assessment with the accuracy of someone inside the company? It’s a challenge, compounded by what you suggested, which is RPO firms hire low cost employees (hence low skill) to drive down their costs and increase their profits. The only alternative to this is to go in the opposite direction and argue for the upside but so few organizations, even large enterprise have metrics to assess and compare quality of hire, which is where you pre-dominantly need to show the gains and can they justify billing for it long in advance? If not it again becomes a commodity, RPO provides work for scale to drive down costs and pass on those cost savings to their clients in order to beat back the competitors who are doing the same thing. This is why metrics will be such a heavy driver of the next generation staffing.

  94. Two posts ago I mentioned the importance of distinctions in this conversation, one of which is between internal and 3rd party recruitment. Since I own, among other things, a 3rd party recruitment firm this topic is of particular interest to me. It’s been something I’ve been working on for the last 4 years examining different business models, etc. to take a different approach to the market that’s sustainable (ironically, I’m currently at a stage where heat in the economy doesn’t make pursuing those alternatives sensible as there’s a lot of money on the table in the conventional model).

    I’ve already mentioned there are problems with the long term economics and a growing commoditization of the 3rd party recruitment world (while the temporary world is growing and I believe will continue to do so). This is simply due to the fact that starting probably with what the move to the internet, oosts for recruitment firms dropped considerably and they never really passed those savings on to their clients…however, competition between firms is and will continue to force those prices down, which will undermine the profitability of the industry.

    What are some alternatives? There were comments made earlier about how it’s strange that a company will pay more for retained search than contingent as in the later case the recruiting firm takes the risk, while in the former case the client takes the risk. I’ve actually experimented with this quite a lot, from varying our retention guarantees, to actually offerring to get paid by clients based 100% on the performance of the employees, to completely eliminating any sort of risk we take on (I’m in favor of the later). The issue is this, transference of risk is great in so far as the company assuming the risk has 100% control over it. For example, if my firm is competing with our client to find candidates and we could find an amazing candidate who fits what they are looking for but do it a day to late (or heck, even on time but they find theirs early enough to pick that candidate because they avoid our fees) that’s a risk we can’t control and it’s poor business practice to take on that risk. In this sense I think contingent recruiting has been a poor business model for a long time. It works when you’ve got an exclusive, but most companies are skeptical of giving exclusives and frankly they should be frightened of them because so many recruitment firms fail to deliver. Ultimately, if we explore other companies across other industries we find performance based only makes sense when the company controls the variables or can account for them and charge accordingly (as in insurance companies) and the later isn’t likely to occur within the recruiting industry, at least not for some time. The solution then is a fee based model, pay fees for what you get. There are a million ways to offer these fees (fee for access to a database, fee for candidates, fee for service, etc.) but this at least controls costs and makes the business model predictable. It doesn’t avoid the challenge of commoditization.

    I’ve already mentioned the move for 3rd party firms needs to be towards specific market niches where the high fees are justified at least for the next 5-10 years. That will be one interim direction, in addition to firms commoditizing and settling into being low margin service providers.

    So where’s the real value? In theory the real value lies in three directions:

    1. Productizing best practices and licensing them – good margins here, hence a strong technology focus

    2. Bringing deep intelligence to the market – allowing companies to make very informed, personalized, real time decisions affecting their bottom line (right now there is no strong correlation when sitting across from someone to hire them, even reviewing them, or performing an exit interview as to what impact that individual had on the organization’s financial performance, it’s purely gut feel)

    3. Raising quality of hire – this is a big push in many areas, I’m pretty skeptical about it especially as an outside function because my experiments in performance based hiring have suggested that an individual’s success in a position frequently has fairly little to do with the individual (We can use the sports team analogy, where you can get the all star team but they get beaten by a team that’s not nearly as talented simply because that team works better together), I’m a huge believer in the value of training, management, organizational best practices, etc. and I’ve seen far too many cases where someone comes into an organization and fails not because they are poor as an individual but because the organization hasn’t developed effective systems to channel their efforts, or they are disuaded by poor management

    Before I delve into the points above there are some other interesting alternatives. For example, shifting from being employer centric, which is the current nature of the recruiting business, to employee centric. Of course we’ve favored the later because that’s whose paid us, but ironically, if we were to focus on the employees we might be more attractive to them than the companies are themselves and consequently they’d come to us rather than going to the companies directly, which would result in our having a competitive advantage and being able to offer talent that the companies couldn’t get on their own.

    A more advanced version of this concept is to form something like a third party union, talent pools where a third party regulates the interaction with the employers, protects workers, etc. but without the bias of workers representing themselves. With these added benefits it could be more attractive to workers to join and work through an agency than representing themselves.

    Ultimately, a huge gap in the market is really working for the candidates. Most of the solutions and development are focused on making life easier for employers, but not doing the same for employees. Pretty much the closest we’ve come are aggregators providing a single point of contact. What about a company that takes in the employees, screens them and then markets them to the clients and perhaps negotiates on their behalf?

    The problem in the world of third party recruitment right now is the agencies don’t own the talent. This is an obvious mistake, compare it to talent agencies in Hollywood, modeling, or sports. You sign an exclusive to have them represent you for them to go out on your behalf. Now, to be fair that model is somewhat of a disaster as well but at least they protect themselves. In order for agencies to be valuable to employers they need to be able to get those employers something they can’t get on their own. Having those agencies create brands, cultures, and standards for workers could help to address those issues.

    Another model I’m surprised hasn’t popped up yet, that I’m glad hasn’t (or at least I haven’t seen it) but would make sense is an MLM model. Ultimately, I don’t think this or many other models will fly simply because they aren’t good for the employee and I think that’s the weak link in the chain at this point in time. The people who provide a really great solution for employees will suddenly have a massive advantage.

    Returning to talks of quality of hire, I think it’s a challenge for external firms not only because they don’t control enough of the equation, but because they have a hard time getting good data about what’s truly going on inside a company without being there and that factors heavily into who will be the best fit.

    This brings us back to technology and social networks. Where are we moving? Everyone has a singular online identity that can be verified (this is actually a really big deal). Everyone is connected virtually all the time so you can have vast amounts of background data about them (Where they go, what they spend money on, what they click on, what they like, who they talk to, who their friends are, etc.). Everything will be cloud based meaning you’ll have a ubiquitous experience across all mediums (you’ll switch seamlessly from mobile, to tablet, to PC, to some stranger’s computing interface and you’ll have the same exact seamless experience, you won’t have different apps on different devices, you won’t have different contact lists or stored files, they’ll all be accessible and familiar anywhere (you can see the early stages of this shift with Windows 8, consider having that same interface via the cloud and recognizing that you won’t download files onto your device or process information locally for the most part and you’re starting to get a good idea of where things are headed). What does this mean?

    It means that talent mapping takes on a whole different realm of possibilities. Suddenly we can map the entire world through digital interactions and we can proactively push information to people who are frustrated with their jobs based entirely on what their frustrations are and what would fit them.

    What this means is agencies can now tap into a realm of information that allows them to focus on best fit practices as opposed to best sourcing practices (which is where the new move will be). Right now, we don’t have enough data to make informed decisions, performance management isn’t sufficiently documented and assessed. But with this consistent user experience and perpetual connectivity you’re suddenly in a realm where assessing performance, habitual behaviors, and the impact of those behaviors because extremely easy, almost automated. But it’s also proprietary and that means you can charge for it…charge a lot for it.

    Where does this take us? It takes us to someplace way more interesting than conventional recruiting because it includes internal recruiting. In other words, assessing employees internally to determine where in the organization they might be most valuable. You see individuals with untapped talent, you’ve got cases where companies look externally for talent they have internally and might not even know it. Suddenly, the potential exists to play a giant game of chess with employment. Is this far fetched? It might sound that way, but let me reframe it in terms that are more easily understood.

    The value for third party organizations won’t be finding people. It will be working with clients to develop human resources strategy that will maximize their operations. This could include not “find someone” but “how are we going to find someone?” It could include not “is this person the right fit” but “where would this person be optimized and how should they be managed?” Questions of “should this position be contract based or permanent?” How do we organize our business units to maximize the potential of our people? How do we prevent great people from leaving as opposed to back-filling the positions (getting feedback that they’re dissatisfied and looking as opposed to hearing that they’ve quit). This will be the new role of third party recruiting companies. To bring intelligence born of years trying to compete with one another and their clients to those companies to maximize both the efficiency and the effectiveness.

  95. I’d like to comment on a few points:
    1) Mobile is nice- at the same time, how much do you spend going somewhere (mobile makes sense) as opposed to being somewhere (mobile doesn’t make sense). Maybe a rolltop tablet is the best universal option.

    2) Much of the discussion has been more about sourcing than recruiting- it’s becoming easier and easier to source very good people and it can be done more and more quickly. However, I’ve not seen evidence that developing them and recruiting them is taking noticeably less time. My point is that we’ should be dealing more with the internal delays in hiring than the external ones in finding candidates. Newer technical advances in fact could slow down hiring do to an ill-conceived that more candidate information/analyses provide better results. Technical advances should be used to minimize unnecessary or marginal recruiting activities, not allow more of them to be done.

    3) My perspective on TPR as one who is not one: I value the highest-level TPR activities- those activities which internal, contract, or RPO firms cannot easily or effectively duplicate. IMHO these are worth 30-35% fees. With very few exceptions, anything that isn’t in this category shouldn’t be performed by a TPR at all. For example: a junior recruiter at an agency goes on Monster and comes up with 3 decent candidates for a client who pays a 20% fee for hiring one of them. (The ignorant client doesn’t realize that the same resumes from Monster or the other big boards could be provided for ~$100.)

    4) Finally, I fear that the hype will continue as long as there are slick hucksters ready to sell the latest techno-development as yet another recruiting snake oil panacea to desperate and not-yet insolvent recruiters and their superiors who fail to recognize that in most cases they are futilely “rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic” of the elimination, automation, or outsourcing of the majority of their duties. (Fortunately, there are no people in either category like that here in ERE.)



  96. Hi
    Totally agree what makes sense re tablet vs mobile at home.

    But funny how what makes sense is not always how things work out with the consumer 🙂

    From a LOT of data that have on mobile users job seeking we see the biggest peaks being – 6am to 8am (where web is normally 8:30 to 9:30), lunch, then 7pm to 11pm (where web normally dies out at 8pm). These numbers are for the UK market.

    We then reviewed IP addresses, nearly 50% where fixed line WIFI addresses, many were users at home. I spoke at a conference recently where one of the TV netowrk ITV market director spoke, he shared that their market research suggested 60% of the audience were online while infront of the TV at some point every week, and were online via a mobile phone. They are trying to push their advertisers to use an mSite for a call to action as it will get better, and immediate response.

    So, while it makes sense at home to use a PC / laptop /tablet the majority with a smartphone simply use that and stay put on their sofa!

    I saw the other day a terrible stat suggesting how many people are online using their phone in bed – Twitter / Fb being the first and last thing they do! 🙂

  97. I’m loving all the insightful comments and debate! Bottom line is that recruiting is a sales function and it’s all about networking/building relationships. It’s about understanding what motivates others so you may engage with them. Recruiters now have amazing tools to faciliate relationship building and access to more talent across the globe. However, recruiters still need to pick up the phone and build relationships (like we did before the job boards!).

  98. @Amy: A different perspective-

    Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’

    Keep movin’, movin’, movin’,
    Though they’re disapprovin’,
    Keep them doggies movin’ Rawhide!
    Don’t try to understand ’em,
    Just rope and throw and grab ’em,
    Soon we’ll be living high and wide.



  99. I’m sure this comment will be screened out with all of my others but imagine a world with no recruiters! It’s closer than you think.

  100. This four day infomercial has been brought to you by the word “talent”, those who have the word talent in their title, those who sell something with the word in it, those who believe that anyone who ever thought about looking for a job cannot possibly be talented in conjunction with the wine industry, predictors of doom and one old sorehead.

    Let us all hope that contrary to the once again blurbs of research that superusers of mobile phones do not end up brain damaged. Recruiters do not become so obsessed with technology that they forget that each person has some sort of value. The source of or employment status of a good candidate is not relevant to that person’s ability to do a good job, make a contribution and be a cultural fit.

    In short the objective of recruiting is not to try and make it something sexier than it is, cover it up
    with trendy meaningless buzzwords to make ourselves more important than the rest of the world already recognizes we are not. By all means let’s utilize efficient communication and processes but in my opinion, 3.0 better be treating each other, our candidates and our clients as business people. Cut the jargon, cut the crap, cut the ego. Technology and the word “talent” does not replace people and talking to them in plain English. Most people do just that if they have their act together and their ego in order .

  101. Have been away for a day or so and has taken a while to catch up!

    Some great comments and an interesting read this morning.

    Amy Mckee, very good point in that recruiters need to remember if you are in-house or an external recruiter you are the front line sales and marketing professional for your business or your client.

    Too many recruiters hide behind job boards and e mail! You should be engaging in conversation!

    People love to talk and you will get to understand your candidate and the market much better if you are speaking to people.

    People love to talk especially about themselves. They will always appreciate you calling and straight away you will begin to develop a much better rapport and relationship with someone.

    If they see you are making the effort they will do the same. They will tell people you called and not just tell people ooh I received a mail or a letter of response!

    Engagement is key to your success and you have not properly engaged until you speak. It gives you then opportunity to sell your brand and opportunity.

    Believe it or not the companies with the best product brand do not necessarily have the best employment brand. They see your products on the tv everyday and know them well but they don’t see your employment brand everyday….. No one is telling them what a great place your company is to work!

    That is your job, your moment to tell the story, to build the brand!

    Very little is spent on employment brand in correlation to product brand so the reliance is on you!

    Engage and tell your story and you will reap the rewards I promise you!

    Our entire business strategy is built on engaging with the passive community, my teams speak tom people all day every day and you will be amazed at the results!

    Still very early for me and brain not quite engaged so hope this makes sense!

    Will tackle the very kind words I received from Matthew a day or so ago a little later

    Have a great and “engaging” day!

  102. This is one of the most compelling calls-to-action that I’ve come across as a recruiter for some time.

    It’s particularly difficult reading this from Australia where sadly we seem to be so far behind in our thinking. We are a nation that is very much stuck in the Recruiter 1.0 mentality.

    Thankfully there are innovators out there who are champions for engagement and a new and exciting approach to recruitment. One can only hope that their message and thinking will continue to spread out amongst the industry here.

  103. @Sandra. You sound a tad bit cynical 🙂

    I would definitely recommend you read the full version of Recruitment 3.0 which you can get by emailing Todd@ERE.NET. I think you will feel more reassured after reading that Recruitment 3.0 is not spin and marketing BS but in fact places the candidate at the centrepiece of recruitment. Something in Recruitment 1.0 they certainly weren’t.

    Of course 3.0 won’t replace good old recruiters picking up the phone and doing what they do best. But this is about a number of key things, which our candidates want. They want more information, they want transparancy, they want their questions answered, they want to know what their friends or others think and in many ways they want to be seduced \ wooed.

    There is no room for BS and fake spin here Sandra. In fact the opposite. If a company is not authentic in what it communicates it will be called out and the power of communities will be seen. People have opinions. They can be relied on to spoke and call out fakes. And caught lying on the web is very dangerous as word of mouth spreads like wildfire and quickly hits the search engines.

    @Sandra, like you I don’t trust marketing spin. In the old days I had few avenues to cut through it. Technology today has allowed me to be better informed. I am in the process of booking a holiday. I think every holiday quotes ‘great sandy beaches are a short walk away’, ‘the weather is great all year round’, ‘perfect for those who want peace and quiet’, and ‘the restaurant is run by a Gourmet Chef’. Then you would turn up on holiday and the ‘short walk’, is a short walk for a marathon runner, the weather is good all year round EXCEPT for August when it is hurricane season, the quiet turns into a resort with wild, boozing night clubbers and the ‘Gourmet Chef’, flipped burgers at ‘Daves Greasy Spoon Cafe’.

    Today, I trust people to inform my judgement. Before booking that holiday I read all the marketing guff, with healthy cynicism, then I go to sites like Trip Adviser and see what people say. How do they rate the holiday, value for money, facilities and of course the food.

    This very philisophy helps underpin 3.0. Candidates have that power to make their own judgements. If they want to be part of the community. Great. They opt in.

    And what is marketing? It is a company doing a better job of promoting itself. Working a little harder to make itself more appealing. And if you read the full version it demonstrates that companies realise they have to improve the whole candidate experience.

    What does that mean? Every interaction point from when a person first notices a company, to when they start to consider if they want to work for them, to applying to work, to joining and the full induction process, to their working experience in your company, to their leaving and lastly how they remember working for a company.

    @Sandra. I would propose to you that if marketing principles along with a dose of good old fashioned common sense are applied to the whole candidate experience \lifecycle, it will greatly benefit candidates.

    If it leads to candidates getting better service, a richer interview experience, a better working experience then we can be proud.

    I am very proud of being a recruiter. All too often what we do has been talked down. I have heard us called the ‘poor relation of H.R.’, one small element of an H.R. Managers remit of skills’ and ‘a basic low skill role’. That hurts as it is not true.

    The demands on a great recruiter are huge. What we do affects the bottom line. If we can’t identify and attract great sales people, marketers, technical staff etc etc our company will fail in its growth goals.

    Getting to that ‘great’ talent is tougher. It requires more skill. Better communication. Better messaging. Engagement. Emotion. It needs 3.0. Technology helps us and we should embrace it.

  104. Excellent points Matthew! @Sandra- you say “In short the objective of recruiting is not to try and make it something sexier than it is, cover it up
    with trendy meaningless buzzwords to make ourselves more important than the rest of the world already recognizes we are not.” You are spot on and that’s what Recruitment 3.0 is about. Companies can no longer create and spin their employment brand and hide behind corporate messages. The employment brand is created and communicated by employees and people who interact with the company. Word of mouth is the most powerful and trusted marketing tool (authentic and genuine) and social media enables the messsages to spread like wildfire. It’s important to listen to what people are saying about your company and interact with them. Companies should take the feedback and make necessary changes to ensure that candidates and employees are having a positive experience with the company!
    The most succesful companies are able to attract and retain the best talent!

  105. @ Sandra, Matthew, Amy: Are you all COMMUNISTS seeking to destroy our Beloved and Sacred Recruiting Profession? You’re saying we should get rid of jargon, hype, self-serving propaganda, and BS? That’s what makes much of recruiting WORK! Huge segments of the industry would disappear if the GAFI Principles of Greed, Arrogance, Fear and Ignorance/Incompetence didn’t dominate most recruiting decision-making. Some examples of “horrible” scenarios:
    1) Suppose recruiting heads didn’t go off to fancy, expensive conventions and hear polished speakers wearing $2,000 suites and $100 hairstyles sing enchanting “sirens songs” about the latest and greatest trends which would make recruiting just perfect? What if instead, the recruiting heads sat down with their staff, sincerely asked what would improve the jobs of the people who actually did the recruiting work, and tried to implement what they said?
    2) What if instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on trying to improve their employment brand, they spent a small fraction of that treating their people better and streamlining/improving their hiring practices?
    3) How about instead of trying to figure out how to take the top 5% of companies’ people (which they probably couldn’t do), they worked to create a “Robust Hiring Environment,” where things are set up so well that the company doesn’t require a team of superstars to make a decent profit?
    4) Imagine if a company decides to require hiring managers to hire quality people on-time, under-budget, every time, gave them the tools and authority to do so, and considered this THE metric to determine recruiting success instead of blaming recruiting for everything and having them become petty clerks and data entry drones spending far too much time measuring what they really should be doing?
    5) Consider a company which values its recruiting staff and pays them all at least $50/hr., because anything that isn’t worth this much is eliminated, automated, or outsourced? How about a company that wants to recruit the very best people it can from wherever they may be, and extends the philosophy to their recruiting staff- who only need to come into the office to do activities which absolutely require a physical presence that can’t be accomplished via tele-presence, Skype, email/IM, or phone, or unless they WANT to? Reflect on a company that decided to implement new technology for recruiting only if it allowed the recruiting staff to do less boring, tedious, low-valued work, and not more of it?
    6) Think of a company that adopts a “Solution Recruiting Model” where skilled recruiters work to get work done, whether it’s a FT person. a PT person, a contractor/consultant, outsourcing, or automation,. instead of just selling or renting a two-armed, two-legged, single-headed widget.

    Folks, do you see that if significant numbers of companies did any of these things, it would spell “DISASTER” for large numbers of our friends and colleagues who rely on the mistakes, inefficiencies, and biases of most hiring companies in order to make their daily bread? (Of course, none of our “Gentle Readers” or “August Authors” in ERE are like that at all….)




  106. @Keith – “1) Mobile is nice- at the same time, how much do you spend going somewhere (mobile makes sense) as opposed to being somewhere (mobile doesn’t make sense). Maybe a rolltop tablet is the best universal option.”

    I use my phone all the time even when I am “being” somewhere, it could be sitting on the couch watching TV, or lying in bed when I wake up, or sitting at lunch at a restaurant, the list goes on, I use mobile ALL the time.

    @Bill – “I’m sure this comment will be screened out with all of my others but imagine a world with no recruiters! It’s closer than you think.”

    That would be ideal, hence the slow death of third party recruiting.

  107. This article keeps on giving. Thanks to all for inputting and debating and exploring some cool concepts.

    I attended and was lucky to speak at Talent Connect, LinkedIn’s first European event. I was on a panel and spoke on Recruitment 3.0 to the audience and in later seminar group discussions and the great thing is people get it and believe that we are needing new skills for today. Will be fascinating to see where recruiting is 1 year, 3 year, 5 years from now….and who the winners are.

    Also interesting was LinkedIn revealed their next product launches.

    David Hahn, VP Product Development, gave a presentation and revealed several interesting projects set for major push and launch.

    1) LinkedIn Talent Genome

    This provides far more in depth search screening. Can differentiate between eg bankers, retail and investment. Same engineers.

    This project screens details. Show similar profiles of people with a new click button. So if you like a network engineer with x, y, z skills it will scan for those with similar profiles.

    2) Leveraging Employee Networks

    Goal is utilising all those people connected with our employees. Great for us as referrals is key.

    So our employees will get alerts that show people in their networks relevant for jobs. The software will match their skills. Our employee can then click and alert will go to the match.

    Also will include a referral leaderboard for fun, recognition and reward.

    There will also be a new capability to target jobs and messages to Employee network.

    This will have a major impact on referrals policies inhouse, how we track them and how we reward. But very exciting.

    3) Hiring Manager.

    Going more ATS as expected. This means we will be able to seemlessly to take a project/profile and share it to the hiring managers. Hence can share cv’s to managers.

    Interesting the way LinkedIn is developing.

  108. @Bill & @Michael, The death or slow death or imminent death of Third Party Recruiters reminds me of a quote from Mark Twain “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” After 34 years as a TPR I have heard this death knoll many times – the advent of job boards, ATS, social media, et al. Recruiting 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0 really doesn’t matter, until firms do some of the things that Keith mentioned in his post yesterday, we TPR’s will remain in business. As much as all the slick computer saavy salesmen want to have you buy the latest, greatest, newest and most shiney recruiting tools, marketing programs, employment brands, etc., the one that they seem to ignore is the one that I have used consistently over the years to connect and network with great people, get referrals, inform, question, build rapport, and do all the things that have been promised by the recruitment gurus but not realized unless it is used – the phone!
    The missing point here is that people work for people NOT organizations, they don’t report to an organization they report to a boss who is, believe it or not, human. That the individual will make decisions on their career based on how they are treated within that organization by other individuals. Recruiting 3.0; 4.0 or 10.0 won’t change that. You may be able to attract the best but can you keep them? I love Keith’s GAFI Principles of Greed, Arrogance, Fear and Ignorance/Incompetence – it is more important in retention than it is in recruiting.

    Happy Hunting


  109. Have been locked away with clients the past few days so been great to catch up on some of the comments on here.

    Some are very thought provoking and some very predictable! This is unfortunate but it seems to be the minority and funnily enough some suppliers of recruitment services who clearly need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the current and future of recruitment.

    It still amazes me but unfortunately does not surprise me that “some” are still not listening and taking note of what is being said or what is actually happening so let me try and make it a little clearer “In my own humble opinion of course”

    1. Clients DO want something different
    2. Ignore them at your peril
    3. Adapt and embrace the changing needs of In-house models
    4. Be bold be different and drive change in your industry
    5. Realise (Very quickly) that In-house have the same if not better tools than you do to source active talent

    I have been asked quite frequently of late since this article was published and my comments viewed what I think suppliers can do to offer more value to direct sourcing?

    My response i guess is my “vision” for the future of suppliers to the corporate market.

    I am relating the majority of this response to how we as suppliers can support the internal direct sourcing teams within the corporate market for perm hires.

    The message from Internal recruiters and their brief is simple.

    Make sourcing the best talent in the market more cost effective and sustainable to our business.

    Increase the quality of the hire and the process and engage candidates in our business strategy and in turn increase the effectiveness of our employer brand.

    We will call the above the Resourcing and engagement process or step 1.

    Now address the candidate journey and make sure that every candidate has the best possible experience if successful or not through the hiring process and learn from the candidate as to what you can do to improve this process.

    We can call this The candidate experience or step 2.

    Now I am not saying that companies do all or any of this well…. Some do some do not. The important thing to remember is that this is their brief!

    So… Why do some suppliers continue to ignore this! Why do you not focus on sitting down with the client and asking them what can you do to adapt to their model to help and support?

    Back to a post earlier, a candidate if actively seeking work now finds it much easier to apply direct and would prefer to do this than deal through a 3rd party. The same can be said for the In-house recruiter.

    Active candidates are far easier to source direct for companies now but the passive candidate is much harder to access and takes much more time and is seriously labour intensive.

    So why not look at focusing efforts other than generic posts or advertising on direct approaches to candidates not actively seeking work? This is a much bigger % of the potential candidate population than you think!

    Some might call this head hunting and as soon as you do you apply the traditional 1/3 retainer etc etc and only think about this for exec level positions. Rubbish!

    This process can be used at most levels and is effective from roles at 25k and above. Do you have to charge in retained stages? No you do not. There are far more attractive models to use and ways of packaging this up that make it very attractive to a business to use and guess what it IS something different that adds value!

    I am not going to detail these models as they are one of our USP’s and so is the rest of my vision for resourcing services to the market.

    Notice I use the word resourcing and not recruitment!

    Recruitment services will never die but they are declining and the need for them is shifting to certain niche markets and also to certain sizes of company.

    The demand for “resourcing” services has never been greater. The market is changing and clients have the ability to assess candidates and interview/screen before they send shortlists to hiring managers.

    So they can do most of the things you do and just as easily as you can when it comes to active job seekers.

    Where is the gap for growth? Resouricng and tapping into the passive seeker. I am not talking about those on networking sites or those following you on Twitter. I am talking about the 40% of candidates not found active online or even at all.

    Please, Please nobody try to tell me that everyone in the world can be found on networking sites and you can contact them by mail! Someone attempted to do this the other day so just saying…..

    Market mapping and developing pipelines of talent is the future of suppliers to the industry. It requires a different focus and pricing model and a far more embedded relationship with your clients. You have to become a true extension of their business.

    You will end up representing fewer clients but with more commitment and volume giving you a much more profitable business model and much more engaging and enhanced proposition to support direct sourcing models.

    You will have to become more skilled at engaging with candidates and as you will be representing your clients employment brand, much more knowledgeable about their business and the markets.

    It is resourcing services that they want and need but those that tap into a harder to reach market. They want you to build, manage, engage and develop pools of talent they can use to make sure they are already engaged with the right talent before they even need it. It is called workforce planning and it goes on everyday in every corporate business. You tap into this and you are tapping into the holy grail – A sustainable and predictable pipeline of talent!

    Yes you have to educate that it takes time to build this and yes it requires serious investment but over time it will pay off in both time and cost reduction.

    I am not saying before someone jumps in that contingency or retained is dead but I am saying clients have seen it all before and know it is there but are also doing it for themselves so it is in decline and this is no myth.

    Market mapping also leads to intelligence and your clients will love this and see it as added value. They will love you for this.

    Developing and engaging this audience is time consuming and it is currently outsourced in most cases and this will continue to grow in demand.

    I am lucky enough to be writing this with some confidence as it is a model I have been pushing and developing for the past 3-4 years and I still do not have the perfect proposition but It is a pretty good one. Why so confident?

    Because we are lucky enough to be working with some of the worlds leading organisations and Recruitment/resourcing professional in-house who are using our model more and more and in countries all over the world. We do not dominate the market but we are growing and the feedback is because it is different and works well with their agenda and brief of becoming a more sustainable direct sourcing organisation.

    In short summary the future is resourcing services and not just recruitment services.

    The future is about adapting and listening to need and dramatically changing the thought process.

    It is about added value and attractive pricing that works for both sides. I said attracive pricing…. This does not mean a “cheap” alternative to recruitment consultants but it is a service that adds longer term and sutained value.

    I will leave it there for now but please do contact me directly if you would like to speak further about any of the points raised. I am sure not all will share my vision but I hope it will get people thinking about what they can do a little differently.

    There are some amazing recruitment businesses out there with some great people but we do need to start thinking differently and adapt.

    If you managed to get to the bottom of this post then congrats for not falling asleep!

  110. O.K. Neil – as one of the Talent Management suppliers you reference in your last comment – we have collectively voted and have formally revoked your ERE rights to future commenting (public blogging or speaking is also revoked!). In fact, we would prefer that you lock yourself away with clients permanently if you don’t mind!

    You see, we don’t really care how many new clients YOU sign up – in fact we are rooting for you (evangelism is a good thing) – but you absolutely must stop sharing this “nonsense” with other Talent Suppliers (we’re happy with the group we currently have – we don’t need anymore members – got it?).

    To the rest of you suppliers still reading this thread – and we surely hope most have given up on it – Neil was recently released from a place for…ahem, well – er…you know the soft walled type – so please just completely ignore his previous comments! Really, just rubbish, don’t you think?

    We certainly don’t want any of you to think that you should try anything new whatsoever. Please by all means keep charging for third party hires, in fact don’t you think your services are undervalued? Perhaps a 5-10% increase is in order! Also, you might want to consider not pampering your clients too much by providing candidates too quickly. We say, make them wait an exta month or so! Of course, changing your message to the market is a fool’s errand – it’s worked so well for so many decades, and it’s a proven methodolgy. We all know you don’t fix what isn’t broken – right?

    No, Neil if I were you I would keep my eyes peeled for those white suits and butterfly nets – they could be lurking around any corner!

    (No offense intended to those who like wearing white or are fascinated with Lepidopterology).

  111. K.C Donovan,

    Thanks for your warning…. I will definately watch out for the men in white! If they do catch up with me then look forward to meeting you in the “padded cell” next door.

    Not sure you have quite got what i was saying so let me confirm a few things for you.

    I refer to the decline in use of both agency and retained exec search in companies that are using and integrating direct sourcing teams.

    This in turn has lead and will continue to lead to these companies needing and demanding a “different” type of service which is based on resourcing and not recruitment and selection.

    If you do not think this is happening and that recruiters do not need to adapt then I look forward to seeing you in the cell next to me soon.

    I have been a recruiter in both contingent and retained businesses and you can not tell me that “ALL” should be charging more for candidates that can be attarcted by in-house resourcing teams.

    Let me be clear again, my post is aimed at those supplying to corporate businesses who ARE looking to reduce agency spend by going direct to the active market. Try asking a few of those what they think maybe?

    I also mentioned that is is in decline in this space not dead and buried.

    Believe it or not I think good recruiters add real value but not all can and do. There will always be a place for contingent and retained recruiters and the good ones are worth their efforts.

    But times are changing and recruiters do need to adapt to this and adapt their services to suit. It is not one size fits all anymore.

    Hope that clears a few things up and you have now come down off the ceiling!

    Your post did raise a smile I must admit.

    If this is my last post on the ERE because my access is revoked then I dedicate this last post to you!

    Must go…. “They are here to take me away”

  112. Ahhh…the attempt at “tongue firmly planted in cheek” has done me in once again…sorry Neil!

    I actually completely agree with you on every point you make – and was hoping you would pipe down as I don’t need any more competition! For a decade, as Step Hire, we mapped out talent pools geographically by job type and built talent comunities of these people for multi-national and multi-billion dollar clients. We have always thought that the entire employment system was rampant with inefficiencies – but that with conservative minded HR – felt that the time was not ready to try to make any wholesale changes to the system – so we’ve bided our time…

    Now with the end of the Global Recession and the reality of the Engagement Economy – we feel that the marketplace has finally caught up and will no longer put up with these inefficient career defining methods… I am certain based on our market research that a huge wave of change is erupting and disrupting the employment markets (especially in the U.S.). We are about to launch a new company with a completely new employment system that will replace the antiquated 60 years old one that isn’t really working for hiring managers, most of the non active job seekers and many of the active ones too! I agree with Neil that corporate stakeholders (yes, HR) are looking for something different.

    Neil is not a loon…nor are many of the Corp CEO’s and HR Tech Innovators that recognize that doing something the way we always did it is a HUGE mistake. Some have written in this thread that those who deny that new employment realities are here, and instead stick by the methods of the past – will be runover. Not sure I agree, but what I see is that the TPR world will shrink from its current already small percentage of the business – to a place where it is only a last resort for the highest degree of difficulty hire in the marketplace.

    First, we have to begin letting average career consumers know that there is a new way to improve their careers and the pathway doesn’t have to lead to a job ad, or submitting a resume or being humiliated in a screen out…

    Who besides Neil is ready to start yelling from the padded cell…don’t worry there is plenty of room!

  113. @ Michael R: IMSM, some * ** ***scientific studies have shown that people are not as good at multi-tasking as they think they are- in effect, NOBODY is really good at it. I know I’m not and work around that as necessary. I also have a confession to make (Don’t tell, please!): SOMETIMES I LIKE TO BE ALONE WITH MY THOUGHTS! I know it’s wasteful, anachronistic, and evil, but I can’t help myself. Don’t hate me- I’m sick and need treatment!

    @Jim: Thanks for your comments.

    @Neil: What is your model and how does it work/how much does it cost?

    @KC: “(TPR is) a place where it is only a last resort for the highest degree of difficulty hire in the marketplace.”
    I agree- I think TPRs would well consider themselves like professional major-league, world-class athletes: they are very good at the specialized things they do, are quite well-paid, and there are not very many of them. As an analogy: someone who is good playing basketball can’t expect to be a pro making $60,000/yr- they have to be very much better to be paid, and if they are, can expect to make $600,000 or $6,000,000/yr….

    “First, we have to begin letting average career consumers know that there is a new way to improve their careers and the pathway doesn’t have to lead to a job ad, or submitting a resume or being humiliated in a screen out…”
    Until we (here in the US) get several million new decently-paying jobs (which McKinsey & Co. doesn’t see until 2018, this won’t really mean much…



  114. Thanks to everyone who participated in this long but brilliantly thought provoking thread. Some awesome comments that many have fed back to me they got great value from all the above comments.

    Thanks again. Debate and fresh ideas is just what we need as a profession.

    For those that haven’t yet, please email Todd@ERE.Net if you would like the full 35 page document.

    Look forward to future debates.

    You guys rock! 🙂 Happy Weekend.

  115. To me a candidate is the person I find who is not actively looking. My clients hire me to help them find the best candidates (attorneys) for a particular position and if I grab on to the 10% or so of people who are actively looking, I am (95% of the time) not bringing my clients the best candidates out there. In fact, that is one of the reasons why using a recruiter is so advantageous to employers. They are much more likely to get candidates that are not looking… those who are happy at their jobs and who are doing a good job. It is my role as a recruiter to find these people and to pique their interest in exploring a new opportunity. Good recruiters know this and smart recruiters only work with clients who understand and appreciate this. Anyone can run ads and find candidates, top recruiters use direct recruiting and find talented, productive and happy people they can successfully recruit for their clients.

  116. There are a number of questions about Matt jefferey’s views that I would like to air.

    Firstly if someone is posting their CV on Linkedin or elsewhere then surely they are “active” job seekers and therefore fall inside the 10% of candidates that everyone is fighting for. I also cannot see any indication of how the 90% of passive job seekers are found, measured and engaged with.

    What he is suggesting is that internal recruiters forge long term relationships with potential candidates. Do companies really want to be paying staff to talk to people who they know are not in the frame for a job with them? Are potential candidates really going to want to engage with someone who has not got a job for them “here and now” and ONLY has one company within the recruiters spectrum? Imagine a candidate (let us say a passive job seeker) engaging with a multitude of “one employer only” recruiters – they would never get any work done. Far better they talk to a specialist with an aggregate of clients who can advise and offer numerous opportunities within the candidates scope of skills.

    Then there is the quality of the internal recruiters themselves. Companies who hire “high fliers” want those candidates who are highly succesful and who prefer to work in an environment of competitiveness where they can prove that they are the best of the best.

    Internal recruiters earn less than the top agency recruiters and by working directly for a company they are admitting that they prefer working in a monopolistic environment with no competition in return for a “safe job”. I ask how many recruiters within corporations move into the boardroom of the companies they work for? So are internal recruiters going to as effective at their work as agency recruiters?

    I will accept that companies can now access the active job seeker just as well as agencies can. What they cannot do is offer a candidate choice. Agencies on the other hand cover a broad spectrum of the market place and see things from a broad spectrum of clients.

    We have already seen many of the large Engineering companies buy or establish their own recruitment agencies only to find that they cannot deliver, and dispose of them. Are we going through that circle again I ask?

  117. @Nick: ISTM that contingency/retained searches should be engaged when the work can’t be done effectively internally, and the client considers the work to be done worth a 30-35% fee. That being said, the vast majority of candidates will not be contacted by a contingegency/retained recruiter, and very few of those who are contacted will end up being hired.

    Finally, I suggest a new definition of “passive candidate”:
    Someone who takes a skilled sourcer more than 15 minutes to identify and obtain contact information. In other words, “if they aren’t hiding, they’re active”.



  118. This is a fantastic article. Bravo! Thanks so much for writing this. I think everyone should read it.

    My best,

    Margo Rose, M.Ed., HRD
    Social Media Recruiter
    Jackson National Life

  119. Thank you again to everyone who commented on this post.

    I would love it if you could come across to Recruitment 4.0 and join in the debate if you haven’t already. This is a follow up article that tries to build on this vision for the future of recruiting.

    Some may think it all rubbish. Others may agree. That’s the fun of debate.

    And I promise that I for one wont be writing an article on Recruitment 5.0 or Recruitment 6.0. Hopefully one of you on this thread will do that.

    Here’s the link. Cant wait for the more active debaters to pass their views.


  120. For me, the article was undermined by this one sentence:

    “Most jobs are in smaller businesses – and they’re not using that level of recruiting”

    I think it’s specious to keep claiming that what large companies are doing is somehow indicative of what all other companies should be doing. It’s only of any value to a very small proportion of employers and potential job-seekers (or “talent” as so many people like to call them these days) and misdirects people away from the places where they should be looking – like emerging new businesses and SME’s local to where they live.

    It’s all a bit like a business equivalent of MTV Cribs.

  121. Great article and …great comments too! Thank you for sharing it!
    A great feeling to discover that we are not the only one believing in (upcoming) changes in recruitment in general.
    We launched very recently a concept which enables to go to a 3D-level in jobseeking-recruitment industry by including the video application as an additional tools for both,Talents and Recruiters, to “sell” beter their “things”. And it’s right there, at that point, that I always get excited to say “our concept : when HR & Marketing go hand in hand!”.

    @ ALL: At that point I would love to read your points of view about “In your opinion, how does video fit into Recrutment 3.0?”

    Take care,

  122. @ Patrick.

    Fascinating question. Goal of 3.0 is ‘humanisation’ and greater transparency & hence enhancing candidate engagement & experience.

    Skype conversations & Video interviewing, add a differ dimension to candidate and employee relationships. Especially before a candidate comes into a business for the dreaded face to face interview.

    Hence this enhances the whole process for both recruiters, (see the whites of the candidates eyes pre face to face interview & read & assess body language), and for the candidate, (getting a deeper connection and relationship with the company they are interviewing with).

    Also very cool to use the technology to make ‘offers’, the famous poker stage of recruitment and hence read their body language and gauge their excitement.

    All very much part of 3.0.

  123. @ Matthew: “Skype conversations & Video interviewing” makes me think- with these, if they don’t physically manipulate objects, why would you ever need someone to work physically close to you, i.e., what types of no-physical tasks require or strongly suggest physical proximity, and what percentage of time would those tasks take up of a 40 hr week?



  124. @ Keith. As ever great points.

    Many jobs can be remote.

    People working from home or wherever they choose makes sense, yet technology means we can all stay close.

    This also makes sense for the wider economy, with petrol prices so high and help the environment as less cars on the road.

    Recruiters can certainly work from home…..and Skype and Video Conference. They just have to make sure that when working from home they are not on their pyjamas…or worse 🙂

  125. Thank you, Matthew. You are kind…I think there are indications that creative communities like in Silicon Valley for technology or Nashville for music or New York for theater, etc. (forgive me for not knowing what creative communities exist in the UK) may not require people to physically work together, but they need to be around each other (http://www.creativeclass.com/richard_florida). How this will be affected by tele-presence remains to be seen…


  126. Cheers Keith.

    Fascinating area to debate. Effectively we will live our lives….especially through work…..through the cloud.

    Certainly, radical thinkers can start to look at education. Do we need schools? Can we maintain lessons through the cloud?

    Recruiters dont need to be in an office, (many of Autodesks are home based). Does not inhibit their effectiveness at all. It actually helps them. They are not travelling for an hour to the office, spending loads on patrol etc etc.

    Exciting times ahead

  127. Every idea really only focuses on hiring active job seekers. Branding, advertising etc etc are all designed to capture the interest of people who are actually looking for a job. It is also difficult for in house recruiters to fully engage with people unless those people are actually in the frame for a job with their company – unless they bribe them for referrals.
    Instead recruiters should look to companies such as ourselves who forensically map personnel structures of competitor employers – anywhere in the world. Individuals with the skills required can be identified and then connected with using the most effective form of communication – the telephone.
    We are more cost effective than hiring internal recruiters and our reach goes far beyond whatever Linkedin Branding or “social media” can provide.

  128. @Nick Miller.

    I would disagree with your argument here than a mapping agency has a competitive advantage over what internal recruiters offer. Far from it because the mapping agency is focused on monetary objectives rather than building relationships with candidates.

    I think you misunderstand Recruitment 3.0 because it is NOT about branding to the active job seeker. It is all about the inactive pool. If we say the active pool represents 10% of candidates, then 90% fall into the inactive pool. That’s where the gems fall into.

    That’s where internal teams come in. A good team will have factored in resourcers who do as you say, map a market, organagram all competitors and then CRITICALLY build relationships with them over a time period, both to hire them, (at whatever stage, plus also seek referrals), which is different than a research agency.

    A good recruitment team in the future will comprise of 60% sourcers and not the generalist recruiters. Another 20% will be Community DJ’s.

    The inactive market, is about targetting and then building an ’emotional’ relationship, which requires individuals understanding a company, its goals, its culture. They have to be driven and that is not what external map agencies are about.

    None of this is about post & pray advertising or pandering to the active pool….if it was…what a waste of money & time…they are active and already in the pipe.

  129. Matthew we are not a mapping/research agency. We are an end to end recruitment business that uses mapping to find target candidates as opposed to advertising. -it is a hybrid business model that brings together facets from executive search, contingency and RPO. We nurture candidates who may not be right at the time – for example their English may need improving- and then bring them back into the process at a later stage.
    Furthermore we develop and update “pipelines” into skills markets on behalf of our clients, which enables us to help them with bidding or tender opportunities (evaluating availability/cost of workers).

    As for engaging with candidates, because we act for more than one client and we have a contingency facility our level of engagement relates to career opportunities beyond the sphere of one company. We are able to act therefore in the interests of candidates.
    No candidate is going to waste time engaging with “you” unless he/she is interested in working for “your” company.

  130. I’d love to know from the internal recruiting crowd, what they see as the future for third party recruiters? Many of these comments leave me wondering.

    I’m asking myself, how third party recruiters must evolve so they can continue to provide value for their internal partners? What assistance will internal recruiters still need that a third party recruiter is in the best position to provide?

    Exciting conversation.

  131. Yes Mitch, Community DJs! “This one goes out especially from us, the recruiters, to all you lonely jobseekers out there. That’s right folks, it’s David Soul’s 1970s classic, “Don’t Give Up on Us Baby”

  132. @ Bill. The future of third party recruiters lays in their hands. At the moment, I am sure that you agree with this as well, that MANY, (not all), are focused purely within the passive market and hence presenting the same old candidates to the clients. Hence causing clients a difficulty, as many of these candidates are multi presented to multiple clients, hence causing, for the good ones, multiple offers, hence salary inflation, as companies compete to hire. This is one reason for the rise in sign on bonus, as companies seek to protect internal salary equity. This active pool, representing 10% of the potential candidate pool for a role.

    Hence Corporates asking themselves, how do we reach the inactive market? That 90% of the talent pool….how do we unlock.

    This is the challenge for 3rd party recruiters. How can we unlock the passive pool and build a ‘unique community’ that clients want access to.

    Bill….if a 3rd Party agency starts to focus on employing sourcing teams and mapping talent and getting that onto their database, they will be very rich indeed.

  133. @Mitch & @Alasdair Agree very ‘pop pickers’ ‘spin a kicking disk’ type of term, but the concept is valid. Companies who start to build their own communities, will need people to start to manage and keep those communities ‘engaged’ and coming back for more. Hence, we all know, that recruitment is fundamentally boring…..who in their right mind goes and looks at job sites unless they are looking for a job. Some companies really don’t get this and even used social media to publish job feeds. What can be more dull than following a Twitter feed with a list of jobs, hyperlinked back to the careers site.

    Hence, the need to ensure Social Media feeds are fun, revealing, humanising the brand etc etc. That takes time and content really is king.

    The job of a ‘Community DJ’ to keep people engaged and dancing to the beat.

    The value of a community is key. Be it through Brand Building, candidate pipeline, ‘crowdsourcing’ ideas and candidate referrals. Will be interesting to see the way we all use the power of the crowd in the future….

  134. I still do not understand why anyone wishes to engage with a recruiter unless that individual has a real and imminent prospect of a job with them. Even people who are in the frame for positions go to ground.
    Imagine the disruption if a software sales specialist has to individually engage with every company in his/her sphere separately. Surely such an individual would much rather brief an agency he knows well and let the agent do the work of finding the right job for him.

  135. Yawn. There’s that C word again. Community still the buzz word, but it’s actually about individuals chaps / chapesses. Totally agree that third party recruiters have their future in their own hands – and that’s the exciting thing, (though I do seem to remember you saying at a conference that you wanted them dead) – but to imply that sign on bonus’ are now our responsibility too is laughable.

    If clients would resist multiple briefing of agencies and creating a world of haste and truly embrace the partnership approach then we just might begin to get somewhere.

    Matt – you always seem to want to turn it into a direct versus agency debate. I don’t think we have to see it like that.

  136. @ Matthew:
    Thanks again. I think that in the future, sourcers will gradually be used in cases where you don’t have the ability to locate, identify, and track prospective candidates to have them ready when you need them. (When you know who you want, where they are, and exactly what they’re doing, you don’t need to source them.) Furthermore, advanced data-mining techniques will allow companies to quickly construct “digital dossiers” based on just publicly-accessible information. These data-miners would be the new sourcers, and their work could be done remotely…In a nutshell: more and more people will become easier and easier to find, but they still may be hard to get- that’s where recruiting (and the “community-developers” or “DJs”) comes in…

    As a contract recruiter, I think there will be a continuing (perhaps increasing) need for highly experienced elite recruiters who charge 30% for the types of services that can’t be done effectively by others in the recruiting field. However, the vast majority of 3PRs are not in this category. Firms that hire and churn newbies at $35k/yr draw- against-commission to dial for dollars to get job orders and use LI Recruiter or the boards to find candidates are going to increasingly compete against the $6.25/hr virtual sourcers. In other words: most 3PRs will have to “step up their games” to stay competitive.

    @ Nick:
    As soon as I hear or see the word “community”, I think
    “snake oil” or “hype”, just like when I hear or see the words “social recruiting”.



  137. @Andy. Surprisingly I am not anti-agency. But many will die as they refuse to adapt. I am very critical of the practices and laziness of a number of agencies and feel that they cynically exploit corporates, (and some Recruitment Managers allow for this cynical exploitation, either though not caring, being lazy or just wanting a quiet life).

    Let’s take a traditional search agency. They take a briefing from a client and their traditional model is a fee based on 30% of basic salary, (sometimes OTE), split into 3rds. First third to commence the project, second third on delivery of a shortlist, then final third on placement. Hence two thirds wrapped pre placement. Now, I am sure you have witnessed this, Search Agencies win the brief from a client, based on their superb networks and knowledge of a marketplace, then……need four weeks to deliver a shortlist…but they of course have these contacts already!??? When they take the brief, the very professional search consultant with 20 years’ experience, returns to the office and a £20k a year graduate will generate the research & candidate pipeline by leaping on LinkedIn, reaching out to the agreed target list of companies, then organize an interview for the search consultant to make their judgment. Really……is that effective…..?

    I have spoken with several agency leaders, since 3.0 came out, and several are adapting to source ‘unique’ candidates and it is helping their margins in the recession.

    I am not anti-agency. I am anti laziness…both of Recruiting leaders briefing agencies…and the agencies pricing model.

    Those that adapt with thrive and prosper.

    Make sense?

  138. Anagram of social media guru? “A ludicrous image”! Nuff said. People don’t ‘engage’ online in the true meaning of the word, no matter how much pushers of these talent communities try and convince you otherwise. It’s too impersonal, it’s out in the open, whereas people’s career’s are very much their own affair, plus there just isn’t time. We have muddied the recruitment waters by leading people down a path where they start to believe that technology is the answer because it has superseded the need for creativity and allure. It hasn’t. Humans are, and always will be, first and foremost led by their emotions. A tweet or a pop up or even a nice little cosy forum where they can talk about work at the end of a long day just isn’t where it’s at. If you want to attract the best people you have to go back to the basics of appealing to their emotions, not firing out bland and uninspiring messages or setting up talent communities. Anagram of talent communities? “Cannot meet stimuli”

  139. Some of it makes sense Matt. But the giveaway is your use of the word “traditional”. Anything that is traditional in a fast changing world is an easy and often justifiable target. Your sighting of the “traditional” search companies is fair. And I don’t think that model / structure is necessarily the right one for today’s world, never mind tomorrows!

    However, I spend much of my time speaking to, meeting, understanding and building relationships face to face with my specialist sector. Whether they are looking for a job now or not. And THAT’S the value I bring I bring to my clients. I KNOW my sector, many of the people in it regardless of whether they are “active” or otherwise. Indeed, I’m having on going dialogue with them at various points – that info is not sitting in a “community” or elsewhere other than with a couple of trusted advisors. Making sure I am seen as that advisor will only come from delivering a service that has the client and candidate at it’s heart. I would not say ours is perfect but it’s something we strive for.

    As far as laziness is concerned, well that’s not exclusive to recruiting but it’s probably not helped by the low barriers (zero!) to entry. That said, the dodgy ones eventually get found out which is a good thing. But employers still continually brief them! Mind boggling….

  140. I used to believe in the concept of ‘talent communities’ many years ago – but that was while it was still theoretical.

    Once I started applying some cold hard logic along with my practical experiences of being a successful recruiter, I started to realise that it’s all quite utopian and has little relation to how candidates think and behave – especially when expressed on the evangelical scale that Matthew seems to talk about it.

    ‘Talent’ is a transitory and ever-moving target and cannot be commodotised or farmed… unless employers deliberately chose to make their target candidate profiles so narrow as to render their recruitment ethic elitist and somewhat delusional. If they do, then they’re entering ‘corporate inbreeding’ territory.

    Talent (or to give it its broader name of ‘people who are capable of doing, and want to do, a given job’) is (and has been) managed on smaller and more informal scales for decades, and will continue to do so. Changing the channels through which this activity is done is relatively meaningless.

    Same dog, different leg.

    Having said all of that, I am more than happy to be proved wrong.

  141. I think Matt’s anecdote of a search company reflects as much upon whoever engaged them in the first place as on their performance.
    Why was’nt the research reviewed? Search is based on a logical investigation into the finite ends of the skills pool. It is easy to find the holes if it has not been done properly.

  142. @ Alasdair: Very well-said.

    @ Everybody: Another word with difficult connotations for me: “talent”. When I hear/see the word “talent,” I will think “MEAT”. It’s not a good thing to associate “talent” with “MEAT”. In fact, you should not associate the word “talent” with “MEAT”. When someone says “talent” and you associate it with “MEAT” DO NOT THINK THAT. Never associate the word “talent” with “MEAT”.


    Keith “Don’t Equate ‘talent’ with “MEAT'” Halperin

  143. I am amazed that this thread is still active as it was first published almost a year ago…Bravo Matthew for lighting a fire that no amount of “old fashioned” water can douse… I use the old fashioned term for all of those recruiters that are spending way too much of their time hanging on to the same “un-tethered” rope and free falling into the “hiring fee” abyss…

    Nick – for 10 years I owned a TPR shop that does about what you describe…and in 2008 began realizing that our clients didn’t want to have us managing a pipeline of talent for them, and charging a $20K fee for a hire from it… They were looking for less costly solutions that would place them in control of the relationship – control is the key word here…with all of the SoMe tools available to manage relationships better, most client companies were exploring new ways – and that was 2008!

    Let’s face it, tactical recruiting certainly exists for people that are looking for a job – and this is what the recruiting industry has feasted on for decades…its why many recruiters feel that, “job seeking is an event – not an interest…” The reality is there are people out there that want to “develop their careers” even when they’re happy where they’re employed. It’s why the Industry Conference business segment represent a $BB+ in revenue, because people want professional Development opportunities and continue to challenge themselves. These are the same people that want to build corporate relationships with mgmt and execs of a company they have a potential interest in…

    As Matthew points out a much higher percentage of people aren’t looking for a job – and sadly most don’t proactively work on their careers either…BUT, the ones that do are the ones a company want to cultivate, and typically these people are top 20%ers (the ones we all seek)! The methods a company uses to build these relationships is the recruiting innovation frontier that is making our industry so exciting. An exercise for all traditional recruiters is to review the type of recruitment companies that are being funded – investors typically don’t throw their money away…

  144. Amazing how this thread has endured great job on creating it many of us are clearly passionate about the subject!

    I’d pose a few questions:

    1. What is different today from 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago?

    2. How do these differences enable us to executing traditional functions differently?

    3. How do these differences enable us to disrupt the way we’ve been doing recruiting for the last 5-10-20 years?

    My personal opinions. People themselves haven’t changed and I don’t believe the competitiveness for talent has necessarily changed either. The areas that are competitive might be different but there have always been competitive niches and areas that aren’t competitive. What has really changed is technology and access to information. 20 years ago we didn’t use the internet, 10 years ago we were using job board but no social media or mobility or video. A lot has changed in the last 10 years particularly in the last 5 years and companies are working to implement those technological shifts in recruiting. I think we need to start by recognizing there are some fundamental changes that come to the business model and pricing as a result of those changes.

    I’ve spoken and written frequently in the past about how cost structures from the 80s don’t make sense for many positions in 2010 and beyond. They still work in executive search and high value areas where arguably the technology has created less impact but the reality is as costs of advertising, building and managing databases, communicating and marketing to clients, talent mapping, etc. decrease and technology has definitely driven them down the pricing structures need to change as well, ownership of databases increasingly become commoditized.

    Some shifts are intrinsically true but not radically significant. For example, the use of Skype and other video conferencing services to conduct interviews. The use of video resumes. Marketing to and communicating with candidates through mobility via text, etc. None of these are fundamentally earth shattering process changing techniques, they just help us to perform the traditional functions better, faster, cheaper.

    In my opinion the biggest change thus far has been access to information, yes in a gradual source through web research and Google but much more significantly through access to social network information, in other words the ability to gain context about people based on relationships understanding the web of relationships and interactions taking place. This is an area I definitely haven’t seen exploited. Here is a concrete example:

    – Say I wanted to launch a sales effort into Intel. There are all the traditional methods I might use to do this but there’s a change.
    – I can now go on social networks and view who has relationships with whom, we can map social networks and social network interactions.
    – Imagine now I hire some sales people based on their relationships with my target market (in this case particular influencers within Intel)

    This has never really been possible before about 5 years ago at least not easily. In the past you might have gained that information through a fair amount of labor intense research but today you can gather that information in minutes using social networks.

    There are other shifts for job seekers related to real time analytics and availability of data. At present the data hasn’t been aggregated very well but consider that information about salaries, positions, job openings, candidate volumes, etc. are relatively easy to get and evaluate in real time via analytics engines. What does this mean? Both job seekers and employers can plan their direction based on a powerful body of information. Imagine as a job seeker having easy access to reliability data instantly for free about what geographic locations have how many job openings that fit your qualifications, what the going income levels are in those areas and income levels relative to cost of living and taxes. How about knowing the shift in income level based on increasing your education level. Again, powerful stuff but completely lacking in the current marketplace in spite of being readily accessible with the correct technology based implementation.

    There’s big talk about relationships in this thread but mostly I don’t think that’s going to be the significant change because it’s not scalable. There have always been relationships for the right types of positions and there always will be but the big shift today is going to be analytics.

  145. A few weeks ago I wrote a short post on this topic and after reviewing it I thought that some on this thread may find it interesting – if not, no harm done…

    Check it out, “Talent Disruption – Worker Disconnect and What to do About It!” – http://ow.ly/9Cbot

  146. Mitch

    Returning to the issue of ‘Community’, again, it’s a buzz word, for want of a better definition of a collection of individuals, bonded by a common interest. So many buzz words around…same debate over Talent Acquisition vs Recruiter….or even better Personnel, HR or the new vogue, HRBP 😉 Same thing on the tin, just new clothes.

    The whole point is that, being simplistic, there are two types of community for me. The ‘manufactured’ community. This is the one that Corporates & Companies are rushing to create, be it Autodesk, Pepsi, Nike, Deloitte, Sodexo, Nokia community. What is the purpose of these? Cutting to the core, for the company to develop a sense of engagement and insight into their company and then use it for a range of means, be that crowdsourcing of idea, of candidate referrals, promoting brand messages etc

    Let’s be honest here. This is a challenge. An individual only wants to be part, (from an ‘active’ perspective), of a small number of communities. They won’t belong to 50, (unless they are desperately sad). Hence Corporates need to look at content…content is king….hence the list of jobs and hyperlinks is never going to be of interest that the majority of companies are engaging in and shouting woot woot Look at us Community & Social Media kings.

    The other type, is far more of interest. The ‘organic’ communities. These are communities where individuals have set up their own grouping and discuss the issues they want. They are not corporate manipulated. Free from direct running by a Corporate. Where are these? All over the web. Just cruise on over the LinkedIn and look at some of the groups and discussion pages. Java Developers is one such group. 120,000 members. Now this, and many other groupings, have massive intrinsic value. Both from a sourcers perspective, (direct hunting ground). But also from a Branding perspective ie subliminal messaging and joining in those discussions and building the brand in those networks. That is a massive value. But has to be strategic. And targeted.

  147. @Nick.

    Great discussion.

    This is not for me a debate on the merits of in-house v external but who can unlock the inactive pool quickest and more thoroughly.

    But that said. From my experience, a great in house team, with search team in house, deeply knowledegable and passionate about the company they work for, and can inspire those that they speak to, can be more effective in building, maintaining relationships with key talent. Which is great from a candidate perspective.

    Would you disagree? 🙂

  148. Agh, I keep promising myself to walk away from this debate then get sucked back in again.

    Matt – re your comments “a great in house team, with search team in house, deeply knowledgeable and passionate about the company they work for, and can inspire those that they speak to, can be more effective in building, maintaining relationships with key talent. Which is great from a candidate perspective.”

    Yes – that is all fine and dandy. The “but bit” yet again, is why the in house versus agency?? I can and always do aim to deliver a deeply knowledgeable and passionate approach about the company I am representing. I can and do act as an ambassador on their behalf as well as build and maintain relationships with my connections / network / community / relationships (delete as appropriate) because I am speaking with marketers (active / passive / career developers) day in day out. I feel able to deliver this in part because I worked their side of the fence – ie, in a marketing function with organisations that allowed me to get real insight and working knowledge of what being a marketer in these places really means. I would argue that is very valuable. And I can also be truly objective when it comes to a candidate going for a number of roles. Why? Because I don’t earn individual commission (THAT’S the broken model in recruitment!) , I’m serviced focused for my clients and candidates. If I do that, then the fee income follows. That way the dog gets to wag the tail rather than the other way round.

  149. @Andy. Have to admit, you do sound a superb recruiter from what you are saying. (and in a nice way there are very few around. Certainly from spending lots of time at Conferences, interviewing for staff and speaking with peers, finding a great recruiter is tough). As mentioned before, this is probably because there is a low bar to our profession, anyone can ‘fall into’ our profession, (and have, especially for the allure of commission, esp in the ‘boom times’).

    I just think it is tough to beat a combination of an in-house recruiter, working at one with a hiring manager, close to workforce planning & succession planning on a team, and advising the best talent. This is as opposed to fitting a bum to a pre-defined requisition. Which most of external recruitment is about. An in-house should, be looking with the hiring manager at the best talent, and maybe having to rejig the team around someone who is not a perfect fit against the spec but what they bring, with some tweaks in the team, can be phenomenal.

    You will quite rightly come back at me and say, well, not all in-house recruiters do that….and I would agree. Neither are they capable of it…and some recruiting leaders would not even care if their team did it, as they are happy with status quo of closing ‘bums on seats’.

    You are right that there are some great externals, (and you may be happy to know that most of the recruiters I have hired in house, I have pulled from Agency side).

    Fascinating discussion. Like you I keep getting drawn back in. 😉

  150. @ KC Donovan. Sorry, I did not get back to commenting 🙂 Thanks for leaping in. As ever, you are visionary in your comments.

    I loved your article as well. http://ow.ly/9Cbot

    As a snippet…to wet the whistle, KC States:

    ‘In a few years the majority of our adult working population will be under the age of 35 (let that sink in for a second).

    These are people that grew up post Internet, where surfing the web was akin to changing a TV channel. A common thread for them is their negative view of the concept of “career.” They saw their parents spend a lifetime climbing the career ladder where either a promotion or a pink slip waited regardless of ability, and they want no part of it.

    To this new majority “career” is all about job ads and the “recruitment process,” and its something to be avoided if at all possible. Yet the employment industry bases 80-90% of their efforts on the use of these very tools. Something has to give and the change needed is fundamental’.

    Stimulating read.

    I would add KC that I have enjoyed this thread because it is a debate that is stimulating but also intriguing as vested interests resolutely defend their interests….as it is what provides them a living. Own or work in an agency….then the position is defend that position at all costs. Run a Mapping Agency, defend that position….but I suppose, work Corporate side then that is the defence position 😉

    I would love to read a Corporate recruiter say they depend and rate agency recruitment over and above in house, or vice versa, an Agency recruiter say agency recruitment is a rip off 😉 Suppose that is like a Turkey voting for Christmas 😉

  151. @Matthew:

    Well, of course it’s difficult to find a good external recruiter, just as it’s difficult to find a good in-house one who can operate at the level you like. Same holds true for any job function. Finding the right fit is tough.

    There are so many variables that influence the “successability” of a recruiter, it’s impossible to consider there’s a one-size-fits-all model. For example, if hiring managers have a mindset that internal recruiters are less effective than external ones, it’s an uphill battle for the internals. Not insurmountable if there’s enough inertia from the top of the organization, but without it the internal model is doomed. I’ve seen several large scale initiatives fail for just that reason. I’ve also seen others succeed.

    On the external side, if there’s a commitment on the part of the organization to truly partner with the search firm, success is all but assured. Without the commitment, though, only the lower end of the ability scale will be willing to give it a go. And honestly, most companies are loath to financially commit to a search firm to engage them, even though they think nothing of paying other service providers (outside counsel, CPAs, etc.) for their expertise.

    In the end, though, despite all of this conversation, we must remember that “there’s a seat for every butt”. There will always be a range of companies, from bad to good, and service providers that correlate to them. Always has been…always will be.

  152. @Richard

    Do you think that, in future, a strong marketer will be a closer match to what we want, than a traditional recruiter?

    Marketing obviously founded on concept of identifying a target audience, targetting within that audience, messaging/marketing, taking those select prospects through the hiring process.

  153. @Matthew

    No. I think a strong marketer has always been a better choice. While it’s the method I’ve used since staring my recruiting career in 1980, I know that not all people are attuned to it.

    I’m not saying functions don’t or shouldn’t evolve over time (and that includes recruiting), but not everyone and every company evolves at the same pace, nor reaches the same level. There have always been, and there always will be, a spectrum of companies’ sophistication level…and a correlating set of vendors who provide service to them. It’s all about finding the match.

  154. I dread to think what the cost of building these proprietary inhouse recruitment functions is.
    Someone may just invent a thing called an agency

  155. @Matthew thanks for the comments – I really appreciate it!!

    There is one other avenue for Community to throw into the pot…we have highlighted these two:

    Organic Skill Community – LI or FB Groups
    Company Manufactured – Employee Branded Community

    A third one is a multi-company Targeted/Recruited Community – typically geographically based and industry focused that provides an external unvarnished view of numerous company’s Work Life Culture for inactive job seekers to review for Professional Development possibilities – further exploring a small handful of companies that provide the best fit.

    This third Community option avoids the “why should I join a single company community when I can join something that shines a light on several companies I am interested in…” Theses Communities are less oriented for member to member interaction like that found in a Skill Community – but are totally focused on networking between members and company mgmt. In essence, they provide a similar networking experience one may find at an Industry Conference. I would bet that this is the true evolution of TPR support for the mid-sized company market (500-5,000 employee size).

    …and of course it is happening right now!

  156. @Nick Miller. I hate to think of the cost of farming out roles to search agencies at 30% of basic or even to contingent operators at 15-20% of basic.

    Just a handful of roles and you could have hired one of those in house teams 🙂

  157. @ Michael Rosmer

    Again, love reading your thoughts. Thanks for taking time out. Appreciated.

    I paused on replying because I have been thinking. We agree on a lot.

    You posed 3 questions.

    1. What is different today from 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago?

    2. How do these differences enable us to executing traditional functions differently?

    3. How do these differences enable us to disrupt the way we’ve been doing recruiting for the last 5-10-20 years?
    My take

    1) As you say. The ‘war for talent’, (or whatever cheesy words we use to describe the competition for the best talent), is still there. But in some ways different. Fiercer. More informed. And more diverse. Companies are happier to accept people from different sectors and different backgrounds. Obviously technology makes it easier and faster for us to identify talent….not like the old search firms rolodex’s.

    2) Our functions must change. Away from the proactive applicants ie the job seeker, to the inactive pool. We should always be able to attract the active seekers, (we may still need to sell but they are easy surface fish). It’s the fish at the bottom of the lake, not biting, not interested in the maggot on the line, that we need to identity and then hook/attract. This means a change in the structure of recruiting divisions to 60% sourcers. And then those that can use/manipulate social media and communities to attract talent. I use the word Community DJ’s!!!! Perhaps rather cheekily 😉

    3) Disrupt. We can now identify the top talent. We have ways to communicate with them. We can seduce them. Be transparent with content. Tempt into communities. Seduce by marketing. Seduce by crowd power. Use the power of crowdsourcing for ideas and for referrals. These were not part of the role of a traditional recruiter…and now we are faced with even more change!

    …………………Recruitment 5.0……the final of the papers I have written for debate is about the power of the cloud and the power of disruption. Disruptive marketing, disruptive PR……we have fun times ahead….

  158. @ Matthew: Exactly. If you aren’t prepared to pay 30% or $50+/hr, you can no-source it, through-source it, or out-source it for $6.25 hr or less (the $3.00 hr virtual candidate care reps).

    A slight divergence though: I maintain that if you need to source I.e., you don’t know exactly who you want, where they are, and what they’re doing) then you’re not planning properly (It may not be possible sometimes to plan that far in advance, though.)

    Also, I think we should eliminate the active/passive dichotomy with a new spectrum: “willingness to work for you”. This factor seems to be far more relevant than if they have a resume on a board as opposed to a LI profile or are hiding below the internet radar and have to be phones-sourced. Willingness to work for you has a strong correlation with speed of hire, so you might talk about “fast recruiting” (very willing to work with you right now) and “slow recruiting” (very unwilling to work with you right now). These terms also make it easier for managers to understand the reality of our efforts…


    Keith “Who’s ‘Disruptive’? I’m ‘DESTRUCTIVE’!” Halperin

  159. Thought @Nick Miller would rise to the bait on the in-house and agency comment 🙂 Maybe in agreement now that costs of setting up in-house and benefits outweigh going external 😉

    @KC Donovan Liking your angle on Communities and a third way. I think that is what companies like BraveNewTalent are seeking to achieve.

    @Keith ah the good old fashioned predictable talent pipeline, that utopia where we map ahead of the curve, have great relationships with candidates that would kill to be part of our company and the moment we want them they come running to us.

    Keith, for many companies the definition of ‘willing to work for you’ is interesting because take Autodesk. Many people will say who? What do you do? Not interested. Then explain that our software helps to power many of the animation and visual effects in film, (the last 18 Academy Award winners, like Hugo, Inception, Avatar, Lord of the Rings, powered by Autodesk software), many videogames like Gears of War, Uncharted, Need for Speed, then moving into construction, buildings, car design, bridges, etc etc….the list is endless. Then when people get to see the culture behind the product…wow. Hence the key is to ‘educate’ people and show them what we do and hence ‘their willingness to work’ is enhanced. Employment Branding. Disruptive marketing. PR. Social Media. Building communities, then makes total sense. Can the average recruiter manage and use all these channels….nope and you would agree…..

  160. @Matthew – big difference actually and no disrespect to BNT, but they allow anyone to join a company community that for the most part is not managed by the company at all…mostly you have active job seekers as “members” chatting among themselves about a company who are not listening…and provide little to no engagement…not a ton of value there…maybe they’ll figure it out…

    The key is targeted (either functionally or geographically) – top talented – career minded consumers that consistently look to improve their Professional Development…these types have to be recruited to become members and are actually “invited” specially so the membership means something…oh and with this you most definitely lose the “community” moniker as these are most definitely “clubs.”

    If I was asked to become a member of a club where Matthew Jeffrey caliber of Talent Professionals resided – I would want to join that! This is the third party manufactured “clubs” that I was referring to in my last post…now what do you think the value of that type of Talent Club could provide a company like AutoDesk for example…

  161. @ Matthew: “Nick Miller would rise to the bait”…
    Oy dunno Nick, but figger he ain’na feesh, Marster Matt!”

    Candidate pipeline- Exactly- who has time for pipelines? However, if you think you have time/planning bandwidth for communities, you probably can get a better recruiting return creating data-mined pipelines…

    Educating candidates- Right again- the average recruiter can’t do that well. Also- who has time to educate tire-kicking “maybes”? It’s like a variation on the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come from “The Christmas Carol”: I want the scenes of candidates who *WILL Be, not the scenes of candidates who MIGHT be!



    *At least reasonably interested or open..

  162. Always interesting to see how the Talent Community debate is developing. Just wanted to throw in an example from my own experience.

    Based on some exploratory work we did together last year, the in house recruiters at one of my clients have gradually built a “talent community” in the form of a closed LinkedIn group that now has 3000 members. These members also genuinely join in discussions with each other and the hiring organization makes sure its recruiters, hiring managers and employees are involved in the conversation.

    The rapid growth has actually created more than a few problems in terms of resources but it is a becoming an important hiring channel so this is now being addressed.

    So why mention this and what does it prove?

    Well it actually proves nothing other than you can’t generalize about this stuff. This organization has a strong brand and the nature of the recruitment it does (mainly teacher recruitment) means that there is already a culture of job seekers networking with each other. Both these things have worked massively in the organization’s favour as they’ve grown this approach but this absolutely won’t be the case for many other companies.

    After several years of actually working hands on in this space I can conclude this from my experience – firstly you can’t make generalizations either for or against talent communities, their success or failure is absolutely down to the individual circumstances of the hiring company. Secondly technology is a complete red herring here, it is actually all about audiences and behavior


  163. @Matt: Aw,oh! There was the mention of the dreaded “t-word” or “talent”, which now gets associated with the word “MEAT”. Talent community = MEAT community… Anyway, good for these recruiters who got paid to do marketing by “creating relationships” with tire-kickers who might be useful one day, instead of actively recruiting people who can- and want- to be hired NOW. IMHO, this “community building” activity is to recruiting what marketing is to sales.



  164. @KC Donovan. Interesting. Hypothetically, if I was setting up a company today, it would be one that sets up communities in different disciplines, be it IT, Sales, Marketing or whatever & then have subsets in those communities, (most likely geographical). These communities would be built via direct targeting and contain the ‘best individuals’. Best is a tough term to define. Perhaps value is better. There are two types of value here. The value for the community, sharing ideas, contacts etc. The value to the Community manager in charging companies to advertise in that community.

  165. @Matt Alder. You know the high regard I have for you in this space. Loving what you say, especially:
    ‘firstly you can’t make generalizations either for or against talent communities, their success or failure is absolutely down to the individual circumstances of the hiring company. Secondly technology is a complete red herring here, it is actually all about audiences and behavior’.

    So so right. But key is how you understand & dare I say this word, ‘manipulate’ audiences. Audience and behavior can be affected by ‘Corporates’ / ‘Community DJ’s’, or whatever term you want to use. But these Communities that are ‘manufactured’ have to have great content to engage and keep people coming back. ‘Great content’ is not job board listing. Or PR press releases. That is what many are making the mistakes believing. People want to be ‘entertained’, (a controversial and misunderstood term), but very salient. Entertainment & engagement are being part of a group, perceived as ‘valuable’ to the member, engaging in conversations, receiving insights and information from that community, that members want to visit a number of times a day.

    Crack that and then you have a ‘valuable’ community for crowdsourcing of ideas and crowdsourcing of candidate referrals.

    Matt proves this can work….if you crack what works for the community you want to build.

    This is not easy, hence why many companies are failing at it and many recruiters just lack the skills to engage, (as more a marketing discipline).

    And interestingly, there are some in this thread who mock all this. But proof is in the pudding. Let the innovators show the results and then others will follow 😉 Of course, some will agree and understand the logic and that this is being done already, but they will always battle against it as they have vested interests and they are making money and their living, from the current system, (agencies & job boards for example have no interest in companies direct hiring or building their own communities…why would they?). Turkeys never vote for Christmas 😉

  166. I maintain that taelnt communities will never take off in a big way. Yes, there will be random examples of a modicom of success, but let;s face it, people are inherently impatient and selfish when it comes to their careerr. They donl;t want to sit behind a computer screen night after night, week after week, month after month, supposedly being wooed by a potential employer. No, they want advertise opportunities that they can grab by the balls and run with, particularly in the current climate. It’s a lovely vision this slow burning touchy feely community mullarkey, but it will just never catch on, not least as most professionals just don;t have the time, nor the inclination to interact as part of some corporate online sect in the shape of a forum, in the vain notion it might land them a job. Engagement needs to be immediate and tangible when it comes to recruitment. It;s OK to like a box of Frosties or hang around in a cars forum if you;re a bit of a petrolhead, but career wise? Nah. There are so many more immediate avenues to explore. Write to the company you aspire to work for. Phone them. Email. Go on niche job boards and online media career portals. Hell, even try a tweetdeck search using keywords relevant to your job, but please, don’t hold out much hope of being spotted in a talent community. It is just so unlikely to happen – that’s why there are so few success stories out there.

  167. I am not sure that people who spend lots of time on chatboards or community web boards are the type of people who I would want to employ anyway. Ooops better get back to work!

  168. @Matthew Your idea of building skill and geographic communities has been tried many times in the recent past (talk to Marvin Smith about this) with dismal results.

    We’ve learned that for this type of group the member motivation is just not there – the “what’s in it for me” quotient doesn’t add up – and as others on this thread have pointed out – there are 800,000 other groups on LI alone you could join…so you must deliver an actual result for a Top 20% Talent to partake (and these are the only ones that proactively work on their careers when they don’t need a new job…)

    In reality people want to network with those that they can see some tangible result – they jump at the chance to impress an industry exec from a company they respect and have less motivation chatting with a peer. Groups created for recruitment definitely need to be aligned with a set of Companies – this is the draw.

    For example, if you choose say 10 companies in London with an industry thread who all need Java Programmers for example – and begin extolling the EVP virtues of these companies (and their quirks) to the the London Java Programmer community – you’ll begin to attract people… especially if these companies have a drawing card of some sort…(and need to continually hire Java people).

    Now you don’t go to these 10 companies and ask them to pay for advertising – no, no, no…instead, you help them craft a deeper “insider’s view” of their culture and provide the means for the group’s membership to absorb this deeper view, you create Engagement Events (online and off) for these companies mgmt to interact directly with the members so they get to know them, you help the Java Programmers determine which of these companies (if any) are a great fit with their own work life ideals, and finally you help the companies cultivate these highly sought after talents to join their company as FTE’s or Freelancers…

    Of course, tools for crafting and targeting an Insider View, Engagement Events and Hiring Cultivation all come with a cost to the participating company – but the high quality new hire results far outweigh the pittance they would pay for such a service…now if you had a company that could make such a deliverable a reality wouldn’t that be something…hmmm…. 🙂

  169. @Matthew – Oh I forgot…you have to use multiple companies to attract the Java community regardless of whether they become clients or not…and you need to provide content about these companies that is topical – also regardless if they become clients…this is the only reason you would get Programmers to spend any time at all…and the non client content cannot be half a$$ – it has to be original and interesting…

  170. Hello all.

    Thanks again for all your contributions to this article and debate on the future of recruitment.

    Please note that Recruitment 5.0 THE FINAL CHAPTER in the trilogy of papers has just been published. HERE:


    If you get a chance, it would be great to hear your views and debate the ideas of Recruitment 5.0.

    Thanks all. Appreciate your time.


  171. Matthew / Amy,

    I always get excited when I hear that you are releasing new content. I think the vision and ‘future-now’ scenario based theories you have put forward in this series is true genius.

    My brain is still a bit scrambled after a long break and long haul flight, and may come back to this, but I have some initial thoughts.

    a) This is the end of the series? Will you not have further ideas and thoughts to add to this dialogue?

    b) Completely agree with what you are saying about the normalisation of social media and the development of mobile apps and brands. I suppose I have two comments on that. Yes, completely agree that for large companies with resource and established infrastructure it is possible to develop the mobile based recruitment and I can see the academy piece and development of ‘clone’ ideal candidates through talent pipelining into the future.

    What though about the smaller organisation? Or establishing business that may not have the resources to hire an in house recruitment team or do such advanced costly initiatives? Or a company with a limited brand profile? Or have a volume demand due to the growth of their business, without the inhouse team in place?
    They might not see the value, or have the money to develop such infrastructure. I still see them utilising agencies into the future long term as I don’t see how this fits their resource profile?

    I wonder whether we will have in the future big companies with excellent in house teams focussing on direct, and smaller companies without the branding capability that focus on agency relationships? Interesting thought and lots of things I feel around that which would be good to talk to you about sometime.

    c) Also on that point, I think also we have to recognise the effect of the market on talent leverage. At the moment generically it is a buyer’s market, and easier to get good talent because there are more candidates available, but when the cycle goes round again and the candidate owns the choices, that will impact in house capability, where in large organisations, to deliver the sort of percentages they can deliver currently, maybe from 90 percent down to 70 percent- talking to some inhouse recruitment managers. I think there is also, always, significant value from search oriented agencies who have the ability to sell the benefit to enter a job process, over another job, or over staying where they are. The agency (if good) can also add value providing a holistic view on top talent in the market than I think social media platforms will be able to, even if the agency knows 1 candidate that’s not coming through social media or direct channels, it could be worth it if they re an amazing candidate. That obviously is only important if the recruiting company values value over cost as obviously there is an additional cost to agency recruitment. Getting on my soapbox for a second, if I as an agency found you a person that could save your business a million pounds, rather than just be a good hire, you would pay an agency fee for that right? That’s where I think excellent agency recruitment can make a difference. So many times I just hear sorry we’re doing this direct.. I don’t understand why an inhouse recruiter wouldn’t bench with an agency partner to see what the difference is like in the candidate short list? What is there to lose for the recruitment manager to see an agency’s candidates? There could be significant gain. I have seen instances over the last 6 months where I know I could have saved companies in question a lot of money by the introduction of my candidates, but the recruitment function will not allow that introduction to be made, because of the direct focus. Thus a poorer hire is, potentially, made which has an unseen cost to the business down the line when revenue generated / saved , whatever it maybe is not as great as the agency candidate would have. Obviously this is not always the case and is usually relevant to specialist key hires, as opposed to volume based recruitment.

    d) I believe the classic model of contingency agency recruitment methodology of database search and advertising adds very limited value to any company with an in house capability, and will die out, and that agency based recruitment will have to be talent pool and community aligned in the future for it to survive. I expect agencies to become much smaller, much more global in focus and much more specialist, with true ‘search’ capability at any salary level and not just senior hires (as some 20K roles are as hard to source for as 250K roles). Interestingly the number of senior recruitment folk now who say they prefer to work with a smaller agency than a larger one, and that they say that this opinion has changed over the last 5 years (previously wanted to work with big companies), because when they go to market they want added value and specialisation. They can recruit any role themselves so to go externally they do so for quality of knowledge of the more time consuming passive market and the relationship to deliver these niche skills that the quality agency can provide.

    e) We should never underestimate the power of a good headhunter, I don’t think that will ever die, in fact I see smaller numbers of more experienced external agency recruiters evolving into being better headhunters to survive. These people will have strong search skills and not just the capability to send an inmail to somebody they don’t know. I’d love to know any data about the generation of a candidate shortlist for specialist skills by use of linkedin/ social media for a one off hire by an in house recruiter v an excellent headhunter who already knows the talent pool. Yes, the role gets filled, but did the company get the best candidate? Anybody can send a message on linked in to ask somebody if interested in a role. Stereotype, I know, but if the candidate is good, the candidate may well be happy where they are and will not go forward. The good headhunter would already know the candidate and how to position to the role to them and may well have a better chance of generating the profile into a candidate into the process.

    On that point, search itself will evolve -from my empiric knowledge, it remains it seems relatively untouched by the advancement of the direct model in the contingency space. So many clients are having to pay high fees, being ripped off by ridiculous cancellation charges, still with very classic retained mechanisms, slow profiling and delivery. Given the access to more data, increased competition will challenge these firms and it will be a very good thing. It will also lead to search being more prevalent as a mechanism in the lower salaried bands as opposed to purely executive level.

    f) I wonder about how the candidate will feel about mobile recruitment into the future? Who wants to receive hundreds of sms or mobile content about recruitment (apart from me as I’m a recruitment geek?) In the same way that I think that linkedin didn’t think through its group function content quality, (people I talk to often feel like they are being spammed by irrelevant groups they joined which at then outset they were interested in). I think there is a danger of destroying brand by transactional message routes if not careful. I agree re personalisation and think it’s an interesting topic. Again in a candidate driven market being offered lots of choice I truly believe the agency adds significant delivery value as a vehicle, if the consultant is good. A person only thinks about careers actively at certain points, would they really value constant content from a company? Maybe depends on the nature of the role they fulfil and how specialist it is, would people like Lawyers, Tax, HR really value that? Not sure.

    Anyway would be great to talk about it and capture some content for the Future of Resourcing Series we are going to launch 2013 for http://www.hrtn.tv in conjunction with DeeDee and Recruiter. Should be really exciting!

    Sorry , this is a bit all over the place, but was keen to come back to you and have literally just stepped off a 24hr journey from the other side of the World.

    Yours, a tired,


    Hi all.

    For those interested, here is the video, (excluding the Flashmob, which will be published soon once we have copyright clearance for using Michael Jackson Material), for the Keynote Main Stage Presentation at Linkedin Talent Connect Las Vegas 2012 that Amy McKee and I gave.


    It includes an overview of Recruitment 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0.



  173. All.

    Once in a while an awesome article comes out that is well worth investing time in reading.

    If you have not seen Glenn Cathey’s excellent article on Sourcing 2.0, I strongly recommend that you grab a hot cup of tea/coffee and settle down for an awesome paper.

    Take a look here:


    Great work Glenn. Looking forward to seeing what Sourcing 3.0 looks like 😉

  174. Very interesting, we have to admit that recruiting is coming to a change on Internet. Well we strongly believe that the speed of the recruitment is the key, it must be fast and easy to allow candidates and recruiters to be in direct contact quickly.
    A quick and precise recruitment is much cheaper, and it is what we need in this time of crisis.
    That’s why we created LibertyCV.eu – A brand new way of recruiting and motivating candidates.
    That’s, in short, our definition of the next-Gen of recruitment.

  175. Think this article describes Recruitment 2.0. Nothing new to what innovate companies have been doing for years now. Comparing recruiting trends with Fortune500 companies is also a mistake. Which millennials do you know want to work for a massive fortune500 company? Except Apple or the other suspects.

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