If you read the Wikipedia definition of an inflection point, you may come away confused.

An inflection point is “a point on a curve at which the curvature changes sign. The curve changes from being concave upwards (positive curvature) to concave downwards (negative curvature), or vice versa. If one imagines driving a vehicle along the curve, it is a point at which the steering-wheel is momentarily “straight”, being turned from left to right or vice versa.” (Wikipedia)

As industries grow and change, they pass through inflection points. These are moments when the structure is in place for a change but the change has not yet begun. Looking back, you can see the shift from the old order to the new. In the moment, however, it feels like the eye of the hurricane. Inflection points are the calm before the storm.

The first quarter of 2008 is a major inflection point in the Recruiting Industry. The structural elements are all in place for accelerating change over the next several years. If you feel like things have been moving quickly, hang on to your hat.

The last inflection point was ten or twelve years ago when Online Recruiting began to take form. The early adopters were all on board by 1997, having spent a couple of years charting their courses. What followed was an explosion of services, products and tools that led us to today.

Similarly, under the broad rubric of Web 2.0 (notice how outdated that sounds? Even still, the vast majority of Recruiters have no clear idea about Web 2.0. It’s early adopter jargon.), services and service theories emerged. From Social software to Redefinition of the sourcing function, our infrastructure has begun to be redeveloped.

This spring, there will be no end to the talk about “Talent Management”. It is an important subject and a useful broadening of the area in which we work. “Talent Management” is the. beginning of a movement to really see human resources as people. Although it would be more appropriate to call the emerging discipline “Organizational Skills Acquisition and Development”, it’s the era of American Idol.

By the end of this round of trade shows, the moniker “Talent Management” will be virtually meaningless. All of the incumbent vendors (and the new ones, too) will claim to have a talent management system. No two will have the same functionality. That’s how buzzwords go in our industry.

Don’t let the emphasis on Talent Management cause you to take your eye off the ball. The real revolution is happening in the once shabby arena called “Sourcing”.

John Sumser .-. ©2008 Two Color Hat, Inc. Santa Rosa, CA