Engagement is recruitment’s biggest issue in a ‘candidate driven’ market but I don’t see any of the VC money being pumped into technologies that solve this issue.
In a traditionally ‘human’ driven environment, many entrepreneurs from within the recruitment and technology sectors are trying to disrupt an industry that’s worth circa $35b in the UK alone and create that first $1b technology in this sector.
I’ve seen ‘video interviewing’, ‘employee referrals’, ‘search tools’, ‘CRMs’ ‘mobile search’, ‘job boards’, ‘apps’ and many, many more.
However, like it or not, despite some of the claims and grandiose marketing, these technologies do not perfectly replace the human element and deliver positive ‘candidate engagement’.
Traditionally, a recruiter would do their research and no questions, that part of the role has changed drastically over the years with the advent of Social Media solutions, as well as the internet as a whole.
However, once you know who you want to contact for a role, the channels may have changed, however, the method itself is almost certainly the same.
You will have those recruiters who play a numbers game and get a 1% return from their efforts. They will hangout on LinkedIn and message the life out of everyone. This is similar to the recruiters that would hang out in a bar ‘back in the day’ and talk to pretty much everyone, although being in the bar would have almost certainly resulted a higher ratio of success.
Then you will have smart LinkedIn users who tailor their approach to the individuals and perhaps get around 15% return from their efforts. Imagine in any other industry the core of your business only getting 15% return from your efforts you would be run out of town.
The ‘old school’ equivalent would perhaps be individual recruiters who rang potential candidates at their desk phones or befriended the receptionist to pass specific messages on to potential candidates. Again, the return in the past would have almost certainly been higher.
Finally, you have the modern-day recruiter who utilizes these technological advancements as supplementary tools but pretty much ALL of their engagement of candidates comes via referrals. At least 75% of the people I talk too and probably 90% of the people I place come from referrals. If you get someone to say this guy is ok, understands our industry and won’t message you 20 times on some ‘faceless’ platform, that provides an immediate advantage and access to candidates otherwise operating passively on the market.
Ironically, the best recruiters in the past would have done exactly the same things but simply conducted their research in a different, less efficient manner. The information wasn’t available at the click of a button after all. Hence, it seems, apart from the ‘supplementary elements’ of recruitment, outlined above, the best recruiters are actually doing the same as the best recruiters did in during the 70s, 80s and 90s.
It’s safe to say then consequently, that the company that allows us to harness AI or Machine Learning to aid a recruiter in increasing engagement rates, will be the true disruptor of the recruitment industry.
However, can technology be created to replicate the finest recruiters who can find ‘common ground’ with everyone? The best recruiters always have this trait and although I agree technology is reshaping our approach to life, technology cannot ever replicate basic human interactions. It’s simple human economics. People buy from people right?