Hey Recruiters – It’s not your fault.

I moved to New York City with my guitar and suitcase, to be a talent scout in the music business. Unfortunately, in 2004, the music industry was in crisis due to the disruptive nature of technology and I quickly discovered that technical talent were the new rock stars. Like most recruiters who stumble into this profession, I found that finding and placing skilled engineers and designers was a fun challenge but also quite lucrative.

However, not being technical makes it difficult to sniff out the engineers who walk the talk from those who spit a good game. After thousands of interviews in my career, it’s still challenging to determine after a 30 minute conversation – who is in fact good versus great (in their particular craft). Even the most talented recruiters I know, who have incredible instincts on who to hire, still go with their gut. This goes beyond just interviewing software engineers. Roles in most corporate functions (finance, accounting, marketing, sales, support, etc.) are becoming increasingly specialized and therefore screening candidates also proves more challenging. Even more troubling is that 95% of a candidate’s answers, all the rich data and insights from live conversations are lost forever and never even make it to the recruiter’s ATS or CRM.

No Really. It’s NOT your fault…

As recruiters, we are not experts in many of the roles we source, screen and submit talent against. How could we possibly be expected to screen against a variety of increasingly specialized roles across an organization? Our role as recruiters is not to decide who to hire, that’s the Hiring Manager’s role and responsibility. However, it is our job to build a diverse talent pool, screen candidates, sell them on the role, the team, the company and share the right candidate insights with hiring teams that enable better hires, faster.

Hug it out.

There are a number of tools today that threaten the very existence of the recruiting profession. There are magic algorithms that match padded (self-proclaimed) social profiles with cut-and-paste job descriptions. There are tools that ask candidates to ‘interview themselves’ through one-way interview tools or take a coding quiz. These alone are not sufficient if you’re looking for genuine, multi-dimensional employees with skills, enthusiasm and soft skills, and many one-way tools still require a real-time conversation with job candidates.

Do Talent Acquisition teams invest in tools that sharpen our interview skills and speed up the process, or do we invest in tools that plot our own demise – this has always been the question around automation through technology. When music enthusiasts signed up for Napster, then Scour Exchange, then iMesh, now BitTorrent – what did we expect would happen to the music industry?

Okay… Now it’s time to step up.

As Recruiters – it will be our fault if we don’t move our profession forward and keep an open mind for new tools and technology that enhance our day to day, capture legitimate candidate insights through data, and accelerate the interview experience for everyone involved. Talent Acquisition finally has a seat at the table, but it’s up to us to step up our game, to bring an interesting dish and to delight our clients.

Prior to co-founding Honeit,com, Nick was the Director of Global Recruiting at TubeMogul (NASDAQ: $TUBE), from startup through IPO and the Director of Strategic Staffing at MTV Networks (Viacom) in New York City. He has worked for two HR technology companies (Taleo, NextSource) and began his career as a technology headhunter in NYC. Nick received his MBA from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, and a BS degree in Applied Mathematics.