John Sumser surprised me. We were supposed to be talking about the effect of technology on recruiting. And we did. But according to him, that effect is rather paradoxical.
For he believes the technology that supports personal networking will allow hiring managers to bypass recruiting on the net. Inotherwords, the key technology will be anti-technology. Let me explain.
According to John, people have never been easier to find. To apply for a job, you don't need to put your resume in an envelope and stamp it. All you have to do to is press a button and, as a result, many people do.
I protested that these people are pizza drivers applying for CA jobs but John says no, they're not pizza drivers. They're ordinary accountants and engineers. But there are too many of them to sort through. So what is a hiring manager going to do? Ignore the open channel to his door and cultivate his own talent pipeline, his own talent pool, instead.
And, he adds, Gen Y managers are perfectly cut out to do this. They have been raised from early years in school to work on teams. So they know how to pick the people they prefer. And they have a stronger sense of collegiality than the people of the past. So they like to stay in touch. And technology has made it very easy for them to do so.
John even suggested that a manager can offer financial incentives to the people in his network and, I assume that he meant by this, opportunities for contract work or moonlighting.
I should note that John Sullivan has also written about this kind of talent pool so I am not entirely unfamiliar with the idea. And, it seems eminently sensible. But, I don't think too many of the recruiters who called in to speak to John agreed.
"What's a Vice President of Finance supposed to be doing?" asked super-recruiter, Anthony J Meaney, after the show. "Twittering to his friends or watching the fluctations of the German mark? I know what the president of the firm would say." But John might disagree. He said that people are going to be hired in the future to get in touch with their contacts. Inotherwords, networking will be part of the ordinary job.
But, unfortunately, John was in his car and when he went under a tunnel we lost him. And for about twenty minutes I didn't know how to get him back on board. Hey, I'm an amateur, what can I say?
(A nod to Larry Laurence Haughton, too, who was waiting patiently for me to call on him instead of butting in).