Recruitment is changing, there is no doubt about that, but there is a particular trend that seems to be gaining momentum that recruiters should be very conscious of because it could have a major impact on the role of the in-house recruiter. This could be the beginning of the end of in-house recruiters as we know them, or could be an evolution in to something completely different. Over the next 4 weeks I’m going to be exploring this in a bit more depth by talking to lots of recruiters and asking lots of questions about what is really going on. We will be hosting #DiceTru in partnership with EmployersOnDice in Mountain View, USA on the 15th August, and in San Francisco on 16th August, and then again as part of the #Kellylive hangout at #trulondon on 6th September.

I first started really thinking about this at the beginning of the year when I did a bit of a San Fran tour and caught up with the sourcing technology companies Gild, Entello, DiceOpenWeb and others. What surprised me at the time was that I was consistently getting told that it was hiring managers who were buying this technology directly, rather than sourcers or recruiters. Through the work I have been doing with social referral company RolePoint, I was becoming aware that more and more hiring managers were looking to run their own referral campaigns outside of the normal company process. RolePoint have had to go as far as creating a whole new work and data flow to accomodate this.

The data from the candidate experience awards in both North America and the UK was showing us that an increasing number of hiring managers were being set KPI’s for things like time to hire, cost of hire, candidate experience etc, the kind of metrics we had previously always associated with recruiters. We have also witnessed a growing reliance on the business to generate employer and culture brand content for talent attraction, and for employees to engage directly with potential candidates. My friend Rob Van’Elburg had also just started a new project with ING Bank to co-ordinate the training of all the hiring managers in technology across the world to run there own hiring campaigns through Taleo, from creating job specs to offer management. All of the technology recruiting for a global business being co-ordinated by one person. All the signs were pointing in one direction.

Probing a bit deeper in to why this was happening, with a number of hiring managers at global corporations, some of the reasoning behind this became clear. For a start, a lot of the tech jobs had never really existed before, and hiring managers wanted more access to who was out there in order to shape what they were actually looking for. We were also looking at data for a number of hiring managers where they were getting to see 5 in 1000 applicants by the time the ATS had sifted out 70%, usually on random criteria, the recruiter had eliminated CV’s, then done video or phone screens, then interviews, then other tests like assesments for team fit, skills etc before the last few standing got in frount of the hiring manager. It is no small wonder that hiring managers have started to want to look a lot closer at that pipeline for themselves.

I have also been aware of a new recruitment model evolving at Oracle in the EMEA region, which has since been adopted globally. Recruiting is a profit center that charges the business for their time. Recruiters are responsible for sourcing, (along with a sourcing and social media team), new potential hires. They don’t do any admin or logistics, that is all they do. Find people, qualify them, send them on to the hiring manager. The only time they ever get involved again is in helping to close candidates.They deffinitely don’t do any interviewing or anything like that. Very different, but very effective against aggressive hiring targets, with 30% of hires coming from social media, 30% from referral and 40% from direct sourcing. I’m begining to see this model being mirrored in other organisation looking to achieve the same thing, making recruiting being about sourcing, on a just in time basis.

That leaves us then with the question: If hiring managers are going to drive their own recruiting, what is going to happen to the recruiters? I asked this question at the #tru sessions at lRecruit earlier year. I was running a track that had about 18 heads of talent acquisition in the session. Industry analyst Josh Bersin was quick to pick up on this and ask if this really a trend in the organisations, given that most of the participants were senior and represented global brands. 18 of the 19 companies all confirmed that this is the direction they are going in, with more and more hiring managers taking on more and more of the day to day responsibility for hiring in their teams, assisted by some clever recruiting and assesment technology. It is becoming clear that this is much more than a trend, and not isolated to one region or one sector. That would be too simple.

My thinking is that in-house recruiters, and recruiting functions are going to go in one of four distinct directions:

1: The super recruiters. The last few years have seen the rise of the super recruiter. People like Matthew Jeffery at SAP, Chris Hoyt at Pepsico, Paul Maxin at Unilever, Jeff Moore at Google, Arie Ball at Sodexo, Donna Quintal at Sears, Anne-Marie O’Donnell at Oracle, Lars Schmidt at NPR, Ted Meulenkamp at Roche, and a number of others. Individuals who are much more strategic than tactical, who have high level influence. This is a great opportunity, but they are in the minority.

2: The sourcers – As with the Oracle model. 100% focussed on generating candidates by effective sourcing, and leaving the decision making, selection and recruiting to the line. A very lean, focussed role, with niche or location specialists. More opportunity for direct sourcing functions within larger organisations. Numbers driven, lean operations working on a just in time, on demand basis. Many of these roles could be filled by the new breed of contract recruiters, who come in as needed, and drop off when things are slack, or through RPO operations, importing expertise at the sourcing end. Potentially this will mean less opportunities for in-house recruiters.

3: Talent Networkers. I couldn’t think of a better term, although I’m sure there is one. This changes the recruiters role from filling jobs to populating the pipeline and the talent network. Sourcing people who are a cultural fit, with longer term potential as hires, and organising the data in the talent network for the hiring managers to recruit from. Whilst this role is proving valuable for those companies who go down this route, few companies will prove as forward thinking. We will also see a rise in companies like Norman Broadbent company Social Media Search providing this as an outsourced function.

4: Administrators – Managing the admin and logistics around recruiting such as interview scheduling, assessments etc on behalf of line manager, back to the days of the personnel manager. Whilst this has to be the least appealing option, cost considerations may well see this as the most likely route.

You might think I’m mad in thinking this, but it is too big a trend to ignore. You can come and disagree/discuss/debate this point with me at #DiceTru in Mountain View on the 15th Aug, SanFran on the 16th or #trulondon on the 6th Sept. I look forward to the debate!

Bill