As far as recruiting goes, the last decade has been…eventful. From the job market rebound post-Great Recession and rise of the candidate experience, to the current push toward artificial intelligence and automation, recruiting innovation continues to enhance and advance our abilities. But at the end of the day, tools and technology aside, the job remains the same. It’s about getting out there, finding qualified candidates, forging relationships, and if all the variables line up, making the hire. The trouble starts when we lose sight of that and become overly reliant on the solutions that support us. That’s right, support, not supplant – and striking that balance is harder than it seems – and here’s why:
Now, when we say nature, we mean the things that happen organically (or at least seem to). With recruiting in 2019, almost nothing happens by chance. Through top of funnel awareness efforts like recruitment marketing, even a candidate that appears to have stumbled off the proverbial street may have been seen your brand at some point or another. They might not even know or remember that they saw you somewhere first, before finding a job post that fits their needs and experience.
And while there’s no definitive count on the number of ads we see in a day, most estimates put the number somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000. There’s simply no way for a candidate to remember everything we’re exposed to online in a given day. The thing is – that’s the new normal, a stand-in for an otherwise naturally occurring environment. Candidates can’t escape the Internet and neither can recruiters and so we’ve adapted. But no one – not even the gainfully employed – are immune to the onslaught of recruiting-related materials we encounter daily. And like the moons impacting the tides, this new reality influences candidates, active and passive alike.
Unnatural as it may seem, we’re talking about a universally recognized approach, employed by many organizations. This is where we need automation the most, where technology serves to expand our reach and peddle our openings to a broader audience. Because without the right tools in place, recruiters default to straight sourcing mode and spend the bulk of the time searching, with little time for anything else.
That said, there are tools for nurturing candidates, and yes, they can and do help in certain instances. But let’s talk about the other type of nurture, the kind that happens with two humans interact with one another. Getting the chance to speak to candidates and learn about their background and experience is arguably one of the more enjoyable parts of recruiting. It’s the real-life interactions that brighten up our weeks and keep us going.
Recruiters have the pleasure of helping people at every stage in their career, whether that means just starting out or working their way up. Sure, candidates show up late, forget to say thank you and sometimes disappear without a trace. But for every one of those job seekers, there are the grateful ones, the people eternally thankful for helping them, the ones who stay in touch as the years pass. That’s the part of the lifecycle that sparks joy.
Of course, getting there requires some heavy lifting, typically in the form of personalization, transparency and (over)communication. Much like the micro-experiences described above, candidates feel good when we’re able to reach out and share an update personally, be it a phone call, email or text. We sometimes joke about the existence of the black hole, but to candidates, it’s tangible. Nurture provides the comfort of knowing there’s another person on the other end, rather than a vacuous bot or database. It’s about pulling candidates close and keep them engaged by check-in regularly and making an effort to know them.
Yin and Yang
There’s no doubt that technology plays into the recruiting process – it represents the state of the industry and the future of work. The trick is using tech in a way that helps everyone involved: candidates, recruiters and hiring managers while maintaining ample time for nurture in the purest sense.
No one goes into recruiting for the glamour – there’s no big fortune, no chance of fame. We recruit because we understand how people operate and like helping them find their way. Without that, the work becomes tedious, with hours spent scrolling and scrolling in hopes of finding a golden goose. Leave the information collection to the ATS and use your skills to build bigger networks and stronger relationships. But don’t worry – there’s still plenty to do. We didn’t even get into conversion – and where would we be without actually hiring.