I’ve been following the twitter stream from the Enhance Media Conference (#EMConf) today. The event covers all areas of on-line recruiting, and attracts about 450 attendees.I reported the twitter stream in my last post. It’s a long reading but well worth a glance to pick out your own highlights. There’s some real nuggets in there. Thanks to everyone who tweeted.
There’s a few recurring themes that keep jumping out from all these conversations that really get me thinking. Before the event, I read the excellent quarterly recruitment review from Jobsite, and blogged about the findings. 4 points stood out for me:

1: Recruiters are increasing the number of job boards they are using due to the difficulty in locating niche talent.

2: Conversely job seekers are reducing the numbers of job boards they are using, with many reverting to just 1, probably because of the same jobs posted in multiple channels, and job seeker fatigue.

3: Recruiters are becoming increasingly pro-active in sourcing, and less reliant on ads. This doesn’t mean job boards are losing out though, as recruiters are increasingly turning to C.V. databases to locate candidates, and see this as the most valuable feature of the job board.

4:Corporate recruiters are reducing cost of hire by moving to a direct sourcing model, at the expense of agency recruiters. Though agencies still feature highly in source of hire, it is decreasing and this trend is expected to continue.

Josh Bersins report on the UK market backs up this point. The average cost of hire in the UK is £5,311 compared to £2,158 in the US. The report attributes this difference to an over reliance on agencies in the UK, and that 50% of the companies in the research had consciously reduced their agency spend over the last year. At most conferences I attend or follow, corporate recruiter after corporate recruiter tells the same story, less reliance on agencies and less spend. The story coming out of #EMConf was very much the same.
Enhance Media’s Giles Guest,always one for research and stats, again made the point that recruiters were now using 3 – 5 job boards, and found the CV database the most valuable feature. The last speaker of the day, Gary Franklin, founder of The FIRM. (The forum for in-house recruitment managers), echoed the same story from member research. Nearly all the members used job boards, had reduced agency spend and ranked the C.V. database as the top feature.
Betwen Jobsite, The FIRM and Enhance Medias research, you’ve got to be talking 1000′sof corporate recruiters, all telling the same story, echoing the key-points of the Jobsite research. This has to be more than a short-term trend.
So what does this trend mean for the future? The happiest man in the room must have been Lee Biggins, owner of CV library, who operate a UK CV database of over 4,375,816 live CVs.and growing daily, drawn in by job aggregation featuring over 56,692 Live Jobs. Happy days for Lee, where the emphasis on the platform has always been the CV database. And this gets me thinking on how these factors could impact on the future of job boards and recruitment agencies.
Until recruiters develop internet sourcing skills on mass, sourcing from social profiles and other places, the importance of an up to date, accurate and easily searchable CV database is going to be invaluable. Corporate recruiters are getting increasingly pro-active, and need these single destinations to find candidates. Job seekers in turn are less active on job boards, and that means they are looking to be found rather than go looking at adverts. Is it inconceivable that the only value of job advertising on the database is candidate attraction to register their C.V? The increase in advertising spend on TV by Jobsite and other players in the market, promoting upload your CV rather than find a job ad would suggest that the job boards have been thinking this way for some time. They would certainly have been the first to see this trend.
The Jobsite research also highlighted that job seekers are only applying for jobs they are confident in getting. The job requirement needs to feature prominently in job ads to make them effective, and it often doesn’t. If job seekers are tired of applying for jobs they are not getting, this could lie behind this mind-set, with a reliance on the CV database because if recruiters call them, they must be a fit.
If this trend continues and increases, is it conceivable that advertising cost is reduced, perhaps even to the point of being free, in order to attract candidates to register their CV in the database? Is this the future revenue model for job boards?

We also need to consider what this means to agencies. The market is shrinking significantly, and that should lead to a change of thinking in the way that agency recruiters operate.
The one asset many agencies have is an over loaded data-base of CV’s. Agencies have been collecting them for years, a percentage with added notes from interview or conversation, and often in niche sectors. Could this be where the real potential revenue is for agencies in the future? They have the CV’s and records, the hiring companies would be willing to pay for their own access.
Now there’s no doubt that there will be legal considerations around data-protection and access, but these could be worked around by gaining consent to access, and presenting the data in the right searchable format. Whilst less corporates are willing to pay for the full recruitment process, what price would they put on access to recruiters data?

I’m going to be opening this up in 2 tracks at #trulondon on 22′nd – 23′rd Feb: Recruiter Models and Big Data. Come and join the conversation.


Jobsite Research

Josh Bersins UK Market Report
Enhance Media
Gary Franklin
CV Library