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How Technology Has Shaped Modern Recruiting

How Technology Has Shaped Modern Recruiting
By Joe Issid
Monster Contributing Writer

I age myself considerably when I recall my first foray into the working world. Searching for a job back then required traipsing around the city, visiting various large buildings where one would engage in the pride-swallowing exercise of trying to coerce a total stranger into accepting your resume on the off chance that their company was looking for new blood. Needless to say, it was an inefficient and laborious exercise. Ironically, as hard as I worked to find a job back then, there was a recruiter with open mandates working equally as hard to find me. Without a unifying communication method, a great disconnect existed between those looking for jobs and those offering them. If my resume did not magically fall into the hands of the right person, I simply did not exist to a recruiter.
Oh, how things have changed.
The Internet
“I’m not even sure how we recruited before the internet”, says Cindy Schwartz, a Montreal-based Recruitment Consultant with Quantum. A 10 year head-hunting veteran, Ms. Schwartz recalls that recruiting at the turn of the century was a very different game. Head-hunting was a tireless pound-the-pavement attack involving countless hours of telephone work and face-to-face networking. With frequent dead-ends caused by aging answering machines, finding candidates was a costly and time-consuming endeavour. As new tools became available along with the explosion of online social networking platforms, recruiters have been able to sheath their spears and turn to a more organic, seeding approach.
Social Media
Internet services such as Monster’s Beknown and LinkedIn have fully revolutionised modern recruiting. With massive public – and easily searchable – candidate databases, a recruiter’s job to find specialised candidates has been greatly simplified. However, warns Ms Schwartz, it’s not all roses “You need to marry integrity with technology,” she says, warning against the behaviours of over-zealous recruiters who spam large volumes of candidates who possess specific skill sets. “We need to make sure that we are reaching out for a real purpose and providing a valuable service to willing candidates.” While access to candidate profiles has never been easier, it is increasingly important how these candidates are approached – if at all.
Social media platforms have enabled otherwise anonymous candidates to develop their own personal brand online. By actively promoting yourself and your experiences online, you can make yourself visible to recruiters and employers who may be looking for new resources. The same certainly applies to the modern recruiter, says Ms. Schwartz: “Recruiters also need to have a wide online network.” A recruiter needs to have a positive online presence to foster credibility with potential clients and prospective candidates alike. As important as it is for candidates to make themselves visible to potential employers, recruiters need to make themselves visible to candidates and clients who are looking to use their services. Yesterday’s Rolodex has been replaced by social bookmarks
Mobile Technology
“Back then, it could have taken days simply to contact a candidate for an interview,” continues Ms Schwartz. With the boon of mobile technology, a candidate can be reached almost instantly and discreetly; a week’s worth of work can be conducted within a matter of minutes. For example, when looking to find candidates for, say, a last-minute temp job, a quick text message or mass e-mail can save a recruiter countless hours of work. Reaching a pool of candidates at (literally) the push of button allows for an efficient and inexpensive placement of resources.
Absence of humanity
“In many cases, technology has replaced human interaction. Some recruiting applications have become automated and do not allow for human opinions.” This Orwellian approach to head-hunting leaves Ms Schwartz uneasy. While sophisticated software can parse a resume and extract vital profile details, it cannot provide a full candidate assessment. “You cannot eliminate the human element of recruiting. I cannot ethically recommend a candidate to a client if I have not personally met them.” To this day, Ms Schwartz insists on meeting all candidates face to face to produce a well-rounded candidate profile that she can present to her clients. Without this human connection, it is simply impossible to pair a candidate with the right company. “At the end of the day our business is human capital and there will always need to be a human element.”
The recruiting industry has been tremendously enhanced by modern technological advances. However, like many other industries, it has introduced new benefits as well as challenges. Regardless, you need to roll with the changes: “The way we conduct business has changed entirely over the years. You need to embrace technology working in such a competitive industry.” She reminds us that, while the tools she used may have changed over the years, her fundamental approach to business is the same. “It is all about providing value to my clients no matter how it gets done.”