I am not so sure that it is and I feel that the Web 2.0 and recruitment agencies do different things and each has their own place. I have been reading a lot about the growth of the web meaning everyone has a digital footprint and how that impacts on recruitment agencies. There is an argument that it’s getting easier and easier to find people online and as a result, companies are increasingly going down the direct sourcing route. This viewpoint relies heavily on one fact- everyone is online.
I’ll be honest, I am not a huge contributor on social media. I know that it has a place but outside of work I’m quite a private person and would rather not share where I am and what I am up to on a regular basis. That’s a personal choice though and I’m not saying I don’t use social media – I do, I see its value, I use it at work and to keep in contact with some of my friends (and enjoy scrolling through Facebook to see what people are doing)! As a mum of teenage daughters I also worry about the potential negative impact on well-being but again appreciate that it’s the way teens feel connected. It did make me think though – is everyone really online? Let’s look at some of the facts.
LinkedIn is a good place to start as it is a professional networking tool. I think it’s safe to say looking at the various stats out there that a high proportion of the UK working population has a LinkedIn profile. Those that don’t probably have a presence elsewhere, on Twitter, Facebook etc. The point I would make though is that there is a difference between having a profile and actually using that profile. As a recruiter I search on LinkedIn regularly and see many profiles that are not updated, often two or three job moves out of date. Or some people who for some reason have more than one account. Occasionally I have people accept connection requests that I sent months, sometimes years ago. Yes they may be ignoring me! Or they may not be engaging with LinkedIn regularly. Just because we use LinkedIn on pretty much a daily basis we shouldn’t assume everyone else does. So I do agree that the Web 2.0 has made it easier to find people, but not everyone, and not everyone is easily visible or actively engaging online.
Let’s consider the comment I made that companies are increasingly going down the direct sourcing route. Yes, a lot of companies have built in-house HR teams over the last few years and as a result are focusing on direct sourcing. We must remember though that it’s only the larger companies who are doing this. The majority of organisations are SMEs, about 5.5 million of them in the UK. I am sure that there are exceptions to the rule however these businesses will not have big teams of in house recruiters with the time and specialist knowledge to fill all the in-house roles. Of course they can put up an advert but as we know, it’s rare to get a great candidate from an advert. And do they have the time to sift through the responses, most of whom do not have the required experience for the role – no matter how specific the advert is worded?
I often talk to clients about attracting passive candidates. Around 75% of the workforce are not actively looking for a role and won’t be searching on vacancies. When sourcing for new hires you really need a means of tapping into this major part of the workforce. A recruitment agency is the best way to do that. Passive candidates are likely to have heard of the recruitment agency in their sector when talking to colleagues and will be more open to a conversation with that agency. Passive candidates may well be engaged with the agency and have already had discussions around career planning – they will be part of the agencies network. Accessing this network through a recruitment agency has huge value in the recruitment process.
In conclusion, the way recruiters work is changing – as is the case with most other jobs. The fundamental basic principles of what we do remain the same though. Recruiters will continue to source using their networks and innovative means, enabling them to reach those candidates who aren’t well-represented online. We will always filter and qualify candidates using our specialist knowledge, saving businesses time and money and finding the ‘best’ candidates for the role. Recruiters are able to sell to a candidate effectively, giving them a range of opportunities, demonstrating an understanding the sectors they work in and getting engagement from the candidates from the start of the process.
- by Emma Wade