I was on a long train ride this last week and found myself with that rarest of commodities - free time! With no internet connection for miles and miles, I gazed out of the window and reflected on the changes we've seen in recruiting these last couple of decades.
There was one thought that I kept returning to. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this...
I reflected that recruiting teams have become overpowered by the need to do more for less, at the expense of all other rationale indicators of success.
Let's illustrate the point with an example that's persisted for well over a decade - the insistence that candidates fill out an online application form. This sorry practice was introduced primarily to reduce the workload of recruiters. Faced with a barrage of job board applicants, something had to be done to streamline the process of screening candidates in and out of the hiring process. The successes of such processes in allowing recruiters to do more for less was trumpeted to the exclusion of all other considerations.
Now for any company interested in attracting top talent, this was a disasterous turn of events. Speak to any expert in the online recruitment world and they'll tell you that lengthy online application processes turn away the best candidates. Only those candidates who are less in demand and more desperate for work will you not risk losing by forcing them through such a process. Yet companies have persisted with this approach to this day, often hiding behind sorry excuses such as compliance as the reason for sticking with the status quo.
Fast forward to today and we have a world in which the majority of job hunting activity is either taking place on a mobile device - or soon will be. A scenario in which the ability and inclination to fill out lengthy online application forms is hit even more. With every day that passes, the likelihood that candidates choose not to apply simply grows and grows.
This blind focus on doing more for less would be fine if it wasn't completely at odds with attracting and hiring the very best candidates. Unfortunately that's often not the case.
With the global economy broadly facing a scenario of talent shortages and candidate-driven hiring markets, this mantra of doing more for less is having major implications for businesses. Consider for a moment:
- The best way of attracting quality candidates via social media is to invest time in engaging rather than advertising on social media. But it's also the approach that is most time intensive and fits least well with the ideology of doing more for less.
- The most effective way of approaching candidates is via the phone rather than through mass-sending of InMails. But that's an approach that doesn't sit well with teams being squeezed to do more in less time.
- A multitude of KPIs could be improved by companies having a more active careers presence on social media. Application rates would be boosted, acceptance rates lifted, referral volumes increased. But recruiting teams would need to ask for additional resources to implement this in their businesses - and it's a brave recruiter who'll do that in a time where doing more for less is the over-riding priority.
The list could go on and on. But two things here stand out as being really of interest...
Firstly, we seem locked into an era where it's innovative solutions that ostensibly allow recruiters to achieve more in less time that stand the most chance of flourishing (thank goodness our social media services help recruiters to achieve more for less I reflected on the train!!). Most successful technology launches in the last decade can claim to help recruiters do things faster and more cost effectively; those that market themselves as allowing you to recruit better candidates but don't bring a time or monetary saving are few and far between.
Secondly, smaller companies would seem to have an opportunity to "punch above their weight" as an employer of preference. Less likely to be locked into the downwards spiral that is "doing more for less", these companies can focus instead on "attracting better candidates than our competitors" by doing the very things that large corporates seem to be locked out of doing (and if you'd like to add attracting candidates on social media to the things you're doing more effectively, do join one of my next webinars on this very topic).
I'm not sure if this is a peculiarly Recruitment-related disease, or if the "more for less" mantra is pervading all areas of corporate life. Would love to hear your thoughts, please do share in the comments section below or tweet me on @tonyrestell