The Changing Role of the Corporate Recruiter

Oct 7, 2002

Recruiters are under pressure. Third-party recruiters are feeling the pressure of the current economy, as corporate clients are cutting back on use of their services. This lean period is forcing many to reevaluate their role and to reflect on what the market wants of them. Amid the development of recruiting technologies, this period of retrenchment may even bring about a change in the services that third-party recruiters bring to the market. Corporate recruiters are also feeling the pressure brought on by the current hiring environment. Budgets are being scrutinized, staffing department headcount has shrunk, and new skill sets are in demand. Challenges abound ó but opportunity does as well. It is time for corporate recruiters to take a global view of their role and the services they provide to the corporation. Taking Stock This is the first downturn in the business cycle of the Internet age. Any reexamination of the recruiter’s role within a corporation would be incomplete without reference to the Internet. E-recruiting introduced new concepts, tools, and techniques to the corporate recruiter’s daily activities. Corporate recruiters were called upon to be advisors on Internet sources and experts on the relative efficacy of different job boards or such obscure matters as flip-searching. The staffing departments of many large corporations adopted a division of labor that reflected some of the new roles and skills, with recruiters dedicated to active Internet sourcing, others concentrating on multi-posting, and still others handling interviewing and closing. Those who mastered these new concepts and techniques were often able to provide superior service to their internal corporate customers. E-recruiting is no longer an esoteric skill, but an intrinsic part of the staffing toolbox. Internet sourcing is now part of the mainstream mix of media. Key demographics of the Internet population ó such as age, gender, income and education ó are converging with the demographics of the population as a whole. The majority of companies are in a position where virtually all candidates are on the Web. Candidate quantity is high. The focus now is on identifying quality. The Impact of Technology The second major trend in recruiting since the last business cycle is the increasing role of recruitment automation technology. A reexamination of the role of a corporate recruiter within an organization has to come to terms with the fact that staffing automation systems have moved a significant proportion of the administrative tasks away from the recruiter’s desk. Non-value-added administrative tasks typically involve moving information from one place to another, without any change in the nature or value of the information. End-to-end staffing management solutions automate the flow of information within the recruiting process, particularly where there is no change in the intrinsic nature of the information. Pushing requisition data to the corporate website, job boards, and other sources does not involve any change to the format or value of the information, and so was an early candidate for automation and integration. It is no longer part of a corporate recruiter’s core function to match up resumes to requisitions, since this wholly administrative task has largely been automated. Giving hiring managers self-service access to short-listed candidates’ credentials removes yet another non-value-added task from a corporate recruiter’s hands. Value-Added Services With non-value-added administrative tasks removed, what is the key for recruiters? A recruiter’s true value-added role is not to be the holder of arcane e-recruiting knowledge, nor to be an operator of a recruitment automation system. Recruiters add value for corporations when they build relationships with candidates. The tools for forming relationships with candidates have evolved over time as technology has improved. The Internet has become one among many other sources of new relationships. By removing or reducing the administrative burden on a recruiter, staffing technology increases productivity. It also forces recruiters to focus on being value-added contributors. It is important for corporate recruiters to understand recruitment technology and know where it is merely relieving administrative tasks and where it can assist with value-added tasks, such as matching quality candidates to hiring needs. The appropriate response of a corporate recruiter to e-recruiting recruitment technology is to hone skills in the use of the technology and focus on value-added uses of the technology. Corporate recruiters need to meet the challenges of learning about new technologies and embrace these as opportunities. Proficiency in the use of technology tools that streamline recruiter’s value-added tasks is the key to the corporate recruiter’s future career.

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