Transparency, accountability and competitiveness in the recruitment sector, crowdsourcing sounds like it could be the perfect solution?
One area of finance that has really taken off in recent years is that of crowdfunding. This is where large numbers of investors either buy shares or advance loans to a business. It can’t have escaped readers’ notice that comparison sites are also big business with websites available for comparing services as diverse as holidays, insurance and bank accounts.
With the advent of these services it really was only a matter of time before the aspects of crowdsourcing and comparison made its way into the arena of recruitment and indeed there are clear signs of this appearing in the marketplace with recruitment agency comparison sites and crowdsourcing channels appearing.
The principle of crowdsourcing is simple; users leverage the power of the internet to gather a crowd of people to solve a specific problem. This can be as simple as raising money for a new business or finding donors for a charity project.
Members of the project choose to donate a small amount of time, money or knowledge to solve the particular issue that was the focus of the exercise.
In the sphere of recruitment, the process can take the simplest form of a personal posting on social media such as Facebook or Twitter, letting the recruiters’ contacts know that an opportunity is available. Although this is somewhat haphazard there is a more structured and professional way to crowdsource candidates.
Split-fee recruitment is the process of sharing the workload of sourcing the right client for a role with other agencies. The job is placed using a crowdsourcing platform and publicised privately to a series of professional recruitment consultants. On successful placement the initial or ‘prime’ recruiter receives a proportion of the fee from the client and the remainder is passed on to the secondary or subcontracting recruiter. Utilising the power of the crowd in this way has a major benefit to both the client and their recruitment consultant.
Most good recruitment agencies will have a bank of candidates for any role that they can call on to provide suitable options. If the right person isn’t available in this way then they’ll also have methods of advertising that have proven to be tried and tested in the past that they can use. But for higher level roles and jobs needing very specific and rarefied skills it can be particularly challenging to find the right person at the right time.
For the recruiter, crowdsourcing can prove to be a lifeline. Top quality consultants will pride themselves on being the go to person for their particular clients and if they cannot help with a role will be fearful that the client may look elsewhere in future. Being able to use the power of a crowd to find that difficult to source employee means that they can retain a happy client and of course earn themselves a fee!
There is also the benefit of a significant saving in time and effort. Searching, contacting and doing first pass shortlisting for candidates takes long enough as it is but if the person was hard to find in the first place it makes it all the harder.
Placing a job with a crowd of like minded professional recruiters means that options will be quicker to arrive and that they will be pre-screened in advance. This has the effect that the prime recruiter won’t have to sift through a list to find suitable candidates as any that are passed on will already have met their requirements.
In its 2016 UK staffing survey, LinkedIn reported on the growing importance of social media and the benefits to recruitment agencies of growing strong professional networks. Using quality split-fee crowdsourcing websites is an excellent way of achieving this. LinkedIn also notes the importance of sourcing passive candidates for challenging roles and again, crowdsourcing can only help in this respect.
So far we’ve focused on the advantages for the recruitment professional but there are naturally many advantages for the client.
Whilst most people will think of Trip Advisor or Rated People as sources of consumer review information there are also a number of businesses that provide this service for recruitment companies. A recruitment company comparison site has all the advantages of a review system that you would expect with employers able to understand the level of professionalism and quality of the recruitment agency they are considering working with.
The key benefit to the client of the new recruitment marketplace has to be the availability of scarce resources. Being able to find just the right person to fit very detailed job requirements can be very difficult indeed, especially in times of low unemployment. Utilising the power of crowds not only allows the client to cast a wide net in terms of geography but also allows them to go deep into a potential candidate pool to find someone who matches exactly rather than adopting the ‘garbage can’ approach of simply taking the first candidate that almost matches.
The other advantage is that of speed. As we’ve already said quality candidates can be hard to find but having an exceptionally large network means that they are likely to be found much quicker. The pre-screening process also means that the client will tend to be presented only with the best of the best rather than some near misses.
Leveraging the power of the crowd means that clients and recruiters can source the best quality workers quickly and easily. Crowdsourcing, allied with comparison and review systems allow the employer to know that they are dealing with a professional recruitment company and that they will get proven service.
If your company hasn’t looked to the crowd for its recruitment needs then perhaps it’s something you may want to consider.
If you have, please share your experience with us below.
Tom Rowbottom is founder of innovative new temporary recruitment marketplace, TempAuction.
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