Why Recruiting is Getting Harder

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Why Recruiting Is Getting Harder | Pinnacle WinnipegEverything about recruiting seems to point to it getting easier.  There are myriad tools to connect to candidates via social networks, your job gets cross-posted by job boards and scraped by aggregators to sites across the web, and ATS systems and other technologies are no longer a complete disaster.  But why does it seem like your job is harder?

First, be sure it’s not simply a recency bias – it’s easier to remember being really busy last week than it is five years ago.  So check out some of your numbers.  Is your time to fill markedly better?  How about your cost per hire?   For most companies, they’ve not seen significant improvements in metrics from their recruiting efforts in the past several years.  Given that unemployment, at the time of this writing, sits at 7% in Canada and 5.4% in Winnipeg, you might expect that your numbers would show improvement due to a strong labor pool and improvement in recruiting tools.

But for most organizations looking to hire, it’s not getting easier, it’s getting harder.  The reasons why may vary by company, but on the macro level there are some consistent trends showing why it’s getting harder:

  1. Increase in Noise – While it’s fabulous that Linkedin provides a mechanism to contact hundreds of millions of professionals, it’s also cluttered the inboxes and phones of desirable candidates.   A recruiter’s profile for a basic Javascript developer received 530 messages from recruiters – about one every 40 hours and mostly from large companies.  So, while finding candidates isn’t as big of a challenge – engaging them in the noise is a tremendously difficult task.
  2. Rise of RPO and Professional Recruiters – HR professionals have always had a disadvantage to agency recruiters in terms matchmaking and the efficiencies of a market.   If a corporate recruiter fills a Quality Manager position every 5 years, while an agency recruiter fills one every month the agency recruiter has a pretty clear advantage in terms of candidate pool and the market efficiency of having the right candidate and the right job at the right time.  On the flipside, corporate HR professionals have maintained advantages of having the active applicant flow that comes from the employer’s brand.  The rise of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a hybrid of the two, with recruiters acting on behalf of the client and able to take advantage of the employer’s brand and pools of candidates across the RPO business.  Both agency recruiters and RPO recruiters benefit from being a part of true recruitment organizations, with training and technology to match.  While many corporate recruiters and HR professionals are very skilled, they have an inherent disadvantage in training and organizational competency in the recruiting function.  As agency recruiting and RPO see strong growth, companies hiring directly is getting tougher and tougher.
  3. System Friction – Although Applicant Tracking Systems are much better than they’ve been, there is still far too much “friction” in the system to attract top talent and too little understanding of that by corporate recruiters.  Far too many companies insist on funneling candidates through the ATS as their first step.  That’s analogous to a door-to-door salesman asking you to fill out a 40-minute survey before hearing the sales pitch.  Clearly that’s not the way to attract top talent, but a very common practice.
  4. Death of Privacy – With the prevalence of online social networks, the information can be synthesized quickly for patterns.  Several available tools will tell companies if a person in their social network might be considering a new opportunity based on their online activity.  Jobseekers are truly struggling with how to conduct a confidential job search in the new era of social media.   And with those complexities, it’s no wonder that many top executives and even mid-level managers are simply going to trusted search firms to manage the process for them.  The candidate can alleviate confidentiality risk while using the connections of the agency to find positions.

It’s a fun time to be an HR professional, but a challenging one, as well.   The rest of the world thinks that your job is becoming easier, when the exact opposite is true.

How do you manage the challenges of the modern recruiting landscape?

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