Social Media to Replace Recruiters? Right, Just Like Robots Are Doing All the Work Today….

Kris Dunn Generations, HR Technology, Kris Dunn, Social Media, Sourcing

I love it when lame studies project the elimination of an entire industries.  Ever see the movie 2001?  Weren't we all supposed to be chilling at this point, allowing the computers and robots to do all the work, while we moved toward the plane called self-actualization? 

Right.. I know… We're still doing the work. That sucks, but hey, it's job security.Do_the_robot_tmb1

Here's another bold prediction.  Some experts see the downfall of recruiting agencies, which you and I know as "headhunters".  It seems this set of experts sees the rise of social networks, combines it with how the younger generations like to connect, and concludes that soon we won't need headhunters.  The social networks of the younger generations will do the work, and the employee referral will rise as the preferred alternative to headhunters. 

Read more on the study from the publication known as Talent Management:

"Direct employee relationships are threatening the supremacy of recruitment agencies, according to the first global “Digital Generation Survey.” The survey has been created by workplace experts Career Innovation (Ci) in partnership with AIESEC, a student-run organization.

“The survey reveals the astonishing effectiveness of personal referrals in recruitment,” commented Jonathan Winter of Career Innovation. “When we asked young workers from 83 countries, 45 percent said someone has joined their organization as a result of their recommendation. If that’s proving so effective, why should employers pay headhunters a huge commission to source candidates? Their own staff have better contacts.”

The researchers acknowledge that personal networks have always been an effective way of recruiting, especially in small organizations. But they cite the growth in social networking as a catalyst that could move this from an invisible, informal activity to a mainstream priority for employers.“Business has always been about relationships, conversations and networks,” commented Winter. “Now at last we are seeing the rise of software that reflects this reality.”

The move away from traditional headhunters will be driven by the next generation of workers. The “Digital Generation Survey” consulted students around the world about their motivation and behavior using new technologies. Contrary to the popular image of social networks as a time-wasting device, the survey revealed their rapid adoption for serious work-related purposes, including recruitment."

I'm not an industry recruiter (I'm a HR pro), and employee referrals are my favorite source of hires.  Still, the call that the recruiter will fade as younger generations rise into the professional class is a lame, academic prediction that's intellectually lazy

Why? Because being connected, taking the time to nourish your network, and using that network to recruit is HARD WORK.  Can those with large networks be effective in recruiting and gaining referrals?  Absolutely…

Will the managers of the next generation have time to connect, nourish and recruit in addition to their primary roles within your organization?  **** no, and that's why good recruiters will always have a job.

Here's how you replace external recruiters.  Coordinate the efforts of the managers in your company, and get them involved in social media, including LinkedIn, industry and function-specific social networks.  Make being involved externally part of their job, and coordinate their activities through an internal recruiting guru or progressive HR pro.  Set them up so when you need referrals, they have to do minimal work.

Of course, that's hard to do, and that's why we still need competent recruiters today.  Those young folks?  Once they get the responsibility and experience necessary to really deliver on their networks, they're going to be BUSY.  Without the coordination/process I'm describing above, they'll have more important things to do.

Advantage – the recruiter.  I believe the reported death is a little premature.   

Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.