HR, as a profession, changes at the speed of a rock. It’s no secret that HR practitioners tenaciously cling to the status quo. Recruiting, as a part of HR, does change a little faster it’s true, but most of that change in recent years has been as a result of court cases and changes in employment laws that essentially forced recruiting to shift its practices and strategies. Even the infamous war for talent in the late ’90s didn’t fundamentally change most firms’ recruiting strategies. We flailed and we struggled, but we fundamentally didn’t change our approach. But it’s important to note that the speed of change in recruiting is about to undergo a dramatic increase due to the fundamental changes in the way businesses operate. In particular, the spread of technology, the increasing globalization of business, and the demands that all internal processes (including recruiting and HR) demonstrate effectiveness through metrics will force recruiting to change forever. Let’s look particularly at globalization as a force for change in recruiting. The continued and relentless globalization of all business processes will forever end the localization of recruiting strategies and practices. Just as manufacturing managers must now find the most efficient location and supply chain and managers must find the cheapest supplier, where ever they may be located, so too will recruiting now need to find the best talent, wherever it might be located around the globe. Instead of using approaches that work just fine at headquarters, recruiting will be forced to utilize mass customized tool as well as approaches that are consistent throughout the organization. At the same time, its practices will have to perfectly fit the situation in every country. In Part 1 of this article series on the future recruiting, I mentioned that the size and the responsibilities of the recruiting department would change dramatically. In the rest of this article I’ll explore in depth more of the ways those changes will happen internally. Recruiting Jobs That Will Diminish ó And Eventually Go Away As recruiting departments shrink by as much as two-thirds, the need for certain job functions to be handled by the recruiting department will decrease. Some of the jobs in recruiting will be replaced by technology and self-service, while others will just no longer be necessary. Those job functions that are likely to be eventually eliminated include:
- Recruiting coordinator. More effective and accurate resume screening and web candidate search tools will mean that all initial and intermediate screening will be done electronically. The ability to read through a stack of resumes will no longer be critical in recruiting.
- Requisition coordinator. Self-service applications will mean that no one will need to physically track down managers for approvals and written signatures. Automated systems will allow requisitions that are overdue for signatures to be automatically routed to a manager at the next level for approval.
- Job analysts. Individuals who interview managers and write job descriptions will be replaced by self-service applications that use technology to rapidly create customized job descriptions.
- Scheduling coordinators. Because interview schedules will be done online on a shared internal website, the need to call and schedule interviews with managers and candidates will be reduced. Instead, managers will post their available interview times and candidates will sign up for the available slots via the web.
- Junior recruiters. Since most recruiting will be done by managers using self-service tools, the few recruiters that remain on staff will be experienced recruiting consultants who will focus only on key hires (see “recruiting consultant” below).
- Reference checkers. Although the importance of reference checking will increase due to security issues, this position itself will be eliminated because managers will be able to instantly complete reference checking online, through the use of vendor-owned external worldwide databases (much like current credit databases).
- Relocation services specialist. Because more and more employees will be able to work at their location anywhere in the world, the need to relocate people to headquarters or other locations will dramatically decrease. In addition, most of the relocation services that will be necessary will be available online in a self-service format, regardless of whether they be internal or vendor-offered services.
Recruiting Jobs That Will Increase in Importance Even though the size of recruiting departments will shrink and some jobs will be eliminated, other recruiting jobs will become increasingly more important. Some of the jobs in recruiting that are likely to increase in importance include:
- Brand manager. As recruiting strategies shift away from short-term “patchwork” solutions (such as running ads or going to job fairs) and towards the ultimate long-term answer ó a strong employment brand ó the employment brand manager will become the most important position in recruiting.
- Metrics manager. Because future recruiting, like all other business processes, will be driven by ROI and the bottom line, the position that gathers, analyzes, and reports on the effectiveness of recruiters and recruiting programs will become a mission-critical job.
- Recruiting technologist. Because technology will become a major driver of all new recruiting initiatives and strategies, individuals who manage this technology will become mission critical.
- Recruiting consultant. Since all “routine” recruiting will be done by managers, the traditional recruiter will shift toward becoming a recruiting consultant, who advises hiring managers on unique and difficult problems but who does little actual recruiting themselves. Recruiting consultants will only actually recruit or get directly involved in recruiting for the most difficult and critical 20% of open requisitions.
- Workforce planner. As recruiting becomes more strategic and the speed of change in the world of business increases, the need for individuals who accurately forecast future recruiting and workforce needs, problems, and opportunities will grow dramatically. One of the primary responsibilities of these individuals will be to ensure that workforce headcount revenue per employee (or revenue per dollar spent on employee costs) does not exceed the “lean and mean” level set by the CFO. In essence, this persons also tracks and prevents “headcount fat.”
- Vendor manager. The increased use of outsourcing for lower-level jobs will require strong vendor managers who can get great results from outside contractors.
- Internal executive recruiter. As more firms realize they need a competitive advantage in attracting talent in the top part of the organization, a larger portion of executive search will be done in-house. When external executive searches are used, this position will track the differential in performance (quality of hire or on-the-job performance) to ensure external vendors are providing a higher ROI than internal executive recruiters.
- Intraplacement specialist. Because ROI analysis will demonstrate the extremely high business impact of proactively moving talent faster between internal departments and positions, recruiters who focus on moving the best people rapidly to where they can have the largest impact will become valuable assets. Managers will realize that the same tools and strategies that are effective for identifying and placing great external hires can also be applied internally to speed up the internal redeployment of their employees. By moving people faster internally, organizations will find that they can dramatically increase employee excitement and simultaneously reduce retention problems. Current employee resumes will be “mixed in” to the external resume database so that recruiters will be able to automatically find current employees who meet the job requirements (thus sometimes eliminating the need to go outside the organization for talent).
- Referral specialist. As the use of metrics becomes more prominent in recruiting, more employment managers will realize that employee referrals are the most cost-effective sourcing tool available. As hiring and recruiting managers realize that employee referrals produce high-quality candidates and at the same time help build a firm’s image and brand (because they encourage employees to “talk up” the firm), the emphasis on referrals will increase dramatically. Improving referral effectiveness will require specialists who know the critical success factors of a great referral program.
Changes in Candidates Will Dramatically Impact Recruiting As the job seeker becomes more aware of how the process of getting a job has changed, they will become more sophisticated in their attempts to game the system in order to gain an advantage over other candidates. Some other things you can expect include:
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- Resume spamming. Candidates can use software to continuously submit their resume to every possible job.
- Keyword gaming. Candidates will develop sophisticated algorithms and approaches to identify the keywords and the processes used by resume sorting systems to identify the best candidates, in order to move themselves up the priority list.
- Web portfolios. As both candidates and managers realize the inherent weaknesses in relying heavily on resumes to identify candidate competencies, an increasing number of top candidates will post examples of their work on their personal websites for recruiters and managers to view and assess. Providing actual examples of their work, as opposed to a series of words and sentences that describe their work, will dramatically increase the accuracy of the selection process. (Note: Candidates will also be increasingly willing to participate in online simulations of company problems in order to further demonstrate their abilities.)
Changes in Recruiting Administration Some of the many changes you can expect to see in recruiting processes, paperwork, and administration include:
- Paperless recruiting will become the norm, where every aspect of recruiting is online.
- Self-service electronic requisitions will be available for managers to start the hiring process, and online requisition approvals (with electronic signatures) for senior management will complete the process.
- Online job description and competency banks will speed up the creation of job descriptions.
- Recruiter requisition loads will be tracked and reported electronically.
- The metrics to track recruiter and recruiting source effectiveness will be captured and reported electronically.
- Interview scheduling will be done online. It will also offer a feature that allows you to track and report “time to interview” by individual manager to identify hiring roadblocks.
- Standardized offer letters will be generated by the recruitment management system, and requests for variations in starting salary will be automatically sent to the next level for approval.
- “How am I doing?” candidate calls will cease, as candidates will be able to track their own progress in the recruiting cycle on a password-protected web page that is designed exclusively for applicants.
- All “resume reject” and periodic correspondence will be automatically generated electronically and transmitted via email.
- First-day new hire surveys will be available to identify possible referrals and “what worked.”
- Online, 24/7 employee orientation will be available in multiple languages. In addition to the standard orientation, new hires and their managers will be able to select additional areas in which they can learn through video clips, work samples, and referrals. The effectiveness of new hire orientation will also be assessed during the employee’s first six months with periodic electronic new hire surveys.
- Interview scores (with comments) and “screening out” reasons will be captured online for legal reasons. In addition, other managers that are interested in the same candidate will be able to identify which interview questions were already asked and how well the candidate was rated by other managers.
- Online user feedback and satisfaction questionnaires on the value of each employment process element to executives and line managers will allow employment managers to identify service delivery problems.
- Candidate satisfaction questionnaires will be automatically emailed to a sample of candidates to assess how well candidates are being treated.
- Interview training for new managers will be available through streaming video on the corporate website to ensure that only trained managers participate in interviews. After periods of extensive downsizing and long duration hiring freezes, most managers may not have done any significant hiring for years. As a result, when a new hiring boom begins, these managers will have to be reminded of the essential elements of good recruiting and interviewing.
Next week, in Part 3 of this series, we’ll continue our look at the future of recruiting.