Much has changed in how companies find talent and how people find jobs. With the seismic shift in employment sourcing that is the Internet, why would a company seek out the services of a recruiter or talent acquisition strategist? Why would a job seeker trust one person or firm to guide a career?
It may seem that I’ve been a bit abstract on the TalentCulture blog lately, talking about intent, emotional intelligence, and one of my very favorite topics = personality/culture fit. But the root of my thinking comes from a core competency: recruitment and talent acquisition strategy. I’ve spent most of my career in this space and still find making candidate placements endlessly interesting and rewarding. Recruiters of all shapes and sizes are the front-line scouts and nurturers of the talent (people) companies need to succeed. Odds are companies in need of key talent, and talent in need of employment, won’t get that level of skill, commitment, and personal service from a website that aggregates thousands of resumes and runs keyword searches – certainly useful but a bit antiseptic, necessary but not always sufficient, a starting point, typically not a destination.
I have been asked this question often lately. How has the recruiter role changed in these digital times? My answer is this: Talent acquisition and recruiting still matter. It’s an art form. It’s a skill. It’s a calling. It’s about making a match, the right match and saving my clients valuable time. Most importantly it’s about forging meaningful and productive relationships that can be sustained through multiple career searches in a world where skills need to change more often than hemlines. It’s about trust and partnership. It’s about culture fit in all directions.
The term recruiter can turn some people off. They automatically think ‘headhunter’, which conjures up images of a predator trying to lure them away from what might be a perfectly comfortable job. I adopted the term ‘talent acquisition’ to explain what I do. Talent acquisition professionals have a dual responsibility: they must understand the unique business and cultural needs of the company that engages them to find good candidates, and they must understand the personality, skills, and goals of the candidates with whom they work. It sounds like a situation ripe for conflict of interest, but it’s not: an ethical, responsible talent acquisition professional can manage two sets of interests and needs in parallel, with the goal – and great responsibility – of ensuring the best outcome for all parties.
For the job seeker, the talent acquisition professional – the recruiter – is a career partner, a person who forges a relationship with you as you negotiate the changes and evolutions of your career. Part therapist, part social scientist and part business negotiator, this person provides advise, helps you understand what you need in terms of workplace culture fit, guides you in interactions with prospective employers, and even helps negotiate. In my practice, the goal is not to see a candidate land one job with my client: it is to help you build a satisfying and rewarding career. There’s enormous, long-term value in such a relationship.
A company/hiring manager partnering with a talent acquisition firm works with a professional(s) who is passionate about making the right connections, evaluating the corporation’s culture and job requirements and making a match with a pool of candidates who are qualified and have the right personality attributes and character. It’s a commitment – a responsibility – we do take it seriously.
In this digital age, where job boards and social media offer some of the tools to match jobs and candidates there is still no replacement for the skill, insight and viable connections offered by a savvy and creative talent acquisition partner.