Crowdsourcing typically refers to the pooling of funds, ideas or services from a crowd of people, especially online community. It’s becoming a popular way to bring together individuals towards a common goal. Perhaps, it was the only matter of time that this innovative approach made its way into the HR domain as well. Several organizations across the world, including India, are tapping actively into the ‘crowdsourcing way’ of recruiting. In fact, a TimesJobs survey revealed that 58% of organizations use crowdsourcing for hiring and 48% of them feel that is the most effective way to hire or source the talent.
Uber was one of the first few companies to use crowdsourcing to create the resource pool of car owners/drivers who wanted to work as taxi drivers for as many hours they wanted. Today, it has more than a million drivers on board!
Crowdsourcing in Talent Acquisition – What Does it Mean?
The basic principle of crowdsourcing in talent acquisition remains same as in any other arena. But, in a specific context, it refers to acquiring and hiring talent by seeking candidate referrals from social networking platforms. It is way for recruiters to let their personal and professional contacts know that their organizations are looking for new talent.
Now, you may ask how crowdsourcing is different from the employee referral method. Well, the scope of the employee referral method is usually limited because the recommendations about potential candidates are sought only from the internal employees of the organizations. In the crowdsourcing method, the job opportunities are publicized on the social media network of organizations, recruiters and recruitment agencies. This way, organizations can attract applicants on a mass basis. However, some companies like Google, which have a huge workforce, rely on internal crowdsourcing by asking its employees for feedback on candidates based on similarities in experience—the candidate and the employee may have attended the same university or previously worked for the same company.
It can be said that crowdsourcing is a deeper extension of employee referrals and is an integral component of multi-channel hiring strategy. The applicants shortlisted through crowdsourcing will still have to go through the rest of the recruitment cycle (phone screening, interview, assessment tests, etc.).
Crowdsourcing should also not be confused with outsourcing. When the company employs a third party agency (with its own team) to deliver work, it is called outsourcing. However, crowdsourcing sources services from a number of individuals (each has a different, unique relationship with the company) to do the work.
There are various reasons why companies are integrating crowdsourcing in talent acquisition strategy:
Attract a large pool of talent: According to Global Recruiting Trends 2017 report, hiring volumes are expected to increase in 2017 and 40% of organizations are looking at social professional networks to source talent. Unlike the traditional methods such as cold calling, job fairs or job boards posting, which have a limited reach to the talent, crowdsourcing creates a vast pool of niche and common talent through a social network of recruiters. Recruitifi is one such network, which allows companies to leverage a crowd of expert recruiters in a targeted and confidential manner. Similarly, BountyJobs has a network of more than 10,000 highly specialized headhunters.
Scout the best talent: Talent shortage is the number one hiring challenge today and most organizations struggle to find the right fit and top talent. The Glassdoor Recruiting Survey reveals that 48% hiring decision-makers do not see enough qualified candidates for open positions. With the help of crowdsourcing, you can attract the best talent, including passive candidates, and even for roles which are hardest-to-fill, require critical skills or are knowledge-based. For example, Visage is a crowdsourcing platform which enables employers to instantly connect with passive and most qualified talent.
Build liquid and borderless workforce: When the nature of your organizations is such that you need people to deliver niche/digital skills on demand and anywhere, crowdsourcing is the answer. For instance, Accenture Technology Services has tied up with Applause to crowdsource more 240,000 experienced quality assurance testers around the world in order to reap benefits such as dynamic capacity, expanded geographic coverage, access niche skills and faster time-to-market.
Scale the operations: Organizations, especially startups face the major challenge of hiring talent when it comes to scalability. Crowdsourcing can address this concern as well. Whether the role requires manual task such as data collection or a strategic skill such as developing a new feature on the mobile app, crowdsourcing can tap into the right talent efficiently. The organizations can also break down large or complex projects into microtasks, and then invite talent with specialized skill sets through crowdsourcing platforms. For example, if your project requires both web developers and content writers, you could hire them from Upwork or Freelancer, popular crowdsourcing sites to connect and collaborate remotely with freelancers and independent professionals.
Hire talent at low cost: Hiring is an expensive affair. You need to pay exorbitant fees to job portals, advertisers and recruitment consultants, and spend time in communicating and co-ordinating, resulting in productivity loss too. However, in case of crowdsourcing, you sift through resumes which are informally pre-screened by the referral providers. The speed of hiring also goes up because you are exploring a larger network to fill the positions. Companies have the control over the project cost and hours. And, of course, you get a higher number of diverse applicants. So, crowdsourcing is definitely a cost-effective option.
Enhance hiring experience for candidates: Toady’s candidates are technology-savvy, are present on every social media network, and actively follow online communities of their interest. They expect employers to reach out to them on every channel. Moreover, there are also people who are highly talented, but want to work on their own terms & conditions such as flexi-hours and preference of location. They expect a collaborative digital infrastructure and flat hierarchies. In order to enhance hiring experience for such candidates, crowdsourcing is an effective tool.
How to Build a Robust Crowdsourcing Strategy?
Here are some ways to acquire talent through crowdsourcing:
- Target multiple and diverse networks: As they say, ‘more the merrier’. The same concept applies to crowdsourcing as well. The more social recruiting networks and communities you engage, more are the chances of attracting candidates from diverse backgrounds, experiences, qualifications, etc.
- Engage with key influencers: Every network has a few prominent influencers who can make a huge difference on the results and quality of your job postings. Request them to initiate discussions, moderate forums or invite them for video sessions with candidates. Build a personal relationship with such influencers because one word from them can actively promote your recruitment campaign.
- Motivate and incentivize for participation: Everyone expects a reward in return of a efforts or favour. So, does your crowdsourcing network. So, if you want to capture the interest of participants and encourage them to give referrals actively, you need to provide unique incentives.
- Provide regular your updates: You should be equally active with your participation on the crowdsourcing platforms. Let the people in your network know that their referrals are being considered. In fact, you should give a status update regarding the referral at every stage of the recruitment. So, if the resume of the referral has been shortlisted or has been selected for an interview, you should proactively share the progress.
Crowdsourcing is certainly the future of talent acquisition. Its importance in sourcing quality, passive, remote or virtual talent quickly, easily and cost-effectively can’t be ignored. It is the way forward in recruitment.