If you were a candidate, there were three primary ways for you to find a job.
1) Complete an application, drop it off with the Personnel Department, and hope the company called you.
2) Become known as a contributor in your current company and be recruited by a recruiter or someone within another company who knows your impacts.
3) Network with people who could help introduce you to another company – “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know!” became a mantra.
If you were the Personnel Department, you ran a newspaper ad and waited for responses, looked at them, decided if they were a potential fit and either interviewed them or filed their resume in a file drawer. You reached out to a trusted third party recruiter or opened the job up for every 3rd party recruiter to submit resumes. If you were lucky, a hiring manager would just call someone they knew and set up an interview.
In 2015, many companies have the same process, only today it is automated. The name “Personnel Department” has mostly become obsolete. Today, we have Human Resource Departments that have the responsibility for Talent Acquisition. Instead of Recruiters, we have Talent Acquisition Specialists. Instead of Human Resource Directors, we have Human Resource Business Partners.
How do many of those Human Resource Departments recruit today? They run an automated newspaper ad on one or more Job Boards. “Automated newspaper ad?” CareerBuilder was founded by two newspaper publishing companies.
When candidates reply, what are they required to do in many companies? Complete a six to seven (or more) page application prior to any conversation or mutual interest; and hope they receive a reply from the Talent Acquisition team. That process is called “Posting and Praying.” Therefore in the model of 1960’s recruiting, instead of wandering to Personnel for an application, they wander to the website where they are forced to complete an application.
Today instead of filing the resume/application in a file drawer, it is filed in an applicant tracking system (Thank Goodness! At least that way you may be able to find the resume in the future!).
The applicant tracking systems that promote that process are partially correct. Clerks should be able to run that process. Unfortunately recruitment is not a clerk process. It is a sales process and successful companies treat it as such.
Successful corporate recruiting professionals understand the psychology behind recruitment. They understand that candidates do not like to make big, life changing decisions. They help them make little decisions that lead to the obvious conclusion – offer acceptance and starting the new job.
As our economy slowly improves, companies will begin to open new positions for growth and to replace retiring Baby Boomers. The clerk based recruiting teams will suffer in that environment as their applications dwindle; and they won’t understand why. Instead they will ask “Where can we spend more money to post our positions?”
Meanwhile the successful corporate recruiting professionals will have the opportunity to choose and recruit the most promising candidates - who will no longer follow the 1960’s processes.
It is time to move recruitment to 2016. Utilize the tools available in the way that attract candidates. Beware of processes that repel candidates. It is important to tweak a recruiting process first, verify positive results. Then tweak it more. Companies that try to change recruiting processes (while possibly needed) will meet resistance. Tweaking is easier and changing is harder.