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Where It's Going II

(March 12, 2007)
Much of what passes for industry introspection today is the sort of navel-gazing that gives self-reflection a bad name. Early adopters, hard at work with their new toys, rarely see the long term value in the tools. There's a kind of narcissistic power that comes from riding the latest technology for your allotted fifteen minutes of fame. Sadly, most of the early users are more like Icarus and burn out long before the real adventure begins.

(If you haven't had a chance, take a look at the Recruiting Animal tirade on this subject (here's the related radio show). Animal's view is nearly as narrow as the folks he's busy critiquing. He claims on his blog, with some small justification and some greater irony, that blogging has made an insignificant dent in the Recruiting Industry. While it's a message that will certainly resonate with the buggy whip crowd, the very same thing could have been said about personal computing during it's nascent period (the 1980s). Make no mistake, integrated interactive personal communications are an essential component of the 21st Century Recruiting toolkit.)

The question of whether or not a technology will be useful is not one for the impatient. Many folks (we're routinely included in this bunch) lose their shirts betting on a technology too soon. Blogging does not resemble it's ultimate shape in any way. While it has had a meaty impact on the industry (consider the dramatic reversal, all blog driven, in Microsoft's employment brand over the past couple of years), the ultimate utility of the tool is far from defined. It takes brave souls who are willing to make fools of themselves in public to move this ball forward. There appear to be a lot of volunteers.

The next wave of Recruiting accomplishment will involve empowering the so called "hiring manager". The term itself exposes the pejorative view that Recruiters take of their raison d'etre. Business leaders, specifically first level supervisors, need to acquire people to work on their teams. The flow of humanity has been so extreme that Recruiters were required as a way of limiting the workload on those owners and functional operators. The utility of Recruiters is directly proportional to either the volume of inbound resumes or the difficulty of finding people. Recruiters are often little more than administrative barricades that business leaders have needed to hide from the throngs.

Today, people are easier to find than ever before.

The problem is that they have vastly more options at the same time. In spite of the pronounced and exaggerated claim that people are scarce and difficult to find (requiring obscure technical talents and detective work), the vast majority of recruiters are happy to use Monster, Hot Jobs, Career Builder or Craig's List. The volume of names generated from those tools covers a variety of sins. Again, that hardly means that the job boards are an ideal tool. Like hydrogen powered cars, new Recruiting technologies can be forecast. Meanwhile, we drive the old gas guzzling SUV.

There's a huge difference between the future and today. Mostly, the future is speculative and today is pretty clear. Confusing the future with the present is how solid introspection loses its utility and becomes navel-gazing.

We're going to take a long look at current trends and try to give them some context. Stay tuned.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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