Recruitment - predictions for 2012 and beyond - Part 2

Part 2 of this post looks at technology in the world of recruitment. Technology is a key part of what we do and we keep careful tabs on what is new and what works. We look at 3 areas: Social Networking, Recruitment Systems and Job Boards and I personally have stuck my neck out on predictions in each area. Ouch...
This is Part 2 of our Blog post on The Future of work - predictions for 2012 and beyond. This - Part 2 -is all about technology and recruitment (Part 1 is about the future of recruitment in general). Technology is a key part of what we do and we keep careful tabs on what is new and what works. In this post we look at 3 areas: Social Networking, Recruitment Systems and Job Boards and I personally have stuck my neck out on predictions in each area. Ouch...

Social Networking

When I first started doing recruitment technology just over five years ago, social networking was going to take over the world.

Whilst the development of social networking has seen much change I think it has been over hyped. Sure it has made a difference. For instance, some employers we know, now use Linkedin profilea in place of a CV. However on the downside there is now increasing concern from employers – and others- over online privacy (see Blog post of 7/10/1: Social Networking - facebook, twitter et al). Increasingly we are now seeing employers prohibit checking of candidates facebook profiles on the grounds of possible discrimination/privacy.

Prediction - 1
It wont happen just yet, but we expect the froth to subside at some point on using Social Network tools for recruiting. It is still seen as fairly new in some markets including NZ/Australia however their use is more limited than the hype suggests. If you are sceptical just consider this: many candidates have workmates as friends on facebook, will they really want to debate recruitment and job hunting in such an open forum where it can be seen by colleagues…? We think not. Recruitment discussions and intent really need to be private. Use these social networking tools only where they really add value - they are certainly no panacea.

Recruitment Systems

We see many recruitment systems now that increasingly fall into the bloat-ware category. We increasingly hear employers worry about how complex some of the systems are getting. This is an especially big issue for their managers. They don’t have time to have to “learn ho to use a system” they need things to be intuitive and easy. We make sure that our own systems only display features and process steps that are used by our client making the system less cluttered and more easy and natural to use. In our experience recruitment is very far from a one-size fits all method or even process. So…

Prediction - 2
The very large clients will still look to buy the major systems that “do everything”. However we think more and more employers will be attracted to systems that make things simple (think Apple versus PC). Systems that can be expanded as required, ones that do the basics very well, quickly and easily and which are implemented so that they fit right into how the organisation recruits. Systems that also focus on integrating content that articulates the employer brand. We already hear quite a bit of chatter and comment from HR in employers on how the major systems are getting too complicated (think Microsoft Word - it gets more complicated every year) . So we expect more demand for systems that focus on simplicity and usage and that are tailored to fit the client. Just as well really given that is what we provide ☺

Prediction - 3
Compliance. I know, groans all round... However issues such as privacy, discrimination, data protection will increasing drive those employers without systems to finally implementing systems to finally doing so. Good recruitment systems provide structure and support for employer polices in this area. Its not sexy and it undersells what in our case is a very strong business case, cost and economic benefit that clients derive from using our systems. However we think that compliance will come to more to the fore as a trigger for considering putting a recruitment system in place for many employers.

Quality not quantity. It used to be all about attracting and generating the largest amount of exposure on the web and then using sifting tools to quickly filter down to a manageable number. However many clients we speak to are tired of getting lots applicants from the likes of Ulan Bator (no offence to Mongolia etc however if you work in recruitment you will know what I mean). Applications from clearly unsuitable candidates is a pain, wastes time and makes it more of a needle in a haystack exercise. Killer questions and filtering, if carefully applied, do work much of the time. However what recruiters really want, is a small number of “high quality” applicants. By high quality, they should be clearly suitable against the job spec and be well apprised of the employment offer and motivated to work for you. In our view the only sure way to get this is by providing high quality information that informs candidates about; the organisation, what the expectations are and lets them see what is in it for them by way of contributing and feeling good about working there. This leads us to our next prediction:

Prediction - 4
We expect employers to want to focus more on the qualitative measures rather then chase metrics round numbers of applicants etc. We already get feedback from HR managers who are happy with some roles to get less applications than they used to. The key here being that the ones they do get are they believe; “higher quality”. The old metrics are bit like what they used to say about accountants - they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. We think clients appreciate better and will want more focus on e.g. the ways job specs are presented along with content articulating their employer proposition.

Job boards

We had to cover this aspect given history. From a personal point of view I have sold Job Board systems, so its an area I know particularly well. Bit like social networking above, their demise gets regularly forecast however they are still here and have certainly not been displaced by social networking as has been forecasted many times. The major problem we see is the large number of (what are probably in many cases) fictitious jobs from agencies listed on them. That aside, it is hard to see how technology could much improve them. Many things have been tried but the successful ones have not really changed that much and that is because in our view the concept broadly works. Smart employers who build their own candidate banks and use the recruitment system as their own job board and support it with referral management and web search advertising and use the job board as a traffic driver will get the best out of them.

Sadly in NZ there is very little choice of job boards for employers or agencies, with an effective duopoly between Seek and Trademe. Facilities between the two are basic and costly but they work – mostly - and it is hard to see much changing there. We think LinkedIn’s use as an advertising platform i.e. Job board will grow. In our experience it is especially useful for senior level jobs and IT. This however is not really part of the social networking aspect of their platform. facebook has the same issue - you can advertise jobs with facebook but it is not really social networking.

Prediction - 5
There will be no material change for Job Boards. They will be doing same thing as they do now, for the next few years at least. Job Boards will not be killed off by social networking - we suggest you ignore all comment to the contrary. After all, it still hasn’t happened in markets where social networking has been much longer established.