Before the days of Seek and LinkedIn, the most efficient employee recruitment method for attracting candidates was newspaper advertising. Unfortunately, it was quite expensive. The cost of a display advertisement in a city newspaper was prohibitive, particularly if the hiring company was not lucky enough to secure its chosen candidate from the first advertisement. Thus, the use of external recruiters made economic sense, as they:
- Could negotiate volume discount on advertising
- Could effectively re-use candidates
- Had database systems that could store and retrieve candidate information
- Had teams of consultants continuously networking and headhunting candidates
Corporations (begrudgingly) accepted the system, until technology developments upset the status quo.
Technology has made candidate attraction accessible
The proliferation of online job boards, recruitment tools and social media has enabled many large organisations to build internal teams, reducing the need to engage external recruiters. There are many different models being used such as Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), internal recruiters only, internal referral focus, line manager acting as recruiter, mostly internal recruiters with external recruiters used for specialised roles … and the list and variations goes on. For companies who have chosen these options, the cost savings and quality of hire results have been mixed.
Some large companies have been successful while others have not
When combined with an attractive employer brand and strong recruitment processes, the results can be impressive. Some organisations have built a very successful recruitment marketing strategy that adds value to their broader product marketing efforts. Yet getting this right is not easy and without a strong reputation in the market, it is almost impossible. The reality is that many companies do a poor job of employer branding and regard recruitment as a cost center having no strategic value to the business. And yet the mantra proclaimed from boardrooms throughout Australia is still “our people are our greatest asset.” The timing of the recruitment technology explosion (and shift to in-sourcing recruitment) has paralleled the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).