Technology: Changing the Face of Recruitment

Apr 11, 2002

In a recent white paper published by the Talent Market Group, the following comment is made: “In the future, recruiting departments will see their CEOs turn to them for advise, guidance, and recommendations on overall corporate financial management and talent investment strategies.” Throughout this white paper, the Talent Market Group makes repeated reference to skills sets such as financial management, budgeting, project management, talent relationship, leveraging technology, management and marketing. These skills are historically found in strategic staffing organizations, yet they are frequently scattered and overlooked due to the often limited perception of the staffing function. But as technology enables better management of the operations associated with staffing, the knowledge base required to succeed as a recruiter will move towards that mentioned in the Talent Market Group’s white paper. Technology will force staffing professionals to focus on things like metrics-based budgeting, establishing benchmarks appropriate for their organization, calculating return on investment, and projecting talent acquisition timelines against corporate growth strategies. To begin the change process, a staffing executive must have a working knowledge of all the human capital management technologies available to them today. These include:

  • Applicant tracking systems
  • Assessment and profiling
  • Alumni networks / referral management systems
  • Talent relationship management tools
  • Contingent workforce management systems
  • Robots and spiders
  • Job boards / job posting aggregators
  • e-Benefits
  • Time and expense tracking systems
  • EEO and affirmative action systems
  • Workforce/training management systems

Once the staffing executive understands each of these technological tools, they must address considerations both at the strategic and individual level. These considerations will be the key to success in the future. Strategic Considerations

  1. What does it takes to be successful in their corporate environment? In other words how does the organization define whether or not staffing or HR is successful? When is staffing or HR seen as a value-added partner?
  2. What are the organizational resistance factors that would impact rolling out any of these technologies? Organizational resistance defines the natural roadblocks that may exist as a result of staffing or HR credibility factors, established or non-established business processes, and perceptions of HR that manifest throughout the organization.
  3. How do we successfully implement and apply these tools and services as part of their overall strategy? Staffing has both operational and strategic performance expectations. Technology now allows us to measure the goals we are trying to accomplish. Together, how one organization may leverage a technology solution may differ greatly from another. The success of these tools depends upon what the organization is trying to accomplish and how these tools fit into the overall equation.
  4. What data can we obtain that may also be valuable for senior management, business development and/or marketing? Recently, I have been working with an organization that is growing through mergers and acquisitions. As part of this growth, the staffing department is heavily involved in re-treading prior employees and hiring new ones. As part of the strategic alignment process, this staffing department is now gathering competitive intelligence for their mergers and acquisitions group. This came as a result of identifying that staffing has been interviewing people from competitive and complimentary business sectors.
  5. How do we measure the success of these programs and use this data to drive organizational change, make future business decisions, and position staffing to become a valued business partner? Time to hire and source of hire both impact staffing operational excellence. Reporting time to hire as it relates to future business development activities is a strategic measurement. For example, imagine a consulting partner goes and sells a large project. To accomplish this project, it will require hiring 20 more people with a certain skill set. As a staffing partner, I can assist this partner by providing her with the metrics that show how long it took to hire people with this skill set in the past. The staffing manager can use this as a means to shorten the process, or the partner can use this as a tool to construct a plan with realistic resourcing expectations.
  6. How do these tools and metrics drive budgetary considerations? Metrics can provide us with a quick view as to “what is” and “what is not” working. As a result, we can make better buying decisions.

Individual Considerations The individual factors that contribute to the changing landscape within staffing are comprised of challenges, changes, skills and techniques recruiters must learn to be successful in this new environment. These include:

  1. A recruiter’s learning aptitude. Can the recruiter change and learn the required skill sets needed to move from a service to a business partner?
  2. A recruiter’s responsibilities within the organization. Is recruiting this person’s full-time job? If it is not, I recommend you explore the value proposition of technology as it relates to each individual’s job description.
  3. Understanding and overcoming a recruiter’s resistance to utilizing these new tools and resources. Understanding why a fear or an apathetic response to utilizing new technology exists and creating a program that responds to it are key steps.
  4. The ability to understand and communicate the ROI factors that directly relate to the individual recruiter. Often when someone presents the value of technology, it is presented with the organization in mind, instead of addressing the “what’s in it for me” principle as it relates to the individual. Therefore, the individual may perceive this as another process that will inhibit their productivity.
  5. Examination of the new skills required by the recruitment staff in order to be successful. This includes: metrics analysis, budgeting, project planning, sales, marketing, etc.
  6. How will these technologies change a recruiter’s day-to-day activities? If a technology goes against the day-to-day workflow process of the recruiter, that user acceptance of the technology solution will be very low. Technology will change processes, but if it changes the process too drastically, the nature of the recruiter is to work around the process.
  7. What type of continuous training and support will be available to enable this change? User acceptance and embracement is not a one-time shot. It requires continuous training and working towards addressing the “what’s in it for me” principle within different groups, new hires, and changing organizations.

As you can begin to see, technology is driving change both at a strategic and individual level. Along with this change is the process of determining whether the current environment you are working in can support or embrace these efforts. The fact of the matter is, these changes will allow staffing professionals to better forecast growth strategies, better manage budgetary constraints, and better communicate successes and resolve issues. The new staffing professional will be the one to survive during economic up and down times. They are also the individuals who corporate leaders can grow to depend upon.