I’ve sensed for some time that the game is changing for 3rd party recruiters. The industry has gorged for too long on easy fees and low value offerings and this has led to a lack of agility, an inability to invent, create and lead.
Ask any capable recruiter to name their main competition and they will reel off a number of companies who they battle against for the best briefs and candidates.
Rarely will they say LinkedIn. They see the platform as a tool that they may be able to use when they have the time, a source of candidates and vacancies, and a directory of soft headhunt targets.
Not sure how many see it as a primary resource for clients.
Clearly though, with each addition to functionality and capability being aimed solely at the corporate market, the platform has the ability marginalise any traditional transactional permanent recruiter.
On Tuesday I attended the Stepstone Solutions Summit 2010 on the Changing Face of Talent Management. I covered the event for UK Recruiter, and you can read my review of the event here
During the afternoon we had a presentation from LinkedIn. They shared some research findings which certainly captivated an audience of 200 HR and Talent professionals…the very people that most 3rd party recruiters spend their working life trying to connect and build relationships with.
The main points were:
1) Most corporate recruiters worry that their competitors will learn to use social recruiting better than they do and build better talent pools
2) Biggest focus for corporate recruiters at the moment is to reduce spend on 3rd party recruiters/staffing agencies. Second biggest focus is to boost referral programmes.
3) Corporate development resources are now channelled on training in-house recruiters to find the best talent and on measuring quality of hire.
4) What’s next for LinkedIn? To increase investment in tools THAT INCREASE VALUE TO CORPORATE CUSTOMERS.
They admitted that the outlook was bleak for 3rd party recruiters unless they could show clear differentiation and additional value. Key to this would be:
– Insight over data
– Understanding brand equity
– Creating real depth to relationships
The point that left the most lasting impression was what was referred to as ‘the end of the walled garden’. No more proprietary databases, deconstruct the talent pools, and crowdsource what you need.
I’ve reported those points fairly factually, because that’s how the audience heard them.
An audience who, as I mentioned before, are probably currently dealing with, and certainly getting business development calls from, a number of 3rd parties.
Clearly LI are in selling mode, and I don’t doubt for one moment that their presentations are aimed very much at stimulating a compelling reason for corporates to use them.
Yet I don’t believe that any recruitment agency could have given that presentation. We no longer have the credibility or legitmacy. To address a talent management conference and present staffing sector findings, insights and future developments, in such a powerful way requires a commitment to innovation and a belief in the strength, ubiquity and robustness of your service that I am not sure recruiters can muster.
Change will come I’m sure, but as I wrote in a recent blog, we’re now playing catch up. I left the conference with another 200 potential hiring managers who now will wonder why they aren’t doing more themselves, how they can reduce agency spend and how well they need to ‘do’ social recruiting.
The ray of hope is that we will begin to offer insight, knowledge and value. Make the service less transactional and more about the quality of hire, less about the size of the fee.
Be a key resource, not part of the crowdsource.
At the moment though, there looks like could be one source to rule them all…and it’s LinkedIn not us.