Talent Acquisition

Knowledge is Power, But Are Recruiters Effectively Harnessing it?

If there was only one theme dominating recruitment in 2015 it would certainly be this: inundation. The old database model and conventional job boards are colliding with the social media explosion more than ever, leaving recruiters drowning in a mass of information that is hard to effectively track and aggregate.

The tentacles of the sprawling social media landscape are already tangled and knotty – and the challenge of tidying up all of the data at our fingertips is likely to get even more backbreaking. The recruiters and talent acquisition managers more than ever before need a reliable solution to their headaches, in this era of information overload: a social media search-to-CRM organiser that sorts and shortlists candidates in a methodical fashion and links seamlessly to in-house processes and systems. In other words, talent managers need to bring the internet inside their organisations.

Employee retention: The never ending problem for recruitment agencies:

One of the major problems for managers in this area is the persistently high turnover rate in the recruitment industry, for both corporates and agencies. Recruiters tend to build valuable contacts and informal data organisers of their own, but they take that information with them when they walk out the door and join another employer.

Let’s take a look at that problem with a simple example. Say there’s a new managing director position open at Company X. Jones, a recruiter at a high-profile agency, knows a potential candidate – let’s call him Smith. They have been connected through a social network for years. Not only does Jones know Smith is a perfect fit for the position at Company X, but he’s also friendly enough with Smith to invite him to dinner to discuss the opportunity. No one else at Jones’s agency has even heard Smith’s name, much less knows about his unique professional skills and achievements.

Here’s what happens next. As the recruitment process unfolds, Jones leaves his job for another agency. When Company X is finally ready to fill the role, Jones takes Smith out for another round of drinks and seals the deal on behalf of his new employer. The old agency lost the deal because no one else but Jones had access to Smith – they had failed to ‘retain the candidate’.

What’s the moral of the story, you ask? That’s easy: it pays to centralise candidate data across the organisation, whether that’s a corporate or an agency. The more candidate data is captured and shared across the firm, the less risk there is of losing that data when it matters most.

The power of the internal database:

At the same time, recruiters must accelerate their efforts to redefine who they are and what they do in this era of information overload. They must learn how to deliver new types of value – and adopt new information retrieval tools in the process.

Just a few years ago, recruitment agencies could sell their services on the quality of their candidate databases. They could claim their databases contained desirable candidates that their competitors lacked – something to the effect of “Only our firm has exclusive access to the top Harvard graduates.”

No longer. LinkedIn, Tianji, Xing, Zoominfo and other sites have ensured that everyone now effectively has a presence on the internet and everyone else has access to their profiles. ‘Exclusive access’ to ‘special candidates’ does not exist in 2015, and will no longer exist going forward. Thus, most of the value has been transferred from exclusivity to the one-on-one relationships between recruiters and their candidates.

With a firm-wide online search-to-database process in place, talent managers will be able to limit the damage caused by their own internal turnover. To be sure, the power of personal relationships with candidates will never fade. But at least other recruiters in the organisation will stand a fighting chance of keeping the relationships with candidates if the owners of those relationships should leave for another employer.

As CEO of Daxtra’s Asia business, I spend much of my time discussing our range of information management tools with talent managers and business owners. My job is to remind clients that it is a waste to spend so much money and energy on internet-based research and sourcing efforts without effectively harnessing the knowledge they’ve gained from prior searches.

Social recruiting: Disorganised chaos

Of course, many recruiters are already asking the right questions: Is the candidate publishing regularly on LinkedIn? Is she a member of desirable clubs and associations? Has she recently updated her work history emphasising achievements? This kind of activity may be an indication that the profile owner is looking for a career change.

Such professional observations are certainly becoming a common practice in social recruiting. But today it’s the mechanics of keeping track of these changes to candidate profiles that truly matters. The goal is to organise and aggregate these findings and to easily access them again as needed, without restarting the search process or digging through an enormous amount of candidate information scattered across disparate piles.

Knowledge is indeed power. Wouldn’t it be useful – and indeed beneficial to the bottom line – to have tools that effectively track the nearly endless evolution of the candidate landscape?

Author bio: Sergei Makhmodov is one of the original founders of Daxtra Technologies and has been in the talent technology space for over 15 years. He now runs Daxtra’s Asia and Pacific operations out of Hong Kong.

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