Technology and Recruitment

The changes in the technological landscape of recruitment in the last 10 years have been significant. I started in recruitment in 2003, just as SEEK was taking off and the online advertising world was being opened up to both clients and recruitment agencies. Many predicted it was the harbinger of doom for the agency world, but this did not prove to be the case.

The next seismic change was delivered by LinkedIn, where now clients could find the people they need online without the service of agencies. This too, was seen to be the death knell for agencies.

Again, LinkedIn didn’t land a knockout punch. However, has radically changed the recruitment landscape.

The smart agencies increased their levels of specialization and technical expertise, as well as adapting their database systems, often via cloud-based technologies. Now the agencies have years and years of candidate and client histories in their databases, as well as real time integration to LinkedIn, having up-to-date-CVs on file is now less important, as LinkedIn profiles are kept current.

The agency now has access to the candidate’s up-to-date details, as well as their history with the agency, and their contact phone numbers. This remains the agency advantage, due to database management, the likes of which most clients simply do not have time to do.

The agency recruiter should also have a 360 degree knowledge of the market, in terms of the resource sector, this ranges from oil and gas and mining to coal as well as the slew of ‘unconventional energy’ players entering the market. The internal recruiter only has their role to fill, and their role to sell.

And herein lies another significant change in the industry…

Speak to any senior player in Resources, who has been around for a while and ridden out the last boom and bust cycle of recruitment. Ask them how often they hear from recruiters about job opportunities, both agency, and internal, and they will usually state “Loads, I’m always hearing from them.” However when you ask “How are you hearing from them?” it’s usually via LinkedIn, or email and text. When asked how many actual phone calls they are getting, most say the number of calls is down considerably, of course ask them how many calls they get from agencies trying to sell their services, and you may hear that this has risen considerably lately.

LinkedIn has given recruiters, both internal and agency, far greater access to quality candidates; however it has not necessarily led to more effective recruitment practices.

All the new technologies provide many more ways to supply data to candidates; however data does not persuade, it only informs. Additionally, many high-quality resource-sector players, with well presented LinkedIn profiles, describe the continual, largely ineffectual email advances as ‘white noise’ and simply ignore them.

When asked “When you do get a call, who is it from?” it is often from an agency recruiter, and that recruiter seems to have a pretty decent understanding of what that person does, and what they may be interested in. It seems that some agency recruiters, based on actually having people’s numbers are still more likely to pick up the phone and call people, as opposed to contacting them electronically. This opens the equation up considerably. Now, as well as informing, the recruiter can persuade.

The greater access to information that technological changes have wrought over the last few years has seen a far greater talent pool for the recruiter to draw on. But has that talent pool seen an increase in the level and quality of engagement from recruiters? I think the jury still is out…

Mike Wylie, Senior Recruitment Consultant

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