The Future of Recruitment – or the recent past? Written By Robin Huggins

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I’ve been a fully paid up member of the Greg Savage Fan Club for a number of years now. For those who don’t know, Greg is a recruitment legend – entrepreneur, investor, blogger, coach, keynote speaker – you name it, he’s got the T-Shirt. When I heard he was planning to speak in Glasgow as part of a speaking tour, I was probably the first person in the queue to buy tickets. I’ve followed the man on social media for years, read everything he has ever written and regularly return to the well for inspiration when composing my own Learning & Development topics for delivery to our consultants. The event at which Greg was due to speak – “The Future of Recruitment” – featured a morning masterclass by Mr. Savage, followed by presentations and workshops from other recruitment and business luminaries.

On the day, Greg outlined a vision of his “Future of Recruitment” – an exciting world in which social media, digital engagement and a candidate-centric focus have merged and talent management and the identification and activation of passive candidates are the DNA required to survive. As in-house talent teams become more sophisticated and the opportunities available to external recruitment service providers become more limited, those intending on surviving and thriving in the new world must look to adapt their existing service model in order to present their client base with the talent that they are so desperate to engage with. Those who don’t or can’t adapt will die. All very Darwinian it has to be said, but a salutary lesson for those in the audience from the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” camp. One senior business owner turned to me at one of the break-out periods to tell me that they “didn’t get the point of all that silly social media stuff” – wow. Seriously, wow.

A day prior to this event, myself and a colleague had been invited to present to the Human Resources team at a major High-Street financial services brand. Understanding MBN Solutions’ unique positioning within the marketplace, this organisation had reached out to us to deliver a workshop around the complexities of Data Science, Analytics and associated Technologies. This wasn’t in any way a “sales” meeting – we are already recognised suppliers – but much more of a “collaboration” – sharing of ideas, opinions and techniques – something that we at MBN have been championing for a number of years now through our events with organisations such as IBM, Channel 4, Capita, ASOS, Money Supermarket, Standard Life and Aimia, our work with various Universities and academic institutions and our now 1,000 member Scotland Data Science & Technology meet-up group.

Back to Greg, and the realisation that, although a very clear majority of the audience were scribbling away frantically at the countless pearls of wisdom and pieces of advice and guidance from Mr. Savage, I found myself sitting with a very different perspective of the masterclass.

When I joined this business, over 6 years ago, I’d just gone through (as many other Technology recruiters had) a major recession in the UK. I’d watched as clients realigned their recruitment models – reducing external recruitment spend massively, poached my colleagues to work as internal recruiters, started to fully embrace the then “new” medium of social media and started the process of disentangling themselves from relationships with “generic” recruitment service providers. It was obvious, as far back as 2008, that the future of Technology recruitment was going to look very different to what the first half of the decade had looked like. The opportunities would still be there to deliver a first-class service to candidates and clients, but the model was changing – moving to a very sector specific need for true niche knowledge rather than the previous “one size fits all” generalist model.

Accordingly, the look that I had on my face whilst Greg spoke wasn’t that of surprise, shock or – dare I say it – desperation like many of the audience  – the look on my face was that of relief. We got it right. We got it very right.

What Greg was talking about (to me, anyway!) wasn’t the Future of Recruitment according to MBN – it was our recent past.

Our future? Watch this space…….