I've been preparing a keynote speech for a Recruiting event this month - and in doing so have had cause to revisit the ways that recruiting has evolved. And also some ways in which it is yet to have fully evolved!
Two key things really stood out as I thought about this. Firstly, being effective at recruiting has become extremely complex - in ways that you have to understand to be successful. And secondly, we've barely scratched the surface when it comes to being effective at recruiting on platforms like Facebook.
If I go back ten or fifteen years, recruiting was pretty simple. A recruiter would have their way of generating candidate interest. That might have been through direct headhunting approaches, it might have been through advertising jobs. Candidates didn't have the opportunity to interact with a company or its recruiters unless they were invited in for interview. And that interviewing process could be refined and perfected. The variables influencing a candidate's perception of a company - and the role on offer - were limited.
Fast forward to today and recruiting is so much more complex. A recruiter looking to generate candidate interest will find that their efforts are helped or hindered by the perception candidates have already formed about an employer. Whether it's from your social media presence or a glance at Glassdoor, candidates are far more likely to have an opinion about the companies they'd like to work for today. This, of course, is a perception that recruiters can seek to influence in ways that they couldn't previously - and indeed didn't even need to think about previously. Plus, of course, candidates can now interact with people from your company at any point in the recruiting process - and every one of those interactions has repercussions for whether a successful hiring outcome is achieved.
Then there are the options for actually generating candidate interest, which have ballooned. Where once you kept tabs on the best performing job boards, today you can find and approach candidates direct - through a variety of channels. Where once you relied on a job board's audience for candidates, today you can put your jobs in front of the exact audience that you want to reach, or have them marketed out to your company's employee network via social referral tools. The options have multiplied beyond recognition - and so the job of knowing what produces the best ROI has become insanely difficult too.
That's before we even consider the issue of mobile recruiting. You can have mastered all the other elements of recruiting, but if you aren't able to market roles to people on their smartphones then you're increasingly missing out on reaching both the passive and the active candidate market. And if your apply options aren't mobile-friendly then the conversions you achieve from everything else you do are fundamentally undermined.
This is all a far cry from how things used to be. A company achieving disappointing recruiting results you could usually diagnose down to one of a handful of potential flaws in the hiring process. Today the permutations of cause and effect are mind-boggling. Getting great hiring results is arguably a greater competitive advantage today than it has ever been.
All of which brings me to the second point, that we're still only just scratching the surface of what's possible when it comes to recruiting with tools like Facebook. Just think for a moment how many recruiters you see sharing their jobs on LinkedIn, Twitter and the like. Just think how many are advertising on job boards. Put simply, these recruiters are hoping that some fraction of the audience they need to reach will see their vacancy.
Yet how many recruiters do you know who have taken the opposite approach? How many have started from the point of saying "we need to reach this specific demographic of candidates (or competitors' employees) - now how can we reach that specific audience through targeted promotions on social media?"
The answer I suspect is very few - certainly if your recruiter network mirrors the broader market that I talk to. For whilst there's widespread targeting of candidates on LinkedIn, the ~1 billion candidates who are more active on other social sites are more or less overlooked. Which is just one example of many that convince me we're still only scratching the surface here. On which note, I leave you with the thought: what approaches will you develop these next months that will leave your competitors in your wake?
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