Jinfo BlogHow badly do we need recruitment consultancies?

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By Tim Buckley Owen

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Despite rumours to the contrary, the head count of knowledge and information management (KIM) has remained remarkably stable, says a new report. Prepared by information recruitment specialist TFPL, it provides a rich fare of intelligence and advice for career-focused info pros – but warm-bodied recruitment consultancies may be under threat, so what future for the support and expertise they offer?

KIM is regarded as an essential rather than a discretionary business function says the TFPL report, Connecting Information with Innovation (registration required). Core disciplines such as information and records management, library and information services, business analysis and knowledge management are coming together and in some cases merging, and although there has been some dispersal, there’s still a place for centralised KIM teams.

Enriched roles are replacing traditional ones, and employers are expecting something “special” in today’s KIM worker. There are questions too: will the profession remain multidisciplinary but cohesive, or will it fragment, and have some functions such as research already begun to split off?

To which one might add: do the recruitment consultancies that provide such valuable insights have a long term future? Within the United Kingdom information industry we’ve already seen the merger of Intelligent Resources with TFPL and the closure first of Aslib Recruitment and now of InfoMatch – so what’s happening?

Enter the social media, with their offers of self-help and crowdsourcing. Online careers and recruitment resources provider Monster.com has recently launched BeKnown, its professional networking application for Facebook users – and now there’s Apply with LinkedIn, a button to help LinkedIn jobseekers connect with potential employers.

Monster’s BeKnown connects professional networking to its own job search and browse tools, while Apply with LinkedIn depends on candidates locating specific job opportunities for which they can submit their edited LinkedIn profile. Each service boasts of scale – LinkedIn of offering employers access to a 100 million-plus talent pool, and BeKnown of the 700 million Facebook users who could reach out to the 97% of Fortune 500 companies that use Monster.

But is this sort of scale really helpful? Nathan Mayatt of the UK high end recruitment agency FreshMinds Talent suspects not.

Apply with LinkedIn only relates to a job that’s already there, he says, and the system also risks getting clogged up with time wasters. It’s not going to increase the market awareness of the role and thus tap into new talent pools.

Apply with LinkedIn could have a big impact on the freelance or temporary market, he concedes (read his comments on the Recruiter website). But he ends by reminding people of the time when jobs boards were thought to spell the death of recruitment agencies, when all they did was increase their activity.

Let’s hope he’s right again this time.

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