Five Scenarios for the Future of Recruiting

Spring 2010 conference-logoIt’s an interesting time to ponder the future of recruiting. You can imagine Chicken Little running around crying “The sky is falling. The sky is falling.”

  • The profession is 30% to 50% smaller than it was 18 months ago.
  • Many more HR generalists are filling the recruiting role.
  • Technology is changing rapidly.
  • A new generation is coming to work.
  • Sourcing is simultaneously separating from the selection process and transforming itself.
  • Meanwhile, good-enough sourcing is on everyone’s desktop. It just keeps getting better.
  • Social recruiting is grabbing a foothold.
  • Salary transparency makes candidates smarter about the deal.
  • Workplace reviews create brand management problems.
  • The effective unemployment rate of 18% creates a candidate deluge.
  • Budgets are trimmed to the bone.
  • The publishing industry, which once provided the infrastructure for employment advertising, is dead.
  • Other industries are in peril creating a sea of displaced, disrupted workers.
  • Old ideas of privacy are under assault.
  • Economic forecasts are impossible to believe (your company’s or the government’s).
  • Employment branding is gaining traction in healthcare markets.

At the same time, transformative things are afoot in some recruiting departments. There are stories of large companies who let their internal recruiters raid departments just like external recruiters do. RPOs leverage needs across clients to build serious market clout in specific niches.

So, how do you plan for a future in an environment like this?

Between now and the ERE Spring Expo, I will be developing Five Scenarios for the Future of Recruiting. In ambiguous times, precise forecasts about the future are worse than useless. Explicit predictions create frameworks for bad judgment.

Scenario Planning, a technique developed by Shell in the 1980s, is a useful way to think about the future without getting fixed on specific outcomes. One objective of scenario planning is the discovery of novel insight about the future.

The research, which is sponsored, will produce tools for conversation about the future rather than specific forecasts.

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The series of articles will cover:

  • Scenarios, Conversations, Research (this piece)
  • Key Trends
  • Map of the Marketplace
  • Scenario 1
  • Scenario 2
  • Scenario 3
  • Scenario 4
  • Scenario 5
  • Expectations for the Conversation at ERE.

At the ERE Expo, I am going to give a presentation that will just cover enough of the basics to get a conversation started. Being prepared will mean having read the series of articles in advance of the conversation. I imagine a vigorous exchange among interested parties. I’ve scheduled my return to the Bay Area for the following day in order to support a dialog that runs past the convention’s time limits.

About a month after the conversation at ERE is completed, we’ll be delivering a White Paper that documents the process and the impact of the online dialog. Anyone who participates online will receive a copy of the White Paper when it is published.

This is going to be an interesting experiment. I hope you’ll join me.

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