History has shown that given enough time, logic and reason trumps superstition and conjecture. Until science discovered bacteria, we believed that the only thing to make us sick was “Miasma” in the air. Likewise, it was once common knowledge that what a pregnant woman stared at dictated the physical characteristics of her baby. And until recently, we were all bloodletting like nobodies business. This practice of “facts” being proven wrong continues to this very day. Remember, it was not until the 2018 biopic that we realised Freddie Mercury was gay. Viewing what we see right now in front of us as confirmed fact is clearly a dangerous exercise. Especially when these “facts” are based on gut-feel, with no empirical evidence. And as recruiters, I’d argue that historically we sit predominantly in the “gut-feel” category. And again historically, it’s bought enough boats, baches, and cocaine to suggest this has been the right approach.
On Tuesday, I attended the SEEK Insight & Innovation Seminar. It’s been a while since I’ve attended one of these things and it was surprisingly good to catch up with some old buddies. Rest assured however, this blog isn’t a summary of the event. Summaries are for losers who take notes. What did catch my eye was SEEK’s new (or at least to me) analytics products. Essentially, us recruiters now have access to a nicely designed dashboard serving up user-friendly information on Ad Performance, ROI, Market Trends and Market Shifts. The Market Trends and Shifts sections are especially interesting, allowing us the ability to compare demand versus supply, and even ranking the difficulty to recruit each role. I haven’t explored it fully, as I’m more into thinking up cheap gags than actual research, but I think it looks like a good tool to both decide an agency’s strategy, and make excuses to clients for not finding candidates. Win/win.
Like many products that are actually quite good, will it resonate with what us recruiters actually do everyday? Will we have the time, training, inclination, and login details to add this to our arsenal? In my opinion, this could go one of two ways:
- SEEK, with their Zurich-sized checking account, have spunked a load of cash up the wall on products that recruiters will never be smart enough to use. It’ll die a death like most recruitment products
- SEEK, employing much better futurologists than us, recognise the world is changing, and in time recruiters will change. Adoption may be slow, but those who do move to a more “data-driven” way of recruiting will eventually flourish
Given that SEEK now employ over 100 egg-heads in their incredibly expensive Melbourne office, I’m betting against myself on this one. In SEEK’s Brave New World, as we struggle to find a Salesforce Developer in Ngaruawahia, we show them SEEK’s very clever and stylish infographic from our tablet:
“If you see here mister client, demand far outstrips supply for this role. In fact, and interestingly, year on year, Salesforce Developers are 7.3% harder to find in the Waikato region”.
The client, dazzled by our insights, agrees to pay a retainer. In my experience this is not what the past and current breed of recruiter does. Instead, we call mister client and say:
“Yep, got it all covered. He’s coming in this afternoon. Does he know Salesforce??! Mate, he is Salesforce”, before hanging up and shouting “Get me anyone, just fucking anyone!!”.
And this is no criticism of SEEK. I actually think they’re doing fantastic work. But in the words of any spineless dater, “It’s not you, it’s me”. Most of us just aren’t geared up for this new data-driven way of operating, no matter what we tell our managers. So what for the future? If SEEK are right, the charming, charismatic, vacuous sociopaths that lurk the recruitment corridors are on their way out. We’ll be replaced by a more considered breed of data driven millennials. Recruitment will move towards science and away from art. And perhaps many of us our doomed to become the dinosaurs we swore we never would.
I could be wrong of course. I was with Freddie Mercury.