Recruitment can mean different things to different people, but the service is irreplaceable — even by convenient online meeting grounds like LinkedIn. After all, persuading the best possible talent to join your company is not the same as purchasing a product online: a product will show up at your doorstep once you've bought it, whereas talent can be unpredictable, irrational, high maintenance, and uncommunicative. Talent will consult with family members, professional acquaintances, and what they can find online to figure out if your company is really where they want to be, and the process of recruiting and retaining talent is one that can never be replaced.
The number of intangibles alone in any hiring process prevents it from being a replicable and reproducible process. The margin for error, the potential for embarrassment, and the risk of public failure is huge when attempting to recruit for yourself.
A good recruiter can make the process look easy because they have a wealth of experience, considerable skill, a huge amount of patience, and a raft of other qualities. Why are recruiters so valuable? For one, they can help companies figure out what it is that they need, rather than what they think they need. Some of the other services great recruiters can perform include:
Additionally, having a recruiter working to fill a job is good for candidates as well. Like companies, oftentimes a candidate knows what they think they want, but when presented with an exact match is disappointed. A good recruiter can present a candidate with a variety of options — and candidates regularly end up going for the option that matches their initial ideal the least on paper, which maximizes the number of great talent coming through your door that might not otherwise have considered.
A good recruiter can also negotiate the best salary without pricing you out of the market, meaning that you get the most skilled candidates for your money. They can prepare candidates for interviews by filling them in on your company's values, goals, successes, tremendously increasing your chances of hiring the perfect fit.
So, will social networks replace recruiting? Absolutely not. Being able to see where talent is in a social network isn't enough — talent never has and never will hop and skip from one company to another, and no digital strategy will influence that, the technology available today only enhances it. The ability to attract, extract, and deliver talent is (and will remain!) a high-touch service. More recruiters are using digital interviewing in their processes to get to the top candidates quickly, providing an even more efficient valuable solution for their companies.
Recruiters are at the epicenter of the corporate future, and for recruiters and recruitment companies who provide a genuine service, the future is very bright.