The Changing Role of the Recruiter

It’s no surprise: the role of executive recruiters has changed, and so has corporate America. The critical focus of a CEO is the health and long-term growth of his/her company and to identify, recruit, and secure the top three percent of employees.

The top three percent? The top three is a small core team that is absolutely essential to set the stage for the next 10 years of a company. The remaining 97 percent? Increasingly becoming a commodity. Recruiters must develop a process to find the “best of the best” who can focus on short-term quarterly goals and drive the company on a daily basis. The key to identifying this ever-changing, fluid group of individuals is to use both global and local social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) effectively. Recruiters will need to use these tools to identify, track, and be ready to reach out and entice individuals to join their company.

With these changes, the question remains: how can recruiters stay on top of their game? I have the inside track of the CEO perspective and his/her needs from its corporate recruiters. I see three reccurring trends:

First and foremost, corporate recruiters are salespeople. Today’s professional corporate recruiter needs to be more strategic, have a keen business orientation, and more importantly, have the ability to really “sell” prospective employees on the company. Recruiters must understand the corporate culture, the business goals, and talent needs of the company in order for it to attract the right individual.

The corporate recruiter’s role is being elevated to talent management. HR is changing, and many of its functions are being outsourced.  The corporate need to recruit and retain employees is growing in value exponentially as companies seek to hire the best and the brightest to join the company. As hiring begins to increase in the post-recession economy, the skills and experience of a talent manager are critical. Recruiters will be judged on who they invite to the corporate front door and how they contribute to the company.

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Developing new data analytics is required. Yesterday’s cost-based data (how recruiters show their value and progress) are being replaced with “quality-based” cost analytics. How many recruiters did it take at what price to hire X number of employees is not as important as the percentage of new hires are performing at or above average (based on peer review) and how many are still with the company after one year. The new data should reflect how the performance of new hires and their longevity within the company push the company closer to achieving its business objectives.

If you want to hear more, I’m speaking at the Fall ERE Expo in Florida. My topic “How to Make Recruitment Relevant When Only Talent Matters” will discuss the art of recruiting and retaining great talent as a business objective and how to keep a company competitive as recruiting evolves into a more strategic role for the company.

Dan Kaplan leads CTPartners’ global human resources practice and advises boards and CEOs on accessing and acquiring world-class leaders. His industry experience and knowledge of talent management issues are sought regularly by market influencers. He was named to BusinessWeek’s list of the World’s 50 Most Influential Headhunters in 2008.


9 Comments on “The Changing Role of the Recruiter

  1. Thanks, Dan. Most companies arent’t really that good and can’t afford the best. “They’re just not into you”. Get real, folks: you and your company are not that special -don’t believe your own hype. Go after the candidates you can realistically get.



  2. Dan, While I agree with some of your points, until corporate recruiting is no longer the entry level position in corporate Human Resources departments, the rest is a pipe dream. Most corporate Human Resource departments do not understand recruiting is a sales process (as you pointed out). Instead of working to attract candidates, they put roadblocks up to discourage them from applying. See my blog “Attracting Passive Candidates?” on ERE.

  3. Dan,

    Sorry to say, but the bit about recruiters being sales people and talent managers is nothing new. Neither is the notion of quality-based metrics. All of this has been said to be changing role of recruiters for nth times and at least for ten years. While I am of the lucky ones, and truly function at that level within my company, most companies – even after years of evangelizing of HR experts – still do not see it that way. As for recruiters being judged by who they invite to the company well, yes, of course. It’s a measure of how much time they waste or save of those people who make the hiring decision. Good recruiters nevertheless aahve an impact on the make-up of the company they work for; after all, they CAN direct, which candidates will intitially go throught the process, or not, but that’s where it ends. But no recruiter in his/her right mind would agree to be measured by quality-based metrics. Most recruiters have limited control over the hiring decision and absolutely no control to influence or direct the performance of an employee, nor do they influence managers as to the preceived value of such a performance.

  4. Keith, while I agree that the “best” talent is relative and means something different to Google or Goldman Sachs than it does to a small manufacturer, the truth is that no company can compete globally and win if it doesn’t strive to attract better talent than it’s competitors.

  5. Bill, I agree that recruiting has an uphill battle, particularly internally with our HR cousins. That said, we do expect a fundamental shift in the next 10 years as Boards begin to obsess over talent acquisition , talent and leadership development, and succession planning. Recruiting will enjoy (or fail and regret) a higher internal profile than anytime in the past.

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