People are often looking the unemployment rates and asking me how it can be that companies are having trouble finding a skilled workforce. One might think that when the unemployment rate is over 10% or even 20% in one country, finding and hiring new people wouldn’t be that big of an issue. Unfortunately this is not the case, and if a company wants to stay competitive, develop and grow instead of hiring average workers, they need to find great people, which most of the time are already taken.

Even when the crisis hit in 2008 and a lot of people were left without a job, companies were frequently using us headhunters because of that same reason. Now, after the crisis and a couple of better years, things are getting harder and tougher for the companies again. A great number of companies have realized the talent shortage and that the recruitment game has radically changed. It’s now a constant process where building a company and employer brand and making a company attractive in the eyes of the potential employees are the crucial parts of making successful recruitments.

Yet companies are not left alone and gladly there are service providers such as LinkedIn and Facebook which are trying to offer a solution and help. Of course their goal is to make money with these new services, but that’s okay if and when those services can be as helpful as Facebook is promising. Facebook’s VP of Ads and Business Platform Andrew “Boz” Bosworth stated that they wanted to see how they can make Facebook more useful in our everyday life. They found that small businesses were having trouble hiring, and most people are open to a better, higher-paying job, even if they’re satisfied with their current employment.

“Two-thirds of jobseekers are already employed,” Boz said. “They’re not spending their days and nights out there canvassing for jobs. They’re open to a job if a job comes.”

While LinkedIn might be the leader in the employment social network space, its 467 million user base looks pretty small when compared to Facebook’s 1.86 billion. And Facebook’s users come back every day for a variety of reasons, giving them a chance to hear about and apply for a dream job they didn’t know they wanted. This could especially happen now when Facebook will start posting jobs and open positions straight to everyone’s timeline.

I have no doubts that Facebook can and will be a game changer here. Their nearly 2 billion users, unlimited data and resources connected to their amazing advertising knowledge and algorithm can connect companies / open positions and potential employees in a way we have never seen before. Especially when we are talking about the lower level jobs.

But still, when climbing the ladder and talking about positions which require years of job experience, education and seniority, I have my doubts that any technology, service or algorithm can make a significant change – the kind that would make us headhunters not needed anymore.

I personally think it has to be a pretty kick-ass campaign together with an amazing job description, company, location, employer brand and salary / benefit package to get someone to apply who is actually happy with their current job and company. The risks of changing your job and company are too high, and there’s also the fact that you should put yourself really out there to fight for it.

A concrete example to give would be this “chance of a lifetime” campaign from Sinerbrychoff in Finland. Sinerbrychoff (or just Koff) is a very well-known and also the oldest brewery in the Nordics founded in 1819, nowadays part of Carlsberg Group. They just launched a recruiting campaign together with one big marketing agency where they are looking for a few different key players for their marketing team. The costs have probably been overwhelming and I still have my doubts if it will be successful. Why? Well, even though the campaign was smartly put together with its own domain and webpage and the application questions were everything but normal, it still required quite a lot from the candidates, such as recording a short introduction video, etc. And this was just the start. The next step would be a group interview or something similar in a Koff Bar tram. Yes, Koff has a tram in Helsinki which is actually a bar and it goes around the city.

Even though the campaign was cool and I really admire their effort, I was asking myself, why would someone really good apply and put themselves out there? And the answer is that they wouldn’t. Finland, Helsinki and especially marketing circles there are really small, and you don’t want to risk your job and career putting yourself out there? The chances of not getting the job are still too high compared to the other risks.

I’ve read dozens of articles on how headhunters will disappear because they are not needed anymore because of these new technologies and services. These articles are mostly written by people who really don’t understand what they are talking about, and I’m sorry to disappoint them because we are not going anywhere. Maybe the number of us will shrink because not all of us can keep up the pace. Yes, digitalization has affected our industry as well, and unfortunately not everyone has been able to update their tools and methods.

Often, if you want to attract the best candidates and get them interested, it is required to make the first contact by phone or private message and make the confidentiality part clear right away. When the connection has been established and it is clear that this conversation is just between the headhunter and potential person, things can start to happen even though this person wasn’t thinking about the job change.



Teemu Ruuska
InHunt World

Teemu is the director of InHunt World and has been working in recruitment and headhunting industry since 2008. Teemu is from Finland and came to Spain in 2014 to set up and open new headhunting offices in Madrid and later in Barcelona. Since last year Teemu has been focusing to design, create and put together the new InHunt World International Headhunting Network which already covers nearly 20 countries.

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