The future of recruiting is where technology meets the craft of recruitment.

Candidates are not an online commodity

by Greg Savage on June 3, 2014.

Technology is changing our industry, on all fronts. And of course, we are seeing the arrival of a myriad of online recruiting offerings, each claiming to be the beginning of the end for traditional recruitment.

But, lets get real.

Candidates are not an online commodity. Some people would have you believe they are. LinkedIn for one. and their ilk too.

Oh yes, you can identify talent via digital. But actually recruiting someone you have ‘found’ is a whole different matter. It’s a romance. A seduction. And that is where the magic happens.

Technology will never replace recruitment. It will drastically change the talent identification and sourcing function, the screening and even the interviewing function. Technology changes the mode of service delivery for third party recruiters, that is for sure.


Securing the best candidate is not the same as buying a movie ticket on the Internet. And so, in recruitment, we are not like Amazon or iTunes or any of the sales channels you find online.

You can buy a dress online because a dress does not say, “no I don’t want to go with this new buyer”. But a candidate does.

Candidates have opinions and options and alternatives. Candidates can be unpredictable and emotional, and unlike a book you bought on Amazon, will not want to discuss with its’ wife whether it should go to the new buyer.

Recruitment is always a human endeavor, and it relies on uniquely human skills. Well, the type of recruitment professional, consultative recruiters want anyway.

In fact, I believe that candidate search technologies will become so sophisticated, so pervasive and so cheap, that everyone will have them. Tracking and finding candidates on the web will become easier, not harder.

It’s happening right now. Companies like TalentBinDice OpenWeb and Entelo, and others, have been building very clever sourcing engines, to meet the sourcing demand for hard to get skills. Far more sophisticated tools than anything the average agency recruiter has access to.

So we actually have what looks like a paradox, but in fact it is just where the process breaks into two very separate functions

Candidate identification will get easier and easier. Candidate recruiting and hiring will get harder and harder.

So building relationships and managing the process via highly developed skills in the craft of recruitment, becomes the differentiator.

The very best technology is critical to recruiting success. But I also believe that the craft of recruitment will make the difference. Craft? Yes. I am talking about the nuanced skills. Persuading, prepping, negotiating, finessing, listening, negotiating, understanding, and managing both the client and the candidate. This will still have a value. Increasingly so, in fact. As much as the technology. More so, eventually.

Lets take ‘counter-offers’ just as an example. I predict that as the economy improves, and the inevitable skill-shortages really bite, top talent will know their value. So will their employers, and so every offer you get will be subject to a counter offer. That is my prediction. Every offer. Or at least 9 out of 10. Most recruiters I know have no idea how to predict, prevent, and manage a counter-offer situation. It’s a subtle skill that only a great recruiter can finesse.

That is where, for the agency recruiter, the sweet spot lies. Where you can give your clients something your clients cannot get themselves. And do you for one moment think LinkedIn or Seek or or any other technology platform will provide these subtle human skills, wrapped up in the craft of recruitment?

I think not.

And so, the future of recruiting is where technology meets the craft of recruitment.