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 fact a warmed-over and polished-up remake of a product from a decade ago. LinkedIn? A semi-public resume 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 – before 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 really call this an old idea that never died – 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 business around the model. It’s all in how you describe it, I guess.
  • Videos!: Recruiting that relies on video is a perfect example of an idea that made sense – except that almost no one had the technology to use it when it first 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 your memory for the next conference you attend. Then impress and befuddle the oldsters with your deep knowledge of the recruiting industry!

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