The Modern-Day Recruiter, Part 2

By: | February 11, 2019 • 3 min read
Ruben Moreno is cofounder of Blue Rock Search, a search firm based in Knoxville, Tenn. He has 20-plus years of experience in HR and search and received his bachelor's degree in labor and industrial relations from Cornell University.

Since the mid to late 90’s, there have been multiplemilestones in the recruiting industry that have given rise to speculation (both positive and negative) on technology’s impact on the recruiting community. In the last 20 years, we’ve seen the growth and (in some cases) decline of broad job/resume posting websites such as CareerBuilder, Monster, Ladders and Indeed, along with many more highly specialized sites in this space catering to specific talent communities, like Dice and Stack Overflow. We’ve also seen the growth and evolution of LinkedIn’s platform from 500,000 members in 2004 to its current 400 million-plus. In fact, according to the 2017 SourceCon State of Sourcing survey, 96 percent of sourcers use LinkedIn to source candidates. Facebook and Twitter are also increasingly being used to identify and connect with targeted talent communities.

Meanwhile, automated sourcing tools such as Hiretual, Connectifier and Lusha are increasing in popularity among sourcing and recruiting communities. Applicant tracking systems, candidate relationship management systems and HCM platforms have also made significant technological advancements within their respective space. The evolution and growth of cloud-based platforms, inclusive of their ease of implementation and adoption, will continue to be a game changer in this space.

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You can’t talk about being an effective modern-day recruiter today without addressing the impact and importance of the technological advances this space has seen over the last 10 years. They allow us to identify and connect with targeted talent communities very quickly. They can greatly enhance the capability and bandwidth of any individual recruiter or recruiting team. Advances in artificial intelligence, chat bots and automation tools are disrupting the recruiting profession. According to Bersin by Deloitte, talent acquisition is the most important part of HR and makes up a $120-plus billion worldwide market. Additionally, the talent acquisition technology market boasts over 400 competitive solutions for hiring and continues to show growth rates of 10 percent to 12 percent, according to research from McLean & Co. Vendors in the space are racing to develop, market and sell tech platforms that optimize the entire recruitment-process life cycle, enhance candidate experience, and improve quality of hire.

For this month’s column, I decided to ask some current talent acquisition leaders the following question: “How has technology changed your role/work as a TA leader?”

Here’s what a couple of them had to say:

Justin Clem, vice president of talent, SolarWinds:

“This is an interesting question. I think it really depends on how we are defining technology. Would we define technology such as a baby boomer might define it (computers, word processors, analog cellular networks)?  How about how Generation X (SAS, email, digital mobile networks, internet) or millennials and Gen Y” (cloud, social media, iOS or Android applications, wifi, etc.)?

The truly impactful technologies are the ones that survive/ bridge each generation, specifically the internet, LinkedIn, and digital mobile networks. Next up is the impact that Google and its Chrome browser have had, because they seem, respectively, to be the search engine and browser that will survive many generations to come. This brings us to today, in which there seem to be three newly created categories that are fighting it out over which ones will bridge the generations to come. I would suggest those categories are Chrome extensions, data aggregators (resume/profile mining) and, of course, A.I. Each one we download or demo brings an element of fascination when using it for the first time, much like the first iPhone we ever saw. 

So, what would I, as a TA leader, like to see in the future? A connection to all of the above … a world where it all comes together under one platform. Somewhere I can post a job and the data tells me the best places to post based on supply. Where AI uses the aggregators to find talent and the best extensions tell me how to contact them based on that job description … all using the same platform.

In summary, how has technology changed my role/work as a TA leader? It’s continued to deepen my belief that there isn’t a silver bullet solution, but instead some rather useful technologies that continue to bridge the generations that allow me to be more efficient, and new tools that show promise for additional efficiencies in the future. For me, I will continue to experiment and try new products that come to market, but I will always exercise balance between the past, present and future.”

Cheryl Petersen—head of talent acquisition, ARUP Americas:

“Technology has brought us the ability to attract greater amounts of diverse talent to firms like ours and provided recruiting teams with the ability to automate many of the administrative processes that tie recruiters up and prevent them from engaging and personally connecting with talent.

AI and other technologies are critical to the advancement of our function and our ability to add to the bottom line by reducing time-to-fill and cost-per-hire, but they should be implemented in balance with a focus on creating more opportunities for quality human interactions that help us to shape a better world for our candidates. If we push technology too far and remove the ability for candidates, recruiters and hiring managers to build a human connection with each other, then we’ve lost what this world—in my opinion—is all about.”

Given the current state and evolving nature of TA technology, modern-day recruiters must be tech-savvy practitioners who are highly capable of utilizing all of the relevant and available tools at their disposal. The true capability and value of the modern-day recruiter reaches far beyond one’s ability to master technology. They distinguish themselves through their ability to engage, understand and connect organizations and individuals that match on multiple levels beyond merely possessing the technical requirements and competencies of an open position. In his book Full Stack Recruiter: The Modern Recruiter’s Guide, Jan Tegze writes that “AI could have good algorithms to find people, but people hire people.”

Technology drives the speed and efficiency with which we can identify and connect with targeted talent communities today. It allows the modern-day recruiter to focus on the value-added activities of candidate engagement, relationship building, talent attraction, and experience management.

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While this is one just one recruiter’s perspective, I suspect we can all agree that the demands and expectations of the modern-day recruiter  extend far beyond posting and praying. On a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis, we work on learning how to fully leverage the technology available to us. On a parallel path, we spend focused time and attention engaging with, and understanding the needs of, targeted talent for critical openings in our organizations. Given the fluid nature of both technology and talent availability, for those of us who’ve made the decision to call this “our craft,” attaining greatness requires a passionate and ongoing commitment to mastering it.

So perhaps the next time you are at a social gathering, meeting someone for the first time, or in a setting where someone asks, “So, what do you do?” you can look at them with a big smile and say, “I am a modern-day recruiter!”