Social media: the death of the external recruiter?

With HR teams under pressure to cut costs, yet still deliver a quality of hire, many are bringing some, if not all of their recruitment in house.

With advancements in web 2.0 over recent years, social recruiting is gaining pace, and it’s becoming integral to the recruitment strategy of many organisations. So why pay agency fees if you can do the social recruiting yourself? If this is the case, is the increased reliance on social media to recruit talent, going to put the nail in the coffin of the external recruiter?

Of course, in-house recruitment teams are highly talented; they have access to the same social platforms as any consultancy does. But can an external recruiter add value in this area to a greater degree that an in-house team?

The idea of the external recruiter role being made redundant because of outside forces is by no means a new phenomenon. The same argument was raised when the likes of online job boards were first introduced, and revolutionised the recruitment landscape. Why pay someone to recruit for you when you can do it yourself was a recurrent theme?

Almost a decade on the external recruiter still very much exists, job boards still exist and the two complement each other. The agencies became job board experts, knowing which ones to use, or in some cases avoid. But they also had the knowledge to be able to write effective copy for vacancy specifications on these platforms, and what combination of job boards to target. These consultancies came out on top, it wasn’t the end of them, and rather it spurred them on. In fact it is these that still dominate job boards today.

So can the same be said for the raging debate over social media putting an end to recruiters? It appears so. The reason why the two will coexist is simple. Whilst some in-house teams will take the social recruiting element in house, it will not be done by the larger HR community. Many smaller businesses don’t have the resources in house to have a strong social presence, or the capital to outsource to an RPO outlet for example, that has access to social media expertise at a low cost.

What’s more, an effective social media campaign takes time and effort if it is to be successful. Finding candidates for roles doesn’t happen instantly – it is about building up a following and ensuring you have the correct reach. Building talent communities over a period of time which can be turned into talent pipelines takes a great deal of time and investment, and it requires the correct skills set to do so. In house resourcing teams simply don’t have the capability to do this on the same scale as the consultancies that are on top of their game. Put simply, recruitment consultants, unlike most in house resourcing teams are incentivised to do this.

With incentives in place, the same cycle we saw with job boards is inevitable. The consultancies that are on top of their game will become the experts in social recruiting, and we are already seeing evidence of this. They will lead the way in social recruiting, and the debate that is raging will be laid to rest.

HR Magazine

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About elaineonyc

HR generalist who is passionate about the benefits of good HR practice. Experienced in delivering strategic and operational HR initiatives to clients in both public and private sectors. Specialises in working with SMEs.
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