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What is Web 2.0 and how will it change recruiting?

I don’t know.

Okay, that is a lie. Fittingly enough, Wikipedia sums up the Web 2.0 question pretty nicely (itself, of course, being part of web 2.0). If you don’t feel like reading through that, I believe that the two bedrock principles of web 2.0 are collaboration through technology and using the web as a platform for programs.

There is quite a bit of talk about how this will change recruiting immensely. After all, the collaborative part sounds pretty sexy. And we have been promised so much! The end of newspapers, job boards and best of all, never having an open req that you can’t fill. Imagine being able to connect with all kinds of different people immediately. Being able to brand your company, have positive relationships with individuals and make contacts that make you a better recruiter.

Sounds pretty great, right?

Some recruiters are latching on to any web 2.0 tool out there (sometimes shelling out some significant money for it). And why wouldn’t you, especially if all you’re told is this is the wave of the future?

The problem is that these solutions are often incomplete. Let me lay out the typical steps here:

  1. Web 2.0
  2. ????????????
  3. Success!

And that’s fine (and necessary) if you are an entrepreneur in a new technology field but if you’re a recruiter, that’s not going to help (at least not now). Whatever advantage you get is going to be focused on certain industries, in certain markets, with certain job types and still isn’t going to be all that fantastic. Even then though, there are still advantages to staying on the forward edge of technology and I do not wish to chastise those who spend their time (or money) doing this. I do this myself and no, I don’t have a self-hating personality.

If your organization is having a problem filling reqs, I am willing to bet that 99% of it is a human deficiency and 1% of it is a technology deficiency. That sounds awfully mean doesn’t it?

Most organizations with a great overall talent strategy aren’t struggling. Or, if they are struggling, they are struggling in ways that other companies wish they were struggling. Premiere companies (and ultimately the people) don’t struggle because they have good execution throughout their entire organization. They market their jobs like they do their products, recruit as much as they need, they on-board and train for ongoing success, they retain the people they need and they network constantly (and have been for years before social networking). That means missing one web 2.0 trend doesn’t kill them and if something big came up technology wise, they would have both the wisdom and experience to make the changes that align them. GE and Exxon didn’t die off when mailing or faxing resumes became a thing of the past.

Then there is the “other” category. These guys don’t have a great talent strategy. And “these guys” are a majority of the companies out there. Whenever you have a poor talent strategy, it is easy to point to technology as a culprit. It is easier to fix technology (or try to compensate with it) because it is more difficult to face the fact that your strategy needs work.

I guess my point is web 2.0 is still very targeted. If you want to get the most bang for your buck though, you can start by making your organization people focused and branding your company in the employment market. Web 2.0 will sift its way through and will probably come up with some great new deal that will help recruiting and possibly even change the way recruiters operate.

That time is not now though. While keeping a close eye on the upcoming technologies is worthwhile, keeping a closer eye on your processes, branding, networks and company culture is more important.

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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