Last week’s post, “3 Hot Recruiting Trends We Should Shut Up About, Already” created a ton of comments and conversation about some of the “trends” that real recruiters and real candidates really could care less about. The feedback was pretty uniform: most “best practices” and “recruiting challenges” are just a market play by consultants and thought leaders designed to sell products, services or to peddle influence. The post also received a ton of suggestions of other “hot topics” which recruiting practitioners are tired of hearing or talking about; here are three of those suggestions that, no matter what your take, are more played out than Miley’s career, podcasting or the perpetual quest for a “seat at the table.” So, shut up about these 3 “recruiting trends” which aren’t actually trends at all. Unless, of course, you happen to sell into talent organizations.
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 forseeable future – not to mention the added advantage that these candidates actually are lower cost and quicker to hire then 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.
By Matt Charney
Matt serves as Chief Content Officer and Global Thought Leadership Head for Allegis Global Solutions and is a partner for RecruitingDaily the industry leading online publication for Recruiting and HR Tech. With a unique background that includes HR, blogging and social media, Matt Charney is a key influencer in recruiting and a self-described “kick-butt marketing and communications professional.”
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