To stay on the forefront of recruiting, you might want to read the October 2006 edition of Business 2.0. The cover story pretty much tells it all: The Next Disruptors: They’re Gunning for Google. And Skype. And Citibank, Ford, Oracle and AT&T. Meet 11 Companies Whose Breakthroughs Will Change Everything.
While none of them relate directly to recruiting, many of these breakthroughs will change how you find and hire people over the next two to three years. Those of you who are early adopters will find some great candidates if you create the bandwagon everyone will soon jump on.
Based on these disruptors and their progeny, here’s what I forecast will happen:
- Job boards and the concept of posting ads will become irrelevant.
- Candidate-tracking systems as they exist today will become extinct. Their replacements will actually help companies hire and retain better people and be far easier to use.
- New screening technology will allow companies to separate the best from the rest based on performance, not qualifications, and push these candidates directly to the hiring manager without recruiters being involved.
- Job aggregators and employee referral systems will increase in importance in the short term, but become old school within three to five years. Just-in-time referral systems and new customer-relationship management technology will allow top people to connect directly to hiring managers.
- Companies will discontinue the use of any process that promotes the building of public networks of potential candidates. Check now to see whether any of your sourcing vendors use your company’s job ads to attract candidates who are available for other companies to use.
- Companies will use state-of-the-art search engine optimization techniques as the de facto standard for how candidates find your opportunities, eliminating all of the middlemen.
- Companies will only consider outsourcing the whole recruiting function using RPOs when they see hiring average people as an improvement.
- Lawyers and comp and benefits will no longer drive hiring strategy.
- Corporate recruiters will become more important, but more specialized by process and function. (Here’s an article describing the positions on the recruiting team of the future.) As part of this, hiring third-party recruiters for corporate positions will turn out to be the wrong decision, since the independent, Lone Ranger commission agency model will no longer be appropriate for corporate recruiting.
- Workforce planning, scalable hiring processes, and hiring managers handling most of their hiring personally will become standard operating procedure within five years.
- Super-creative, consumer-based marketing and advertising using video and graphics will replace traditional recruitment advertising and will drive top people directly to your career opportunities. YouTube.com-like video ads will be commonplace within the year, but will soon be pushed to potential candidates.
- State-of-the-art technology will become so user friendly that it will induce and allow top performers to stay in touch directly with the hiring managers at your company.
- Third-party recruiters will continue to thrive, as workforce mobility continues to break down the barriers for your top people to leave your company and find better jobs elsewhere.
- “Continuous rehiring” will become the order of the day, as companies realize they can’t continue to turn over their workforce. Instead of hiring from the outside, companies will promote internal opportunities and growth opportunities to all of their employees. This will be the key to regaining employee loyalty and increasing a company’s competitive position.
The common theme for many of these prognostications is disintermediation (i.e., removing the middleman, shortening the supply chain, or buying wholesale). For example, if a candidate can go directly to your website to find a job, why do you need a job board?
Worse, at a job board a candidate can find other competing jobs. Now take this one step further: if search-engine technology can be designed to ensure that only top people get sent directly to the manager (and managers know how to assess and attract), companies wouldn’t need the same type of recruiters.
Here are a few points from The Next Disruptors article that provide some credence to these predictions:
- Netvibes.com allows users to create customizable start pages that have millions of users based on a different model for advertising. Here’s an Alexa comparison of Netvibes vs. Monster that pretty much tells the whole story. With Netvibes, you can create your own splash page for groups of jobs using your company’s existing advertising and drive candidates directly to your open spots. Here’s not such a new idea: use your current company’s marketing and advertising campaigns instead of separate recruitment advertising to find people. (I saw a half-page LA Times Google ad like this on October 3, 2006.)
- Coghead allows a company to create customized business applications on the fly. For example, if you don’t like the performance of your applicant-tracking system, you can create a new one this afternoon.
- Salesforce.com uses a powerful underlying database that can feed information to a variety of higher-level applications. Now all you need to do to create a powerful pipeline and CRM campaign is dump all of your resumes into Salesforce this week and overlay this with their new campaign manager app. I suspect your applicant-tracking system won’t be able to respond as quickly. Better yet, soon you’ll be able to combine some of the Coghead applications you’re developing using your Salesforce database to develop even more advanced campaigns and sophisticated reporting and analysis.
- Bluelithium allows you to push targeted ads directly to interested customers in a more refined way than buying keywords. Pretty soon, you be able to push a creative video-based job ad directly to passive candidates who are searching for something other than jobs. Using your new Coghead app running on Salesforce, you’ll be able to drive these people to one of the Netvibes portals created by your hiring managers.
- NanoLife Sciences is developing a product that enables protons to stick only to cancer cells, allowing for their precise elimination without damaging healthy cells. This has nothing to do with recruiting (other than describing disintermediation in a different way). It seems like an appropriate metaphor for what is happening in the world of hiring, which includes bringing the best candidates directly into contact with the hiring manager and eliminating the 90% yield loss (i.e., good people not seeing your ad or opting out for some reason along the way).
Coupled with the above, available search-engine optimization techniques are rapidly changing the way candidates look for jobs. Many candidates now use basic search engines, bypassing the job boards, to find jobs and wind up on aggregators like Indeed, Jobster, and SimplyHired. For the short term, make sure you post your ads so that they’re found through these sites. But this is only short term.
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How mature is your hiring process? Answer these 5 questions and find out.
New search-engine techniques are being developed by Doug Berg and others that will allow your candidates to find your jobs directly on your career site just by starting at Google, MSN, or Yahoo!. In a few years, even this will change. Using some of the disruptors described above and some new ones being developed, top passive and active candidates will be able to stay in constant contact with your hiring managers, ready to jump when the right opportunity becomes available.
To see if you are behind the times and really need to worry about any of these things, here are some quick tests you can perform:
- Google one of your jobs, putting in standard keywords most candidates would use, add the word “jobs” and the location. If your job doesn’t show up on the first page, you’re not seeing all of the people you could be. You’ll need to reverse engineer your jobs and redesign the format of your web page to get them to appear.
- Look at one of your job descriptions on your website. Now look at the URL tied to the job. If it doesn’t contain the keywords from the search you just put into Google, you’re missing out on some great people who can’t find this job using currently available search technology.
- Now read the same job description from the perspective of a top person who has multiple opportunities. Does it have a compelling message and irresistible title? If not, top people who are finding your jobs are not applying. (FYI: if you’re not tracking these opt-out rates, you’re in the Stone Age regarding recruiting metrics.)
So where does your company stand on the recruiting-in-the-future timeline? Are you getting better at embracing the new approaches, or are you fighting progress? Forget the excuses. Don’t let the lawyers, the corporate police, IT, the comp and benefits department, or some bureaucrat drive your hiring strategy.
There are some great new technologies being developed that will allow hiring managers and top candidates to communicate directly, but you must first eliminate all of the superficial barriers and unnecessary middlemen.
The worst barrier of them all, and the easiest to change, is the continued and pervasive use of boring job descriptions that describe qualifications rather than opportunities and challenges. Here’s an article on how to write compelling ads that attract top people. Even with all of the new emerging technologies that will soon be pushing your jobs directly to the perfect passive candidates, it really won’t matter if the job is dull and identical to everyone else’s.