Let’s get one thing straight from the start. I’m not a Luddite – in fact I couldn’t be more of a fan of the many technological advances that have made my day-to-day life, both professionally and personally, so much easier. But when it comes to my line of work, I think that if we’re not careful, we could find that the proliferation of recruitment apps (starting with LinkedIn) could begin to replace recruiters and this will be to the detriment of the real estate industry.
Before you all reach for the violins, this isn’t a sob story nor is it about job preservation. I’m talking objectively about the way in which this inherently human business – where we take candidates and match them to specific roles and working environments – simply cannot be replaced by technology, no matter how sophisticated and efficient the platform.
When I talk to my colleagues, clients or candidates I always highlight this very particular feeling one gets when you know you’ve found the right person for a role. Of course it starts with their CV, but when you’ve whittled down the line-up to five people all of whom are equally matched in terms of qualifications and experience, then what’s left is chemistry and what I refer to as the ‘x’ factor.
There have already been several occasions when a client has turned to Hanning because they found the most perfect-on-paper candidate for a job, only to have them leave after a few months because it wasn’t the right office environment or team dynamic for them. At Hanning, we make a point of personally contacting and meeting all of our candidates face-to-face (something that is beyond even the best apps!), only putting forward for interview those people who not only meet the exacting criteria in terms of their experience, but also whose personality and outlook fits that of the company they’re applying to work for. After all, our philosophy is very much focused on sustainable, long-term solutions.
So, are the likes of LinkedIn useful? To a point, for sure – we can use them as a tool to scout out who might be on the lookout to leave their current position, we can glance at CVs and perhaps take an initial decision regarding experience. But this is never enough.
Much has been made of the ‘digital identity’ and how we are able to craft an online persona that might differ hugely from reality. And the truth is that there are plenty of people who bear little or no resemblance to their online profiles (for better or worse!). Without meeting people, ideally face-to-face, you won’t be able to get a clear picture of who they really are. And without that, you run the risk of unsuccessful hires that will never come to fruition.
A good recruitment company can also do so much more than any app could ever hope to offer. We provide tailored solutions for our clients that are highly strategic and linked to their own business model. We look to add value with our counsel and to play an active role working alongside their HR teams, collaborating on the creation of new roles and opportunities.
Far from being a faceless platform that churns out candidates and job specs, we are real people who can be personally contacted day or night for advice and support. An app might look like the ideal solution for ease and accessibility, but all too often it isn’t the answer. We believe that our service and uniquely personal touch, whereby we really get to know our candidates, takes the stress away from busy clients who might not have the time to shortlist ahead of interviews. This is a time-poor economy and the more we can do to lighten the burden and ensure efficiency, the better.
We also have access to the crème de la crème of candidates – and the ability to pick up the phone to tempt top talent that might not be currently looking for a new role. Even the most advanced technology can’t proactively headhunt!
Human intuition has been a cornerstone of society since the dawn of time and as yet we haven’t found anything to beat it – so I’m all for technology as a tool to help us to do our job and to drive efficiency in the workplace, but let’s not forget how to get back to basics when it really matters.