recruiters adapt or die

I was recently talking to Greg Savage about the changing world of recruitment and the premise that recruiters must Adapt or Die. Greg talked about dinosaur recruiters who cling to the methods of the past and proactively resist change. While I agree with this view, I see the successful recruiters of the future will still need all the skills it took to be a successful recruiter in the past, plus expert skills with the new techniques and technology.

The fundamental change in the recruitment industry in the past few years has been about the value of information. Ten years ago, the primary value-add for many recruiters was simply that they could find candidates more cost-effectively than their corporate clients. A decade on and the tables have turned. With a simple Google search anyone can find thousands of candidates. So the value Agencies provide is not simply having a big database, but of being able to extract value from the vast quantity of data that is available to them.

Next, consider what has not changed in ten years. In spite of all the new technology (and because of it!), recruitment is still really difficult. This should be celebrated within the Agency world as it is the one thing that will keep some of us employed.

My conclusion, therefore, is that while the objective remains unchanged but the way Recruitment Agencies add value, now and in the future, is radically changing.

My predictions for the future of the Agency Recruiter:

  1. Thanks to me and all the other recruitment technologists trying to make recruitment easier, we will continue to make it more and more difficult. (That’s a good thing)
  2. In the past few years, corporate recruiters have been able to recruit better than Agencies, because they had clever marketing departments to create an employer brand. Agencies will specialist and create sectoral brands and ultimately these will give the agency market an advantage.
  3. The good recruiters will be valued and respected. The ‘no placement no fee approach’ has led to a lack of respect for the industry and this has to go. Recruiters need to take responsibility for filling the positions they work on.
  4. There will be a continuing polarization between the really good recruiters and the poor ones. We’ve long had celebrity sportspeople and even celebrity chefs who will be the first celebrity recruiter? My money is on Greg Savage.
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