The benefits the digital age has brought to the recruitment industry are self-evident. As a recruiter, you are looking for clients and candidates but the reverse is also true, so a strong online brand that can be easily found is essential to stand out from the crowd. Online job postings are available 24/7 to a vast audience, are highly searchable and, with the sophisticated analytics software available today, can give useful feedback, allowing recruiters to refine their practices and increase impact.
But to what extent should recruiters be dedicating themselves to these online resources? Some have argued that we are approaching a new era in recruitment – where the whole process runs online, without the need for a direct conversation. The theory is that clients and candidates can be found through job boards and social networks, matched using clever technology, introduced and contracted via email, and invoiced through software.
While this is an interesting idea, it is simply not practical and I think we have a long way to go before the role of recruiter can be played by any old automaton. That’s because employers and jobseekers are people – and their true needs cannot be captured by technology. Traditional offline practices are still the mainstay of the business, and with many employers reluctant to put all their eggs into the one e-basket, recruiters must strike a balance.
A 100% web-based recruitment business will never succeed. But while recruiters who exist purely online can be perceived to lack credibility, the tools of online recruitment can be incredibly powerful in terms of making them more efficient, effective and competitive.
Using online resources, such as Bullhorn CRM, Broadbean and Etz Timesheeting, activity across the full span of each contract can be handled at the click of a button, from placing advertisements on your website and job sites, through the processing of applications, right up to the testing of shortlisted candidates. And an online database of applicants is an easily organised and valuable ongoing resource for future searches.
These tools can be easily integrated to deliver unprecedented efficiency, and recruiters who can use online tools to free themselves of the admin associated with recruitment business will be able to focus more on the important stuff – the ability to network, read people and develop relationships. Those recruiters that can master these softer skills will easily stand out from the crowd.
In 2012, recruiters need to embrace technology and equip themselves with a suite of online and cloud-based tools to ensure they keep up with the ever-changing demands of their profession. Online solutions have revolutionised the recruitment process. But candidates and clients will always be able to see the value a hands-on recruiter can add to the process.