Boiling Frogs – My Predictions for Recruitment in 2011

So here we are then the first week of the business year, the traditional time for predictions about what this coming year might bring for the recruitment industry. As this is a blog about futurology I obviously have to contribute something but this time I’m going to take a slightly different approach.

Before I do anything though it is of course compulsory to have a quick review of the predictions I made last year. You can find them here

Feel free to judge for yourselves but I’d say that I got the recruitment market and social recruiting ones about right. The jury is very much still out on the newspaper one, we’d never heard of the iPad when I made these predictions and it might just change the dynamic but only time and successful mass adoption will tell.  The Job Board one looks likes it was way off unfortunately and to the detriment of the industry in my opinion. That said I do have a fairly well informed feeling that there were some back room conversations in 2010 that might see some innovative products being launched this year

So what of 2011? Well rather than putting down any specific predictions I wanted to share some overarching thoughts about change and how it will effect everyone.

I’ve been lucky enough to speak to a huge number of employers in the last few weeks, either via my work with MetaShift or through some of the great events I’ve attended or spoken at. Through some continuing work in the outplacement sector I’ve also been able to speak to and get the opinions of many job seekers across different sectors and at differing levels first hand.

The main thing that comes through in all of these conversations is a very noticeable groundswell of change. Whether it is the growth of direct resourcing, dissatisfaction with the current state of the online recruitment market or a huge shift in how and where people look for jobs there are changes taking place that really do put this industry at a crossroads.

My biggest continuing frustration is that large sectors of the recruitment industry are completely failing to notice and address these fundamental issues. The good news though is I think that finally, with the help of an often used business metaphor, I’ve worked out why.

You see most of the time, in our industry anyway, revolutions are imperceptible unless you are looking straight at them, particularly when some of their effects can be explained away by tough economic times. It’s just like boiling a frog, if you drop it into hot water the frog will jump out, if you put it in cold water and slowly heat it up the frog won’t notice the temperature increase and will boil to death.

If 2010 was the year when the water got a bit tepid, my prediction is that it’ll get a lot more than just lukewarm in 2011.

So whether you are:

– An employer needing to take a careful look at how your online recruitment offering is actually working and/or needing to investigate social media.

– A Job board thinking carefully about how your business needs to evolve in these “tough” times

– An ATS supplier trying to meet the demands of clients widening your portfolio when they also seem to be putting the needs of the candidate further and further down their list of priorities

– A recruitment agency thinking that direct resourcing and social media are fads that won’t effect you

– A recruitment advertising agency betting the farm on “strategic media partnerships” and/or claiming you get social when you’re not even doing social

I’d keep an eye on the temperature of the water this year because you are going to need to start planning change very soon. You should also get in touch with me, I’ve got some ideas that will help…

Happy New Year Everyone!

15 responses to “Boiling Frogs – My Predictions for Recruitment in 2011

  1. So is I understand you correctly 2011 will mostly be about social media recruiting?

    A trend I’ve been reading about in the many 2011 HR predictions I’ve come across is that demand on the job market will start growing again while in the meantime, people are eager to change jobs (recent jobvite survey). Making 2011 a year for a very fluid job market. Would you agree with that prediction?

    Looking forward to reading your your articles in this new exciting year.

  2. If your predictions are right, Matt, I bet applicants’ CVs, letters, phonecalls, and personal profiles will be far more direct, too. Successful candidates don’t hang around. They say what they mean. They use human language. They don’t wait for agencies to follow a standard process.

    So many agencies still fill their websites and brochures boring, corporate gobbledygook. Mind you, organisations who hire direct aren’t always much better!

  3. Happy New Year Matt! I’ve just heard someone on the social media circuit say “Quality candidates is an issue. There are millions of candidates, but the number of good ones that employers want to talk to is relatively small”. Now, if that is true, why would employers want to invest more time, effort and money in delving deeper into social media when chances are that it is not the quality candidates who are to be found spending their time there?

  4. I think you’ve nailed the predictions for each component provider in the space, but it will be interesting to see how RPO organisations respond – to the detriment of the specialists in the rec comms space in my opinion.

    The order of the day for 2011 will continue to be direct sourcing in whatever guise that takes me thinks

  5. Good article Matt, and I think your approach of assessing the overall trend rather than focusing on specifics is the right way to go.Fundamentally, 2011 will simply be a continuation of twenty years’ development in recruitment, here’s why:

    Back in the days with no internet recruiters provided real value to their clients and the clients in turn paid for that value. There were few ways for companies to source top candidates, they didn’t have the time or know how. Recruiters filled that gap.

    With the advent of the internet came job boards, and now social media. Suddenly companies can find candidates themselves, or stick our adverts, and they’ve been asking recruiters to answer where their value-add is. As long as recruiters don’t do anything differently to what client companies can do themselves, they won’t demonstrate any value and so they’ll be a) left out in the cold or b) hammered on price.

    How many recruiters do you hear moaning about the latest reduction of a fee agreement they have? How many of them have answers to this?

    Fundamentally, the recruitment industry needs to realise that it is now not about finding bodies to fill vacancies, but helping clients find the best people while at the same time reducing cost. We must keep increasing the probability that when clients hire, they hire great people who will stay long term. The first recruitment company I worked for offered two weeks 100% rebate. Two weeks! Is that shared risk? Is that a demonstration of the faith we have in our own methodologies and processes? Is that ‘doing the right thing’ by our client?

    How? Well, off the top of my head: psychometric profiling services, behavioural interviewing services, consultancy (free or otherwise), and a change of mindset from ‘sell this person into the job’ to ‘give the client your honest thoughts on a candidate’. And finally, put your money where your mouth is and give them 12 months rebate including money back if the candidate you place doesn’t meet expectations.

  6. Great post Matt! Happy new year!

    I agree that the recruitment industry is at a crossroads, especially, in the present era of social media. However, I believe that the right thing to do is not to choose a specific way of recruitment, but to make an effective mix of all the recruitment methods currently offered on the market. Let`s face it. Different needs need different approaches.

    Social recruiting is a hot topic, indeed. However, I would agree with Alconcalcia that social recruiting costs lots of efforts to find the right candidate in many cases. Plus it is somewhat limited because of the legal issues related to digging in others` private data. The vast majority of the other online recruitment services offer flat fee recruitment like job boards and CV directories. These are effective when you are not looking for someone for a specialized job function.

    I think agencies also have their place in the recruitment process, especially, in the online recruitment business. There are recruitment marketplaces like TalentPuzzle, for instance, who help facilitate the employer recruiter relationship and filling specialist roles faster. This model is an example for a new way of using agencies today.

    I think every way of recruiting has its own benefits and drawbacks. The key is to match the right approach with the requirements.

    I would welcome your thoughts and comments!

  7. Interesting article Matt – and I agree that social media will play an increasingly important role in recruitment.

    I think the economic climate, particularly in the UK, means that employers will need to use every method open to them to seek out the best candidates. And the switched-on, savvy and most ambitious candidates will have figured out that they need to be out there in the social media market-place if they’re giong to find the right opportunity. So, no matter how much effort is involved, I think any employer who doesn’t take social media seriously will be missing out on a valuable pool of talent.

  8. Pingback: My Big Fat 2011 Predictions « RecAddiction.Com

  9. I have a prediction…

    2011 is the year that people will use their 2011 recruitment predictions to promote their services.

    Of course 2011 is when recruiters (corporate and agencies) will use social channels – THEY ARE INTUITIVE, OPEN-SOURCE TOOLS built to be used effectively and by a wide audience…

    Maybe this is the year that the mystique of using these tools is removed. Especially when real case studies are published for other businesses to use and implement.

    Fulfilling my first prediction. Contact the Natives for case studies

  10. What’s this? Yet another self promotional comment from Net Natives………I see some things never change not even in a new year!

    Happy New Year Steve, perhaps we’ll finally get to meet properly in 2011


  11. Self promotional comments on self promotional blogs. Finally, social media eats itself!

    I do hope so, Matt. All the best to everyone for a fun packed 2011.

  12. Pingback: What will 2011 bring for recruitment agencies? | Project Resource Blog

  13. Interesting blog Matt, as usual lots of food for thought. It seems to me that 2012 will once again see our industry being challenged to improve on value for money for the customer, and developments coming from social media is just one of many streams of change that is ensuring we provide best service. 2012 will hopefully be about working even more collaboratively with our colleagues and clients to achieve our goals, and technology advances coming from the cloud platform might help all recruitment channels deliver improvements in service.

    Once again it would seem whosoever raises the bar on service is likely to win the most ground this year.

  14. To be honest, I hope it has a direct effect on recruiting companies. Not neccessarily putting them out of business but it should allow the candidate more interactivity with the client.

    I’ve had experiences with agencies who don’t even let you know if you failed an interview. Surely if they don’t even have the courtesy to call you after being unsuccessful, they can’t be trusted with being that efficient.

  15. I guess by posting this comment, I’m bringing your prediction to fruition. Companies have to embrace the internet and social media as it reaches so many people nowadays and that number will continue to increase as more people receive access to the internet. It’s definitely an effective way of reaching people who might need your services.

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