Q&A: Talent Rover’s COO Talks Recruiting in the Digital Age

Taylor Smith   June 11, 2014  
This Q&A by Dawn Papandrea was originally posted on FindTheRightJob – Employer Trends

For anyone in the recruiting industry, technology has really changed the way in which you conduct your search for talent, especially in the last few years. We caught up with Brandon Metcalf, COO and co-founder of Talent Rover, a staffing and recruitment software company, to share his thoughts on where the recruiting industry is headed.

What are the biggest challenges for recruiters today in terms of where to find talent?

BM: The primary sources of talent are becoming overcrowded. Five or 10 years ago, you could rely heavily on job boards. Now, if you use job boards, you’re locked in a race with too many other recruiters. There is a high probability someone else will present a candidate that you planned to present.

LinkedIn used to be the ‘untapped’ talent source, and now it’s becoming overloaded, too. Every recruiter searches LinkedIn without fail. We also see all-star candidates removing themselves from LinkedIn so that they don’t get bombarded by recruiters. When you do permanent recruiting, these are usually the people you want.

So despite all the modernization in recruiting technology, we’re in an era where old-school recruiting techniques still pay off. People with the skills and patience to call into companies and find names will be able to present candidates that you can’t find on job boards and social media.

Can you discuss mobile technology, and why recruiters and staffing firms need to embrace it?

BM: Everything is mobile. On Career Builder and Monster, the majority of applicants apply for jobs from mobile devices. If a recruiting firm’s technology isn’t mobile friendly, their people will be helpless outside the office. If they can’t review candidates, contact them or work in a CRM database on-the-go, competitors with better technology will win the race to present candidates. A competitor just needs to present a candidate one minute before you do to win the relationship. So in an industry focused on time and money, having the best mobile technology is a huge competitive edge.

For smaller businesses that don’t have a substantial budget or staffing to handle recruitment efforts, how can technology help?

BM: A small IT budget is no longer a barrier to accessing world-class technology. Staffing and recruiting software is going to the cloud, so the costs of entry and ownership have dropped significantly. Small recruiting firms can use the same technology you would find at global firms, and they don’t have buy and maintain their own IT infrastructure. It’s a bit like leasing a Ferrari for the price you would pay to buy a Dodge. Cloud technology is leveling the playing field for small firms.

How can a recruiter use social and other technology to weed out candidates who might not be the best fit?

BM: Everything job candidates put on social media is permanent, but many of them haven’t gotten the memo. Recruiters all use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to eliminate candidates they found on job boards like Monster. They vet candidates based on their network, company fit and honesty.

Employers hire on character and personality because they want hires to stay with the firm. Churn is expensive. So recruiters look for patterns on social media to find a good fit for their client. One picture with a beer isn’t grounds for eliminating candidates, but if public insobriety appears to be a trend, the candidate is done for. Recruiters will also look at a candidate’s connections and conversations with other people. Politically divisive comments and offensive content can get a candidate in trouble. In some cases, discrepancies between a candidate’s resume and LinkedIn profile might raise suspicions. A recruiter has to build a story about why a candidate is ideal for a given role, and social media can make or break that story.

I should mention that recruiters also use technology to weed out candidates by resume. Modern recruitment databases now use semantic search technology that will rank search results according to how the candidate has used specific keywords. So if a resume lacks the buzzwords that a recruiter would use to identify a Salesforce cloud deployment expert, or an accountant with expertise in Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, that resume will be missed.

Any other trends that are worth sharing with readers?

BM: Staffing and recruiting technology is usually five to 10 years behind mainstream industries. It’s finally becoming modernized, and this means that recruiters can expect several trends.

First, recruiting software is going to look a lot more like consumer software. In place of confusing user interfaces, strange fields and choppy navigation, you’re going to see software that is as easy to use as a typical mobile app. You won’t need intensive training or instruction manuals to use recruiting software. This is happening because recruiting software only helps if it makes a firm faster than its competitors. By that measure, most recruiting software fails.

Second, recruiting technology will integrate more deeply with social media. Gradually, candidates are getting smarter about curating their profiles and making them into sales tools. The more recruiters rely on social media, the more they will expect their software to interface with social sites.

Brandon Metcalf is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Talent Rover, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company that aims to modernize the staffing and recruitment industry. Talent Rover is used by staffing and recruitment firms in every region of the world. Brandon oversees this global expansion, including operations at Talent Rover’s offices in San Francisco, London and Dublin.