A Vision for Open-source Recruiting

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Jun 23, 2015

It’s time to retire the “War for Talent.” This tired idiom has been a fundamental tenant of recruiting for years. Google the term. It’s everywhere. It was born in the hallowed jargon halls of management consultants in the 1990s, and it has been click bait ever since.

If you buy into this belief, you likely believe in walling off your recruiting practices as
“tradecraft” and “competitive advantage”. You balk at the notion of sharing any of your secrets, and giving up the hard fought arsenal you’ve developed to win this war. This post is not for you.

Putting The “War For Talent” to Bed

The field of recruiting has advanced significantly over the past several years. We’ve gotten smarter. We’ve expanded our marketing skills and competencies to help our organizations tell stories and build our employer brand. We’ve seen an influx of new technology that impacts almost all stages of the recruiting lifecycle. There’s never been more choices — and those advancements have created a widening gap between leaders and laggards.

We’re all at different stages of the adoption curve in recruiting, whether we’re talking practices, approaches, or technology. What if those on the leading edge opened up their playbook? What if they shared some of the resources and practices that make them great? What kind of impact would that have on our field?

Open Source Comes to Recruiting

When open source came to software engineering it profoundly impacted innovation and the advancement of the field, leading to the development of software that’s now the backbone of the modern web, including Linux, Firefox, WordPress, Apache. Leading tech companies like Google, Square, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are leading the way in their contributions to the open-source community. Could that work in recruiting?

Companies like Hootsuite (which I’m currently working with to support this initiative) are experimenting with open-source recruiting.

Check the #HootHROS hashtag for some examples. Its HR team has embraced social HR, and will be sharing case studies on some of its initiatives covering how it came up with, pitched, executed, and measured campaigns — even what it got wrong.

What if more recruiting teams embraced open source? Sharing their technology stack, dashboards, KPI’s, campaigns, etc. Could we realize some of the benefits of the engineering community? Could we move our field forward faster and raise our collective game in important areas like candidate experience, analytics, and employer brand? I don’t have that answer, but I’d love to find out.

Wait, You Want Me to Help My Competitors?

I’m not naive (idealistic perhaps). I’ve been a recruiter through two tech bubbles and know how competitive the hiring climate it for key talent. It’s not realistic to expect recruiting teams to share all their secrets, but I imagine most teams have some approaches/tactics/etc. they can share and contribute to open-source recruiting.

Competing for top talent and sharing best practices are not mutually exclusive. We can make a difference to our field if we make it easier for our peers to find resources, practices, case studies, and concrete examples they can take to their own organizations.

Could this work? Could you see your recruiting team adopting open-source approaches and sharing some of your work? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

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