Sometimes you go to recruiting conferences and feel marooned on the island of misfit toys: huddled with fellow attendees around a dreary fire, straining to hear that sound of Santa coming to take you away to little HR Buyers who will love and appreciate your solution.
But sometimes, just sometimes, you go to a conference where you’re at the center of something new, big and important. That’s the way it felt at Influence HR on Monday: the conference for HR vendors that preceded HRTech in Las Vegas this week.
Too much for me to comment on, but the level of excitement and insight about the HR Tech landscape was incredible. We’ve all felt the HR and recruiting technology tide rising steadily since the end of the recession, and Monday was dominated with concrete advice about how to navigate in such good waters.
My favorite session of the day was the kickoff from Lori Wizdo on “the death of the funnel” in marketing campaigns, but I’m also taking back pages of notes from Bill Boorman on forming an advisory board, Mark Stelzner on the HR Buyers mindset, and Mollie Lombardi on navigating analyst relations. Congrats to George LaRocque and team for pulling this off. At one point #InfluenceHR was trending on twitter. Not bad for a room of 150 jet lagged marketers.
My big prediction after all of this? Get ready for another big increase in third party recruiting agency usage in 2015. Yes, agency usage has already been climbing steadily in the past 5 years since the recession, to the point where spend is just below the peak in 2008.
And yes, no one on stage actually predicted a spike or said anything about how HR departments will use third party recruiters in 2015 (I always think people need to talk about this category more than they do…its as if using third party recruiters is a secret not to be shared).
But during one of the best panels of the day, Jonathan Goodman, Lance Haun, and David Shadovitz ranked hot HR trends with either a buy, hold or sell recommendation.
It was a novel way to get a quick read on HR questions like whether 360 degree reviews were going to gain or lose popularity (consensus: sell). During one vote, the panel revealed that HR departments were predicting a reduction of HR staff in 2015. On the other hand, one person in the audience commented, most companies predict strong growth in recruiting volume next year. More recruiting with less internal resources? Sounds like outsourcing to third party agencies to me.
Few companies set out to spend more on agencies, most try their hardest to keep it as low as possible. But all smart companies, regardless of spend, should work with third party agencies as effectively as possible.
All sophisticated recruiting departments proactively build third party agencies into their recruiting toolbox in some way. Some companies use agencies for all senior candidates, some for those candidates that come up so rarely they need a specialist.
Some always outsource some portion of recruiting to headhunters as a way of regulating capacity, and some outsource re actively only when a crisis occurs. Whatever your approach, my recommendation is plan in advance. 2015 may be the year of of the highest headhunter usage ever. Whatever your level of spend and whatever your strategy, make a 2015 plan before you get caught unawares.