A Little Bit of History
The dawn of the Internet at the end of the 20th century was one of the first significant shifts seen by the recruiting industry in decades. The archaic “head hunter” model – rolodexes, newspaper classifieds, cold calling, and piles of paper resumes – was rapidly replaced by online job boards, resume databases, and applicant tracking systems, significantly broadening the candidate pool and fundamentally changing the way recruiters sourced talent prospects. The digital generation of the 2000s refined this important evolutionary step. LinkedIn, launched in 2003, brought resumes and talent profiles onto a universally searchable database, and the explosion of social media expanded access to vast networks of potential candidates. In response, recruiting firms thrived, providing the manual labor and mental bandwidth needed to connect with candidates and court them into job positions. Recruiters could repurpose the social graphs created by services like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as candidate-mining databases. Social recruiting became the new norm. But in a world where technology is advancing at a faster and faster rate, this model is already outdated. Recruiters have gained access to an endless pool of talent without developing tools to determine the quality and relevance of that talent. Social recruiting lacks an essential layer that renders it inefficient: the use of big data and artificial intelligence. With the acceleration of these powerful technologies, it is vital for the recruiting industry to have an understanding of technological calculus, and to innovate accordingly.
Conversational commerce, a term coined by innovator and hashtag pioneer Chris Messina, is the new frontier in sales and marketing. It describes the fusion of real-time messaging interfaces with people, brands, products, or services. By merging artificial intelligence with everyday human interactions, conversational commerce acts as a mobile concierge, allowing users to communicate with businesses and services in a way that is convenient, consolidated, personalized, and realistic. As the data indicates, messaging applications make up 97% of smartphone usage, and while the sea of mobile apps continues to multiply, the average person spends the majority of their time using only 3 of them. Consolidation is a no-brainer, and brands are recognizing the paradigm shift. By integrating with messaging interfaces and engaging consumers on the platforms in which they spend the most time, organizations are creating meaningful one-on-one digital relationships, giving them powerful influence over consumer behaviors.
The evolution of conversational commerce in the marketing world directly informs the path forward for the recruiting industry. As people shift how they interact with the world at an accelerated pace, organizations cannot expect comparatively sluggish recruiting tactics to fill candidate pipelines with exceptional talent. Given the current trend towards bolstering referral programs, hiring teams must have tools that allow them to identify ideal candidates, send proactive referral requests, and communicate effectively with employees and those referred. Sophisticated referral programs will employ conversational recruiting, combining artificial intelligence, data science, and integrations with messaging applications to provide hiring teams with the resources required to build such a recruiting apparatus. Advanced algorithms can identify best-fit candidates within a social graph and strategically target optimal times to reach out to prospective hires, while simultaneously fostering meaningful interactions and building relevant relationships with individuals in the talent pipeline, establishing credibility in the eyes of potential candidates and gaining a significant competitive advantage in the arms race for talent. An organization’s most important asset is its people - the best organizations will adapt to this brave new world and recruit with intelligence.