Have you ever wondered why so many recruiters in our industry have become unpopular and un-trusted? Take a look at how the process has evolved over the past 25 years; it’s easy to see why.
Back in the eighties and early nineties, finding people was a skill.
Executive search companies had to work hard firstly by placing adverts in newspapers and technical journals. Then by fielding calls and organising applicant responses. Then CV’s had to be sifted through and shortlisted by hand. After that, the applicant list was submitted carefully using their vast experience and specialist knowledge to identify suitable candidates.
Most employers did their own recruiting for non-executive staff requirements, using their in-house personnel departments to attract staff. Human Resource Management was unheard of outside of the USA until the mid-eighties, and this whole phenomenon was imported worldwide at around this time.
Large companies established strong relationships with select universities to identify the best up-and-coming talent. They participated in annual university tours, or ‘milk rounds’ to scout for the next generation of interested and suitable graduates. Apprenticeships were still a viable route into the industry for non-graduates.
Then came the Internet.
There is no doubt that the Internet has revolutionised headhunting, and by and large, transformed the whole headhunting process.
Early adopters wholly opened up the process of matching employers with potential employees. Back in 1996, Drillers.com was launched, as a tool for finding and placing drillers and then later as an online upstream recruiter. That was truly revolutionary – the Worlds second-oldest oil and gas website, and the first-ever oil and gas recruitment site.
As with any great idea, the fast followers were not far behind. Suddenly anyone with access to the Internet could become a ‘headhunter’. Recruitment companies sprouted up everywhere, many run from converted household attics or spare bedrooms, all busy harvesting CV’s.
Larger companies that had been built up as specialist secretarial or office staff employment agencies saw the oil and gas industry as an easy target. Over a few years, most large employment agencies added specialist oil and gas recruitment divisions to the portfolios – or did they? A specialist by any definition suggests expertise in a chosen profession. Nowadays, it appears that the definition has been conveniently re-defined.
Many employment agencies believe that their recruiters can automatically be specialists in the field of oil and gas recruitment. (Simply by being employed by their company, and without any prior industry experience).
Are you still wondering why recruiters have become so unpopular or un-trusted?
And then came Social Media.
There is no doubt that social media sites, especially those that have sprouted up for professional participation, have revolutionised the industry. These sites have transformed the way individuals and companies connect.
They have also made the modern-day recruiter virtually redundant, by exposing the truth. No longer can recruiters pretend to be specialised when all they do is trawl the Internet for candidates using key search words. Discerning employers can do this for themselves online; either manually, or with smart software. Anyone that thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.
So we’re all connected anyway, so what’s left to do beyond the social media revolution?
Quite a lot actually, as for many a return to real recruiting will be all too welcome. Not only have there been dramatic changes in the technology available to recruiters… Technology advances have also redefined the way the industry works. Professions have become very specialised, with terms of the eighties and nineties such as ‘Geologist’ or ‘Drilling Engineer’ becoming far too generic to define job titles accurately.
That has left the researchers and ‘specialist’ recruiters somewhat exposed. Keyword searches for Internet trawls don’t work particularly well unless the user does have specialist knowledge. This small distinction might not have yet been picked up by the recruiters, but has been well understood right across the contingent labour workforce — those who remain blatantly aware that their recruitment agent has little to no relevant industry experience.
It’s time for the skill pool specialist.
Human resource departments are the entities organisations form to organise people, reporting relationships, and work in a way that best supports the accomplishment of the organisation’s goals.
Exploration and drilling teams are the entities that organisations form to deliver successful exploration and drilling campaigns. They know their business and understand their business requirements. They are specialists in their fields. However, they prefer to do their own recruiting, as, after all, it’s challenging putting together a ‘social media friendly’ candidate work scope.
Without using too much imagination, we can see that there’s already a level of misalignment. Human resource departments don’t have the technical background to understand exact recruiting requirements, and exploration and drilling teams don’t have the time and resources to organise recruitment campaigns.
Large organisations recognise this misalignment and employ specialist skill pool managers to bridge the gap. Very often these individuals are at the peak of their careers having had perhaps three or even four decades of relevant technical experience. They know fully well how specialised Geologists and Drilling Engineers have become, a skill that only comes with relevant experience.
As it’s not a particularly economically attractive option for recruiters, most don’t employ specialists or specific individuals with skill pool management skills. For similar economic reasons, smaller operators rarely have skill pool managers amongst their ranks.
Here at NatResPro, we believe that a new period of specialist recruitment has arrived. Mass recruiters will no longer undertake technical recruitment, replaced instead by time-honed experienced specialists providing a bespoke, boutique executive search directly to exploration and drilling teams. Recruitment where experts speak to experts, both sides having a full understanding of the requirements for the appropriate candidates.