February 21, 2013


For centuries, technology has been making jobs obsolete. And it seems that these days, people are eager to throw RECRUITERS onto the heap. These dire prognosticators base their statements on two factors: One, that it’s easier than ever for companies to hire directly in-house, and Two, that Web 2.0 innovations like LinkedIn and advanced job boards are making it easier for qualified candidates to connect with prospective employers. A recent post on The Undercover Recruiter by Andrew Fairley, a UK recruitment consultant, comprehensively addresses these concerns and provides an excellent overview of why recruiting is still relevant and remains as alive as ever. We thought we would chime in with our take on the issue of Recruiting’s future.


Everyone’s saying that with new technologies the “passive candidate” is dead – doesn’t exist anymore. Not true. Mr. Fairley makes the point that even though millions of people are online, not all of them are really engaged. Talented people might have an inkling of a desire for a job change, but they may not have updated LinkedIn profiles. They might not know how to build a web-presence that hits all the right notes or keywords for companies looking to hire directly. Most importantly, they’re busier being great at their jobs and living their lives than in staying up-to-date with job opportunities. In our specialized vertical of Supply Chain, Procurement/Strategic Sourcing and Logistics for example where demand for talent is very high, this is truer than in many other verticals. Many candidates, Sole Contributors, Management and Executives in Supply Chain Management are great at what they do, but don’t always know just how in demand they are. These are truly “passive candidates,” and Recruiters know not only how to leverage their personal networks to find these candidates, but how to attract them into new opportunities, striking when they’re ripe for a job change which could be today, next month or next year. What about mature workers who may be looking to transition into contract work, who might not utilize LinkedIn the way they should? As Mr. Fairley points out, with Web 2.0 the tools for Recruitment have changed, but the underlying need for Recruiters has not.

For anyone who’s been through the process of being an “active” candidate, that is to say anyone who has tried to find a new job in their field, Internet searches present a cornucopia of possibility that often reaps no rewards. Job boards are everywhere. You apply to many jobs, but your resume is given a cursory glance and then put on a heap because it might not have the right keywords, or the right formatting, or for any other number of reasons it doesn’t match with what the lower level recruiting functionary seeks. The fact is, even though new tech makes it easier than ever to apply for jobs, that doesn’t mean it’s easier to land them. The representation of a Recruitment firm gives truly motivated and talented candidates a massive leg-up, especially if the agency is specialized in ones field. Through a Recruiter, one gets advice about how to stand out and make connections the right way. You get to find out whether it’s even worth applying for roles based on your experience. You get to deal with someone who has contacts, an ear of the hiring manager in charge of the search, someone who can explain the job expectations and workplace culture better than a jargon-filled job description and who might see your potential for a role because of an expert opinion. And most importantly, you get the endorsement of an expert. Not a one-click LinkedIn endorsement, but an actual endorsement. None of the sophisticated job-hunting and networking tools on the internet has been able to offer this. And that’s why recruiters are still relevant to job hunters.

On the client side, Independent Recruiters are on the front line in dealing with companies every day – it’s what we live and breath every day so we should and do know our way around the vertical we support better than any in-house Recruiter supporting many business units and filling multiple roles in different career disciplines.

We have the competitive business intelligence to help companies in Supply Chain Management for example. We know how they compare and why their in-house candidate sourcing efforts sometimes don’t work, even though they have sophisticated search tools at their disposal. Companies will post to job boards and then hire from within. They’ll post to job boards and then shudder at the task of separating the overflow of under-qualified or over-qualified resumes.  Recruiters on the other hand (because they are involved in what they do 7/24) have the expertise to screen out the best talent. Only Recruiters have the deep well of connections that go way, way beyond the superficial matching lists of skills and experience that one might find on a resume or LinkedIn profile but comes from years of building contacts and relationships within a vertical that is deep but narrow. It is a recruiter’s job to know which candidate might look to make a career shift, and why? Maybe not today but sometime. These intangible factors are what lead clients to use specialized Recruiters to get them the results they need in an ever-more-complex skills landscape. Companies just sometimes can’t count on their own in-house recruiting to come through where the demand for talent is at its highest and where it is most competitive – those searches for key players in Supply Chain Management where there is a special combination of skills or where the vision and strategic foresight is needed, or for the searches with geographic challenges, where only the human finesse and deep well of connections that a specialized Recruiter provides can deliver the best.


The fact is, as long as there are talented individuals, there will always be a market for people who specialize in bringing that talent to light. The reason? Self-promotion and building a personal brand is a hard thing to do and while very important, it is a hard and skillful process. But the most talented individuals recognize that they serve themselves best by focusing on building their own talents, and leaving their marketing and their job seeking to the people who have the right connections and specialization to market them. And sometimes it’s just NOT them. The best people in their field find themselves a really fantastic Recruiter who they really trust and leave the hard work to the talent experts to find the most intriguing career opportunities and bring them to them when the time is right – while they carry on with everyday living and working.

So there’s sure to be much more debate on the future or death or third party recruiting…but in the meantime, we are busier than ever with companies seeking our expertise to find those just-right ‘needles in the haystack’ for their Operations, Planning, Logistics, Strategic Sourcing and Warehouse Management needs.

I encourage you to weigh in with your remarks.

Over and out,

Bronwen Hann


Argentus Talent Acquisition

Contingent Staffing Solutions @work – The NEW permanent workforce

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