Recruitment Process Outsourcing disruption – A closer look

Recently, we posted a piece on the growing demand for disruption in the delivery of recruitment process outsourcing services.  To continue the discussion about disruption in the RPO services space, today we will take a closer look at exactly how that disruption might play out.

In about two weeks, we will be releasing our annual workforce trend study, which has some very compelling data on the continuing fragility of the American labor market. While the report will show some bright spots, one piece of information underscores the reality of a growing demand for disruption in the recruitment process outsourcing services market. The statistic in question was the stated use of social media as an integral component of the strategic recruiting efforts.  We’ll cover the topic in more detail when the 2013 workforce trends study is released, but in advance of that, we can report that 79% of respondents reported either no use of social media as a recruiting tool or significantly remedial use. (See image)


What does this statistic have to do with the discussion over disruptive recruitment process outsourcing services? Everything.

Disruption typically occurs when a company fails to see with clarity the nature of the market in which they operate.  The classic case-study being the buggy whip.  The need for the whip was eliminated as the combustion engine became more accessible to the masses.  However, the arguments goes, if buggy whip manufacturers realized that the business they were in was not creating whips but making a buggy move, they may have been able to face the disruption and pivot in order to compete.

This is the very reality that companies are facing with their recurring efforts.  Yesterday, they were in the business of simply representing the employment brand consistently across all external job postings and increasing the ratio of quality applicants to open job positions.  Today, they are in the business of aggressively and strategically marketing to the candidate marketplace well ahead of demand.  They are in the business of creating the narrative or the story of employment from well before a candidate even considers their company as an employment option all the way through to what it means to be an alumnus of the organization.   The statistic above reveals that many organizations do not even realize that their ‘recruiting business’ has changed, and that the nature of their purpose has dramatically morphed.

This is part of what is driving demand for segmented recruitment process outsourcing services, and it is ultimately a matter of resource allocation.  Disruption is disruptive because it has an impact on how fiscal and labor resources are distributed in order to simply remain competitive.  Many large organizations have been comfortable with outbound candidate solicitation, which essentially amounted to tactical use of job postings in order to identify qualified candidates to place into the recruiting process.  Both fiscal and labor resources were almost entirely directed towards this approach.  Big job board spends and commensurate sourcing staffs to sift through the volume of inquires that come in with every job posting.   Candidates are significantly more sophisticated in their career search today, and they also have higher expectations that an employment culture will align with their individual values and career aspirations.

Gaining better insight into the desires and drive of the candidate marketplace, especially if attracting top tier talent, is a priority.  Organizations have to minimize the outbound post and shift approach and increase investments in social outreach, community development, and in laying a solid candidate marketing message foundation that clearly articulates the story of employment with the company.  It is an approach that demands greater interactivity between sourcing professionals and the candidate marketplace.  This interactivity, or conversation, requires a developed employment narrative and supporting content that will communicate the story of employment for the company, and be found interesting by the appropriate targeted candidates.  Sourcing, therefore, becomes a discipline that must be occurring well ahead of demand and be executed in a manner that relies on forecasted demand.

Again, the issue here is that the nature of the business of sourcing and recruiting has changed, or been disrupted. The fact that nearly 80% of survey respondents reported no or very remedial use of social media tools to execute in the direction of disruption, illustrates why there is a growing demand for recruitment process outsourcing organizations to provide the help necessary to quickly handle the functional changes required to adapt.  Once an organization knows what they do not know, they are able to identify the fact that their allocation of resources must be modified to address this new candidate market landscape.  This allocation of both budget and labor carries with it a fair degree of anxiety.  There is a chasm that the recruiting discipline must cross and many companies are hesitant to invest in resources to help cross that chasm and live well in the newly disrupted candidate marketplace.  Their recourse?  Seek help.

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