Cloud Recruiting (Part II)

August 26, 2009

Before I look at some of the recruiting practices that have sprouted up around the buzz phrase “cloud recruiting”, I would like to summarize where I am with the analysis so far.

In the last post I talked about Google’s philosophy of “the power of free” and how it was the original basis for the cloud recruiting idea. Google provides a very useful and free service, and does so for what is quite possibly the largest conceivable class of Internet users:  those looking for information on the Internet. The ‘power’ is essentially the age old draw of getting something good for free. Assuming the idea behind cloud recruiting is in part to make use of the same phenomenon in a way that mirrors Google’s application of it, then it would seem to follow that the recruiter’s job is to provide a free and “on demand” service (value added content for job seekers) to the largest possible class of qualified candidates (primarily passive candidates).

As I discussed in the previous post, Weddle points out two of the benefits of cloud recruiting. It distinguishes active from passive candidates and solves the traditional problem that creating productive relationships with candidates can be a resource consuming process. It shifts the focus from transactional activities to maintaining relationships.

With these points in mind, let’s take a look at Michael Marlatt’s view of cloud recruiting (see www.cloudrecruiting.net). He advocates the adoption of a collection of mobile and social networking technologies, to the point where recruiters develop a strategy for employing as many as they can productively integrate. Recruiters who make use of these technologies are, according to Marlatt, S.M.A.R.T. recruiters: they are Synchronized, Mobile, Appropriately equipped, RSS enabled and Tuned in.  Without going into too much detail, as the idea should be pretty straightforward, S.M.A.R.T. recruiters make productive use of current technology, plain and simple.

I think Marlatt is quite right to advocate the use of Web 2.0, social networking, and mobile technologies. Anyone who doesn’t greatly increases their chances of just getting left in the dust. That much is obvious. However, my concern here is more a matter of preserving the original sense of the term cloud and its accompanying philosophy of the power of free. As I pointed out in the last post, there are two ways to envision how the cloud (any cloud for that matter) comes into play when we think of cloud recruiting. In Michael’s case, the assumption seems to be that the collection of technologies he discusses is the cloud, and that recruiters are to be ‘smart’ and put it to use by making it easier to develop and maintain relationships.

While I take what Marlatt is recommending to be useful and a practical necessity, it is not cloud recruiting in the sense of harnessing the power of free by providing an on demand service. It puts technology to work for recruiters on only a superficial level, instead of integrating the power of technology with the benefits of identifying and making use of basic aspects of human nature. Passive candidates want information that fits their needs, they most certainly aren’t going to pay for it, and they want it yesterday.

So enough blathering on. What is it that I am recommending on a practical level? Use social networking technologies to make it easier for passive job candidates to get what they want. Make it easier for them to gain access to information about job opportunities that appeal to them. And when contact is made, use the technology to maintain and develop those relationships.

I can put a bunch of job postings on a number of different sites, adopt a solid SEO strategy, and even optimize it by tracking which candidates came in from which source. But that is SO Web 1.0 😉 Better would be to offer ‘direct’ access to the human being who knows a lot about the job in question (more than a web page or job description), and someone who offers access and advice on other opportunities. Furthermore, I can do so in whatever way is most convenient for the candidate: Twitter, LinkedIn, phone, texting, or even ‘old fashioned’ email.

The bottom line is that, in order to make use of the power of free, a recruiter will have to, in some way, provide the cloud.   

Chuck

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