Thursday, October 30, 2008

The recruitment landscape is changing...again

A few days ago I went to a presentation by an Oracle recruiter. He talked about the ways Oracle searches for the potential candidates and and hires them. One particular thing that struck me was that Australian Oracle recruitment team does not use specialised recruitment web sites. About a decade ago, looking for a job was all about reading newspaper ads. Then along came job web sites, and the recruitment landscape changed forever. I am myself of a younger generation, and looking for a job for me was never associated with newspapers. When I look for a job, I go to a web sites such as Seek or and search there. I take as given that all the jobs I may be interested in are posted there, either directly of through recruitment agents. This approach is more convenient for both job advertisers and seekers, because it allows them to find each other more easily. And most of the activity is concentrated around a few dominant players such as aforementioned Seek and Monster. This is because of so-called network effect: such web sites are created to connect people to each other, in our case job seekers and advertisers, and because the number of possible connections is proportional to the square of participants, the probability of "getting connected" through a large job web site is much higher than through a small one. Thus, size does matter. Indeed, if I want to find a job, the first thing I do, like Willie Sutton robbing banks because "Because that's where the money is", is look at the largest local job site, because this is where the jobs are. But this is changing. As I already said, I was surprised to hear that Australian Oracle recruiters do not use job web sites. Instead, they exploit a relatively new phenomenon of Internet social network services. Social networks benefit from network effect at the scale of magnitude comparing to the traditional job sites. This is because the network size of job sites depend on the number of job advertisers paying for placing their ads. In other words, id depends on supply of ads. And if supply side does not increase, the network will not grow. On the other hand, the growth rate of a social network is not limited by either supply or demand. As long as new members keep subscribing, network will grow. Even if they stop, the existing members will still be able to establish new connections until all the members are connected to each other. And this number, as I said before, is a square of the number of members. A good example is LinkedIn, which is effectively a tool for building a professional social network. It allows you to easily find your co-workers, provided they are registered with the site, as well as connect with potential employers. So, what is there for employers? The benefit for them is that they are able to build their network, even if they are not actively hiring. And after that, when they need it, they will be able to instantly find the right candidates through their connections. It is like having a job seekers bank at their disposals, almost like a database of resumes. But this bank will update and grow by itself. This leads us to an interesting conclusion: within this new paradigm if you're not online, you cannot be found. And if you cannot be found, you can't be hired. Just because you are outside of the network. All in all, we are witnessing a birth of a new recruitment methods. Who knows where it is going to lead us. Maybe in 5 years it will be mandatory for job seekers to have a Second Life avatar and all the interviews will be conducted in virtual reality. Australian Oracle recruitment team has a blog, they also follow LinkedIn, Twitter and MySpace networks.

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