The Digital Recruitment Revolution: 5 Ways To Get Ahead

5 minutes min read

By Jamie Thatcher

Managing Director

In the glistening dawn of our new age of digital, it’s ever more important to remain ahead of the curve.

Technology is not just getting more advanced, and powerful; new developments are also occurring much quicker. Only the most adaptable businesses – those that don’t fear change, but embrace it - will survive and prosper in the ever-changing world of technology we live in today. With this in mind, and with an exciting new year of recruitment looming before us, we thought we’d give you the rundown on 5 key ways recruitment is going to change, and how you can prepare to achieve the advantage you need.

1. Realise that digital is the future… but it's here now!

It’s become a common cliché – and not only in recruitment – to say that our industry is ‘going digital’. As more and more businesses invest in flashy websites, it’s becoming clear to many that websites are the modern day shop front. But to imply that digital is a coming revolution is patently false. In recruitment, it’s already here – and you need to be using it to its full potential, or taste the dust of your competitors. 

Let me give you an example. Are you old enough to remember the days when LinkedIn and online job applications first began to gain traction? No, it really wasn’t that long ago, don’t worry… My point is that at one stage, they were seen as optional supplements to the traditional paper CV and in-person interview. Not so anymore. The world of recruiting has gone nearly 100% digital.

From CV submission to the search, and even to the interview in many cases, we’re moving towards a digital hiring model. LinkedIn profiles are increasingly important, as are other representations of an individual’s experiences, aptitudes, and skills that exist purely in the digital realm.

Furthermore, a new midpoint between phone interviews and the traditional face-to-face process has emerged: webcam interviews, through mediums like Skype, Apple’s Facetime, or Google Hangouts. For recruiters, the benefits are clear: low cost, effective video software, and ease of access in an increasingly global job market. This trend isn’t likely to stop anytime soon. Embracing this kind of technology now will not only give recruiters an instant boost to their hiring process – it will make it easier for them to adapt to coming changes. All aboard the digital express!

2. Candidate experience is everything – but not in the way you think!

When we say ‘candidate experience’, you’d be forgiven for immediately thinking about rote lists of skills and past duties on the CV. But we’re not talking about that old, traditional stuff (get with the program!). Nope, we’re talking about the modern candidate experience – or what in Marketing and web design is known as UX (user experience) – purely and simply, how easy and functional they find the experience of applying to your business.

Despite difficult economic times, today’s job seekers know their worth, and how to access opportunities. If one employer takes too long to respond or makes it difficult to apply, they'll quickly pass it up for another job opening. Most will apply to several (or many) opportunities at the same time, so making your process as smooth as possible is a wise investment.

3. Your employer brand will decide your future

In the modern world, you don’t just have one brand to worry about. Your brand will be perceived in two ways: first, by the service or product offered to its clients/consumers – known as your ‘consumer brand’ - secondly, in how it handles its recruitment and staff. The latter is what we mean by ‘employment brand’ – and it’s becoming ever more important. We’ve already mentioned the shift in recruitment towards a sellers’ market. The modern, savvy candidate will evaluate company brands before applying to or accepting a job – in much the same way as they’d evaluate consumer brands while shopping. They'll be researching you as much as you're researching them, so make your website a strong tool for engaging talent.

So, how to go about it? Firstly, ensure your website gets the weight in budget it deserves, so that it can reflect the values you want to project. Websites are company storefronts in the 21st century: they are the one-stop-shop where your services are displayed, and job hunting begins. Nowadays, many companies with the budget for it are designing separate career sites, so they can give their employer brand the emphasis it deserves, and, at the same time, acknowledge the difference between a client-facing brand and an employer one.

Of course, all this will prove to be mere window-dressing if the actual experience of employees doesn’t match up to their expectations. Gone are the days where companies could present a false image of working life without repercussion. Now, the people’s voice is unavoidably being heard. From the way your brand conducts itself on social media channels, through to business reviews on sites like Glassdoor, your brand is being constantly judged by the public, and receiving feedback all the time.

4. Your Perfect Hire Is (Probably) A Passive Candidate

Gone are the days when job placements would only be filled by those actively seeking new work. Modern technology has made it so easy for every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the recruitment world to access CVs and like information from job site databases and LinkedIn that there’s often a severe dearth of talent within the pool of active jobseekers. No, the superstar you’re searching for is far more likely to be a passive candidate – someone who isn’t currently seeking new work, but may be open to hearing about a new opportunity. 

If you’re in recruitment, today the way to access the people your competition aren’t is to be proactive, and make approaches even when it’s not clear they’re looking for a new move. The amount of people actively searching usually only numbers between 5-10% of the talent market. What are the chances that the best person will number amongst these? Particularly when it comes to management roles, active jobseekers are generally less capable, because the highest performers tend to enjoy the work they do, and smart employers will do all within their means to keep them on board. However, most people will still be willing to listen to the details of a new opportunity, when approached directly.

Take advantage of the data available to you through social networks, and personalise your approach based on what you can dig up. The telephone may be old-school, but it’s still the best way to get a response from your target. A further advantage comes from using an agency with a broad network of contacts in your field, as these connections can be used to make a powerful approach to the best performers on your behalf. It’s true that professional services like executive search, such as the service we provide at CSG, can be more costly than the traditional agency method. Still, the results can be phenomenal, with often more than 10x the access to the talent market on offer with active candidates.

5. Data: Bigger, Better… & This Time It’s Personal

If you’ve read tech magazines or blogs’ predictions of the future, you’re probably as fed up of hearing about how ‘big data is the future’ as we are. How can such a simple-sounding phrase still seem to mean absolutely nothing? What is big data, anyway? As much as it sounds like an empty corporate buzzword, understanding a bit more about what you might call the ‘data revolution’ will transform the way you recruit.

Put simply, the near universal use of social networks and other digital profiles across the globe has opened up a whole new universe of data about potential candidates and hirers: providing insights on their hobbies, experience, personal values, location (we know, it’s scary), and much, much, more. This is what’s known as ‘big data’, compared to the smaller-scale data which was available previously. While this new world of information is amazing on one hand, it’s a double-edged sword: taking the time to do research could take hiring managers away from their primary function: hiring.

That’s where analytics tools such as Evolv and TalentBin come in. Crunching nearly a billion data points with targeted search, they can factor in everything from petrol prices to unemployment rates to social media usage to match candidates to opportunities.

And we’re just at the tip of the iceberg. Tools are being developed which will be able to discern from people’s online footprint and searches when they might be just on the cusp of leaving their current employer and searching for a new job. And, as every recruiter worth their salt will tell you, this is the ‘sweet spot’ to begin engaging a candidate with a view to securing their services.

Proper use of big data could really make a difference between you and your rivals, too. Only 4 percent of hiring managers, according to 2013 data from Bersin by Deloitte — actually use big data in a way that could have a real impact on the talent sourced.

As global talent experts, we’re uniquely placed to advise you on how to meet your hiring needs in an ever-changing recruitment environment, both now and in future. To find out more, get in touch.