The Future of Recruiting: It’s Not What You Think!

If only we could gaze into a crystal ball and see what the future holds. Unfortunately, for recruiters, the world over the crystal ball that shows us what is coming in the next 10 years is about as mythical as the tree that grows candidates in your office backyard. However, we do have some fairly strong indicators about what to expect in the next few years. The most important thing we can be doing right now is to prepare now to maximize our profitability and impact over the next decade.

We know that the U.S. will lose about 30 percent of its workforce by 2023 as Baby Boomers retire. That means the shortage of candidates we feel today will continue. We have to develop systems and programs that truly keep us in contact with our candidate pool in a meaningful and consistent way. The days of storing a bunch of names and numbers in a database and bringing them up when you need them is long gone.

As you consider methods to stay in touch with your network, you would be well-served to blend a heavy dose of technology into your strategy. Think of the advancements made in communication technologies in the past several years. It’s hard to imagine that the first iPhone hit the market in 2007. Now, more than 129 million Americans own a smartphone. Research finds that 18-to-34-year-olds carry their phones an average of 22 hours a day. This demographic is our future candidate pool. We must be ready to communicate with them in new and advanced ways that fit their needs, not ours.

It’s also important to note the difference between the communications required for the client side of our business. While certainly using the same technology, employers have a very different expectation on the types of communications they prefer to receive from us. One of the disadvantages of smart phone technology is the need to abbreviate and shorten our words. If you use Twitter, you know how to convey an entire thought in 140 characters or less. The services we deliver can’t be and shouldn’t be truncated to that degree. We as an industry need to come up with ways to put the professionalism back into a process that is continuously being shortened under the guise of “urgency.” I’ve noticed a decided pattern within the recruiting community that “urgency” has translated into “sloppy” instead of expedient. This has to stop.

It will take time, energy, and resources to make sure we keep pace with emerging technologies. We cannot remain stagnant or stuck; Technology is moving way too fast. And right now we’re lagging way behind.