Internet based recruiting has made you easier to find, not easier to like…

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” wrote Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It sounds more profound in French, but then a lot of things do. C’est La vie.

IT-jobs-in-michigan30 years ago, the internet didn’t exist: No domain names: no email, at least not for civilian consumption; no websites or aps; No social media; No job boards; Careerbuilder.com didn’t arrive until 1998. But fifteen years later, it’s hard to imagine life without any of them. Certainly if you’re a recruiter, a hiring manager or a person trying to find a job, the thought of not relying heavily on the internet is hard to imagine.

In 1990, you couldn’t go online and find a candidate; you couldn’t go to a company’s website and find their open IT jobs, and you couldn’t apply to a job in any way other than mailing a real piece of paper to someone’s name you found at a company and hope that they still worked there…. Linkedin wasn’t around to tell us the moment someone had a new job.

It’s a safe argument to make that the ways these things happen have complete changed- and yet, Jean-Baptiste, who was alive before electricity existed in people’s homes, realized that the internet would not change the fundamentals of hiring someone. (OK so maybe he didn’t actually go that far- but if Da Vinci gets credit for inventing the helicopter just for drawing something that looked like it and claiming it might work, then I think it’s only fair that Jean gets his props too.)

As IT recruiters, every day we talk to candidates on the phone, who we likely found on the internet in some form.

These are people who’s specific skills and personal interests we no longer need to remember. Everything is easily searchable and easily compartmentalized. We analyze these candidates using all sorts of data points, certifications, and information which we’ve never before had at our fingertips. We present them to clients, often through a system that has the sole purpose of keeping track of people.

As recruiters people are our job, and we work very hard to maintain personal contact and to keep the personal element of the process alive. Because what we know and what even French philosophers know, is that the central guiding factor in the search for work has not changed one iota since the days of oil lamps and letters of introduction.

In the end, they come in for an interview, are asked a number of questions about what they do and how they do it, and a person decides if they like the feel of things. They don’t run a statistical analysis based on 1,000 points of information and produce a statistical match.

It doesn’t seem to matter how much we automate, effiency-ize, or design far too intelligent evaluations- if we don’t get along really well, we’re not hiring you, recommending you or working for you.

So for the TL;DR crowd (Too long didn’t read)- Stop worrying about knowing every acronym and getting the extra .02 points on your GPA- Stop worrying about getting every word right in the objective on your resume – and start getting better at relating to people. If all of your focus is on the front end of the process, you will go to a lot of interviews for very little opportunity.

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