15th April 2015

Executive Search – The Shared Economy’s newest Participant

Has anyone not seen the following information in a feed?

• Facebook, the world’s biggest media platform creates no content
• Air Bnb, the world’s largest accommodation website has no real estate
• Uber, the world’s largest Taxi Company owns no vehicles

The paradigm shift is present, not only in technologically intense industries, but all industries. The shift has seen service offerings being out-paced by intermediary platforms – otherwise known as the ‘sharing economy’ or ‘collaborative consumption’. These businesses rely more heavily on marketing and user base rather than direct sales for growth.

These companies’ proposed value lies in being the ‘one-stop-shop’ for any needs, connecting supplier and consumer. They source the best offering out there and present it to the end-user in a coherent, simple way resulting in a legible, linear and comparable product. This shift has seen the value fall equally into the hands of the customer and supplier. I saw on a blog someone described it as a thin layer that sits on top of vast supply systems. The content, products, services and advice are the costly inputs, but the value is with the customer interface and the laws of supply and demand.

When you think of customer interface, you think of marketing, the means by which a business connects with customers. Much like the traditional model of marketing encompassing the ‘4 P’s of Marketing’, where an isolated factor is not the driver of sales, but it is the marketing mix which is a combination of price, place, promotion and product that truly creates value. In the recruiting world, this rule holds true, you could have the flashiest job posting, at the location everyone is after and offer competitive remuneration but if your product (the job and work environment) isn’t up to par, your entire recruiting strategy has fallen short.

Since starting my career recently and working as a Researcher in GT-SEARCH, I’ve been thinking about the part Executive Search plays in this new economy. I’ve been researching and interacting with candidates and learning the ways of how we deliver search outcomes for our clients. You might think, well yes, recruiting has a place and a price, but it differs from marketing in which there isn’t the underlying factor of selling something. But it is sales focused. Our business (and I) have to actively segment, target and sell a job to candidates who are not in the market for a job. We have to get submerse ourselves in the talent market, we need to research, collect data and gauge both the supply and demand for talent.

The shift is not hidden and can be seen in many workforces. Perhaps it’s now the passive candidate that is the most attractive, notice period and all, over someone looking for work and willing to start immediately. With this paradigm shift comes a power shift. The passive candidates now have equal power, or more power than those companies that have a vacancy to fill.

However, since there is usually only one job, the notion of scarcity arises. If you sell the job well, employ your marketing/recruitment powers and have a market of interested talent, you should have the power to pick from a pool of rich talent, and due to the high interest generated though these activities, the successful candidate will be motivated and employee retention won’t be as much of an issue, re-balancing the power between parties.

So how is recruiting part of the sharing economy? Well you need to market rather than sell, to both parties, particularly when those you want aren’t necessarily in the market for a new job. You have to submerse yourself in the talent market, you need to research, collect data and gauge both the supply and demand for talent to make a great connection. With this insight, successful recruiting entails getting in front of the right people at the right time to connect the right people.

It’s rather daunting to see the power and speed of technological innovations and the way it connects more things. It connects people to technology, it connects people to people and (scarily) it connects technology to technology. I recently heard a speaker at my University Graduation say, the next generation of people, will be the first truly global generation. And at first I thought ‘well, we’re already kind of global’ but to think about where globalisation has come in 20 years, and to think where it will be in 20 years, we will be culturally, financially, geographically and virtually connected.

Different from placing a job ad where the customer ‘buys’ the candidate, executive search is about matching the needs of the client with the candidate. Much like how Uber doesn’t own any cars and AirBnb doesn’t own any property, at Generator Talent we don’t have a stock room full of great talent (believe it or not!); we simply utilise a well tried and tested method of sourcing talent, aligning candidates interests and matching the right candidate to the right job.

So we can be seen as a part of the shared economy, and the technology shift actually empowers us to do more, and to think more deeply about how we’re maintaining our relevance. People say technology has killed human interaction but we have seen a way to adapt and change to new technologies that enables us to interacted with more people in a way we have never before.

Taylor Petersen

Generator Talent Group

Categories: Uncategorised

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