Traditional recruitment in danger of extinction

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If recruiters do not choose to adapt, recruiting in its current state has about as much life expectancy as "a buggy-whip maker did in 1915", according to a speaker at the Social Media: A Recruitment Revolution conference in Melbourne last week.

In his keynote opening session, Mark Pesce, futurist and panelist on ABC television's 'The New Inventors', discussed the effect social media is having on the recruiting industry and how recruiters should respond.

"There are still a few years left in which recruiting will be a profitable business, but after that it will simply be overwhelmed by social networking tools which can amplify the powers of the average person so effectively that recruiting simply becomes another task on offer, like sending a message or posting a photo.

"People will begin to ask why they need recruiters. People are already beginning to ask this question, as they see the social network providing the same capabilities - and for free. If recruiters don't acknowledge this and make changes to their practices, the industry will not be able to move forward," Pesce said.

Pesce suggested that recruiters should utilise a range of social media tools to help them stay relevant and productive.
And if recruiters don't build upon and manage their networks through social media?

"As we transition from the Rolodex to the social network, more and more business will go to the well-networked. So really, there is no choice: adapt or die.

"To keep up with social media, recruiters need to shift from a top-down recruiting style to a bilateral one. Allowing conversations to happen between networks like this will provide recruiters with new and valuable candidate insights," Pesce said.

"People don't want to get spammed. They don't want to hear your marketing messages over a communications channel that they consider personal - don't think of the Web as an advertising medium," he added.

To obtain a level of respect, recruiters need to research their targeted online community before participating in conversations. Recruiters should also be aware of how they are communicating and how to tailor this to each community, before commencing a social media recruiting campaign.

"Recruiters should spend some time investigating the conversations communities are having before they participate. That's known as 'lurking', and it's the foundation of successful internet relationships. Having an appreciation and an understanding of a community before you participate within it shows respect, and respect will be reciprocated," Pesce said.

Pesce suggested the following rules for embarking on a social media recruitment strategy.

1. Only go where you're invited. No one likes a salesman who sticks their foot in the door.
2. Participate in a conversation from a place of authenticity. Let people know who you are and why you're there.
3. Spend time building relationships. Social media is a lot like friendship - it takes time and investment and a bit of love to make it work.
4. Be consistent. Invest time every single day or at least with regularity. If you can't do that, it's probably better you do nothing at all.

  • Andrew P on 10/12/2009 12:09:59 PM

    I have been in recruitment for 14 years and have heard many predictions of the imminent demise of recruiters. This comment by Pesce, says more about what he doesn't know about recruitment and his fundamental lack of understanding of the true nature of the recruitment process. Sure technology changes recruitment, but rarely in the manner that the techno-pundits predict. Just making a prediction is a virtual guarantee of a different outcome.

  • Grant Montgomery on 10/12/2009 12:23:48 PM

    I cannot agree with this self appoined "futurist" that is clealry looking at an industry he is not in.

    There will always be a role for the independent recruiter. Social networking as any professional will attest is the single worst way to employ someone.

    Not that recruiters may not us these modern tools more and more. I am already getting a continuous stream of “linked in” applications and no doubt recruiters in the future will have the best recruitment networks as engineers for example all have the best engineering networks.

    It makes good copy but just as internet advertising didn’t destroy the advertising recruiter or the rise of the advertising recruiter didn’t destroy the head hunter I doubt things will change that much.

    That the new tools increasingly available reduce the work time a recruiter spends on obtaining the long list before the interviewing and assessment does mean that they will spend less time overall on the assignment.

    In a perfect world this would mean that fees should go down but then it is not a perfect world and I would like to see the emerging “Y” gen recruiter to anything for less than they can get.

  • Helena on 10/12/2009 1:20:17 PM

    Pesce really doesn't explain exactly what he means. He must be in IT and thinks the world is totally virtual.

  • 30 yrs of experience on 15/01/2013 4:02:10 PM

    A quick search on Mark Pesce and you quickly arrive at his Wordpress site, where you can find his bio. Obviously a very intelligent man, however one that by the sounds of it, has not worked as a recruiter, ever, unless of course he is too embarrassed to admit it.

    Lets just run through a couple of his comments.

    1. Only go where you are invited - now if we followed that advice we would all be broke. How does one attract a "passive" candidate if they were not invited to talk to that person? Also if I didn't go where I was not invited I would not of been able to marry my gorgeous wife.

    2. , Social Media is Free - garbage! The amount of time it takes to build those relationships is enormous. Who is going to do that? The HR department? Isn't that why they use recruiters in the first place, because they are time poor?

    3. Participate in authentic conversations - what does he think we do, lie to all of our candidates and clients.

    Lastly, Marc, do you realise that the recruitment industry has over 3000 participating companies. Lets say on average there are 3 recruiters in each company, that is 9000 recruiters lurking around discussion boards. Sorry, that just sounds wrong.

    Social media is not a game changer. It is a game enhancer but only for those who embrace the technology and the way. The process is the same, just the tools have changed

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