Recruitment 4.0 vision

Door Bas van de Haterd op 10-08-2011 15:48.

My good recruitmentbuddy Matthew Jeffery recently published his recruitment 4.0 vision on ERE. Since I love a man with a genuine vision, I will advice everybody in the industry to read it and believe it. Well, most of it anyway.

Usually I don’t like responding to a blog with a blog, since you’ve got comments for that. However, in this case his article is so long I fear my response will be too long for the ERE site to handle. Since many websites do have limits on the number of characters you can post in a reply. Hence a blog reply, with some nuances to his vision.

He starts with the fact that recruitment could be a profit centre within a company and I totally agree. Personally, I think recruitment already is a profit centre, yet the accounting is wrong. Why do I say that? Simple: if the people that are recruited didn’t bring profit to the company, the company wouldn’t be profitable, would it? The primairy asset of most companies are people now, specially in the western world. So getting in these people is profitable, hence recruitment might be the greatest profit centre every company has.

But Matthew claims recruitment in itself could be profitable as well and I think he’s right, although I wonder if you should want that as a company. Why? Simple, you’re leaving your core business as a department and that’s always bad. I believe in focus.

But like I said in my introduction, I have some nuances with his vision I would like to share. So this might turn out to be a ‘negative’ blog but remember, I only state that what I disagree with, and since I won’t talk about everything you need to keep in mind I agree on more of his vision then I disagree on. But if I state everything I agree on this blogpost would have been my third book, not a blog…

The death of reruitment agencies

Mat ‘rants’ about the death of the agency. I tend to agree with him on this, and not… I agree that many agencies are not delivering value. I agree that the prices for much of what they do are way too high and the quality sucks.

I recently wrote (in Dutch, use google translate if you want to read it) an article on the payment models of agencies that got a lot of response. However, even more interesting is this agency (strictly people) that has a unique model. You decide what you want to pay them. There are no minimum fees, no contracts (unless you want to make one), no legal terms, nothing. You decide when you want to pay and how much. You can decide upfront, or after the candidate has been placed. It’s all up to you. This keeps the agency sharp to deliver ultimate value, but keeps the hiring manager also sharp since you can’t fail in your communications either.

So do I agree with the death of the agancy? No. I agree with Mat on the demise of the traditional agency and most of all the large agancy. Because let’s face it, if you as an agency recruiter have any talent, you’re working for yourself of possibly with some really good partners, but not in an agancy that employs more than 15 people.

Second: I believe in the nice agancies. The genuine specialists like “IT sales people” or “business intelligence researchers”. Maybe a little broader for the time being like ‘online marketing’ or even ‘marketing. But ‘marketing and sales’, that’s not niche anymore. Why do I believe in those agencies? Because of their potential added value. I once worked for a very good IT company, SME, about 80 people, we recruited the best ‘nerds’ in Holland. Yet recruiting a salesperson was the biggest problem we had. The hunting fase went quite well, but selecting the right one? I think we went trough 5 or 6 faillures before the head of recruitment  and the CEO acknowlidged it wasn’t in their skill set to hire sales. Maybe we even hunted the wrong people, however, I believe specialised agencies can add a lot of value to that. Companies should focus on their core (in case of an SME IT company that’s IT people), that sales guy you need every two years and that marketeer you need every four, that’s where a good agency can come in.

Further more, the entire statement of Mat’s article seems to support this vision. Built communities of interest. You can do it as a specialised agency, because you know about the business. SME’s don’t (an IT company knows about IT, not sales), so they can’t.


The faltering of jobboards? I agree on this one. Yet again, the big ones. I personally run a niche jobboard called Marketingfacts jobs. The board behind the biggest Dutch marketingblog. We are what I’ve been calling a ‘community driven jobboard’ and I believe in those boards. The general ones? One or two will survive, the rest will falter.


I totally agree with Mat’s vision on crowdsourcing. And it is a great recruitment tool, too. Personally, I’d go a step further even. Do we need to hire a product developer, or can we crowdsource the problem?

I’ve been writing about ‘new world of recruitment’ for some time and in my opinion a recruiter should be a problem sovler, not someone to just hire new people. With every ‘hiring manager’s’ request the recruiter should ask himself: do we need someone on the payroll for this? Could a freelancer be better for the job? Can we crowdsource this? Maybe if we co-create it we don’t need more people. So crowdsourcing is a recruitment tool, but it’s also a tool that might be used to solve the problem in other forms then with hiring someone.

Premium paid content

On the premium paid content part I disagree with Mat for 100%. Why? I do believe in premium paid content, just not in recruitment communities. The potential profit is not that much, it’s pretty low. Even the biggest brands can’t get millions in. However, if you look at what one new hire is worth, you might loose out on millions. So premium content? Yes. Letiing people pay for it? I think the value of attracting more people to you’re community and rewarding them for that is worth more in the long run.

Size does matter

The last nuance I would like to make is the fact that size does matter, just not in the way that most people think it does.

Size matters in the sence that the economics are different. Size matters in the way that a companies strengths and weaknessed differ. I believe that big companies should use their big brands and have a big reach. However, small companies are flexible and can be really niche. Use your strengths (and don’t complain about those of others) is the key. So size matters in the execution.

On the other hand, I also believe that most big companies are destined to fail over the next decade, since this is where ‘corporate darwinism’ comes in. We all know that it’s not the strongest to survive, but the ones most likley to adapt. So why do I hear companies say so often: we’re like a big oil tanker, we can’t change course that easliy and not get that that’s a problem, not a fact.

So size matters, but all sizes can do with recruitment 4.0 and should read Mat’s vision. Just what they do with it differs.

So there you have it, my reaction to his vision… in a blog. You want to comment? Use the comments below, write a blog as well or comment on the original post on ERE.

Over de Auteur

Bas van de Haterd Bas van de Haterd is professioneel bemoeial en expert op het gebied van technologie en werk. Hij schreef o.a. de boeken '10 banen die verdwijnen & 10 banen die verschijnen", "de maatschappelijke impact van de zelfrijdende auto" en "(R)evolutie van werk". Hij schrijft over recruitment in de brede zin van het woord en hoe dit beter kan door technologie slim in te zetten. Hij adviseert hier bedrijven over en geeft over dit onderwerp ook regelmatig inspirerende lezingen. Hij is te bereiken op

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