Monday, June 13, 2005

Future of Recruiting Part 2

Have you read Lefcow’s blog—it’s about the future. Not just the future but the future of recruiting. This is probably the most important topic in the recruiting field and we spend little time thinking ten and twenty years out. The fact is that we don’t even need to think that far out anymore because it’s the age of acceleration. There are companies out there changing the way we live and work. Some lead the effort and others react. Those in the recruiting field that are thinking about the future and making the changes now will be the ones to lead. The challenge is that the same organizations providing us the resources to advance the field are the ones that create the bureaucracy which can hold us back. Recruiting, HR, Marketing and IT will have to work in harmony to obtain many of the advancements that are at our fingertips. I wrote an article about the future of recruiting. This topic is too big to discuss in one blog. Here is future of recruiting part 2.

Most of what I’m going to write about are things we can be doing now. Let’s face it, we can make all the predictions we want about the future but finding good people is tough NOW and it isn’t getting any easier. We know that the future is going to bring added complexities to what we do. The demographics of our labor force are rapidly changing. Our skilled labor force is more mobile than ever. The new generations demand more from employers. IP is becoming harder to protect. Technology is making the work/time/space irrelevant. I can go on and on but the fact is that we can’t know exactly what it’s going to look like 10 or 20 years out but we know finding and retaining people will be tough. We also know that there are inefficiencies in what we do now; we know technology can help or hinder what we do based on how it’s designed and how we use it. So how can we make this all work to our advantage instead of hinder us?

Some folks from TMP recently visited our office. They talked about Best Practices, but more importantly, they said they would also like to talk about Next Practices. I liked their thinking around this. I, in a way, discounted best practices in my last article on this subject. We need both. We have to ensure our practices are the best now and that we are incorporating new practices to lead the charge into the future. So in this blog entry I’m going to talk about three recruiting “next practices” but also about what we can do now to address what’s to come.

Integrated Branding

A lot of the smart recruiting bloggers out there have been talking a lot about branding. Check out Joel’s SEO blog for example. If you don’t get branding or why it’s important then you should spend some time reading and studying brand. This is my first topic of discussion, integrated recruitment/company branding.

This may seem obvious. Integrated branding. But it’s only by happenstance in most situations that the branding is integrated. And…it’s usually recruiting just leaching onto the company brand. Take Nike for example. They have an extremely powerful brand. Recruiting can simply stick a swoosh on their ad and candidates will instantly have an emotional connection. I know the Nike recruiters are more sophisticated than this—I’m only using this as an example. The point is that they have very powerful tools at their disposal. This comes from a very strong marketing team. In how many organizations does recruiting take an active role in company wide marketing? Probably not many! But why not. We want candidates to have an emotional connection just like customers. This is truly our most powerful tool in recruiting hands down. If anybody thinks otherwise let me know. Think about it. Nike doesn’t pay the highest salaries in the market job for job. Yet they have people lining up at the door to come work for them. Why? BRAND!

Recruiting will be a driving force of company branding in the future. Now as much as I like to try and predict the future I’m also a realist. Do you like when people that have never recruited before tell you how to recruit? “Why don’t you just throw an ad on Monster.” Oh gees, thanks, I wish I had thought of that—duh! Well marketing isn’t going to want some recruiter walking in and telling them how they should do their job either. I’m all about what we can do now to prepare for the future. How about ask if you can join some of your marketing team meetings. Let them know you are interested in incorporating more of the overall company brand image into your recruitment campaign and would like to learn more. This way you get to know the marketing team. Who knows, maybe you will even have an opportunity to give input.

Talent Pools

There are companies that have excellent talent pool programs now. One that comes to mind is GE. They hire top grads from around the country and allow them to spend time working in different business units throughout GE. They get to travel, learn about different business groups, and then settle down into a group that they will thrive in. GE has the resources to do this but this would obviously put a strain on medium and small business. With the added demand for talent, competition, and the changing demographics of the labor force we will see more companies considering talent pools. Organizations will pre-hire top talent, rotate them through business groups and then move them into new positions as they open.

I believe this is something we can sell into our organizations now. If you are from a Fortune 500 firm you are probably saying big deal, we have this now. This one is geared more towards medium and small business, especially for businesses that hire niche skill sets where talent is very difficult to come by.

Pick a position within your organization that you have a constant need for, where it’s difficult to find talent, and is considered an important or revenue generating role. Determine what the business could sustain in terms investment hire. If you are a small business this may only be one hire. If you are a mid size business maybe this is five to ten. Pull in a senior level champion from the business unit you will be hiring for and get them involved. You will need them to sell this back to your hiring managers when the time comes.

Once you have buy in from your leadership team develop a program to attract the talent. You need to think long-term here. What is going to attract someone to join an organization without moving into an actual job. Think of GE”s program. They allow people to travel and experience different business units. The program has an elitist feel to it. They hire from top universities. What could your organization offer that is unique? How will you brand this program? .

New Media

I have written about new media in my last “Future of Recruiting” blog but this is an important one. The media landscape is changing so rapidly that we have to keep a pulse on it.

I’m going to focus on a few forms of new media that I did not mention in my last blog. Most of these forms of media are available to us now and a few are years out.

  • Product Placement: Because of Tivo and digital recording consumers are choosing what they want to watch. Advertisers can’t force ads on consumers any longer. Because of this we have seen more product placement integrated within TV shows. Just think if you got Ross from friends to say that he has applied to a job opening at your company. Then he makes some joke about why he wasn’t qualified for the position. This one is a little more blue sky but the point is that we need to be thinking about new ways to reach candidates.
  • Gaming: I was talking to a TMP rep from Boston and she mentioned that one of the big five consulting firms had developed an on-line game that they rolled out to college students throughout the country. It allowed them to compete against each other. They were able to sell it to the universities because it had a learning component. They were able to track whom the top students were and brand their organization at the same time.
  • Spatial Recruiting: In the not to distant future we will have access to Smart Phones that will use GPS and triangulation technology to locate and identify people in any given location. Yes this sounds far fetched but it’s only because it’s new to us. How can we use this? Let’s say you go to a university to do a college recruitment fair. The turn out is a little bit less than expected. You can use your smart phone to send an instant message to everyone within a quarter-mile radius of your booth inviting them to come by. Now how cool is that!

I’m not going to go into every form of new media out there. I could go on for pages. I will save this for the next chapter in the future of recruiting. Lets go back to my first point, branding. You can use all the new media in the world but if you don’t have a defined and consistent brand you will confuse your audience. If you are sending IM’s with one look and feel and then running on-line ads with a completely different message then candidates may not be able relate or connect with your organization. They may end up viewing it as spam. Remember the Nike logo. The feeling you get from it. Make sure you audience FEELS IT!

Stayed Tuned For Future of Recruiting Part 3

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