Your Biggest Barrier to Recruiting Effectiveness

It’s time we acknowledged that there’s been a fundamental shift in the recruiting landscape and that the barriers to achieving best-in-class recruitment have moved on. I recently had a conversation with recruitment veteran Marc Hutto of Reveal Global Intelligence. Marc’s been recruiting for decades and espouses a form of “purpose-driven recruiting” that necessitates taking a step back and understanding how the market has changed.

What are these seismic shifts and how do they affect you, whether you are an agency recruiter or part of an in-house corporate recruiting team? Well, in a nutshell, we all now operate in a market where:

  • Identifying quality candidates is no longer the principal challenge
  • Handling volume recruiting will increasingly be automated in smarter ways
  • Winning over candidates has become the biggest barrier to recruiting effectiveness

Let’s look at each of these.

Identifying quality candidates is no longer the principal challenge

Rewind back in time to the era when job boards were at their peak. One of the key challenges a recruiter faced was how to attract enough quality applicants to fill their open vacancies consistently. Figuring out the right places to advertise and figuring out how to write adverts that converted were essential to the success of a recruiter.

With the rise of LinkedIn, GitHub, and other such profile sites, the dynamics have fundamentally changed. Instead of looking to attract candidates to a vacancy posting, recruiters today will more proactively search for and approach their ideal hires. Talk to job board owners today, and they’ll tell you it’s not LinkedIn’s job board that has had an impact on them, but the fact that LinkedIn has given recruiters a means of recruiting that doesn’t require them to advertise their vacancies at all.

If the transformation here needed highlighting any further, Marc Hutto says we need only look at the emergence of automated sourcing tools to confirm our suspicions. The likes of Hiretual will help a recruiter to build the right search strings for their vacancies – and then go away and trawl sites to identify the best matches, providing the recruiter with a shortlist of many of the strongest candidates and their best contact information. Increasingly we can say sourcing candidates is not the biggest barrier to recruiting success.

Handling volume recruiting will increasingly be automated in smarter ways

The automation of volume recruiting has been a stumbling block for corporate recruiters for more than a decade. The desire to drive candidates through online application processes has long been present – and for a variety of reasons. Companies have wanted to make the volume of applicants they receive more manageable and less costly to process. They’ve also wanted to be able to demonstrate – from a compliance point of view – that their hiring processes are without bias and that every application has been assessed via a consistent process. Finally, they’ve wanted to track applicant source as a means of better investing the recruitment marketing dollars at their disposal.

To date, the problem has been that these systems have been cumbersome – and are often not mobile-optimized. Online application processes have acted as one mighty deterrent to the best candidates completing an application, the opposite of the desired effect.

But the combination of Artificial Intelligence and Chatbot technologies is set to transform this too. Look at technologies like Karen if you want to be blown away by what’s just around the corner. Here’s a platform that will screen hundreds of incoming applicants for each open vacancy, automatically ranking them so that recruiters only spend time with the most promising candidates. It’s a platform that will interact with candidates via chat or via SMS, removing the “black hole” syndrome that has plagued the company application process for so long. For the volume recruitment market, this reduces the role of the recruiter down to just that part of the process where they can add the most value – interacting with the most promising candidates.

Winning over candidates has become the biggest barrier to recruiting effectiveness

All of which brings us to one of the fundamental principles of Marc Hutto’s “purpose-driven recruiting” approach. Marc argues, convincingly, that today the recruitment winners will be those individual recruiters (and companies) that succeed in having the most meaningful conversations with candidates. Any recruiter that can have candidates open up about their motivations and aspirations is a long way along the track to hiring that individual. It stands to reason that the more you can spark such conversations with candidates, the more successful you stand to be – whether that’s as an individual recruiter or as a recruiting team.

What strategies might you use to achieve this goal? In truth, there are things a recruitment team can do to enhance results. In the early stages, a recruitment team might make greater use of social media for recruiting to ensure that candidates have a favorable impression of the company and feel a relationship is being formed. You might nurture a favorable online impression of your employer brand, through proactive management of online employee reviews and greater promotion of your success stories and employee case studies. In short, the more a candidate has warmed to your business before they are even approached with or marketed a role, the greater the chances of a favorable outcome.

There’s also a huge upside from the ways you speak with candidates on the phone. Marc’s team work with corporate recruiters to expand their recruiting resource at peak hiring times. But they do so on an hourly or project basis rather than success fee basis. Marc’s found that in conversations with candidates this transforms the way the conversation flows. Instead of feeling like they’re talking to a recruiter who’ll get a big commission if they take the job, candidates feel like they can have an open and frank conversation about their aspirations and the possible fit of the role. By reducing the sales pressure on these calls, Marc finds that more candidates end up being won over and progress through the interview process.

This example illustrates that it’s the effectiveness of your recruiters on the phone and in the interactions they have with candidates that are essential. But after more than a decade of recruitment becoming more digitized and more automated, it’s a skillset that’s also in short supply. In the ultimate irony, it’s having the right people and the best talent on your recruitment team that’s likely to prove the biggest barrier to recruitment success for the remainder of this decade.

Photo Credit: Tony Worrall Flickr via Compfight cc