Phillip asked me to write a few words on topics that I’m very passionate about – referrals and the relevance of social media in the talent acquisition process. Oh yeah and he’s asked me to make some predictions for 2009, too. So here goes..
Referrals in a downturn
Now, being the CEO of 2Vouch – an online job referral platform – I’m obviously convinced of the value of referrals in the sourcing process. In fact, after over 12 years in executive recruiting, I believe they are the most effective sourcing strategy. Research has shown that with referrals you can reduce; the cost of hire, time to hire and increase the quality of hire.
Actually, I’ve been using referrals my whole career and I think they become even more relevant in a downturn, why? Increased unemployment = increase in direct job applications and active candidates = increase in the time cost of screening, filtering, responding, interviewing etc.
I recall working in New York at the backend of 2001 and remember listing jobs on Monster – within the hour I would literally get 200 email applications. I had to quickly log back in make the ad inactive because I couldn’t deal with any more responses. Okay, this may be an extreme example and you won’t experience that with SEEK et al but I would much prefer a candidate being referred to me by someone that has put their reputation on the line and vouched (sorry couldn’t help it J) for the prospective candidate. This allowed me to focus on the important parts of the process like building relationships and qualifying the match.
Where is Talent Acquisition heading?
On the agency side, I have noticed a very strong trend of customers moving from larger generalist recruiters to highly specialised boutiques. In fact, the most interesting trend is the rise of the independent recruiter and the ‘virtual recruiter’; this recruiter is very tech savvy, has all of their data “in the cloud” and is extremely mobile. These recruiters don’t just communicate with their candidate and customer community; they live in the community. It is these recruiters that participate and drive activity in these communities that will survive and thrive in ‘09 and beyond! So if you are an agency recruiter and you want to remain relevant, put yourself in a position where customers in your industry must use you because they cannot get to the people that you can as you have the relationships.
Corporate recruiters and HR will become more educated about proactive and direct sourcing. The use of social media tools to impact employer brand and talent attraction will increase. Lastly, the percentage of hires that come from employee referral programs (ERP) will increase as new tools to manage these programs will make ERPs more efficient and the business case for investment in this area will be too compelling not to be heard by the business.
Social Media’s relevance to recruiting.
Social media is the future – I know I’m probably preaching to the converted but if you are in a role that requires you to find people for your company and your colleagues don’t know what Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, social recruiting and boolean search strings are – then you have a responsibility to get them to Google these terms and suggest they to catch-up.. quickly!. You will see more active candidates responding to advertisements but keep in mind even in a down market companies hold onto their best performers, and these are exactly the people that you should be trying to attract to your company – these candidates are not waiting by their computer for your SEEK ad to go up so that they can respond. You must build relationships with these people over time using social media tools, so that when they decide it might be time for a change you will be the company or recruiter they contact.
Predictions 2009 in Australia
For both Corporate and agency recruiters SEEK will remain the default option in the short term as unfortunately most recruiters are fundamentally lazy (now before all the recruiters reading this post fly of the handle, I speak from experience as a recruiter and as a manager running recruiting businesses globally, so I’ve seen similar characteristics all over the world) and the easiest thing to do is post an ad on a traditional job board and pray that the ideal candidate falls in your lap.
Other innovative business models will take time and cash to gain traction in 2009. For all of those start-ups out there, unfortunately it’s going to be a tough time to raise money in this economic climate. So the big guys will not have to change unless a competitor becomes a pain in the a*se, and that might be a couple of years off.
Having said that, there will be a LOT more active candidates out there so we may see traditional approaches creating floods of applications that are frustrating enough to push recruiters and hiring managers to look for alternatives. Naturally, these people will be extremely cost conscious, so new solutions had better deliver great value FAST.
Lastly, I think social media will play an important role in recruiting, particularly Twitter the micro-blogging service within the Tech and Digital markets. We will also see the virtual recruiter start to go mainstream! Viva la virtual!
If you are interested in listening to my rants or would like to keep updated about the developments at 2Vouch you can follow us on Twitter
Riges Younan http://twitter.com/rigesyounan
All the best for 2009!