Successful Recruiting Is A Human Endeavor

For anyone following the technology advancements being made in recruiting, it seems that with each passing day we learn of yet another recruitment marketplace that anonymously matches passive job seekers with hiring companies using AI (artificial intelligence).  While the technology and thinking behind services like these are pushing the envelope in terms of what is possible with online recruitment, these startups mask an essential component of successful recruiting:

The “transfer of enthusiasm” that is only possible through human interaction.

Recruiting the best talent to your organization is no different then selling a produce or service in a competitive market.  You have to first identify your prospects (candidates), determine their hot button issues to develop interest (commute, growth opportunity, manager, etc.), initiate action (interviews), and negotiate a decision (offer).  While technology can help automate some of these steps, at the end of the day, very few products/services sell themselves – and what ultimately closes the deal is a “transfer of enthusiasm” from one human being to another.

Asking passive job seekers to fill out a form describing their dream job, then using algorithms to match terms (even with contextual matching via machine learning and natural language processing) looks really cool, and seems inherently scalable, which attracts VCs and the tech community at large.  And if it’s free (err, contingent), why not give it a try?  

I’m not advocating against these platforms, only pointing out that there is no shortcut to success in recruiting if you want to find, attract and hire A players for your team.

Behind the scenes, these online recruiting marketplaces are really just glorified recruiting agencies anyways, wrapped in a web/mobile app with a beautiful UI, but without the guarantee of a real human being doing pro-active candidate outreach (the technology takes care of that).  In most cases, their business models are the same as traditional direct-hire placement agencies – they take a cut (generally around 10% which is less then the industry standard 20-30%) of the successfully matched/placed candidates’ first year salary, only if the candidate is hired through the platform.  Some charge a monthly subscription fee to use the platform.

I know I sound like a skeptic concerned that technology will replace me and take me out of the game, but that is not the case.  I welcome innovation, and believe that anything that can empower talent acquisition teams and agency recruiters to do their jobs better is a welcome addition to the recruiting tech landscape – part of the reason I created an employee referral platform a few years ago.

At the end of the day, results, not process, matters most.  And for those of us in tech recruiting, we know how hard it is to connect with tech talent and attract them to our openings, so any tool that promises to give better results is received with open arms.  For that reason, I celebrate the entrepreneurs building innovative new recruitment marketplaces and technologies.

But what ultimately sells (most) candidates on job opportunities is not which company makes the highest $ offer through an anonymous portal, but the people that the candidate will be working with, and the transfer of enthusiasm they receive from those people (including the recruiter) during their interview process.

A good recruiter is worth their weight in gold if you can find one.  When you do, hold them, nurture them, don’t let them go.  They can be a tremendous resource for you as you continue to build your teams now and in the future.  Try out all of the new platforms and technologies, but don’t forget, recruiting is a human endeavor.

Dare I say, #hirearecruiter?

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