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Is Agency recruitment going to be ‘uber-ised’?

Source | Gerg Savage 

At least twice a month I am approached by an HR Tech startup with a ‘new’ idea to ‘disrupt’ the recruitment industry. Plenty of these guys (and occasionally, gals) are super-smart, and all are earnest, (sometimes fanatical), in their belief that they have found ‘the holy grail’.

In many cases, indeed I think most cases, it’s very early in the conversation that I am told, ‘we will be the Uber of recruitment’ or perhaps, ‘we plan to uber-ise the defunct agency recruitment model’.

And I start to weep inside.

Trust me, LinkedIn will have joined MySpace before agency recruitment gets ‘uber-ised’

Here is why.

Mostly, the HR Tech idea guys do not understand where the value in recruitment is. Almost always their model is to ‘connect the job seeker to the employer and thereby cut out the middle man(recruiter)’.

In some cases these ‘new ideas’ are virtually impossible to differentiate from job boards.

The false premise this entire thinking is based on, is the belief that it’s matching of candidate profiles to vacant job descriptions that cracks open the golden recruiting egg. And the HR tech boys and girls can get pretty excited about that because indeed, algorithms can make that match.

But often they don’t ‘get’ that ‘matching’ is the very easiest part of the recruitment process.

These are the hard parts

• Identifying candidates who are not looking, but who will fit a hard-to-find skill set.
• Approaching, enticing, seducing, and bringing those candidates to the hiring table.
• Managing the hiring process, negotiating terms, finessing the brief, handling the counter-offer, assisting with on-boarding.

There simply is no technology yet, that makes any discernible inroad on replacing these key ‘human’ recruiting skills.

Don’t get me wrong, technology will change the face of recruitment, and wipe out many dinosaur recruitment agencies that do not adapt and evolve. Indeed there are some HR tech businesses who are building sophisticated talent communities and developing predictive analytics to address the issues I raise above. Even the smarter job boards are getting with the program.

They did not ask me, but here is some advice for the HR Tech dudes who want to ‘change recruitment’.

Come up with technology that improves recruitment by humanising it more, not less. Don’t try and ‘change’ recruitment by dumbing it down even further.

Every piece of HR tech you ever dream up… ask this question, “Does this technology improvethe candidate experience, or not’.

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