This is a guest post by Mike Norland, head of growth marketing at Simppler. Simppler is a recruiting tech company that helps teams find and hire the best people within their employee’s network.
Recruiting has undergone massive changes in recent years. As the digital economy has evolved, so has the talent marketplace, leading companies to think differently about their hiring strategy in order to prepare for the future.
Tech veteran and founder of Simppler, Vipul Sharma, has experienced these hiring challenges first hand as an early employee and engineering hiring manager at Eventbrite. I interviewed Vipul to learn more about the trends he sees in recruiting and understand his predictions for the future. Our chat has been edited for length.
What are the biggest changes in recruiting over the last 10 years?
The rise of the internet has created a talent market that is more candidate driven.
The market has opened up for more high-skilled labor. Before the web, when less specialization was needed, companies had more power. They would advertise and candidates would go to them to apply. The challenge for companies was sifting through all the applications. The hiring challenge has now turned on it’s head. Now companies need to sell themselves to attract the best candidates—it’s the candidates that are in demand.
Also, with everything moving to web you see resumes—people’s work identity—moving to web as well. This trend started out with job posting sites and continues today with LinkedIn. Now it’s easier than ever for recruiters to search a large number of candidates with only a few criteria. Even if a candidate is not looking for a job, it’s easy for a recruiter to find them and reach out.
So at the same time you see more demand for highly skilled candidates, and also the ability to provide more opportunities being presented to those candidates. The result is a shrinking tenure at companies.
“Job switching” is often associated with Millennial values. How much of shrinking tenure at companies driven by generational differences?
I don’t believe “job switching” is due to millennial attitude as much as it has to do with opportunity. Ten years ago you didn’t have nearly as many recruiters reaching out to passive candidates. Now it’s common for passive candidates to have numerous emails, phone calls—all sorts of contact from recruiters. This shift is enabled by the fact that their online work identity is represented and searchable online—better information sharing. Previously, you had asymmetric information that led to people staying at jobs that did not make them happy.
What challenges do these changes create for recruiting teams?
The problem now is quite different than it was in 2005. It’s no longer a problem of getting people’s identity online so recruiters can find and contact candidates. That problem has been solved by LinkedIn and Facebook. However, solving that old problem has created a new one. Since it’s so easy to contact candidates, people are now overrun with messages from recruiters.
At the same time, recruiters are stressed out. I’ve developed a great amount of respect for recruiters, as these are some of the hardest working people I’ve met. However, many recruiting teams are very focused on volume and reaching out to candidates that are likely not a good fit, and therefore not likely to convert to a hire. This creates more work and stress for recruiters.
The problem now is shifting recruiting from finding anyone to finding the right person.
What changes in recruiting do you predict for the future?
I see a number of changes already underway in the recruiting field, and predict the function will be drastically different in the not so distant future.
First, the biggest problem in recruiting now is focusing too much on volume at the top of the candidate funnel. However, if you look at modern sales and marketing, there is a significant amount of focus on the mid and bottom funnel. Conversion is the key thing. Rather than focusing on how many emails get sent each day, there will be more focus on who are the right people to reach out to in the first place. This will result in recruiters reducing their workload while also increasing their success rate.
Second, companies will gain a better understanding of their social graph. Online social networking has fundamentally changed human beings over the last 10 years. We often spend more time interacting with people online than we do in person. We buy what our friends are buying. We eat at the places our friends eat. At a human level, everyone has a good understanding of their social network. But if you ask a company, “do you know your social graph?” there is nowhere they can go to easily show all the people connected to their company. If you cannot view your company’s social graph, it’s very hard to apply social networking benefits to recruiting.
Next, I predict companies will get much better at understanding the “fit” of a candidate. Currently, there is a lot of value being put on things like educational background and previous employers. These traits are helpful, and often the best information recruiters have to go on. However, a person who is a successful software engineer at Google often may not be the best software engineer at Company XYZ. There are unique characteristics that make a person likely to be successful at any company. Companies will get better at understanding the traits that make up the best people at the core of their company, and then be able to better apply that knowledge when searching for candidates.
Finally, I see the role of the recruiter fundamentally changing as hiring becomes more of a company-wide effort. The recruiter role will evolve from personally finding people every day to helping their company find people. Their responsibility will shift from a tactical role to an advisory role. Nobody understands the critical factors for a candidate’s success better than the hiring team, and recruiters will be there to advise that process rather than completely manage it.
What does all of this change mean for HR leaders?
Recruiting is similar to sales and marketing—you are trying to sell a product—that product being an opportunity at your company. However, recruiting teams go about this goal in a very different way. I see opportunity for HR leaders to seek out sales and marketing colleagues and bring some of those principles back to recruiting.
Additionally, there is opportunity for HR leaders to invest in operations and in tools. Amid the shifting role of the recruiter in the organization, and success being heavily tied to operational efficiency, it’s time for HR leaders to assess their organizations and ask themselves if they are ready for the changes that are coming in the future.
In conclusion, Vipul sees the internet as a catalyst for changes in the labor market, leading to a shift in candidate power that requires companies take a different perspective on their talent operations. To learn more about how Simppler CEO Vipul Sharma sees the future of recruiting, you can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.