Are Recruiters Losing Their Power?

By Denise Taylor

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Recruiters may be losing their power, it’s getting more challenging for them to earn their fee. More and more organisations are now bypassing them and targeting potential employees direct.

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With the expansion of LinkedIn companies are using LinkedIn to advertise direct to people looking for a job, and making it easy for people to apply by attaching their CV/ LinkedIn profile.

Companies are also targeting people direct through asking their staff to encourage friends and contacts to apply for a job within their company.

Companies like Deloitte and Enterprise Rent-A-Car are offering their employees free gifts like iPads to promote the company to their friends and increasingly so.  For example,  Ernst & Young are looking to increase the number of staff they take on this way for non entry placements to 50%.  Think about it, particularly if this is repeated across organisations.

‘When a friend at Ernst & Young recommended her, Ms. Parakh’s résumé was quickly separated from the thousands the firm receives every week because she was referred by a current employee, and within three weeks she was hired’.

The article includes more examples and the comments are well worth reading, more and more people giving examples of how they got jobs through this route. 

The NY Times article also discusses how being recommended by a friend/contact can lead to being interviewed for a job that may not be advertised.

Excellent news if you have friends in the right places, not so good if you don't have the contacts. It can also mean that a work force is less varied and contains more and more people who are like each other. I thought employment law was meant to lead to open recruitment but this is anything but.

Referred Candidates at a Distinct Advantage

Even getting in the door for an interview is becoming more difficult for those without connections. I’ve read (in a new study of one large company by three economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York) that referred candidates are twice as likely to land an interview as other applicants. For those who make it to the interview stage, the referred candidates had a 40% better chance of being hired than other applicants.  It gets worst, apparently at Sodexo, a food service and facilities management company that hires 4,600 managers and executives a year, referred employees are 10 times more likely to be hired than other applicants.

Again not great for people without the great connections. It reinforces the need to use your contacts to help you get a job and also to be creative and look for other ways to stand out. This does make it tough!  And I know that many of the people who most need a job may be those who have lost touch with influential contacts as it is a while since they lost their job, or never had such contacts in the first place.

Maybe it will help to get recommended by someone you know, who may not work at a company that you want to work for but will recommend you on a site like Job Bounties. This site allows people to get paid for recommending people they know for a job. Their research says that 41% of people have found a job through their personal network compared to 34% through a job ad, and this site builds on this. 

The Need To Target Companies Direct

As a career coach I regularly talk with my clients about the need to target companies direct, and not to rely on jobs advertised. I think most people know that adverts are going to lead to a high number of applicants and taking a more direct approach through a targeted approach to companies can often lead to a meeting and job offer. Often people will find leads through people they know, and sometimes their contact will make the introduction.  This article reinforces the need to involve other people in your job search. Be clear about what you want, be able to explain it simply and let other people know what it is that you are looking for, then you may find that they can promote you.

I’m interested in your comments on this and many of you may not like the message. You may think it is nepotism, but this isn’t the boss giving the job to a relative but a company wanting to decrease the costs of recruitment and increase the chance of a new recruit being successful. This is what’s happening out there and it is important to understand this and go with it.

Do you have examples of when you have got a job offer through people you know or how you have dealt with this? I’m interested in your comments so let’s get a discussion going.


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