Like most other established industries, the recruiting industry is being disrupted by new business models and cutting-edge technologies. From recruiting technology talent with a highly publicized hackathon, to handling graphic or even online versions or resumes, recruiting agencies are seeing new challenges and opportunities every day.
Yet, the goal is still the same; deliver superior talent to client organizations in record time.
The promises of cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications for operating recruiting agencies promise substantial performance gains over traditional paper-based offices operating with miles of paper files.
The cost of all that paper and steel in those filing cabinets adds up. One of the big costs is the square footage of the floor space just to keep those files accessible. Even paper-based offices need computers. This means hardware and locally installed software, possibly even servers for client-server software, that has to be maintained, upgraded, and supported by a technical staff of some kind. And then there are the costs of either a catastrophic failure of hardware including not just replacement of equipment, but also loss of productivity, missing deadlines and jeopardizing client relationships. All these costs, financial and opportunity, look pretty intimidating from a cost-center perspective when compared to subscription costs of cloud-based software.
Additionally, the installation costs for cloud-based software are zilch. While the up-front costs of setting up an IT infrastructure have continued to decline in recent years, the installation costs of a cloud-based system are minuscule in comparison.
With cloud-based software, it becomes feasible to offer to support a client at a recruiting event at a college or by hosting a hackathon in a venue that has the infrastructure and insurance to support a public event. This type of support that can differentiate an agency from its competitors simply isn’t possible for an agency with paper forms, locally installed software and a more traditional business model.
Because of the flexibility to meet emerging client needs, recruiting firms that adopt cloud-based technologies position themselves to respond to the client rather than requiring the client to conform to the agency’s business processes.
This includes business process flexibility as well as special services like being able to customize online forms to conform to each client’s preferences.
All these adaptive practices make a cloud-based recruiter more valuable to its clients and, this in turn, yields stronger relationships that work both ways.
Periodic performance reporting, status reporting and audit compliance are often major sources of angst in traditional recruiting firms.
Online software providers know they have to have robust reporting features, so they are able to build them in because the cost of enhanced reporting capabilities are ultimately spread over a broad population of customers. Customizing local software is often prohibitively expensive, as is extracting data and building custom reports for clients.
Oftentimes, SaaS systems provide access for clients to log into the system and check statuses though a client dashboard without ever having to communicate with the agency. This saves time for everyone.
With cloud-based software, recruiters can work from anywhere there is a broadband connection. This means recruiting agencies can hire talented recruiters regardless of where they live rather than having to recruit recruiters from a local population within the vicinity of an office.
This means recruiting agencies can staff their own teams with the best available talent, talent that already has experience with the SaaS software rather than having to hire local talent that has to be trained on the software.
It also means agencies can operate with lower overhead because offices no longer have to be large monolithic structures to house files and cube farms.
Increasingly, SaaS software providers are publishing APIs for their software that allow for secure and seamless integration with client ERP and HR systems, which may themselves be cloud-based. This allows clients to be more efficient in setting-up and on boarding new talent after the recruiting process is complete. API integrations also extend to LinkedIn, one of the preferred online venues for recruiters looking for leads.
Sales-force automation (SFA) and customer relationship management (CRM) software have led the way online for enterprises. As more recruiting gets outsourced, more of the recruiting services available with be cloud-based. The handwriting is on the wall for those willing to read it.
By Nick Rojas
Nick is a Business Consultant and Journalist from California who has written for a number of online publications such as Entrepreneur, Techcrunch and Visual.ly