If the last 10 years have taught us anything, it’s that well-established bricks and mortar businesses (think Woolworths, Blockbuster) are destined to lose the battle with online services (think Amazon, Netflix) that allow customers more direct access to the goods and services they want to buy. In the recruitment business, we all know direct sourcing is coming. Its rise is inevitable in a world where just about everyone’s career profile is available on Linkedin. So why does most recruitment industry comments imply that the future involves more recruitment agents, more managed service providers and more vendor management systems?
Simple – it’s because that is what they all want to believe. But they’re wrong. And here, in a nutshell are 3 reasons why they are wrong.
1. Recruitment can happen without human agents. Most people in the recruitment business believe implicitly that there are elements of the recruitment process that must be carried out by human beings. This is probably something to do with the belief that people like to do business with other people, or that machines can never be as smart as their operators or some other misguided view of human supremacy. And while they purport to believe this, the same people sell stuff on eBay, book holidays on EasyJet and change their car insurance on the Meerkat thing. Recruitment can happen perfectly well through direct sourcing channels, without human – or cute animal – intermediaries.
2. Most recruitment agents are not very good. Although they may refer to themselves as “recruitment professionals” most people in the recruitment industry are anything but professional. Many drifted into recruitment because it was a relatively easy way to get a job with mediocre qualifications and only a few graduate beyond the “opportunistic junior salesperson” stage. As a result, they enjoy rather low levels of esteem from the customers they seek to serve, just about on a par with estate agents (about whom the same observations generally apply and for whom similar threats are now manifesting themselves). Direct sourcing solutions based on technology would be a welcome change for many clients of recruitment agents.
3. Online services are improving rapidly. Businesses such as LinkedIn and Monster are targeting clients that want to recruit directly with an increasingly sophisticated set of products and tools. Will Linkedin become the Amazon of recruitment? You can bet they think so and they’ve probably got a budget to make it happen sooner rather than later. And who else will join the party? Google and Facebook will not want to be far behind and a raft of new online services targeting specific sectors can be expected to arrive on the recruitment scene in the next few years. This competition will be too severe for the average recruitment business, whether local or national.
So, what are all the media studies graduates going to do when more and more recruitment happens online? They’ll do what everyone else does – get on Linkedin and find a proper job.