A common lament among recruiting professionals has been a lack of opportunities for growth and development. Yet with some of the new and exciting roles in recruiting, it will be tough to view our profession as merely a launch pad for a career in HR. Many of these roles are also indicative of a major shift in how organizations manage, think about, and grow their talent acquisition and management functions. On your worst days, you’ve probably had some of the following thoughts:
- “Once a recruiter, always a recruiter.”
- “There’s nowhere to go but down.”
- “Once hiring needs slow down, I’ll have to move into another part of the organization.”
- “Find ’em, interview ’em, place ’em ó I feel like I’m stuck on spin cycle!”
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As I advocated in this article from 2002, new recruiting models are emerging, leading to a need for some very new skill sets in our profession. As the face of recruiting changes, companies continue to define new and innovative roles like those I’ve outlined below, which will only continue to increase in importance as companies start to view recruiting as more of a technology-centric marketing discipline. Director of Recruiting Strategy In many large organizations, there’s just too much to do to expect the director or VP of staffing to be everywhere and do everything. As the public face of recruiting within (and possibly outside of) the company, their days are likely booked with meetings and fires to put out ó meaning that there is precious little time to devote to keeping recruiting moving at light speed without sacrificing any semblance of work-life balance. This is why directors of recruiting strategy act as dedicated, big picture thinkers for many staffing teams. These individuals stay on top of macro-industry trends, investigate realistic alternatives for their staffing organizations, and help realign the organization’s staffing teams to stay in front of, rather than behind, the curve. They’re also heavily involved in assessing new tools and identifying new ways to think about and analyze the massive amounts of data a staffing team might generate. In short, directors of recruiting strategy ensure that recruiting establishes and maintains a real competitive advantage for talent. Director of Recruiting Programs and Program Managers Program managers and directors provide strategic and tactical oversight for the various initiatives that recruiting spearheads within an organization, like employee referral programs, college recruiting efforts, and more strategic approaches to recruitment advertising. They strategize, coordinate, project manage, implement, and collect feedback. As they will tell you, no two days are EVER alike. As recruiting in many organizations moves from a reactionary, “if you post it they will come” model to one that centers around strategic initiatives, these individuals are becoming increasingly vital to ensuring that enterprise recruiting efforts are comprehensive, coordinated, and successful. Talent Marketing Manager and Employer Branding Lead Several brand-driven organizations have had the foresight to approach recruiting like a real marketing and branding discipline. A talent marketing manager acts as the point person for understanding and actively working to shape not only the “employment product” but also target audience perceptions of that product. A good part of his or her time is spent educating recruiters and hiring managers on the consistent positioning the company is trying to achieve. Given how much employment communication happens online or in email, some companies have taken logical steps to coordinate or even combine branding and technology into one discipline. The net impact of this role can affect how your employees, external candidates, and other communities think about you as an employer, how actively they pursue your openings, and how they see them in comparison to similar offers from competitors. Talent Deployment Manager It amazes me that more companies don’t have this role, which focuses on proactively ensuring that the most talented individuals within an organization are matched to the best, most critical roles in the company. The talent deployment manager role will only increase in importance in an age of off-shoring, globalization, and virtual work teams. So why is this not a more common role? Is it an inherent fear of recruiting internally (sometimes seen as robbing Peter to pay Paul)? Is it that talent acquisition and development are too often treated as two separate silos within a company? Whatever the answer is, smart companies are waking up to the fact that it’s better to get to their best employees before their competitors do, and they are systematically matching great talent with a company’s mission-critical projects. Operations Manager and Business/Metrics Analyst Making sense of the reams of data that a staffing team generates in an ATS can be a mind-numbing experience. If you’re in one of these roles, you likely have to love (or at least be very good with) the numbers that define your recruiting team’s success. You help determine what to measure, how to measure it, and monitor and report on the results. Your mantras are measurement and continuous improvement, and the staffing directors inside your organization will testify that they can’t live without you. Recruiting Technology Manager How does an organization get the most out of an increasingly complex web of recruiting technology resources ó from strategic sourcing tools and database marketing campaigns to applicant tracking and online assessment tools? And how do they make it feel seamless to the end users (recruiters and candidates)? It definitely doesn’t happen by accident. This is why recruiting technology managers have a very important role to play within their respective organizations. They take complex problems and develop, implement, and evaluate strategic technology solutions, ultimately making things feel much less complex than they actually are. As with any technology discipline, troubleshooting, education and change management takes up a large part of their days, particularly if they work within a global entity. Talent Scout Strategic Sourcer and Internal Executive Recruiter Separating out the sourcing/talent acquisition role from hiring process management is the rough equivalent of a hunter/farmer model in recruiting. While some recruiters tend to the crops and ensure that the process runs smoothly, others are freed up to take the headhunter’s approach to proactively networking their way to great talent. Sourcers aren’t necessarily a new role, but a new breed of strategic sourcers and talent scouts are emerging as equals to full lifecycle and hiring process management recruiters. These are not just Internet researchers ó they are the absolute best at uncovering and building relationships with hidden pools of talent. Internal executive recruiters have many of the skill sets of strategic sourcers ó like long-term relationship building and proactive pipeline development ó but they cater to the unique needs of the VP-level and above audience. The great ones save their companies hundreds of thousands in executive search fees and are paid accordingly. Since my article in 2002, many companies have moved towards the hunter/farmer approach. While not every one of them has been successful (including one of the subjects of my original piece), the companies that have done this very well have seen dramatic benefits in terms of quality, productivity, and reduced time to hire. If you look closely at the opportunities above, you can see the basis of a real recruiting career path taking shape that leverages the unique strengths and weaknesses of each individual type of recruiter. There’s no better time than the present to think about the structure of your recruiting team ó and your own future in recruiting!