The Future Of Recruiting, Part 2: Internal Departmental Changes

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:

Article Continues Below
  • 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.

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website and on He lives in Pacifica, California.



6 Comments on “The Future Of Recruiting, Part 2: Internal Departmental Changes

  1. Dr. Sullivan’s predictions regarding the future of recruiting and the major changes that will occur in the profession are well thought out and at face value appear to make a great deal of sense from a global efficiency perspective. The biggest single factor that will dictate the speed and timing of these changes is clearly money and investment in technology. More specifically, the state-of-the-art software to implement these changes within Corporate recruiting. In my view, these changes will take an extraordinarily long time to take shape and come to fruition with the recruiting field. This principally due to the reluctance of Senior management in companies to make the capital investment in Human Resources technology required to see these changes effected. The ROI and value add for recruiting/HR in most organizations is at the very bottom of the investment or budgeting priorities.

    ~David LaMachia

    You can read the original article at:

    Post your own Article Review

  2. I enjoy these articles, although I tend to disagree somewhat with a futiristic manager centric recruiting method. I am currently running my own contingency based firm and came from a corporation that tried to implement a more manager-centric recruiting method that was a disaster. My managers then (and now) want a prfofessional to Source, Identify, market and manage talent, they look to me as the expert and that is why I have been succesful. It seems there is a ‘doomsday’ scenario for recruting that futurists and corporate recruting organizations have been theorizing about for a while, but frankly I see the model that I and many others use as pretty durable and tested. (just lookd at the want ads for agency recruiters- the business is out there).
    The problem I see with corporate manager-centric recruiting is that most of it is rolled out by analytically detached process experts with input from HR generalists as opposed to recruiters well versed in marketing and sales. You are left with entry level recruiters in an administrator role thus diminishing the role and perception of recruiting throughtout the organization. Making Hiring managers look to outside search agencies who will give them the time and respect accorded their open position.

    You can read the original article at:

    Post your own Article Review

  3. I share David LaMachia?s view that Dr. Sullivan?s thoughts on the future of recruiting are both thoughtful and insightful. I am not as convinced as David however, that these changes will take quite so long to find there way into the industry.

    Yes, the tools and software technology required to implement these changes require a significant investment to develop but I believe this investment has, and will continue to be made by the third-party vendors supporting the corporate recruiting function; not the end-user corporations themselves. The challenge these third-party vendors face are 1) to ensure that these tools achieve the objectives as aptly summarized by Dr. Sullivan, 2) to package and price this technology in such a way that the ROI is compelling and undeniable, and 3) to effectively communicate this technology and the resulting ROI it represents to the market.

    As for how long this will take ? I believe much of the necessary technology is either currently available or will be very soon. What will likely be more challenging will be packaging and pricing this technology to provide a compelling ROI and communicating this ROI convincingly to the corporate CFOs. Once this is accomplished and provided the implementation costs and effort for the customer are minimal, the financial imperatives will drive adoption. Once a critical mass of companies are on-board and reaping the significant benefits and reduced costs of this technology, those who are not on-board will be so disadvantaged that participation will become a competitive necessity.

    Unlike virtually all other corporate functions, HR generally has not yet benefited from the improved efficiencies that technology enables. I believe the pressures to do so are building rapidly and that the critical-mass required to force this change will be reached in the not to distant future.

    You can read the original article at:

    Post your own Article Review

  4. Hi Steve;

    I think there is going to be a happy medium. Having been on both sides of the coin (headhunter/corporate recruiting) I can see where the lower level exempt headhunters may be phased out. What will remain in tact is Executive Search. I say this b/c many of these searches are confidential and many times the emplyee is still in the role.

    I agree with you that managers want an expert, but I have been in a position where one second they are requesting a head-hunter and the next second they are commending me for a job well done.
    Corporate Recruiters have to earn respect and accept the challenge their managers throw out to them.

    Still, for most of the corporate recruiting world there are few expert sourcers and staffers and until HR Executives come up with a better compensation structure to compensate the best Recruiters in the industry then you head-hunters will continue to do well.


    You can read the original article at:

    Post your own Article Review

  5. My opinion is that the staffing industry will continue to exist and thrive, despite the fluctuations in the market. As can be expected, there will be periods of shrink and growth and, as with anything in the business world, the model for business will continue to change and staffing firms will need to continue to adapt to that.

    I feel that as we look ahead, staffing firms need to be recognized as centers of excellence by our clients in order to thrive. We need to become not only a source of great and appropriate candidates, but also experts on the market who can serve as valuable consultative resources to clients.

    If nothing else, staffing firms are an excellent training grounds for recruiting talent. When corporations want to create a great internal recruiting department, they often look to search firms to staff their newly formed departments.

    You can read the original article at:

    Post your own Article Review

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *