It has become easy to search for jobs online. You can upload a CV to hundreds of sites that will attempt to ‘match’ you with roles that are appropriate to your experience, and there’s countless recruitment sites out there that allow you to set up e-mail notifications to inform you of new opportunities as soon as they arise. Great, right?
So, does this mean that professional recruitment has a limited future?
By no means. At the heart of any professional recruitment process there are a series of core principles: finding the right person for the right job at the right time and within the right economic criteria. Delivering against any one of these principles is, in reality, a challenge of some magnitude.
The right person
Recruitment professionals spend years honing their talent pooling and candidate matching skills. No online employment ‘dating’ algorithm could ever hope to factor in the myriad facets of cultivating a relationship; understanding candidate’s core values and needs; their suitability to different organisations and roles; and the mentoring and coaching necessary to ensure that they present themselves in the best possible light.
Nothing can ever replace the face-to-face meeting between recruiter and candidate. With such a high percentage of communication being non-verbal, this will elicit far more than a two dimensional telephone call or an email or social media dialogue. Similarly, online resources do not offer screening or checking; verifying credentials and references quite commonly identifies candidates who may have been economic with the truth. Most importantly, the entire due diligence process will allow the recruiter to accurately filter; a process otherwise falling to the client to handle – at considerable cost.
The right job
Cultivating and maintaining relationships with employers and influencers requires enormous effort and diligence. Trust is built through performance, with professional recruiters consistently demonstrating an in-depth understanding of the skills and personality types inherent in and required by employers. The industry continues to evolve with widespread acknowledgement of the importance of soft-matching. The industry employs a range of techniques such as psychometric testing to ensure the best possible fit.
In the ideal world, an employer would interview only one candidate for a given role, so good is the fit. It does happen – but rarely with candidates sourced through online routes.
The right time
Some recruiters appear to have an almost uncanny ability to pre-empt employer requirements or changes in market conditions. A happy coincidence? Rarely. Industry professionals devote a great deal of time to researching both the talent pool and the demand for specific skills or in specific sectors. As a result, when a need arises, the professional will almost invariably have appropriate contacts within the talent pool, either passive or actively seeking a new role. Online resources, in contrast, will tend to have diffuse pools of active searchers.
The right economic criteria
The vast majority of employers are time poor. They have teams and businesses to run. Strong candidates are usually in the same position. Time is quite literally money for both parties. Any failure in the pre-screening, verification and matching processes is expensive for all concerned. And professional recruiters’ fees pale into insignificance in the face of a poorly conceived hire.
Of course the internet is an excellent medium for building the talent pool; for advertising positions; and for initiating contact. Professional firms have a strong web presence which adds value, attracting and retaining high calibre candidates and clients alike through the provision of information on trends, salaries and industry-specifics, together with a range of tips, techniques and advisory material. But can the internet alone economically deliver against any of these core principles? By no means.