For the Times They Are A-Changin’

May 10, 2010

The market is changing for recruiters and you better be prepared.

If you are stuck in the days of selling the fact that you can “find” talent then you are spinning your wheels, or you soon will be. Clients are more demanding and HR leaders need to believe that you can provide value so that they prove ROI.

Everyone is using social media to build their networks and connect with more people in more ways and in more places than ever before. With information so easily available, almost anyone with a computer can become a “recruiter” and throw a resume, or 10, out to an HR manager in need.

But how does this create value?

The answer is that is doesn’t. It does not save time. Nor does it provide value in the form of a service that they do not have the ability to do themselves.

All of us are now expected to do more with less. Those business leaders who can find creative ways to partner with experts who can help them manage critical processes to improve their business will be the ones who flourish.

So what does that mean for recruiters and the firms who employ them?  If you can’t assess and screen talent, manage the scheduling, work through the offer stage, and creatively market your clients’ organizations then you had better learn how… and fast.

The truth is that we can no longer be recruiters because finding and presenting resumes is a small part of the process. It is what happens after that and how you can manage that process for others where you have the opportunity to make a difference.

How is value created?

First, we need to understand that this new way of recruiting is not just providing great candidates for the company to interview.

I know… I thought that was the goal, too: find the best people in the most creative ways and your clients will keep coming back.

This is the old way of doing business, and though it is working now and has for the last 50 or so years, just like Bob Dylan said “… you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’…” He was right in 1964 when he wrote those words and they hold the same truth now to our industry.

I had a conversation recently with another prospective client and he asked me, “What makes you different from everyone else?” Every recruiting agency has a tag line to differentiate and every recruiter thinks they do things differently than all the others. “We are faster” or “We have a great network of candidates who are not actively on the market” or any number of other reasons, but guess what? So does everyone else and these are not setting you apart. They only confirm that you have all the same answers as those before you and can’t add additional value.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are different than others unless you truly are. It is different that is starting to matter, not just the perception of being better. And trust me…it is only that, a perception.

So what is the answer? I would not be so bold as to make the assumption that I have the perfect answer. What I can tell you is that if you can eliminate their need to spend time and money on internal process by engaging your services, then you are adding value.

It sounds simple, and most people think they are doing just that. But if a company has to use its resources to screen, interview, schedule, negotiate, and a number of other processes to finish your job…you better get your resume together. It will no longer be good enough to provide talent; you have to provide the talent and the process so that your client only has to do one thing.

We, as an industry, need to distress the comfortable and comfort the distressed; to start thinking in different ways.  The need to innovate and the willingness to step out of the comfort zone, where you have made a lot of money in your career, has never been greater than now.

There is a call to action and it is being shouted in the marketplace every day. But if we are listening to the same old rock ‘n roll and only reminiscing on what it used to mean, then we are not allowing the music to reach its full potential to change our lives or shape our futures.

Do not allow you and your organization to be paralyzed by the discomfort of change because you are holding yourself back from reaching the potential to add new value; your clients are noticing the shift, and so should you.

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