Fool Us: Which Recruiting “Trends” Are Total Bulls*it?

I read a ton of blogs, participate in a lot of Twitter chats (or as I call them, “pithy parties”) and listen in on a lot of presentations about top recruiting trends in talent acquisition and HR technology.

But what’s trendy among the industry “influencers” who need your company’s cash to keep the lights on don’t necessarily jibe with the stuff that really matters to candidates and employers.

That’s why I’m breaking down which recruiting trends are actually worth the hype, and which industry buzzwords are really BS during my featured presentation at SmartRecruiters Hiring Success 17.

This conference is billing itself as “The Ultimate Recruiting Event of The Year,” so it’s going to be the perfect venue to go after the hype (and hyperbole) so endemic to our industry.

After all, there are 2+ days of networking involved, so you know it’s gonna be straight up lit.

Hiring Success 17: Why What Works Matters More Than What’s New.

I know conference preview posts are generally pretty pithy, but the thing is, I really hope you can join me in San Francisco on April 10-12 if for nothing else than to watch the awkwardness ensue after I undermine most of the other sessions on the agenda by following their “thought leadership” with a little critical thinking.

Spoiler alert: you’re probably not going to learn a ton in my session you don’t already know.

That’s because I’m going to take a common-sense approach to solving your hiring problems, instead of making recruiting way more complex than necessary.

That’s what the 30+ other sessions are going to be for. I’m kidding.

But I’m confident that the myriad case studies, pundits and practitioners on the Hiring Success agenda will live up to its name, which is why I’m so excited to be a part of what should be a pretty killer event.

I’m going to break through the noise and go beyond the buzzwords and maybe, just maybe, figure out how to fix what’s broken in your recruiting process without making stuff up so we can push product or sell services.

To Tell A Lie: Don’t Believe The Hype About These 5 Recruiting “Trends.”

Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect from my feature session, “Beyond the Buzzwords: Which Recruiting Trends Are Worth The Hype and Which Are Total BS?”

Don’t worry. I’m saving the good stuff for SF. See you there?

1. Talent Communities.

While most companies are out there trying to create some sort of artificial online destination, slapping some branding on there and forcing engagement with people who’d rather be looking at LOL Cats, that’s not really the talent community that matters.

Instead, the real talent communities out there are already working – and interacting – within their organization. Occasionally recruiters run into them in all hands meetings or when venturing out of the HR Ivory tower and into the actual line.

These talent communities used to be called “departments,” “teams” or even the “employee population” at any given organization; thing is, the talent communities which mean the most have existed, formally and informally, since the first org charts were created and the first water coolers installed.

With retention, employee tenure and internal mobility rates all on the decline, the existing talent communities within an organization should be the ones recruiters focus their engagement efforts on exclusively.

After all, the accepted definition for a “talent community” is basically an affinity group built around a shared professional interest in a company, business unit, or job function – and existing employees handily meet this definition.

So instead of wasting time building a group on Facebook or creating some sort of automated e-mail list that’s going to sit in a Spam folder next to the desperate pleas of some prince from Nigeria, maybe focus on the real life talent community of employees whose referrals and institutional knowledge will actually generate hires and push the business forward.

Given the fact that internal transfers and promotions are still the top source of hire for open positions, you’ve got a better chance of meeting your next hire here than on any online network, statistically speaking.

Giving a good employee a good opportunity for professional development and advancement is guaranteed to create a fan in the first place – not to mention, more than likely, that always elusive “brand ambassador.” You just likely don’t need to intervene to get them to tell their networks about the opportunities at your company or its culture.

That’ll happen when they update their social profiles to show that you’re doing more than paying lip service to career advancement and development opportunities through slick corporate copy. Anyone can do that – and everyone does.

So make your community actually stand out by focusing on the one your company has already built: your workforce

2. Social Recruiting.

All recruiting is social – even the most vigilant gatekeepers eventually have to talk to a candidate at some point during the hiring process. But social networks aren’t actually a recruiting strategy – they’re a platform which should augment, not replace, old school, albeit decidedly unsexy, efforts like posting jobs, cold calling and networking with your actual network, online or otherwise.

When 92% of companies are recruiting with social networks, this is actually more ubiquitous than job boards ever were, so don’t be duped into the illusion that you’re doing anything more unique or innovative than posting and praying. You’re just doing it via a slightly different online medium. Nor is social recruiting direct sourcing.

Quite the contrary –candidates are becoming increasingly savvy at working their online profiles and professional networks to their advantage. Unlike most recruiting techniques, however, they actually have an upper hand here, since the average 13 year old is more well versed on social media than your typical corporate recruiter.

This changed dynamic can mean that unlike other mediums for messaging, social media actually puts the recruiter or employer at a competitive disadvantage during the pre-hire process.

Even if you identify a candidate, you still have to get them into your system and put them through process – and a profile isn’t a resume. Resumes sometimes hyperbolize, but are almost always pretty accurate – there’s no expectation, or actual practice, of veracity in one’s online identity, and that just adds to the onus of prescreening.

If you find and engage a candidate on a social network, they’re almost unilaterally looking for a job – it’s just now you can see a picture and personal information of the people who you wouldn’t hire in the first place. If you want to search for warm leads, maybe try checking your ATS for once.

At least you’ve got a resume to work back from.

3. Passive Candidates.

 

This oxymoron is, well, moronic. Think about it: if someone is in any way a candidate, or if they can be converted through mobile, employer branding, social or any of the other “passive candidate” recruiting tools presently en vogue, then they’re not passive.

All of those studies and best practices posts about “passive candidate job seeking behavior” are founded on a fallacy; passive candidates don’t look for jobs, and if they are, they’re actually active, whether or not they’re actually employed.

There’s another myth: that the best candidates are already working, and that there must be something inherently wrong with talent if they’re not already employed.

Employment status shouldn’t be a pre qualification, since it’s a transient and temporal condition; experience and soft skills, however, are not necessarily subject to the whims of at will employment and corporate belt tightening.

In fact, if you’re able to convert even the most resistant of qualified workers into candidates, that should send a red flag that even if they’re hired, engaged and satisfied with their work, this employee, A-Player or otherwise, will always present a flight risk (as they just proved to you).

But give a qualified “active” job seeker an actual opportunity, and they’re more than likely to reciprocate that loyalty for the foreseeable future – not to mention the added advantage that these candidates actually are lower cost and quicker to hire than their fully employed counterparts.

But bottom line: if you’re a candidate for a job, then you’re not passive, and if you’re not considering a career opportunity, then you’re not actually a candidate. No matter consultants and contingency recruiters alike want you to think otherwise.

Of course, all of these topics are SEO and traffic generating gold, and since I’m in that particular business, I, for one, will probably continue to add to the conversation rather than actually solve any of the problems these solutions purport to create.

Call me a hypocrite, and you’d be right – after all, I am in content marketing.  But if you’re a real recruiter, please let me know what you think by leaving a comment in the box below.

Although I get real recruiters, most likely, just don’t have the time to read this crap in the first place – nor actually care about any of the “conversation” about any of these issues since they have nothing to do with real recruiting in the first place.

4. Mobile Recruiting.

Mobile is obviously a huge part of recruiting, because, well, recruiting is online marketing, and most online activity now happens from a mobile device. Google penalizes sites that aren’t mobile optimized, meaning a majority of Fortune 500 career sites, which makes it hard for candidates to find your company and opportunities.

Furthermore, most passive talent (which is to say, people with jobs) is loathe to look for jobs on their work computers and within their corporate firewall, but do a majority of their job search due diligence at work – on their own phones. BYOD policies have only increased this trend.

All that is to say there’s no understating the importance of mobile in talent acquisition, but this might be the only industry who’s still talking about this like it’s some sort of new concept. A lot of companies pay big bucks to agencies and point solution vendors to develop branded apps, but this is, for almost every employer, a huge waste of money.

The average person has 25 apps, and unfortunately, the kinds of targeted talent most companies are looking for probably isn’t going to take the time to download yours – they just want to apply for jobs. Build a responsive website in HTML 5 and you’ve at least entered this decade on the backend – building a device specific experience is also cheap, easy and effective.

But seriously, mobile, like social, needs to be seen as a platform for distributing jobs and disseminating employer brand as part of a holistic recruiting strategy, not as this crazy, futuristic independent entity. The fact that we’re still having to build a business case for mobile in this business is kind of sad, because the rest of the world is too busy staring at their smartphones to really care.

If you want to talk about improving candidate engagement with mobile, which actually can be achieved through SMS campaigns (but again, that’s like 10 years ahead for most employers), here’s a tip: try using that mobile device to actually call a candidate.

Turns out those devices work for that, too – and phone calls are still an effective way to “engage candidates in a careers conversation” and be social. That much is unlikely to change anytime soon when it comes to the hiring process.

5. Employer Branding

 

Employer branding, like mobile, is really important, but, to quote my friend Bill Boorman, almost all of it today is designed with the goal of “employer blanding” – making your company as generic as possible.

All those shots of your employees in action, collaborating in open work environments with the same accouterments as a daycare center aren’t going to convince a candidate that yours is the career destination of their dreams.

Nor are those slick, professionally produced videos which have a lot of close-ups of employees in stage makeup and great lighting talking about their awesome experience – the average candidate doesn’t really care to take the time to watch the career version of “Triumph of the Will.”

They just want to apply for a damn job, or see what kinds of jobs you’re actually hiring for.

That’s why a well written, engaging and easy to understand job description, really, is the most important – and most ignored – employer branding mechanism.

It’s cool to make a company look sexy, but taking a generic but hard to fill job like a Senior Accountant or an Operations Manager and making that position look appealing? That’s the real challenge – and, if you succeed, the cheapest and most effective employer branding vehicle out there.

Or, you know, you could spend a lot of money into building a great looking careers site that completely detracts from the entire point of a careers site: finding and applying for open jobs. That’s way more important than making sure you slap a generic value statement and some employee headshots up there any day of the week.

But since I don’t make any money consulting on any of these topics, I probably don’t know what I’m talking about – and the vendors charging for these services likely have the white papers full of biased research to prove I’m wrong.

I’m pretty sure the rest of the speakers at SmartRecruiters Hiring Success 17 are going to take care of that, too. So I hope to see you in real life for this one of a kind event. For reals.

Alternatively, you can call me out by leaving a comment below – engagement is everything, you know.

Click here to register for Hiring Success 17. Use code MCVIP100 for $100 off registration exclusively for RecruitingDaily readers (you’re welcome).

Editor’s Note: This post was sponsored by SmartRecruiters, and RecruitingDaily received compensation for publishing this post. But you probably figured that out by now. The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of RecruitingDaily or its partners.

One last little bit of disclaimer (thanks, lawyers): this post does not constitute an endorsement of SmartRecruiters on behalf of RecruitingDaily, but we’re pretty sure it’s going to be a kick butt event, and hope to see you in SF.

About the Author: Matt Charney is the Executive Editor and Chief Content Officer at RecruitingDaily. Follow him on Twitter @MattCharney or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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Matt Charney

Matt Charney is the Executive Editor for RecruitingDaily. Follow him on Twitter @MattCharney or connect with him on LinkedIn.



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Matt Charney is the Executive Editor for RecruitingDaily. Follow him on Twitter @MattCharney or connect with him on LinkedIn.

  • Brett B

    Lol this is soooooo good and real – love it @MattCharney. One of my favorite quotes: “The fact that we’re still having to build a business case for mobile in this business is kind of sad, because the rest of the world is too busy staring at their smartphones to really care.” #keepinItReal

  • Funny and quotable.

  • Michael Homula

    A so called “passive prospect” is in a temporary condition (you called it temporal and I agree). A recruiter, skilled in their craft, can compel a “passive” to engage with them and consider a new opportunity. The second that “engagement” occurs the person is “activated”. I have been recruiting, both executive search and leading corporate teams, for more than 20 years and my experience is that once you “activate” someone you better move efficiently because that person is now more self aware of their value – they start looking.

  • JobShakers

    Love this article, so relatable and well written. Also a fan of the ‘gifs’ throughout.

    The mobile recruiting section really stood out to me as ‘most online activity now happens from a mobile device.’ That’s where these millennial candidates are… attract them where they constantly spending their time. Makes perfect sense.

    It also points out the similarities of mobile recruiting to social networking as it relates to projecting your employer brand messaging out to the public. To @michaelhomula:disqus ‘s point… the prospect can now be ‘activated’ if the company is engaging their candidates (especially at their passive stage). Again…meeting them where they are. Critical in the recruiting process.

    Also love… talking to improving candidate experiences with mobile… ‘here’s a tip: try using tat mobile device to actually call a candidate.’ Love the obvious reality of the literal USE of the mobile device.

    Looking forward to reading more from Matt Charney.

    Happy Wednesday everyone!

  • While you’re helping them cut through the hype, feel free to borrow from this article: http://www.womensvoicesmagazine.com/2017/04/01/jumping-bandwagon-businesses-distort-happiness-science-new-job-titles/

    Companies arbitrarily calling jobs like front desk receptionist a Happiness Coordinator reveals their ignorance about the science and benefits of employee happiness. Happiness isn’t a fluffy, nice-to-have. Happy employees improve the bottom line in many ways, including being less likely to present a flight risk.


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