The REAL Recruiting Innovation

I have been busy lately.

billboorman101130-1I hosted the Dice sponsored #truSanfran, #truOC and #truNY (#tru stands for the recruiting unconference), and attended #RIS13, ERE’s Recruiting Innovation Summit, also in SanFran. I had the good fortune to speak and listen to more than 350 people who work in and around recruiting, which has given me a good snapshot of where recruiting and innovation is placed at the moment. There are quite a few cool tools being released into the market, but the real innovation is coming from people and process.

We are in a tough place right now as recruiters, with a significant just-in-time workload. The average job in the US needs 85 applicants (75 in the UK) to get filled, and around 70% of the candidates who apply are considered unsuitable or unqualified. The average recruiter handles around 30 reqs at any one time. That is a huge pipeline when you do the math, and the solution to date has been to build a bigger pipe, and find more and more ways of attracting new candidates to get to the required 85. This isn’t great for the candidates or the recruiters, and no one wins.

There is a new attitude toward candidates, and the smart companies are changing their approach to how they divide people in the pipeline, more commonly known as the talent network. People connect with the network in a variety of ways. Some come from advertising and job posts, some via social media channels, some are approached by recruiters using clever technology like Dice Open Web. What is innovative is what happens when they get there.

The new classifications being applied are:

  • Lead – An identified person without enough data to qualify
  • Candidate – A connection who has expressed interest in the company with identified skills, experience and location.
  • Applicant – Someone in the process of applying for a role

This takes a process of qualification, with candidates remaining candidates as long as they choose to, whether or not they are applying for specific roles. This enables recruiters to search, match and share relevant content and messages on an ongoing basis. The real development here is in the area of assessment. In the past, assessment testing was expensive, time consuming and required the help of an expert. This is changing dramatically, with a lot of innovation, built through cloud sourcing and real time data. Simple tests that are easy to administer and complete, in areas ranging from critical skills and knowledge, technical or coding tests, psychometrics, reference checks (aggregated) and even fun video games where skills and interests can be scored without the potential candidate even knowing they are being assessed.

I think this marks the shift from academic learning and examination as a mark of skill/capability, and a more informal way of learning and being ranked against the needs of an organisation. This also reflects the informal way people are learning on the job and in real time. It might go some way to solving the perceived skills shortage in the tech sector, given that it is estimated that 55% of the people in the sector will be working in a job role in three years that doesn’t currently exist; jobs that will be created by innovation that will require innovative approaches to sourcing. The normative data employed in traditional assessment tests will be much less useful in the future, because it will become dated quickly, whereas this new wave of technology updates the norms in real time as each assessment is completed.

Exciting times, Bill