The development of the recruitment profession has undergone significant changes in recent years. We have interviewed Michal Toman, Talent Seeker and Managing Partner in Engage Advisory, about the current trends and challenges regarding this topic, as well as what key skillset should a successful recruiter master.
How long have you been doing recruiting and why have you chosen this profession?
A total of 15 years. I actually found myself in recruitment by accident. In 2004, when I entered this area, the modern recruitment was still in the infancy, but I was tempted to join the industry, where a major development was still ahead. Moreover, I really liked the complexity that recruitment already contained – that is, looking for candidates and taking care of them, communicating with hiring managers and influencing the direction of the company by choosing whom we let in. Compared to 2004, however, today’s recruitment is several times more complex and demanding, because still new technologies and social networks are being developed, the lack of candidates is deepening, the behavior of candidates is changing, and our attitudes need to follow.
Do you see any changes in how recruiting was done at the beginning of your career and now?
Yes, strong ones. Previously, the advertising function worked well, it was enough to advertise the position and then just sort the CVs and choose the right candidate based on the interviews. Today, the effectiveness of advertising has been greatly reduced and it is no longer possible to passively expect any CV to fall into our lap. Recruiters must be far more active and seek out the candidates themselves, being able to distinguish themselves from others and engage potential recruits with their offer. Recruitment has also expanded quite strongly, as now we have specialized sourcing and recruitment teams, HR marketing, employer branding, etc. Therefore it is understandable that it is not very realistic for one person to effectively manage all these areas, as it was in the past.
In your opinion, what are the key skills of a successful recruiter?
Ability to learn and think differently than others. Especially in the last three years, recruitment has undergone such a fundamental change that the fact that someone is in this business for 20 years is not as great a benefit as it used to be. The market will continue to evolve, candidate behavior will change, new methodologies will come. There are plenty of predictions about what our industry will look like in five or ten years, but the best preparation for this period is to try to suck the news from the market, read, learn and try new things. You need to experiment, be brave and not be afraid to do things differently. If someone just copies what others do, they cannot expect to be a leader in the industry.
What helped or still helps you to get better in your profession?
I’m listening to a lot of podcasts, watching videos, reading a lot of articles. I just have my eyes open and I try to inspire from a lot of things in other fields as well. Today we see that recruitment is significantly influenced by marketing, product management and technology. In these areas there is a lot of interesting inspiration that can very successfully transfer into recruitment as well. Maybe I am very lucky to be among the world’s leading influencers regarding recruitment. I am constantly looking for an interesting content for the HR & recruitment conference EVOLVE! – The summit we hold annually in Brno, where I have an opportunity to discuss my thoughts with people like Johnny Campbell, Greg Savage, Bill Boorman, Jim Stroud, Hung Lee etc.
What do you think are the greatest challenges for today’s recruiter?
To find the right balance between technology and humanity. Some companies are throwing themselves into the arms of chatbots, Inmail, AI, and recruitment is getting a little deeper. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against technology, on the contrary. However, we must realize that if we are in a market where everyone is busy and do not need a new job urgently, we need to focus on a quality candidate experience. Use the technology, but only at the right moments. A candidate who wants to make a major life step and wants to change the job will not want to communicate with the chatbot or recruiter via e-mail. It is the personal communication that builds relationships between people and these relationships are what we need for the recruitment.
Do you have any suggestion or advice for starting recruiters?
Certainly, we are trying to bring a lot of new inspiration to the HR community through the EVOLVE! platform events, namely EVOLVE! Summit, EVOLVE training! Masterclass and online interviews EVOLVE! Stories. We will also newly launch EVOLVE meet-ups! Meetings, which will certainly appear also in Slovakia over time.
Also, I personally like to keep on track with: