Despite advances in technology, the reactionary recruiting model of old is back in full force. Recruiters in many organizations are still spending a majority of their time sorting through resumes in their inbox or finding the “low-hanging fruit” from resume databases ó in many cases I’ve encountered, over 75% of their time is spent in these areas. On the flip side, smart staffing directors will tell you that they’re focusing on quality. They’ll also tell you that the best people are not often hanging around on job boards or posting their resumes online, and that they’d prefer their recruiters to spend their time sourcing passive candidates and networking with great talent. In fact, they say that they’d rather their recruiting teams spend 60-75% of their time in the passive and less-active candidate world. The writing is on the wall: certain jobs in recruiting are invariably at risk of being outsourced, offshored or eliminated altogether. What would make a director of staffing decide to outsource recruiting jobs to a foreign country? Which positions and people are the most vulnerable? Sample Scenario Pretend for a moment that you are a new Staffing Director at a mythical wireless company called (excuse the writer’s block) Mythical Wireless Company. You’ve been brought in to change recruiting at Mythical from a reactionary administrative function to a proactive strategic business partner. Upon examining the state of your 60-person recruiting team you find:
- A total of 40 of the 60 recruiters spend almost all of their time on “inbox recruiting,” just waiting for active candidates’ resumes to show up on their doorsteps from job boards and newspaper ads.
- The primary sourcing tool consists of major resume databases ó yet when they ask the best performers in the company if they would ever post their resumes in a major resume database, 95% of them say that they wouldn’t.
- Surveyed hiring managers say that they rely on recruiters to sort through the hundreds of responses they get ó and that’s about it.
- Recently purchased assessment, screening, workflow management, and applicant tracking tools perform almost all of these functions automatically, leaving one to wonder, “The recruiters seem so busy, but what are they actually doing?”
There will always be a need to sort through active candidates, you think. But this isn’t “real recruiting.” For your recruiting team to add value, they’ll have to start identifying, building relationships with, and convincing the best people ó the ones that usually aren’t posting their resumes on job boards ó to come work for Mythical Wireless Company. Only then will they be seen as a strategic partner. A Possible Course of Action Being that you’re the new person in town, you might closely examine which recruiting functions could be kept in house and which could be outsourced or even offshored. Two vendors have approached you with an undeniable value proposition: You could pay people in a foreign country $3 per hour to do 80% of the work of your inbox recruiters, who make an average of $80,000 including benefits. Over the course of a year you estimate this could save the company approximately $2.5 million. With pressure to cut budgets, you are forced to examine whether or not this is a viable avenue. Can people outside of the country screen through and route resumes with a reasonable level of quality? Will hiring managers be satisfied with the quality of work? The most obvious positions at risk are the “inbox recruiters.” If 80% of their time is spent on a function that could be done for pennies on the dollar, then many or all of their roles may be expendable. The more strategic, consultative recruiters, who focus more on finding and building relationships with passive candidates, appear to be less at risk, since their jobs could not easily be performed by an outside vendor. While this is a mythical example, it is solidly grounded in reality. Many staffing directors have already begun to pilot this approach with a small set of openings and are working through issues they identify as they expand the effort to the entire company. Unanswered Questions It is obvious that the above scenario brings a host of legal, practical, financial, and ethical questions to the fore:
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- Faced with the above scenario, what would you have done? Would you have kept your recruiters on board despite the cost savings that could be realized through outsourcing? Or would you have examined offshore alternatives?
- Can workers in foreign countries effectively screen through and route resumes?
- Do you believe that a combination of screening and assessment technology and offshore labor can actually deliver better results than many recruiting departments?
- What are the ethical implications of outsourcing or offshoring the administrative work of recruiting?
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