Is Recruiting Dead? Not So Fast.

April 21, 2016





Today we wanted to respond to a really interesting LinkedIn Publisher article that’s making the rounds in the recruitment community. The article, written by senior talent acquisition specialist at Home Depot Philip Newman, was titled “The Day Recruiting Died” and has set off a firestorm of comments and opinions from professionals both inside and outside of the recruitment industry.

Newman’s main point is that the recruitment industry of the past and popular understanding – where recruiters built rolls of resumes and sourced talent over the phone through direct recruiting – is rapidly fading in relevance in the eyes of companies and candidates who’re looking for jobs, because of the rise of social media and other internet technologies.

He offers an “obituary” for the recruiting industry that we’ll quote here, because it’s clever and timely: “Recruiting Industry – Died peacefully in its sleep. Lived a wondrous life, creating and filling jobs, inspiring technology and building incredible wealth for many. A true trailblazer. Recruiting Industry was preceded in death by fax machine, land line, yellow and white pages, Rolodex, job board, job posting and ATS. Recruiting Industry is survived by its loving spouse Digital Marketing; children CRM, Social Media, Employment Branding; grandchildren TRM, talent communities, virtual reality and dynamic content. In lieu of flowers please send donations for digital marketing training to recruiters everywhere.”

The thrust of Newman’s argument is that technology has transformed the recruiting function, and that digital marketing is coming to replace traditional recruiters. This is especially true for internal recruiters at companies as employer branding takes on increased prominence. The proliferation of social media technologies means that there are manifold ways for job seekers and companies to connect with each-other, and content marketing is replacing the traditional recruiting activity by offering value to candidates and employers – market intelligence, news, advice and trends – beyond putting placements together.

As a recruitment firm headed by someone with 35 years of industry experience that’s also been using a content approach for several years, we at Argentus feel the need to weigh in on this topic and discuss how recruiting is changing – both for our business and more generally.

Obviously, recruiting isn’t dead.

Major firms in the industry are adding revenue year over year and specialized players are thriving. (And for the record, could we please do away with “(blank) is dead” as a way of trying to hook readers in to an article that then goes on to specify how the supposedly dead function is more relevant than ever?) But we couldn’t agree with Newman more on some of his key points about the way the recruiting function is changing and adapting to emerging technologies, disrupting HR departments and agencies alike.

Content is King.

Bill Gates said it in 1996, but it’s becoming more relevant every day. The top recruiters are less about reaching out to candidates to connect them with employers in a smash-and-grab fashion than they’re about using content to build more permanent networks, acting as a bridge and conduit for candidates and clients to think about their careers – and hiring – on a more long-term basis. Recruiting is now about attracting talent – and clients – long-term, by offering useful and insightful content, just as much as it is about using traditional sourcing techniques.

Argentus is a case in point: we specialize in recruiting for Supply Chain Management, and we’ve been offering content through our blog and other efforts since 2011. We’ve done this because we recognize that our value as recruiters isn’t only in our ability to find great Supply Chain people for companies, but also in our ability to act as a hub for information and insights about the world of talent in Supply Chain.

In 15 years of connecting candidates (both active job seekers and passive talent) with clients in this space, we’ve learned quite a few things; about Supply Chain, about what companies are looking for when hiring, about personal branding, and other topics that are relevant to the world of people working in the field. And through the Argentus blog, we try to pass along as much of that knowledge as possible.

By doing this, we try to offer value to the people who follow us beyond the possibility that we might some day get them a job (or a hire). We want to be a part of how people develop their Supply Chain careers on a long-term basis, and we see our content as a small part of this. But we don’t do this out of the goodness of our hearts: we do it because we recognize that offering this value is part of the way that we stay relevant as recruiters. Because Newman is right: recruiting is dead, if you see recruiting as a one-dimensional function that fills seats on an indiscriminate basis.

At Argentus, we see ourselves as part of the burgeoning and maturing Supply Chain industry more than we see ourselves as part of the recruiting industry. Because we’re specialists, we can offer content that’s relevant to people in Supply Chain, and fold the relationships we build as a result into our recruiting practice.

It’s an ongoing process, and we’re always trying our different things to make our content as relevant as possible for our network, but we like this approach. logo_icon

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