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Jan 11, 2018
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

2018, the year of acquiring the best talent will once again be our primary focus.

As always, talent acquisition will be on the hot seat everywhere.

Locate, identify, qualify, engage and secure the top performers from the competition and do it faster than ever before.

Here to save the day once again, technology. Let me repeat it T-E-C-H-N-O-L-O-G-Y” (can you hear titanium clanking from the robots clapping and cheering?).

The evolution of tools and resources driven by “technology” has revolutionized the way we’ve recruited over the past 20 years. These advances have given ALL recruiters the competitive advantage.

From boolean searches, artificial intelligence, databases, etc. (screech, do you hear the brakes?).

Um, wait a second, back up a moment! How do these tools give me the competitive advantage if the recruiter at XYZ company is using the same tools? Mainly the same search tools, social media presence, and employer branding? Ugh.

We’ve been told our life was going to get easier. So easy that eventually, robots will be brought in to do our job and recruiters will be found on the street corners telling stories about back in the day, “when I used a phone book to.”

It costs companies millions of dollars each year for unfilled jobs, and these business leaders are desperate for world-class talent who will impact their organization positively.

As technology is making recruiters lives easier; technology is creating a wedge between the candidate and recruiter. It’s a huge problem, and ultimately, we are to blame.

Technology is driving candidates further into their own “witness protection program.” Why? Because they are:

  • Tired of the endless, carefully scripted email messages and phone calls.
  • Annoyed with the recruiting message about an assembler job when they are in finance.
  • Tired of listening to recruiters who don’t have a clue about what they are doing.
  • Tired of receiving 100’s of meaningless standard spam emails on a weekly basis.

Candidates are not harder to find; they are harder to engage. Candidates are being bombarded with useless information. Candidates are being stalked about opportunities irrelevant to their career path and Candidates are tired… tired of the robots (humans or machines) wasting their time.

The art of recruiting has been diminished over the years. Recruiters are being assigned more requisitions than ever, and sometimes with unrealistic expectations. New recruiters come into the profession thinking it’s all about the technology, metrics and creating pretty reports. They forget or maybe have not been taught some of the basic principles of recruiting, which is vital for surviving in the recruiting world.

All the candidate lists in the world created by search tools are meaningless unless you get a call back. When a candidate decides to respond to your request for a conversation, it’s our job as a recruiter to build the “trust” through personal connections.

We do this by, building rapport, developing relationships and providing an emotional connection while engaging them. These are critical when you are talking to someone about making a life change, as switching jobs is a life-changing event, we need to recognize this and treat it as such when speaking with our candidates.

I challenge my peers in talent acquisition to remind yourself, building all the lists in the world while using technology will be of no value if you are not engaging, developing a relationship with the candidates you are seeking. Take your time and work through the process thoroughly, because, in the end, you will find yourself contacting fewer people more intimately while yielding more significant results.

If we can do this, once again, we may see candidates walking the virtual streets stepping away from the witness protection program wanting to speak to mindful professionals who have meaningful information potential career opportunities.

Every year we hear “the robots are coming” and are going to take our jobs. The reality is we need the robots as much as they need us.

Let’s make a pledge and “take action” this year:

  • Slow down and take your time. Writing a thought-provoking message to a candidate is going to get a better response versus the standard. “I saw your profile and thought you would be great for this role.” Take your time when you are on the phone. I know we have calls to make, but we need to be present in the moment with the person we are speaking to. If it’s important to you, it will be important to them.
  • Employer Branding serves a purpose but typically is very generic. Work on building your own personal brand. If your brand is strong, candidates will have heard of your reputation and know they “NEED” to speak with you, regardless what company you work for.
  • Use technology to make your life easier, but don’t blindly trust technology do the job for you. Double check your lists. Make sure they are relevant. Quality checks will save us all headaches in the future and help keep data integrity strong in your CRM tool. This will minimize the errors of sending a recruiter a message about a wiring opportunity. (yeah, got the email two different times from the same recruiter)

So, as we begin our journey in the new year, let’s make 2018 the year we form an alliance by bringing robots and people together once and for all so that we can win the war on engaging talent!

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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