I predict the GDPR and ePR will bring about the death of the recruiter…

OK, now I got your attention: it is the in-house recruiter that is at risk, IMHO. Not the agencies or the search firms. GDPR done well empowers the recruiter like never before, because candidate data can finally become Kings and Queens instead of lepers and paupers, but not in the way it has been till now.


Until now, the data was sold on a kind of ‘Emperor’s new clothes pitch’, like 30,000 or 300,000 or 3M CV’s was a thing. The CV thing implied, “We have lots of data, so we are sure to have the one you want. Credibility nailed – give me your job order, I’ll be back in a few days with talent.”


The reality is most legacy data is bare when it comes to real-world usable talent today. So the recruiter comes back to the office and runs a database search (when I began in 1993, the computer took 15-30 mins to run the search!). You’d then get your long list and start calling till 9 or 10 PM trying to reawaken that data.


Roll forward to the job board era, and you’d still be selling the concept of lots of data back at base, but this time when you came back with your job order it was straight onto multiple job boards via products like Broadbean and Idibu. So many jobs were rolled out onto job boards that tools like Broadbean made their founders millions and have been sold a couple of times.


The reality of most sales then was that to be able to lay your hands on the right candidate at the right time meant job boards, headhunting or building relationships.


Build it and he/she will come


AKA the film “Field of Dreams”; however, unlike the movie, GDPR has the power to really make ghost records in your database come to life if you do just one thing right. “Build relationships first and databases second”. That is so, so, so important I am going to say it twice: “Build relationships first and databases second”.


To build a relationship with a candidate means you have to be in for the long haul. I think that makes it easier for agency recruiters than in-house recruiters. Why?


Glad you asked. Because often a candidate is rejected for personality fit, rather than a skills fit. Personality change is not regular in people, and so in 2, 3, 5, 7 years, if the same management team is present, when will that candidate’s personality fit?


The other problem the in-house recruiter has is that they are selling one employer; in the age of choice, unless you want to work for a particular firm, that means a very limited range of choice the in-house recruiter has to offer.


If I worked in in-house recruitment, I’d see GDPR as the nail in my coffin. If I were a recruitment agency or a job board, I’d see the chance to upsell more strategic services for clients.