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Paul Daley

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The future of recruitment: it’s all about people


Paul Daley, Director of HR Consulting at talent management consultancy, Ochre House addresses the question, ‘what is the future of recruitment?’

Usually, when people are thinking about the future of recruitment, the discussion moves towards ways in which new media, online sources and technology will impact upon the process. The ‘future’ where recruiters will use social media and abandon print advertising is in fact not a prediction but actually something we’re already experiencing a move towards.

What is going to change are the challenges being faced and the responses to these challenges that are required. Recruitment is going to have to become a much more holistic process, with the idea that the standalone function of a recruiter as someone who just matches candidates to roles set to go the way of the dinosaurs. The process of finding great candidates to fill roles hasn’t changed all that much, but is this offering going to be enough in the future? Some companies are neglecting to think about what happens after the placement is made and in the future this is likely to be a business critical issue. What’s the point of building a highly effective recruitment machine if there are issues within a business that mean new hires will move on before they can fulfil their potential and make a real contribution – or worse still, leave with bad things to say about a company? This is where social networking does come into it –  blogs, Twitter and other networks have made it all too easy for ex-employees, or disgruntled candidates who haven’t been looked after or communicated with well, to do real damage to a company’s brand and image.

In order to address this issue, more and more businesses are coming around to the view that recruitment isn’t really a standalone area, but inextricably connected to the whole talent management spectrum. Innovative companies, such as Telefonica O2, understand this and are doing something about it. They’re realising that a holistic approach, which engages talented individuals on a long-term basis in a proper talent management process, is becoming the key to success.

The role of the recruiter needs to go further, to connect up the whole process from the initial starting point of sourcing candidates, right through to training and development, and even up to and beyond the point where people leave the company.

When getting candidates in through the door, overselling a job or working environment is a recipe for disaster. The more someone understands the role and company and its culture, the less likely it’ll be that their expectations won’t be met and they’ll vote with their feet. Retention is an issue that needs to be considered right at the moment of creating a job description and sourcing candidates. This is what we mean by a ‘holistic’ approach, and it’s why recruiters should be the ones to be a part of the entire process.

Many companies only address retention issues when they reach a crisis point, such as seeing difficulties in recruiting or experiencing a brain-drain. This is far too late. When someone decides to move on, no matter how much time, effort and money is thrown at the problem, they’ll almost certainly go at some point.

Despite all best efforts at retention, companies need to understand that people will leave for good reasons. Sometimes the time is right for people to move on, or there might not be a space within one company for a talented individual to realise their potential, however organisations could use these people to their advantage. A really switched on forward-thinking company might consider something like an alumni programme where ex-employees can stay in touch with people they’ve worked with – even hosting social events and other types of business networking for alumni employees could help to build a customer base and build an excellent brand reputation. Making sure that people leave happy, with a positive view of their time at a company, sends out ambassadors for a business.

Of course, there’ll always be a place for specialist recruitment consultants, but there’s a whole market out there and recruiters need to recognise that they’re in the ideal position to take advantage of it. If a company’s recruitment process stops at getting people through the door, then there’s a danger that they’re missing a trick and could lose the war for talent to forward thinking companies who engage recruiters that can address all aspects of the process from sourcing to engagement, training, retention and beyond.

The future, then, is people. It’s going to be about engaging recruiters or using specialist outside agencies that can find the right people for an organisation, and ensure their happiness and loyalty, on a long-term basis. Companies that understand this are going to be ahead of the game.

Paul Daley is Director of HR Consulting at talent management consultancy, Ochre House

3 Responses

  1. When we are talking future, do we mean light years from now?

    — Rob Andrews Managing Director Lauder Beaumont Associates


    I love the idea that the future of recruitment will be about engaging recruiters or using specialist outside agencies that can find the right people for an organisation, and ensure their happiness and loyalty, on a long-term basis. 
    Can the recruiter really achieve this? Do they have the required influence in an organisation to ensure long-term happiness, let alone loyalty?
    From what I see in most companies, recruiters’ performance is still measured by things like how much they can reduce cost per hire rather than something more meaningful, e.g. return on investment per hire. 
    Changing this type of thinking within the HR community, let alone the wider organisation, seems to be an uphill battle so I wonder how far in the future it might be before the holistic approach outlined becomes a reality?
  2. The indivdual’s future direction has to be part of the holisitc

    Because most of the clients I see aren’t happy with their current role I might be biased, but for me an ‘holistic’ approach has to include the individual’s future direction too.

    Just because they’re very good at something and just because they got a lot of experience doesn’t mean they have a passion for it. Nor would choose to continue along their current career path if they thought they had a choice. Unfortunately once on their chosen career path many people don’t take the time to review whether the path still inspires them. Frequently reassessment only happens when they end up down a creek. Unfortunately creeks aren’t very healthy places to be for the individual and for their co-workers or management. Yet if action had been taken earlier the creek could have been averted.

    I’m not sure what role recruitment can or should take on this but if we’re looking at an ‘holistic’ model Paul the individual’s future direction needs to be in the mix somewhere. Personal responsibility is a major factor but so many people seem surprised when I invite them to consider what else they could and would like to do that questions raised throughout their career may allow them to make more informed choices rather than only react once they find themselves up the creek.

  3. The future of recruitment….

    Whilst I agree with the idea that employing/engaging people generally could do with some careful joined up thinking particularly post social media explosion and the negative outcomes that can so easily occur if things aren’t handled properly, the idea that external Recruiters are going to become involved with “…. training, retention and beyond” is a bit far-fetched.


    Recruitment has and always will be about delivering the right candidate. Once they’re settled in, it’s up to HR to look after their newest employee.


    The Recruitment market will shrink and evolve but the Recruiter will stay pretty much the same. If there is any change at all it will be around the on-boarding process: interviews, assessments, references etc.


    Recruitment has always been about “People”. The future of Recruitment will be about “Value”.

    — Regards David Palmer The marketplace that puts you in touch with the right Recruiters because they’re in touch with the right Candidates. Mob: 07880 736263 #vacancyclearing



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