Here comes part 2 of the postings based on the seminar I was holding in Budapest on „The Future Of Recruitment“, organized by our Partner office Ikelosz/ Kennedy Executive Search Hungary.
Yogi Berra said “It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future”.
Here is my educated guess what the future might look like, once more with the input from my colleagues, peers and network in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Monaco, The Netherlands, the UK and USA:
- Mid-level recruitment firms will disappear: No company should pay a fee anymore for an entry level staff function in accounts payable or junior sales. This kind of recruitment – the traditional niche of the mid-level recruitment firms – can and should be done inhouse, via LinkedIn or an advertisement. The situation is different at the top of the pyramid where executive search come in for strategic recruitments. These are often direct searches, sometimes confidential ones. Here, our consulting approach comes in. I have one client who actively involves me in her strategy formulation (merci, M-D!). She asks me what I see and hear in the market, what her competitors are doing, where they succeed and where they fail. This kind of service will prevail. On the lower end, temp staffing should stay: if you have a construction site and need 5 workers tomorrow at 5AM, you need a staffing company. But the firms in the mid-level, the transactional recruitments, will have a hard time.
- The word “customer” must be redefined: I have been educating recruitment consultants all over Europe for the last 10 years: stop thinking in the “candidate” and “customer” box! The only difference between these two is that a) one is currently looking for a new job and b) one is currently NOT looking for a new job. The best example is that this is not understood is the legendary “I will call you on Friday” (I call it what I call the biggest mistake a recruiter can make). Guess what happens on Friday? When you are a customer, your phone will ring. When you are a candidate, the calls comes… maybe never. The old system is broken. Everything is a huge network. What goes (=goodwill, ethics, return calls) comes around. Treating candidates and clients alike sounds like a small step for a recruiter. But is would be a huge step for the industry. Clients and candidates will no longer tolerate this behavior.
- Demographics: Talent shortage is knocking on our doors and most industrial nations behave in our favor: they do not make enough babies (=future switchboard operators and Finance Directors). Do you find it difficult to find the right talent today? Let us call each other Friday in 5 years (you call me, OK?) and see where you stand then! Did you plan through the middle management jobs you will need by then? And senior leadership? Ideally these people are on board today. How do you develop and keep them? How do you build a talent pipeline? And if you recruit from outside: How do you secure YOU will be chosen? As said in the last article, employer branding is key and if you want to attract “the best talent”, make sure you are “the best employer”. Treat your employees like clients or they will go to your competition. Like clients.
- Make it easy to establish a contact with you: I just deactivated my American Express credit card because I am not willing to call a number, listen to a robot and choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 depending on my need and then hold the line for another 3 minutes. Neither do I stand in the line in front of a shop to spend my money. I am the customer and want to be treated as such. Same for the candidates. If you still have a registration form on your homepage, switch it off. If you have job advertisements out, make sure to put a name and direct email address (not “firstname.lastname@example.org”). Candidates can choose today. Do your homework to be chosen. Be complimentary. Show you are an attractive employer.
- A more dynamic labor market than in the past: Regular changes are essential part of a competitive and dynamic career path today. The life duration of a job is three years (year 1 to learn it, year 2 to get results, year 3 to confirm them). Then something should happen, internally or externally. This is good news for executive search and a prediction can be that our services will be much needed in the future. Yesterday, a client might have been angry if we found a candidate who left three years later. Tomorrow, it might be perfectly OK to recruit the same function for the same client regularly.
- Focus on service, quality and transparency: We are being challenged by clients and candidates daily. Like for any other service or products, comparing our offer, checking feedback on us or everyfying our profitability is only a mouse click away. We must be more transparent, report better and in more detail and adapt more to our clients if we want to stay in business. Our industry has often been accused of being an arrogant one. And yes, there are many arrogant people in this industry (and zero here at Kennedy because I select them). The times where candidates and clients were willing to accept this are over and this behavior will drive the respective firms out of business.
- Local will not be good enough anymore: This point relates directly to the previous posting: talent flows freely from country to country. It is normal today to work cross border and take the airplane to go the office. We must respond to this trend by offering both a deep understanding of the local market we serve and the global marketplace. If we want to shape the world of labor tomorrow, we must understand its state of mind today. The world is becoming smaller. Our mindset must become larger. Local is important. Global too. Only if we understand both dimensions will we be able to serve our clients and candidates best, remain in business and secure a competitive edge.
The world is changing faster than it used to. Either we adapt to the change or we create it ourselves. In this industry, much can be improved. And much MUST be improved. As always, the fittest, most serious and best companies will stay. After all, recruitment is the most ethical job in the world: we help candidates make a career step forward and companies to find that very talent they need to achieve their goals and make economies turn. The future looks bright – at least, when you do the right things and when you do them right!