Recruiting ‘Trends’ Are Not Trends At All: Beware of Impractical Advice, and Remember Effective Metrics

Aug 21, 2013
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

I keep seeing articles about the “hottest trends in recruiting” that are, in reality, of little value to the recruiting community.

These articles list “new” recruiting concepts and ideas, but there’s a hitch: most of the “trends” listed have been talked about for years. What’s more, the kinds of ideas that are named must actually be paired with traditional practices and are not enough to effectively drive results on their own. This kind of misinformation can be dangerous for recruiters, particularly those who are just starting out and looking for guidance.

Let me explain a couple of the “trends” mentioned in these types of articles that are most bothersome to me and make note on why they aren’t really trends or, if they are, how to take advantage of them.

Social Sourcing

Is sourcing candidates over the web really newsworthy? As I said when this was the hottest trend a few years back, it still seems that relying heavily on social media as the next silver bullet, just like we did when the job board first came on the scene, could be disastrous for many recruiters.

With the ongoing buzz about social media, it’s become easy to forget about building real relationships — simple concepts have gotten lost in translation. How many times has the receiving party of your text or email misinterpreted the tone or intent of your message? It’s difficult to convey feelings through tweets, wall posts, and InMails.

At least the latest articles on social sourcing do mention that LinkedIn is no longer seen as a competitive advantage because everyone else is using it. Although it can be a wonderful tool for building relationships, LinkedIn has been abused by many a recruiter. The initial purpose of LinkedIn was to open us up to two-way relationships, not a one-way database, but it has become flooded with pushy recruiters and much of it is now an overfished-pond.

The point is to encourage authentic, organic interactions with talent — but can you really do this through social media platforms? Realistically, recruiters should already be actively involved with candidates and using more effective reach- out methodologies. Social media is not a crutch.

A Great Candidate Experience

This “trend” bothers me most of all. Calling the candidate experience a trend makes it sound like it’s a dismissive idea rather than a crucial part of recruiting. The candidate experience should be ingrained in every recruiter no matter what changes come along. Unfortunately, many recruiters today don’t see this as a top priority.

According to a recent survey by Mystery Applicant, almost half (40 percent) of candidates experience an unacceptable time lapse between initial conversation regarding a position and a follow-up conversation. Over half (52 percent) of candidates complained they didn’t feel like they were treated as an individual at all.

I can’t tell you how many recruiters today have told me they “don’t have time” to build and maintain emotional connections with their candidates — in other words, they don’t have time to do their job! We need to keep in mind that it’s not actually about us as recruiters, it’s about the candidate.

Embrace the best available tools and technologies, not just the newest ones, and take advantage of them all in order to have true success in recruiting.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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