Three ‘old’ recruiting ideas that are new again

RecruitingIt often feels that the longer I work in the recruit­ing indus­try, the less I see that is tru­ly ‘new’. This is nei­ther an unusu­al or sur­pris­ing insight, by the way. If you by chance are par­tic­i­pat­ing in an indus­try con­fer­ence, spend some time with the, ahem, ‘more senior’ folks at the gath­er­ing. Apart from the amuse­ment fac­tor (noth­ing like lis­ten­ing to an old­ster like me recall­ing how I was pos­i­tive that Face­book would fail!), you will invari­ably hear com­ments about this or that ‘rev­o­lu­tion­ary new prod­uct’ that is in a warmed-over and pol­ished-up remake of a prod­uct from a decade ago. LinkedIn? A semi-pub­lic data­base. Indeed? Google Adwords for recruit­ing. And so on…

Now, I don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly think this is bad, in case you were won­der­ing. Some­times prod­ucts and the ideas they are based on are released too soon the tech­nol­o­gy is ready, or before users can under­stand them. Some­times you just have to wait a decade before peo­ple are ready to accept, under­stand, and buy them. Take the above-men­tioned Indeed – it took them the bet­ter part of a decade for their ‘Adwords for recruit­ing’ PPC mod­el to gain accep­tance from employ­ers. Now look at them – envelop­ing the earth!

So with­out fur­ther ado, let’s look at three old ideas that have become ‘new’ again:

  • Recruit­ment automa­tion:  Ven­dors and thought-lead­ers have been push­ing the automa­tion of recruit­ment process­es since I start­ed in the indus­try back in the late 90s. Yet Indeed is now launch­ing a new push to encour­age employ­ers to auto­mate their side of the recruit­ing process (on the Indeed plat­form, of course).  They are putting out data that points the fin­ger at employ­ers wast­ing too much time in the hir­ing process – and then encour­ag­ing them to use Indeed’s var­i­ous tools to elim­i­nate all of the dil­ly-dal­ly­ing (ok, they don’t use that exact lan­guage!).  Who knows – maybe it will work!
  • Reverse recruit­ment: The nor­mal flow of recruit­ing is job seek­er look­ing for job, right? So reverse recruit­ment flips that mod­el by hav­ing the employ­er locate suit­able can­di­dates in their own (or some oth­er) data­base. Hmm, sounds sus­pi­cious­ly like old fash­ioned recruit­ing! Any­way, you can call this an old idea that nev­er – about every three or four years, the con­cept seems to gain momen­tum and a new wave of reverse job boards pop up. I saw a notice recent­ly that Want­ed­Lab in South Korea is launch­ing such a ser­vice – using AI, of course. Some job boards like LinkedIn build their entire around the mod­el. It’s all in how you describe it, I guess.
  • Videos!: Recruit­ing that relies on video is a exam­ple of an idea that made sense – except that almost no one had the tech­nol­o­gy to use it when it appeared back in the ear­ly 2000s. In fact, you can argue that it only tru­ly became fea­si­ble in the last 4–5 years for most users. Per­haps that’s why employ­ers are still hes­i­tant to adopt video in all its guis­es – from video resumes, to video inter­views, to short ‘learn about our com­pa­ny’ clips on the employ­er pro­file page. Video works (at least based on the stats I’ve seen) but – like so many oth­er things in recruit­ing – just because it works does­n’t mean that employ­ers will use it.

I’m sure you can think of some oth­er ‘new things that are revived old things‘, too! In fact, here’s a sug­ges­tion – if you’re younger than me (and I sus­pect you are), have a few exam­ples stowed in mem­o­ry for the next con­fer­ence you attend. Then impress and befud­dle the old­sters with your knowl­edge of the recruit­ing indus­try!

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