Recruiting Wasn’t Broken Until You Came Along.

Every day, I’m lucky enough to get to talk to the people on the cutting edge of the recruiting technology industry; most of these are entrepreneurs who share a passion for their mostly cookie cutter products and the belief that, somehow, they’re going to help fix recruiting, which every single one seems to think is either “broken” or “a problem.”

The problem, at least as I see it, is actually entirely the creation of these companies looking to create a market for solutions and, in doing so, adding unnecessary layers of complexity to something that’s pretty straightforward and simple. Recruiting isn’t that hard.

If you know how to source, how to soft sell a candidate in the guise of a screen and how to present and package those candidates to hiring managers, you can fill a position with or without social, mobile, big data or automated matching algorithms.

I love the fact that millions of dollars of venture are pouring into this space, and literally tens of thousands of startups have started up to try to serve the recruiting market. For the most part, I want to see them succeed, not least because the viability of highly niched or specialized point solutions dedicated to talent acquisition is the canary in the macroeconomic employment coal mine.

That these companies are succeeding is a sign that companies are hiring, because no product dedicated to proactive recruiting, no matter how awesome it might be, is going to survive if companies aren’t hiring, and the recruiting market wasn’t competitive.

So, I do applaud what these emerging companies represent in aggregate – but individually, they aren’t working to do anything more altruistic than be a quick payoff for the venture capitalists and executive team, another tech turnaround project to be frenetically flipped.

The market, historically, has tended to favor consolidation, and the end game for almost every single one of these isn’t an IPO, but rather, to get acquired by one of the bigger players – the exact same companies who actually created the problem they’ve built equity purporting to solve. That the goal is selling out to the very companies they’re selling against seems silly, but when you’re trying to cash in and get out as quickly as possible, that’s just business as usual.

If you think they care about the customers left under contract and forced to pick up the pieces of an unsupported system riding towards the inevitable SaaS sunsetting, you’re probably naive enough to think that, say, you should sink six figures into social recruiting or ‘gamifying’ your recruiting process. The fact is you’re inevitably inviting a bigger problem by buying into these venture funded, unproven, commoditized “solutions” than any they might purport to solve in the first place.

Recruiting might be broken, but it’s up to recruiters to fix it – and there’s no tool or technology on earth that can actually do it for you. Don’t believe that the changing marketplace or platforms have changed the fundamentals – and you should be investing in training people how to make a cold call, disposition a resume, write a job description or close a candidate, not buying a product aimed at automating recruiters into oblivion.

Because the market might change, but the basics never do – and they’re far more pressing than the fact that you’re not using video screening or don’t have a branded talent community integrated into your ATS.

13 Comments on “Recruiting Wasn’t Broken Until You Came Along.”

  1. Too bad we never really had a standard baseline around measures of recruiting time, cost and quality, hiring manager satisfaction or candidate sentiment to compare with today’s tech-solution happy world. I’m guessing the differences between any of the measures of performance over the last 20 years would be…undetectable.

  2. I had a recruiter notify me that people in the staffing business no longer go into the business of working with, and specifically placing candidates, and it is all now about search and filter. My impression now is that people in the staffing business, if that is true, are going to get themselves displaced by big data driven applications. I agree it shouldn’t be too hard to place someone, BUT, if they are going global with finding candidates, and it is just search, then they are going to put themselves out of business by their lack of caring.

  3. Reblogged this on RJ Consulting and commented:
    Matt Charney doing what Matt Charney does best, providing the pork sans lipstick. “Recruiting might be broken, but it’s up to recruiters to fix it – and there’s no tool or technology on earth that can actually do it for you.” If you are not onboard you might want to consider it, because the ship is heading back to port.

  4. Matt, as always you hit the nail on the head. The problem may not be all the vendor’s faults as they know we recruiters love shiny metal objects flashing in our face. There are too many players who want to play, play, play, but us haters hate, hate hate the fact the vendors think they can solve our problems.. There are so many pain points that they don’t understand. #walkamileinmyshoes @Superrecruiter out

  5. Pingback: All That Glitters Isn't Recruitment Gold - Rice Consulting

  6. Hi Matt,

    Really just loved this article and the spirit in which it was written. Do you think Linkedin has begun to overcook their own goose (with so much noise) and begun to make it all a bit too overdone? I personally find Twitter easier to just jump on and find a good clever thinking recruiter. ? So 10/10 for intuition and insight with your blog piece Matt.

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