Death of a Recruiter

This is part of a short series of posts based on a report we’ve just completed with Econsultancy, The Impact of Digital Beyond Sales and Marketing. It is a view from the ‘front line’ of recruitment and has been written by our Internal Recruiter Gloria Simpson.

As with other business sectors, recruitment and HR are not immune to the occasional hype that inevitably accompanies digital change.

Recently a feature piece in online media community site Chinwag declared the death of the Recruitment Consultant, while elsewhere it looks like recruitment advertising has been proclaimed dead on the table. The not so silent assassin in both cases? Social media, of course.

Look beyond the hype, however, and you can see this doesn’t ring entirely true.

Yes, some companies are finding their future employees through online ‘word of mouth’ referrals instead of simply handing over the responsibility to a recruitment agent (as identified in Blue Latitude’s recent research with Econsultancy) but the fact is that while you may need to recruit a new member of your digital marketing team through their usage of Twitter, the same is unlikely to apply – for example – to a new CFO,  Accounts Payable Person or Personal Assistant.

The fact is that the future superstar of your business might be so busy being productive that they just don’t have the time to trawl through job boards, thus they find it easier to let a recruitment consultant assist them with their job search. They might not even be looking in the first place.

And as for those people (and this is particularly prevalent in those looking for roles in digital) who do use social media to drive their job search and wider career ambitions, there’s every chance you’ll encounter a particularly new recruitment problem: the socially-enhanced ‘pseudo CV’.

There has been a great deal of media attention given to employers who screen social media profiles in order make sure that the candidates whose CVs are in front of them are trying to conceal a life of debauched drinking and partying, but no one seems to look for the opposite.

Sometimes it seems that for every candidate out there frantically ‘untagging’ themselves from last weekend’s party photos on Facebook, there are two more, equally frantically updating their LinkedIn page with reciprocal recommendations from friends; making sure their Twitter feed portrays them as a guru of relevant re-tweetery; or even starting a professional blog.

Such is the way of the ‘pseudo CV’.

It’s to see through the acts that candidates (particularly those with a level of digital-savvy) can put-on in these days of digital masks and multiple identities that the intermediary service provided by a recruitment consultant can still help – by ensuring that a new breed of digitally empowered timewasters doesn’t get through the door.

So the recruitment industry isn’t dead yet, and neither is recruitment advertising.

The fact is, as my colleague Duncan Arbour likes to point out, that while the future is still unevenly distributed, the past is so widely distributed that it tends to blend into the background and be ignored in favour of what’s new and shiny.

What is required for any organisation looking to recruit is a balance of the old and new – it’s not about wholesale abandonment of business as usual, it’s about using the right approach to find the right people for the job.

On that note, if you are interested in working for Blue Latitude, you can find our current roles here; please just don’t try to fake a relevant social media CV, OK?

21 Responses to “Death of a Recruiter”

    • Evaggelos.K.Nassiou

      As a trainee lawyer I too have this gap between old age employees and the new ones. Well, this gap is easy to cover by companies if they start training programs for employees. I mean it’s easier when you know how to type on your keyboard fast without seeing it , than writing on a piece of paper. Seminars for old age emloyees are vital so they can be updated.

  1. notesfromrumbleycottage

    Here is the funny part of the ‘new’ technology – it is still possible to lie and bolster that resume. Oh, and another funny part? It is not going to totally replace what is already out there. Somethings will come and go only to be made a part of something else – such as typewriters. We don’t have them anymore but we have keyboards with the same key placement as typewriters. I do not think recruiters are ever going away or disappearing. They are going to find some other way of making the business work – especially if candidates are out there who do not want the appearance that they are ‘looking’ for another job.
    Good post and congrats on getting freshly pressed.

  2. Neil Watson

    This is so true. I hope my digital footprint is sufficiently off-putting as to rule out any organisation that relies on just this methodology alone. I lost out to a person for a role recently, pretty-much solely because he has 2,000 followers on Twitter.

    I bet I had more scout badges than him, but did they care?

    • jesseosmun


      Don’t feel bad. He may have had 2,000 followers, but what about his SKILLS? Anyone can sound like some guru on twitter. Heck, I have about 128 followers and I can sound witty, smart, and in the know just as much as the next guy. If a company hires based on 140 characters of conversation, what does that REALLY say about the quality of HR at that place?

      • Neil Watson

        I do see it as a bit of a lucky escape in many ways, but it was interesting that people seem to put a heck of a lot of weight behind the new and shiny. There is a blog titled what the “f*ck is my social media strategy”, and that seems to be the big question for a lot of companies and hence they are easily wooed by a veneer of proficiency.

        Actual professional track record and achievement counts for very little when people are scrambling in the dark for answers. I guess the answer is to put a bit of focus into your own social media these days to give yourself a fighting chance. That said, I’m not sure my blog helps!

  3. axiom121

    It’s an interesting artilce. I work for the local newspaper in Jacksonville FL, and I sell employment ads in the classified section of the paper. We have actually seen an increase of print ads for job psotings in our area.

  4. Nick

    My experience as someone who is fairly new to the hiring process within the software industry has been a combination of the old and new. The old being more geared towards word of mouth and user group meetings while the new takes many forms. We have been able to find quality individuals from such sites as Monster and Craigslist while even hiring one candidate due to his standout video resume. We also try and use social networking sites such as facebook, twitter, and linkedin to pre-screen individuals and have more effective talking points rather than just what they try to convey in their resume. Overall I would agree the new methods outlines are just going to be new tools to add, rather than replace.

  5. roarmkting

    As a Generation Y’er, I am right there with untagging photos of summer nights and updating my LinkedIn at the same time. I don’t think that makes me a bad candidate for a job necessarily. If this were 10 years ago, finding out what someone does on their weekends would be a lot harder. At the same time, candidates should be honest and have nothing to hide when presenting themselves in front of a potential employer. I think its a double-edged sword in a way.

  6. Roeland

    Great stuff, down to earth.. I am one of these people that is always working so have no time to waste, although I get a lot of invitations from friends, but even more from unknown people.

    I believe information technology supports the daily life but will not replace it, and those who think different should seriously be looking to get their life back in stead of wasting it on improving their “socially-enhanced ‘pseudo CV’.”,……….

    …or try to make the best out of the job they are in right now. In a big software company they found out that the number one web sites visited during work hours by their employees were not “social networking” sites, nor porno, nor work related site, the 3 most expected categories. It were job and career sites. It turned out that a big part of their employees were “wasting” an average of 2 hours a day in finding another job during work time!

  7. James W Sasongko

    This is insightful, and also a good reminder. Social media, is in fact a new breed of advertising personal brand. Just like other form of media, it may contain a bit twisted facts :-) I’m absolutely agree that recruitment agencies’ roles are essential in distinguishing legit and actual facts from the ‘make-over’ facts.

  8. newauthoronamazon

    Your research and analysis is bang on. I live on the other side of the world i.e. India and I have 8 sites and am active on Twitter and Fb and from being on them 24/7 I can tell you that even a stay at home person does not have the time to search on social media sites. That fact is just too hyped up. If you are lucky to have a back office i.e. you yourself own an office you can put an employee on the job otherwise its a no no. And sometimes people are just interested in statistics to actually read what another writes. It is the world of I me and myself….by the way who are you ?

  9. nintendolegend

    Excellent insights, and another great example of how case-by-case-basis thinking should be applied so much more often than people give it credit for — use the right methods to recruit the right people. Amen.

  10. Jamie Dedes

    Thanks for responding, Gloria, to the reblog of your piece on my site. I agree that recruters can be invaluable for – among other things – initiation and intervention and that job-search and recruiting is ideally a balance of old and new.

    The main frustrations I keep hearing from job seekers are that people can’t get to a human being, that they get screened out by computers systems, and they get the best responses when they know someone on the inside willing to advocate for them. The latter has always been the case, I know. That’s not news. But no matter how well connected we are, this has its limits, especially compounded now because so many we know are out-of-jobs not in them or are grossly under-employed. People no longer even know if their CV or application is received and processed. For the most part, they no longer get the courtesy of a “thanks but no-thanks” or even “you’re in our system now” acknowledgements.

    With regard to computer screening: older people who came up through the ranks, are not degreed, don’t have the “right” degree, or are not degreed from the “right” institutions, get screened out by systems looking for keywords. So the fifty-year-old non-degreed accounts payable person with thirty-years experience, gets screened out because job descriptions are written to screen youngsters and require an associates degree or bachelors. In effect – if not intent?? – an age bias. Or the younger person – bright, quirky (or not), talented – but largely self-educated … ??? Are only the Jobs and Gates of the world respected for sculpting their own paths? Higher education has become prohibitively expensive and the ultimate economic value increasingly questioned. Is it any wonder that so many folks are opting for poor man’s college: the public library?

    What of the folks side-railed by recent economic conditions – talented, responsible, experienced, well-educated or well-trained in the formal sense – unable to re-enter the workplace because now, though no fault of their own, they have a significant gap in employment. Really, there’s only so much you can can do with networking, social-networking (micro-blogging), volunteer, free-lance, and consulting to fill the need and fill the gap. I think a lot of recruiters (internal or otherwise) cast a jaundiced eye on the latter three in a CV. Also, clearly, employers seek a tight fit these days. There’s no willingness – perhaps no need or ability – to allow for learning on the job or hiring on the basis of transferrable skills and experience.

    I understand that from the recuiting perspective there’s only so much time and only so much staff for screening. Still, who knows what talent is missed? How do we address this for the benefit of both sides? I don’t have an answer. As you are aware such challenges were recognized by the Diamond, Mortensen, and Pissaredes, recent Noble Prize winners: How is it that open jobs and mass unemployment coexist? It is recognized that unemployed workers and hiring companies are not finding one another, rules of hiring and firing tend to prevent immediate reemployment, and benefits of a quickly-available new job often don’t outweigh the benefits of staying unemployed. Many managers don’t (won’t) start looking for minimum-wage work if suddenly unemployed. (And why would that be a surprise to anyone!? If they take such employment, it compromises their their long-term career and income prospects. And having been on the hiring side, employers are not sanguine about hiring these managers for low-level jobs. Despite the realities of the job market, they wonder what’s wrong with a skilled manager wanting such employment.) The fact that in some arenas there’s a miss-match between skills available and skills demanded is another and different issue.

    Think folks would like to see an internal recruiter address these frustrations. I think folks would like to know how collaboration between internal recruiters and department managers is handled these days. Where is the best – most productive – point of entry?

    Will continue to monitor your site and plan to go through your series next week when time allows. Perhaps you’ve already addressed some of these questions. If not, if you care to respond on above issues, you are welcome to guest post on my site for whatever it might be worth to you or I’ll reblog. I have a lot of mature talent (read 40-60 years) – some of it even London-based – who number among Musing by Moonlight readers. The bulk may BE poets and artists, but they DO other things to earn their keep. And, as you can see from some responses to the reblog, links are shared.

    Jamie -

  11. Gloria Simpson

    Thank you to everyone for reading the article and kindly sharing your insightful experiences of the state of today’s job market. I wrote it because I wanted to join in the debate about how social media impacts recruitment and it appears that this post has really resonated with people from all walks of life!! Thanks again! More to come…watch this space. Regards, Gloria Simpson


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