The Evolution of Recruiting

 -  2/25/13

New tools and a shift in what candidates value have led to a revolution in recruiting, but it’s still about building relationships in the end.

Tom Donlon fancies himself as an old-school recruiter. The manager of talent acquisition at Seattle-based Slalom Consulting grew up in an era when the primary tools for recruiting were a telephone, a phone book and a strong proclivity to find “the best human beings.”

Slalom, which competes for talent against big names such as McKinsey & Co., hired 137 new consultants last year for its Chicago office, where Donlon is based. Of those, roughly 120 were considered “very passive” candidates — meaning they were not actively looking for a new job.

The method Donlon said he ingrains in his team to poach these passive candidates has a throwback feel. But instead of a phone book and telephone, the team uses LinkedIn to identify the top players in the market. Instead of relying primarily on traditional forms of media and word-of-mouth referrals to build the firm’s employer brand, the recruiting team also taps Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, each of which act as a backchannel to magnify the speed and breadth in building Slalom’s reputation as an employer of choice.

While the fundamental traits of corporate recruiting remain relevant, the broader practice has changed dramatically. The recruiting industry is experiencing a transformation, both in the values and work characteristics that job seekers cherish, and in the tools and technologies used to facilitate how recruiters acquire talent.

The process of matching prospective employees with employers is more sophisticated, according to professionals working in the space. It’s more networked, social and driven by technology. Recruiting involves big data and mobile, and it’s a never-ending proposition. These days it’s also more collaborative — recruiters are required to not just push out postings, they talk to and engage with job seekers and passive prospects.

“The days when you could just post a job and have it all be done with are over,” said Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite, a social recruiting company. “… You’re going to have to work at it — and it’s not going to be easy.”

To many, recruiting has become a form of e-commerce marketing — a constant rush to filter candidate data in an effort to stockpile prospects and combat churn, ensuring that mission-critical roles are always filled. Recruiters who can target data — instead of targeting everyone — will find the best employee fit and garner the most return on investment.

In the end, however, the most valuable piece of recruiting — the ability to build relationships — has remained the same and will continue to do so, Donlon said. It’s the ways and means that will continue to evolve.

Part 1: What Talent Wants

Article Keywords:   talent acquisition   recruitment  


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