Technology: And The Marginalization of Recruiters

With the advent of the Internet, many suspected that it would change the way companies recruit talent. It is impossible to deny the dramatic changes that have been seen with online capabilities from job boards like to individual company career web pages and social media. These innovations have enabled previously unattainable reach by candidates and recruiters, both agency and internal. Newer web apps like Jobfox and Bounty Jobs have pushed recruiters further to the margins of the recruitment process and many are being relegated to that of little more than a data miner.

Technology has put us in direct competition with our clients. So what is a recruiter to do? If you want to, you can still make a living playing from the margins. Of course, in order to do this effectively, you must work on a higher volume which means spreading yourself thin and compromising quality. Working on higher volumes means you have no choice except to take significant shortcuts in the recruiting and vetting process. If you disagree, perhaps it’s because you’ve only known one way of working. Many recruiters fail to recognize how this approach actually undermines their own value to their clients. This is an undeniable fact. Yet, for some, that is a way of life and they will defend it to the end. Here’s the problem, if you have to worry that either your clients or another recruiter may find the same candidate you did online, you are in trouble unless you are a glutton for punishment or really fast on the draw.

Essentially, you are in a race with your client and or other recruiters for the active candidates on the open market. You are being marginalized because you aren’t bringing them anything that they cannot get by themselves. Sure some clients don’t have internal recruiters and that is your saving grace. If they did, they wouldn’t need you anymore at all. This is by definition, “Marginalization.” And because so many recruiters have been relegated to these margins, they are little more than researchers or data-miners. As the internet becomes more evolved and newer applications making data mining resumes easier, recruiters will become less necessary driving their fees lower still.

If you are working on contingency, you are more than likely being marginalized. The solution to your problem isn’t doing more placements, but in elevating your game and distinguishing yourself as a solution provider rather than a mere data miner. If you stay where you are, you’ll be lucky to stay in business as technology continues to take over.



3 thoughts on “Technology: And The Marginalization of Recruiters

  1. Good article Drue. I think you isolate the problem for the recruitment industry very well. I agree with being a solution provider, but of what? My own position is that good candidates will be chased harder than ever, so the value gets added by engagement, rather than contact. I know I can talk to a smart candidate about profit, margin, sales strategies etc and they’ll recognise they’re being taken seriously. If this engagement, at least a very senior levels, isn’t commercially informed and experienced, then the best candidates will take themselves and their egos somewhere where they’re made to feel valued.

    • Martin, You are right on. Engaging potential candidates and getting them into the game is key. This is perhaps the single greatest value of a good recruiter. Anyone can find someone on linkedin or some other social site. Whether they can get them to return the call and then get engaged in the process of interviewing and ultimately accepting an offer and turning down the counteroffer is the essence of our Value Proposition. Thanks for your comments.

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