Local vs. national recruiting: Leveraging technology to eliminate distance (Part 4 of 4)

There has been good perspective offered in our series on local versus national recruiting, and hopefully these considerations have helped you develop a game plan to address your organization's recruiting priorities.

In reading over the debate to this point, and drawing on my observations from the Society of Human Resource Management's 2010 Annual Conference, I was struck by one obvious area that might not neutralize the debate, but should offer an effective and practical bridge to connect local and national recruiting strategies: technology.

Mindy's post on why we are naturally disposed to enjoy local service coverage reminded me of something Scott Monty shared when discussing the application of social media to the workforce and succession planning. To paraphrase, Scott said that the maturation of digital communication tools ironically has, in a manner of speaking, humanized our business dealings regardless of distance.

One personal example of this involves this year's SHRM conference, the first event I attended as a frequent user of Twitter. Through this tool, I developed multiple contacts before I even started thinking about packing for San Diego. I was able to establish a network of peers to connect with at the event, personalizing my attendance and also adding significant value.

To further illustrate, consider that today, an approximate average of 0.25 percent of all Twitter traffic includes the word "jobs." "Recruiting" is included in 0.10 percent of traffic. This is close to 1.5 million online conversations around employment and recruiting.

On LinkedIn, if you have over 300 contacts, you are connected by, at most, three degrees of separation to over 6 million people, and your second degree contacts are likely close to 100,000.

While our digital universe expands, the connectivity to those numbers becomes increasingly more personal. Today, it is easier than ever before to locate those with whom you share knowledge, experience, likes, politics, and views of all kind. It serves to make our reach broader, but our familiarity with those we can reach out to greater.

The point is that everything national (even global) really is more local than it has ever been. Therefore, it is our responsibility as candidates seeking employment, recruiters seeking candidates, and employers seeking to build a workforce to leverage all available technologies. This will maximize the benefits of the close personal touch that a local provider delivers, while expanding the reach and cost benefit of developing an infrastructure that serves our needs, regardless of zip code.

Continuing to operate in a fashion that delineates between local talent providers versus national would be negligent. Rather, the talent demands and fulfillment methods should be unencumbered of tactical logistics necessary to execute. This frees an organization to set levels of service required to assure that talent demands are met in a timely and cost-efficient manner yielding the appropriate level of quality.

Next time you are faced with a decision that will impact how you execute your engagement with talent providers, remember that the focus of talent delivery should be placed not only on the geographical location of a provider, but on its ability to create intimacy with your firm and the related candidate pool.

Use this checklist as a way to evaluate a potential talent partner's ability to do this.

Evaluate the provider's candidate sourcing strategies. Ask for a detailed breakdown of how talent is sourced. Does the provider simply "post and pray," or are they actively connecting to the communities where skills you require are typically found.

Recruitment infrastructure. As candidates are sourced, how is the recruitment process executed? Key here is a provider's ability to handle the ebb and flow of volume in a way that doesn't jeopardize your firm's employment brand reputation in the local markets. It would be wise to ask providers to explain how they protect local representation with potential candidates, or even a recent candidate satisfaction survey that measures the overall candidate experience.

Turnkey scalability. At the end of the day, all the maturing technology in the world cannot replace the face-to-face interaction that is required in some circumstances. Typically, highly concentrated or large-volume activity with short completion timelines requires an on-site presence, which slightly alters the sourcing and early phases of recruitment. Your provider must be able to clearly articulate the process used to establish triggers for greater on-site presence, and the changes in execution as on-site involvement is increased and eventually decreased.

I hope you have enjoyed the local versus national series. Our suggestions are merely our perspectives developed from what we  have seen work and what we have seen fail. It is an ever-evolving practice, and I am sure there is more to the debate we haven't covered.

So now it's your turn. What else do you feel is necessary to consider when evaluating a provider's local (or non-local) presence?

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