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What recruiters want: reflections from San Diego

SanDiegoYou know it’s always sunny in San Diego – except when IAEWS is in town. The sun finally peeked out on Sunday (pun intended) but I suspect the locals were more than happy for some grey and drizzle. Besides, we weren’t there for the weather, right? It was all about the recruiters.

The conference theme was ‘Optimizing the recruiter’s experience’, and we heard from both enterprise recruiters and agencies. Let me note that enterprise recruiters want very different things than your typical small to medium sized business. So what did we hear?

  • Enterprise recruiter: “There is a difference between an interested candidate – and an interesting candidate.”
  • Agency recruiter: “From the agency side, it’s always hard to tell the client that their interviews suck.”
  • Enterprise recruiter: “It would be nice if job boards could provide candidates that truly match up with the specific job requirements.”
  • Agency recruiter: “Pay for performance will win in the end.”
  • Enterprise recruiter: ” I’m not going to use HR tech that increases friction. No new dashboards.”
  • Agency recruiter: “Future recruitment ad buying is going to be based on data and ROI – not on ‘the gut’.”
  • Agency recruiter: “Job boards, instead of focusing on selling me your product, show me how you can make my client successful.
  • Enterprise recruiter: “The average recruiter is either too busy or not strategic enough to take advantage of ‘Moneyball’ statistics.”
  • Enterprise recruiter: “We’ve dialed back our job board spend for upper levels jobs – and haven’t taken a hit for it”

In breakout sessions with these recruiters, I also saw how they struggle with lack of internal resources – both money and staff – as well as dealing with vendors that are more interested in selling product than solving problems. Chris Hoyt of Pepsico offered – to my surprise – to talk with any vendor at the IAEWS conference about how they might work together. An open mind – but he also demonstrated that any solution had to produce data proving it worked.

I was also struck by the eternal tension between quantity of candidates and quality of candidates. Big brands like Pepsico have no trouble with quantity – they instead have to winnow out the bad and mediocre ones to find the best.

The eternal whipping boy also emerged – the beloved ATS. I had trouble finding anyone on either the recruiter or agency side that had much good to say about ATSs. Nonetheless, all agreed that ATSs weren’t going anywhere – which is why a new initiative by industry veteran John Bell seems promising. His company reThinkData has a product called SimpleAPI that sits between job boards and ATSs (or really any two pieces of software) and allows them to communicate candidate data back and forth – painlessly. I’m hopeful! A suggestion for IAEWS this fall: have a panel of ATS folks!

And then there was the networking events – what happens when you throw lots of people in confined spaces with alcohol and food. Business was done, fun was had, and no one (to my knowledge) was arrested. Not bad!

Congrats to Peter and the IAEWS on another solid event!

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. “We’ve dialed back our job board spend for upper levels jobs – and haven’t taken a hit for it”

    Could it be that Enterprise recruiters already pay much more than agency recruiters for their ads?

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