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The Future Of Recruiting, Does It Include You?

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As 2018 progressed I found myself thinking a lot about being a professional recruiter, how the industry has changed since November 3, 1997 (when I started), how I’ve changed and what it may look like 5, 10 and 15 years from. Specifically, how do I stay relevant in Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota and the Midwest.

I don’t tend to get too worked about this stuff but do from time to time think about my place in the world.

Then… BAM.

Yesterday I had a long phone call with Kevin Wheeler. I have been following Kevin for 15+ years online and 10 years ago was fortunate to have him speak at a couple of Minnesota Recruiter events and a local version of “Future of Talent” with senior corporate recruiting and HR leaders. I tend to not be a big fan of the term “futurist”, mostly because I think most people who describe themselves as one are selling snake oil, but Kevin is the exception. He works hard, is well connected, means well, is a great person and always seems a few steps ahead of the rest of us.

To find out more about Kevin check out:

Kevin is coming to Minneapolis on March 29, 2019 to do an event => Talent Transition: The Emerging Era of Consolidation and Adaptation. An Interactive Exploration of Key Trends. Yes, I will be attending.

We spoke about a bunch of things:

  • What in the trenches recruiters and HR pros are facing on a day to day basis
  • What senior leaders are thinking and worrying about
  • What the region is working on
  • Why I am starting Minnesota Talent Leaders (in part to create and then maintain conversations like Kevin is going to host)
  • Trends in talent acquisition in Silicon Valley, Minneapolis and St Paul and other cities
  • How a future recession will shake up the profession

We spent a lot of time talking about the future of recruiting… what it looks like, the impact of AI and Machine Learning, etc.

After we finished… for a couple of hours after my brain was all over the place.

I got to thinking about this article I wrote on ERE in 2016 => Memo to Recruiters: Don’t Want To Be Replaced By A Robot? Stop Recruiting Like One

Let’s be clear… finding people is no longer a problem. I spent the first 10 years of my career building a rolodex. The next 5 years was about using social media, LinkedIn, Google and other tools to find people faster and find the hard to find. The past 6 years or so have been about creating relationships. It has not about being a “recruiter” but a trusted source of information, advice and guiding for both tech pros (potential candidates) and HR, hiring manager, hiring leaders and CEO’s.

To put it simply… I like the words relationship, friend, partner and confidant. I do not like the words transaction, vendor and resources (when speaking of people).

That’s how I ended the evening, my brain on fire.

I woke this morning and Kevin has this article on ERE => What Recruiting Will Look Like in 2029

And so now my brain is on fire again.

I may not yet have my own thought on what 2029 looks like but I am certain I know the next few years:

  • HR tech is going to continue to over promise and under deliver
  • There will be a recession (of some sort)
  • Because of the recession we will lose a number (a lot?) of corporate and search firm recruiters
  • Those recruiters who are into building people and teams will do well

That seems pretty simple, right?

I believe recruiting will become more personal in nature for our candidates. That our relationships will become like those we have with accountants, attorneys, teachers and doctors.

I think recruiting will become more consultative and advisor like with our employers and clients. No longer will it be find a butt to put in a chair… it will be how to build a team, managing egos and personalities and helping foster team and company culture.

So as I look at Kevin’s article… I am going with Scenario #4 – Talent Concierge.

I do not think the tech will automate everything, that hiring managers will be able to do this on their own (nor have the time) and post recession the “labor shortage” will continue with “recruiting” being a needed task.

I do not think people in general (do you?) will want this much automation (they’re already rightly revolting at our auto reply email and “cold” messaging) and they will want to interact with a human who will cut through all the digital noise.

I believe there is a place for me in recruiting today, in 5 and in 10 years.

Yes… I will need to evolve, adapt and be a stronger leader.

How about you.. does it include some future version of you?

Or is a robot going to get you too?

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David Zimmel

Great piece Paul!!! I believe you are correct that finding people will continue to evolve using technology. AI will assist us in these activities. I believe the secret sauce will be for us will be to bring strong Consultative relationship skills with a deep understanding of the client's business, positions and current company situation. I believe that this rings true with understanding the candidates in-depth as well. This has always been the case but our clients will lean on us to do even more in this space. I find that bringing more business and candidate fit expertise is a significant differentiator.

Marni Sampair

I may be "old school" but I believe that all the technology in the world will never replace the "personal touch". Unless you differentiate yourself or someone refers you, it is too easy to ignore messages and emails today. The real work in ANY Candidate Search, is the Job Offer. If you have successfully placed your candidate in their dream job, then you can smile. Having to go through a recession has taught me some very valuable life lessons. As a recruiter that once lived the High Life, and then had the bottom fall out, I will say this. You can take my ATS, my Subscriptions, but you can't have my Phone, my Email or my LinkedIn. With that being said, I don't want to think I'm not a lover of technology, I just know that people are getting too dependent on it and a personal touch will NEVER go out of style.

David Berthiaume

Nice work Paul! I know I am not saying anything new here but the more people are on a screen, the more they will desire personal relationships. Whether we use things like video to cut through or meet in coffee shops or over the phone, it is the personal touch that will win in the end!

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