on-demand-economyFor decades, HR recruiters were swept up in a tidal wave of résumés – swimming through thousands to spot the one person who might be the right fit for the company.

But the tide has shifted. Recruiting is no longer a “throw out the net and see what we get” process, but a true expedition to discover the perfect employee in a sea of candidates.

A surge in social media and new technologies is now allowing recruiters to proactively connect with their ideal prospects. And nowhere is this shift more apparent than in the world of freelance – where a streamlined approach to recruitment is paying off big for companies and candidates alike.

As you push forward with your recruitment efforts, here are six things to keep in mind:

The virtual workforce is leading the way.
Hiring employees for complex projects can be a long-term, expensive process. Many companies are getting to market faster and more cost-effectively by relying on a virtual workforce. In partnership with managed crowdsourcing companies, businesses break down large projects into microtasks, which are then matched up to talented freelancers with specialized skill sets. With a virtual workforce, the barriers of geography, training and time are obliterated, and overhead and recruiting costs are essentially eliminated. In turn, companies have a dedicated team available anywhere at any hour.

Let the on-demand workforce be your lifeguard.
Your company has a big project on the horizon, requiring dozens of freelancers and contractors. As a recruiter, you could spend your days drowning to fill positions. Or you could look to a crowdsourced network of vetted candidates available at a moment’s notice. Crowdsourced talent solutions take the burden of recruiting, interviewing and training off your shoulders. Through crowdsourcing, your freelance needs can be filled in hours instead of weeks. As soon as a project is launched, a team of writers, editors and task managers goes to work for you.

Managers are taking the hiring helm.
Hiring is formulaic. Manager needs an employee. Manager talks to the HR department. HR department finds the candidate. The problem? The need for speed. In a fast-paced business environment, managers want to fill vacancies immediately without jumping through bureaucratic hoops. They know exactly who they want and are therefore seeking their own freelancers and contractors via crowdsourcing, networking and social media. Companies in which managers handle hiring have reduced recruitment time by 35%. In turn, HR departments are focusing on recruiting full-time employees and shaping overall company policies to increase retention.

The new way to reel in candidates.
Gone are the days HR recruiters devoted their time to scouring online job boards or newspaper ads. Instead, they’re scouting freelancers and contractors with information which no one-page résumé could ever provide. While LinkedIn is the biggest fish in the recruitment pond, it is in no way the only resource. With just a few clicks, you can learn about a potential candidate through online communities, digital portfolios, social media, and conferences to gain a holistic view of their skills, accomplishments and personality before making the first connection. Companies have taken this mutually-beneficial form of Internet investigation a step further by capitalizing on technologies that summarize information from across the web.

The recruiter as marketer.
We are entering the age of consumerization of the workforce, wherein the recruiter is taking on the role of a marketer. This trend is primarily driven by the experiences that employees have in their personal lives with technology, which often trump what employers are willing to provide. In the on-demand economy, this is a crucial point. Contingent workers have the freedom to select their own tools, working environments, hours, vacation policy and more. Recruiters must adapt their approach to attracting top talent in the same way that marketers attract customers.

NetWeaving as opposed to networking.
According to TechRepublic, recruitment is no longer built on networking, but NetWeaving, in which the focus is on creating reciprocal relationships. In the freelance world where businesses depend on contractors for quick, turnkey solutions and contractors depend on them for work, relationships mean everything. NetWeaving allows recruiters to learn about the candidate’s background, and if they aren’t a good fit for the position, can let them know about other opportunities at the company or resources to help their business. In turn, freelancers learn more about a company’s needs to see if they can help or recommend someone else who can. It’s no longer what’s in it for me, but what’s in it for us.

The role of the recruiter will continue to be a critical component in building the crews needed to stay afloat in a rapidly changing market. By taking advantage of modern crowdsourcing solutions, recruiters can find the best contractors and freelancers that help their business succeed.