As part of my promise not to be boring, here's an article I've been sitting on for some time because I felt it might be a little edgy for some readers. Enjoy!
In September 2013, recruiters from across the APAC region gathered for the second Global Recruiter Summit in Singapore, an event designed to prepare leaders in the recruitment industry for emerging trends, new technologies and new market entry.
It's also an opportunity for recruiters to drink loads of beer and bemoan the changing landscape (aka bitch about our clients).
Being pbHC’s man on the ground for this event, I decided to delve right in, a modern day Hunter S Thompson, and I immersed myself in recruiter-speak for two days.
While the conference itself was excellent, some of the more revealing insights for those in leadership positions came from the conversations over beers that inevitably followed the day's activities.
One recruitment business owner from Melbourne had raised during the conference the issue of candidate ownership; in the digital age, who really 'owns' a CV or an application? He highlighted a situation where at short list phase for an exclusive role, the HR rep stated that some of the candidates followed their LinkedIn page and so were 'owned' by the client, rather than the recruiter.
Over beers, I spoke about a situation one of my staff had faced a couple of years ago - when presenting a CV for a role that the client had been unable to fill, the internal recruiter had run a LinkedIn search where there name had 'popped up' so were already on their radar. We discussed the possibility that this digital connectedness, and the relative ease for people to search and uncover people, could lead to a fundamental shift in the way that companies engage recruiters. But it also presents some dilemmas for candidates.
Who 'owns' you? Who 'owns' your information? With most people nowadays having a solid social media presence - from twitter to LinkedIn to facebook - and much of that information being readily available, are you helping or hindering your employment chances by then connecting with organisations directly?
It is my view - and was shared by many of my peers (although by then the beer was doing most of the talking) that candidates need to manage their online presence very carefully. The sheer availability of candidate profiles now means that standing out from the pack is very difficult.
If you are working with a recruiter, be very clear as to the level of engagement they have with the client, and also be very clear about any prior interactions - real world or electronic - that you've had with the end client. It's perfectly OK to ask the recruiter whether the role is a retained executive search, and for readers of this blog this should almost always be the case.
If you are engaging a recruiter proactively, I will be perfectly frank in that any independent online efforts you make to reach out to an organisation would almost certainly hinder the process in some ways. One of the panellists at the conference, an APAC leader for recruitment for one of the world's biggest companies, stated emphatically that when the source of an approach became murky, or it seemed that the candidate had 'gone behind the recruiters back' then the candidate was dismissed from the process instantly.
On that first night, at the top of Marina Bay Sands Skypark, we gazed out over all of Singapore, lit with possibilities and LED screens, connected to everyone and no one all at once, and realised that recruitment had changed and would keep changing, forever.
And then we had another beer.