Article by David Troyce
Today’s recruiting landscape is characterized by disruptive innovators contending with multi-national organizations that have long dominated the industry. As firms and employers gain nearly identical access to global candidate databases, the need for a competitive advantage has led the push to “privatize” the global candidate population. In order to truly understand this trend and what it means for the future, it is important to look back on past innovations of the recruiting industry.
Up until the early 90’s, the recruiting industry was dominated by professionals with the largest rolodexes, effectively limiting the scope of their searches to the strength of their personal networking abilities. The first big push for innovation came in 1994 with the launch of what would eventually become Monster, an integrated public job search database for both jobseekers and employers and a vital tool in every recruiter’s arsenal. In 2002, the industry was further disrupted by LinkedIn, which allowed individuals to grow their professional network and showcase their skills. Networking became less daunting since introductions were disguised as InMails, geography was no longer a constraint, and profiles were designed to mirror the information posted on a resume without the stress of limiting personal accolades to a single-page hierarchy of what seemed most “important.” As this online repository scaled, the engaged user base presented a new growth opportunity in the market, introducing passive candidates to the recruitment process at a massive scale and creating the hyper-competitive market of the open source database.
In an industry where every agency had quick access to international candidate databases, recruiting became a numbers game. Employers struggled to find value in outsourcing their processes to agencies since they all had access to the same recruiting tools, causing branding and strategy to quickly become cornerstones of a recruiting firm’s value propositions. In an effort to challenge the many pain points associated with the increasingly outdated contingency model, the industry shifted focus towards implementing strategies designed to improve service quality, disrupt pricing models, or “productize” their service offerings into pre-established packages. This vast array of new services and pricing models made market entrants real contenders for disruption and increased competition throughout the industry, resulting in an environment where startups were on equal footing with formerly untouchable market leaders. In order stand out from the crowd, companies were now forced to find even more innovative ways to engage candidates.
As a result, one strategy recruiting firms and employers alike are now launching is the idea of talent communities. Similar to what companies like Hubspot are promoting, talent communities are an initial step in bringing the inbound marketing experience to life within talent acquisition. These communities are integral to creating a holistic brand image through quality and engaging content. As Dharmesh Shah, CTO & Co-Founder of Hubspot, states, “The inbound experience is about attracting, not interrupting. It’s about helping, not harassing. It’s an empathetic approach at growing a business because at the end of the day it’s not just a potential purchaser that’s on the other end, it’s an actual person.”
The outcome is a community of engaged candidates with diverse backgrounds that have opted into communication with the organization. Rather than spend large amounts of time carefully crafting outbound messaging, employers can reach out to their internal engaged candidate pools, increase their response rates, and shorten their time to fill. This evolution also provides a great opportunity for recruiting firms and agencies to improve their value proposition by offering quick access to their own proprietary candidate repositories.
In addition to streamlining the recruiting process, talent communities serve to cultivate relationships with candidates and improve the overall candidate experience—an area sorely underserved by the industry in the past. Poor candidate experience management hinders the ability to successfully fill roles because it reduces the likelihood that a candidate will be willing to go through the hiring process again for a different role later on. By managing these relationships and tactfully ensuring a continuous exchange of information, candidates feel valued and are more likely to raise their hand again in the future. For recruiting firms, a great candidate experience can even result in previous placements reengaging as they look to make their next transition. For jobseekers worldwide, the emergence of talent communities has lessened the stresses associated with searching for a job by allowing them to passively opt-in to communication for curated job opportunities.
Great recruiting is not picking someone up at a bar; it is building long-term relationships. Talent communities allow for the cultivation and management of these relationships with a global audience and are ultimately a cost effective means of reducing engagement timelines and improving the quality of hires. While it is difficult to say for certain, the rapid adoption of talent communities by firms and employers are leading indicators that we’re on the verge of the next big shift for the recruiting industry.