Recruiting in the Relationship Economy

This post originally appeared on Talemetry's Blog Talemetry Today.Advertise job, receive resume, email candidate, process offer — our recruiting processes have become more transactional than ever. That’s not a bad thing! We have more tools than ever to source, track and manage candidate, and that technology has made life as a recruiter more productive and efficient.

But as technology has sped up the process, candidates are clamoring for attention. They want more interaction and engagement. They want to connect with the people behind the company. And companies are answering.

The best companies are paying close attention to how they can improve the candidate experience, by emphasizing relationships rather than transactions. There’s even an award devoted to recognizing those who deliver candidate experience exceptionally well: the CandEs.

It’s a new relationship economy. Are your recruiters ready?

In this new relationship economy, we’re relying on networking more than ever. We’ve evolved from tracking resumes to proactively sourcing candidates and researching how they behave and participate in networks.

We’re building talent communities that require actual engagement with candidates. We’re conducting video interviews and hosting live career chats, and that requires more interaction from brand ambassadors, hiring managers and recruiters.

eHarmony is even getting into the game, using their match technology in a job board: “Technology company seeks engineers for long walks on the beach.” Imagine what that email exchange might look like.

This is changing the role the recruiter plays. The opportunity to hide behind process is gone. No longer can recruiters simply follow a phone screen script or negotiate an offer by playing middleman with the hiring manager. It’s all about deep engagement.

Specifically, we’re talking about three key engagement levers: information, access and personalization.

A careers site or booth at a careers fair was once all you needed. Now candidates want more. They want more information about the job, the company’s vision, the products, the compensation, and their potential office space. They want every piece of information they can get to make a decision. And who can blame them? We’ve been groomed in business to believe that data drives good decisions.

Developments in technology means candidates can find out more easily who does what in your company, the careers they’ve had and the work they do. They want access to their future boss, team members and executives. They want to be able to talk to them directly, ask questions and understand their day-to-day work, politics and potential.

With information and access comes a feeling of me, me, me. Candidates only make a limited number of job changes in a lifetime. So their job search is a deeply personal, high-priority item and they’re demanding attention. And that attention comes in the way of personalization—make the job seeker feel like you’re catering to their individual needs and wants. Make them feel special.

All of this means recruiters need a new set of skills and behaviors to keep up.

First, they have to be the company librarian—they have to really know what’s happening. They have to be on top of company trends and innovations. They have to be the press secretary — speaking on behalf of their leaders and the company in a way they never have before.

Recruiters also have to be the best networkers in your company—internally. They have to be the connected beyond the coffee machine to all levels of professionals in the company at all locations. If a candidate has a specific question or wants to connect with a specific person in a remote function, the recruiter can’t be making an internal cold call. He has to already have the relationship–and the permission—to make the connection.

Finally, recruiters have to get better at unearthing detail about candidates beyond sourcing and profile review. They have to be able to pick up cues on a candidate’s interests, hobbies, or personal details from conversations and regularly use them to customize the experience. From onboarding and welcome gifts to recognizing special days and family needs, these individual touches matter to candidates. Imagine receiving a personalized offer package catered just to you, your family and your interests.

The technology is there to support this shift. Like marketers, recruiters can take advantage of data mining software to comb customer profiles, networks and reviews for social cues and ways to cater to individual needs. Applying this level of personal research to candidate data and employer brand will mean recruiters become anthropologists and psychologists—well beyond the skills they have now.

So what type of development are you providing?

The same conferences, sourcing seminars or process training? Or are you looking at the future and the skills your recruiters need now and 10 years from now.

exaqueo is a human resources consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.

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