When recruiters get to talking about the future of recruiting, the discussions invariably lead to prognostications about technology. Many seem entranced by the ease with which we will be able to recruit once technology advances. What’s next?! Video interviewing! Smarter searching! Better aggregation of profiles on the internet! Holograms?!
Well, no …
No doubt, products like Oculus Rift and Microsoft’s HoloLens show tremendous potential across wide fronts. But the future of recruiting is not holograms.
Yes, there are some cool technological advancements on their way or ready for prime time. Predictive analytics that can help us better determine where to source, or where the best quality candidates for my company may reside, are super cool. Aggregators that gather social data on target candidates and contact information are sweet.
But what are you going to do once you find those people?
To be sure, technology can reduce friction in various stages of the recruiting process. When you’re hiring a volume of people for lower-skilled, commodity roles, technology might be the dealmaker. But not so much when you’re really looking to hire high-potential, passive candidates. The technology that really matters in that case is technology that enables relationship building.
The vast majority of high-potential individuals in any given market are passive. They are well taken care of and only look when dissatisfied. When they do decide to “look,” they are not on the market for long, and generally reach out to their own network first. A quick phone call, an email or two, and they are easily in an active interview process with people they trust at other organizations. They are not posting their resumes and they are much less likely to respond to cold outreaches except in that brief period when they are active. So that may give a recruiter’s serendipitous approach a one- to two-week window to be successful.
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To hire these people, technology is not your solution. You have to be genuine and you have to play the long game. The long game is all about building mutually-beneficial trusting long-term relationships with high-potential individuals and adding value to their lives.
If someone is not interested in your opportunity, continue to engage them. Find ways to help. If you interview someone who is a high-potential individual, but ultimately not a fit for your current role or organization, be sure to make the personal phone call to tell them why. Lead with empathy, but be honest and as direct as possible. Then find a way to help them immediately — job leads, referral, market information. Then stay in touch, continue to help. You see, high-potential people will always be high-potential people, and they will associate with other high-potential people.
A problem we have in recruiting, ironically, is that name generation has become the easier part. (Before you phone sourcers send me hate mail, I am aware that not everyone is on the Internet and if they are they do not all have a public profile. Bear with me; I’m speaking about a specific majority here.) It’s a problem because our targets are contacted (spammed) much more often than they used to be. To stand out, be genuine and transparent. And, as mentioned above, work to add value to people’s lives.
One of the best feelings in recruiting is when that A-player individual calls you and says that now is the right time. They’re ready to make a move. Holograms aren’t going to help you there.