The New Recruiting Paradigm
Doug Douglas – National Engagement Manager at Stark Talent
Presented on SHRM.org – 2/27/13
In my day to day responsibilities, I work with HR executives and leaders who are either having issues with attracting the right talent for their open positions and we take on recruiting responsibilities on their behalf, or I help them look at their current processes, strategies, and technologies and make recommendations on areas where improvement can be made that will give the organization the best chances possible of attracting great candidates. And one of the things that I have been focused on heavily for more than a year now is the next generational workforce (Gen Y / Millennials). This generation is very unique and the old tried and true methods of recruiting that most of us have been using for the past decade or two just simply will not appeal to them. So, I’ve spent a lot of time researching them and looking at the best methods of attracting, managing, and retaining Gen Y. We’ll be discussing that some later in this broadcast.
The problem with leading a session on new trends is that by the time it is recognized as a trend, it means it has pretty much already become a norm. If it’s already become a norm, and you are just now hearing about it, then it means you are already behind everyone else and new trends are already being established. It’s a vicious cycle but lends validity to the old adage that the only thing constant is change.
The other challenge that I face as a presenter is that I have a diverse audience today. Some are senior executives at major world-wide global brands that everyone recognizes, and others may be a newly hired Recruiter for a company with 25 people and a small budget who still thinks newspaper ads are cutting edge. I have decision makers on this call, and I have junior level staff on this call. It is difficult for me to organize a presentation where everything that I present is targeted directly to your unique individual needs and circumstances.
So today, I will just tell you what I see happening in the recruiting world. I’ll help you understand why some of the traditional aspects of recruiting don’t work as effectively any longer. I’ll tell you about new approaches where organizations are having success. And I’ll even try to give you a glimpse of the future of recruiting.
Current State of Recruiting
As I consider where recruiting is today, I have a mixed reaction to it. On one hand, it is exciting because we literally have 24/7 capabilities of getting the word our regarding our organizations and specific needs within those organizations. Technology is a powerful tool for recruiters to tap into to get the most of their efforts. When we consider the interactive nature of what technology can bring to us, it’s mind boggling the possibilities.
On the other hand though, I believe we might be leaning too much on the technologies that are available and neglecting the human element of what we do. A candidate can now apply for a position and go through a recruitment process, be eliminated from a search, and no human eyes ever once saw that candidate. That might be a great accomplishment for some on this call, but I wonder…if it was you who applied for a position that you felt like you were greatly qualified for, and you jumped through all of the recruiting hoops they asked you to, and then you were eliminated from consideration by a computer without a single person taking a few moments to take a look – would you still consider that a great accomplishment?
It is my belief that technologies can make our jobs easier as recruiters:
- It allows us to publish jobs at various locations with just the click of a button.
- It allows us to set up pre-screen questions to filter the best from the rest.
- It allows us a database to store all of our client, hiring manager, job, and candidate information where it is searchable and reportable.
- It allows us to share calendars online so candidates can look at available times and schedule a time to speak to recruiters without having to pick up a phone and leave messages back and forth until we finally catch each other.
- It allows us to have video interviews and not have the extra expense of traveling all over the country to meet with people who may or may not be the right fit.
There are definite benefits of using technologies and making the process more efficient and convenient for all involved.
But what technology doesn’t always do is consider the human element and common courtesies. And it’s not always the technology’s fault – it’s the people who create the processes behind them. For example:
- CareerBuilder recently did a survey of 3,991 people and 75% said they never heard from the company that they applied with. Nothing. Not an email. Not a phone call. Not a text message. Nothing. Total silence.
Think of it this way…
Consider that you are working a Career Fair. You have your booth set up. You have job descriptions for all of your open jobs printed and laying on the table in your booth. You place a basket in front of each job description so if a job seeker comes by and is interested in that job, they can set their resume in the basket for the opening. One by one job seekers come by and drop their resume in the appropriate basket, and they try to engage with you by speaking with you and offering their hand to shake hands with you – but you just ignore them, sitting their checking your email on your smartphone, and never even make eye contact with them.
What do you think their opinion is of you as they walk away? And even more importantly, what do you think their opinion of your brand, your company, is when they walk away? That same survey that CareerBuilder did indicated that 22% of those people would tell others not to work for that company based on how their application was treated. 32% said they were less inclined to buy the products or services of that company. (http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=2%2f20%2f2013&siteid=cbpr&sc_cmp1=cb_pr740_&id=pr740&ed=12%2f31%2f2013)
Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Although I don’t believe he was referring to our current state of recruiting, I think he captured my thinking towards it as it stands today.
Creativity to make recruitment more fun or interesting is a big portion of what I see occurring often. Having a talent portal with a list of jobs posted is still the dominant way that people let their needs be known, but more and more are finding creative ways to engage pools of potential candidates through interactive and less formal looking means.
- This site allows companies to set up a free Virtual Career Fair booth.
- Companies present a challenge to a business need they have and students or others come up with solutions for the need.
- Winners can get internships, cash awards, or even full-time employment.
- This is being used by Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, Kayak, John Deere, Box, Intuit
Just recently launched, Throng is a mobile app for both iPhone and Android. Users put in their job search criteria in a very simple and casual looking format. Alerts are then given to the user to let them see openings that match their search criteria. There is a YouTube video that demonstrates how this app works.
This is a reputation ranking site. It rates its users based on both hard skills and soft skills and awards the top performers. There’s a video on the homepage that explains in more detail. This is specifically designed to focus on IT talent.
These creative approaches are finding solid results. Obviously, you have to research and see what are the possibilities for you and your organization based on time, people, resources, etc.
The US Army was one of the first to take this approach. They launched a game called America’s Army and this has generated great results in their recruiting efforts. L’Oreal launched Brandstorm in an effort to recruit marketing professionals. IBM launched CityOne, an interactive game that targets business professionals, city planners, and government agencies.
Those are full fledge games, but maybe there are things that you can do to your current technologies that will add some flare as well.
Do you have a Linked In profile or a Facebook profile? On it, it tells you how complete your profile is and tells you what you need to do to get it closer to 100%. My OCD kicks in and I cannot have less than 100% completeness – that is completely unacceptable, so I go back and back and back until I get that to 100%. Maybe this is a possibility for your candidate profiles when they register for your Talent Community.
This doesn’t appeal to me much personally – but apparently it does to lots of other people or we wouldn’t see this everywhere, but have gold stars or badges that candidates are rewarded with each time they come to your site and complete a poll, or “Like” your Facebook corporate page, or downloaded a whitepaper.
Day In the Life Videos. Many organizations have produced videos showing what it would be like to have the job that the candidate is interested in. Starbucks, Sherwin-Williams, and Key Bank have used these and they feel that it produced great results.
Before you write this off and consider it to be childish, research shows that around 35% of C-suite executives play video games, and 97% of Generation Y plays them. If they are going to play games anyway, why not find a way to penetrate that and use it to your advantage?
According to Simply Hired’s recent research, 70% say they search for jobs on their smartphones (86% say would they like to use their smartphone). The problem is that only 7% of employers have a mobile version of their career website, and only 3% have a mobile job app. Add to that, only 9% of websites are optimized for mobile use. Ummm…..we have a problem.
Here are the suggestions that Simply Hired made for employers after their research…
- Develop mobile optimized sites – specifically the Careers and About sections of your site
- Enable tracking data to determine which devices candidates are using and well as their location
- Create an app for videos, actions, or touch capabilities / for static info, just create a mobile site
- Add contact pages to get in touch with recruitment and HR teams (unless you are set up to be like the Career Fair people that I spoke of at the beginning of this session). If your process doesn’t focus on the candidate experience and providing feedback and information to candidates, either change your process where you do offer it – OR – then don’t offer it up on your site and disregard this bullet point.
- Pay attention to cross-platform development. Recruiters should be able to reach candidates no matter what mobile device they may be using. This means it is necessary to do code apps and mobile sites in a cross-platform markup language (like HTML5).
- Allow job seekers to easily share the pages of your Careers section with friends via social networks/email.
- Maintain a strong presence on key social media sites that mobile users typically use…Linked In, Twitter, Facebook. Google+, and blogging sites like Tumblr or WordPress.
- Offer capabilities for job seekers to register with one click to indicate their interest in a position, or text message job alerts.
- Allow candidates to upload and edit resumes and cover letters via mobile device or tablets, or to register using their Linked In or Facebook profile.
- Provide job seekers with the capability of tracking their application status over their smartphone.
Link to Simply Hired full report – http://success.simplyhired.com/rs/simplyhired/images/SimplyHired-MobileRecruitingOutlook.pdf
Some companies have decided to emphasize rehiring previous employees as a way to address their recruitment needs. This would focus on employees who left on their own, not those who were released from the company. Yes, I know all of the arguments on why this might be a bad idea…
- The impact it might have on current employees when a previous employee is brought back at potentially a higher salary or job position.
- There were reasons the employee left in the first place, and those may return.
- Pride. It might look as though they can’t find any other options than to bring people back.
- The returning employee may have been gone for a while and the climate and culture of the company may have changed, and that might not work for them now.
But, there are some advantages to rehiring as well…
- They could already know the company, the culture, procedures, and day-to-day operations. This makes it an easier transition than someone who is brand new to the organization. Even if you have new software or processes, these can typically be learned easily.
- People who have left, stayed within your same industry, and now return to you might bring with them additional knowledge, processes, and strategies to improve your organization.
- Someone who left and returns could provide the added benefit of telling other current employees that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
- When you gain the reputation of being willing to bring back previous employees, it can actually encourage other top performers who may have left to check into the possibility as well.
Shifting the Strategy of the Future
Well, we have covered the current state of recruiting, and we have looked at some of the current trends in recruiting, but what will recruiting look like 3-4-5 years from now? In my opinion, it is going to look dramatically different than what it does today for a couple of reasons:
1) Technology will continue advancing and offer new strategic opportunities to reach more people (in previously untapped ways), faster, and move them through the pipeline for immediate hiring needs.
2) The ongoing generational changes in the workforce will demand it.
To the first reason, there is no doubt that new recruitment technologies will come along that will make things easier for us to do our jobs, reach more people, will have some cool interfaces to it, and we will all jump on board. But people will also just create other technologies – not necessarily for recruiting – but we recruiters will somehow find a way to make it a recruiting tool. These technologies will have to focus on 3 things for the recruiting world to successfully use them:
1) It must incorporate human elements and engagement in them.
2) It must be efficient and focused on speed.
3) It has to be easily accessible and convenient for people to use. Something that people are using anyway and don’t have to go out of their way to specifically be recruited.
The second of my reasons is, by far, the driver behind this shift in recruitment practices and strategies. We are in the middle of a massive generational shift in our workforce. The Baby Boomers are exiting (10,000 per day) and Generation Y (Millennials) are replacing them. You may be saying, “So what?” Well, the “what” is that Gen Y is wired (literally) differently than every generation before it. They are the first generation to have the internet accessible to them every day of their lives. Additionally, society has raised this generation of kids far differently than generations before it. One example would be that when they were kids, everyone got a trophy or a ribbon – there was no winner or loser, everyone must be treated equally, so we didn’t even keep score.
- This generation approaches problem solving in a very different way.
- They have a deeper social consciousness.
- Their priorities are different.
- They are more relational and have a need for feedback and encouragement and it better be often.
- They are geographically mobile and will move for a great opportunity.
- On average, they will only stay at a job for 2 years and then do something else.
When we look at the way that we are recruiting today, they simply will not accept it. Asking them to read a vague job description that may not even accurately portray what the job is, then apply through a career portal that takes 45 minutes to an hour to complete, asking them a bunch of pre-screening questions where each one is loaded with knock out capabilities, and then fall into the black hole of Talent Acquisition where they never speak with a human or have any interaction whatsoever….no, that’s just not appealing to them.
The companies who have moved beyond this old school way of doing things are having the best success in capturing the best and brightest of this new generation. Only 10% of the population would be classified as actively seeking a new job opportunity. The best talent, likely, isn’t even looking. Posting jobs on Monster or CareerBuilder, or throwing an ad on Craigslist and then sorting through the ones who apply – that’s no way to get the best talent. Then when you do get someone interested and have them apply through your career page, and then never respond to them – that’s no way to get the best talent. Waiting for them to come to you, that’s not a strategy, it’s a death sentence for your company.
Some of the people who are seen as long time recruiting experts, and the best recruiters on the planet – in this new paradigm, they will disappear because they either refuse to acknowledge the changing time and cultures, or they won’t be able to adapt to them. Google your recruitment leader’s name today, alongside your company name. What do you see? The vast majority of Fortune 500 recruitment leaders have no identity on search engines. They don’t promote their company brand. They don’t speak at events. They/you will be fired for not being a proactive champion of their company as a great place to work.
People are naturally social. They love to talk. Engage. Gossip. They are hungry for information. When forming a relationship, they want honesty, authenticity, integrity, transparency and communication. Two-way communication. When looking at employment branding, people want relationships with people, not faceless, bureaucratic companies.
The emphasis will be placed on relational recruiting. Targeting people early – before they even start their careers – and getting to know them through internships and casual networking or friendships. They also get to know about your company and envision what it would be like to work there full time after school.
It will be having brand ambassadors from your organization in the public arena speaking and being a thought leader so job seekers and potential job seekers can have a name, and a face, and a feel for their organization. It will be following up with those who show interest in you and your company – maybe for extended periods of time , through emails and text messages and even a phone call from time to time. It will be the use of social media and engaging others for a journey with you. It will be about relationships.
The following was taken from an article in ERE written by Matthew Jeffrey and Amy McKee. They hit on the importance of relationships through the recruitment process…
Social media and networks are on fire. Whatever you look at — Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter — the growth stats and usage is phenomenal. People talking, 24/7.
Why have so many recruiting leaders and Fortune 500 companies failed to grasp the importance of social media and engaging and building talent communities?
Yes, many companies can beat their chest and proclaim they have a presence on Facebook or Twitter but they are using them in a style reminiscent of Recruitment 1.0 “post, pray, and spray.”
Leap onto some corporate Twitter feeds today. You will see that many are de-facto job boards. A long list of jobs with a hyperlink back to their jobs site. Try replying and communicating with that company and you will more often than not never receive a reply. Indeed some corporate Twitter feeds post more jobs in the course of a week than they have followers.
Let’s cut to the key point. Social media is not about immediate bums on seats. It will not lead to immediate mass new hires or pipeline. It is a vehicle to take people on a journey. A journey that people will board at different junctures. But when reaching the destination, the goal is that they are either someone who wants to work for your company or that they are a Brand Ambassador. Brand Ambassadors are people who may not want to work for you, but they engage in your community, participate in discussions, sing your praises to friends and act as a champion of your brand.
Why do people join at different points on the destination? Some people know your brand and have a feel for your company and hence can reach the end of the journey quickly. Others may not have even heard of your company and hence a long journey of discovery and education awaits. The key is how you attract their attention and how you engage with them.
Recruitment 3.0 is about building engaged communities, telling a story, listening, discussing and fostering an emotional attachment with new talent.
Recruiter 1.0 and 2.0 will be a dying breed in the coming months and years, replaced and thrown on the scrap heap by Recruiter 3.0 who can combine a range of skills including:
PR & messaging
Candidate Relationship Management
Presentation and Communication Skills
Are your recruiters ready? Is your recruitment leadership ready?
All will unravel over the coming months and years and we will see which companies can be transparent and build engaged communities. Will yours?
I have been saying these things for a couple of years now and it’s good to see others starting to beat the drum as well.
I feel like I need to say this….every year or so, someone comes along and they say that something big is going to happen and something is no longer going to work and blah, blah, blah. I ignore them almost 100% of the time. Yet, I find myself in the position now of being the person who says that the current recruitment strategies and processes are about to die and all those who cling to them will suffer career deaths as well. So, I get it if you roll your eyes or let out a sigh or at least are a bit skeptical. But what makes this real for me is that I was a youth minister for almost 20 years before I entered recruiting. And guess who the kids were that I ministered to? Gen Y. I know them. I understand how they think and operate and process. I can relate to their emotions. I get them at a very deep level. I’ve had conversations with them regarding these things that we have discussed today. I tell you…with 100% sincerity…I believe in this new paradigm shift. It will not be minor. It will be a major transformation.
The new recruiting paradigm will be a balance of high tech with high touch. It will be relational. It will be about pipeline building and less about just in time searching. The people who will succeed as recruiters will have a different make-up than the ones you may have working for you now. Compensation packages will have to be adjusted to reward those recruiters who successfully make this change as it won’t be so transactional.
I have other presentations where I dive deep into Gen Y, new recruiting models, etc. I’m happy to share those with you. If you’ll connect with me after this session, I can direct you to those resources. I am also available to speak with you and your leadership about the future of recruiting and help design a model that fits your organization.