The ’crowd’ has always played a big part in recruitment. The old adage of "it’s not what you know, it’s who you know" serving to underline the importance of building your network and having an army of people willing to vouch for you and recommend your skills.
Indeed, the role of one’s social network only increases the higher up the corporate hierarchy you go. A paper authored by researchers at North Caroline State University, for instance, showed that for each extra dollar we’re paid, it is 2 percent more likely that the job will be filled because of our social network. To put that into perspective, it would mean for a £100,000 a year post, you’re around 86 percent more likely to find that position via your social network than if you’re going for a £14,500 a year position. So social networks have always been valuable, but, of course, nowadays, we can use technology to tap into the wisdom of crowds much more easily than we could previously. This has been used extensively over the past few years in areas such as science and innovation, but there are indications that it is also being used for recruitment purposes.
Take Recluta for instance. They’re a recruitment company that are using the crowd to help them locate talented individuals. It’s an extension of the more traditional referral system that has been in place for years. However, this system has been opened up to the whole world rather than simply kept within an exclusive group of people as is usually the case at the moment.
One of their earliest uses of the approach was with a medical device company where they were looking to recruit a senior executive. The crowd were offered a bounty of $20,000 to any individual that can refer them a successful candidate for the position of CEO. They were also offering smaller bounties for the three other board level positions available.
“Recluta and partner MDB Capital Group are the only companies that have successfully crafted searches for senior level hires utilizing a crowdsourced approach to cast the widest possible net,” Recluta boss Roberto Jimenez says.
The obvious aim is to tap into a huge pool of potential candidates, and therefore get the best results for their client, but it may also have some additional benefits that Recluta had perhaps not bargained for.
A paper published last year found that there are distinct advantages to taking a more unconventional approach to recruitment. It found that recruitment campaigns that did this tended to attract as many as five times the number of applications as campaigns using more traditional techniques.
Indeed, the authors of the study also suggested that the quality of candidates attracted to such unusual campaigns was also higher. They reasoned that the unconventional campaigns were better at attracting the attention of people who weren’t actively looking for a new job, therefore improving the range of talent enticed to apply.
So maybe the crowdsourced approach will come up trumps. If this is part of a growing trend, however, it does underline the importance of building up your network, as you never know when that dream job may appear.