Recruitment confidence is high, but employers are struggling to find the right skills they need to fill crucial roles. What are the key recruitment technology trends influencing how employers attract and retain good candidates?
There is little doubt that economic conditions are improving. Confidence in hiring intentions is high, with the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) JobsOutlook reporting that more than eight in 10 employers plan to take on more staff in the coming months. But with that confidence comes a hurdle thanks to shortages of permanent workers with the right skills. The REC adds that 94% of organisations must operate on limited capacity to take on more work, and that many rely on a rolling roster of temporary workers to meet targets.
In this climate, how are recruitment approaches and technologies adapting to support employers? We look at the key themes and buzzwords shaping how we hire during 2016.
Getting closer to candidates
“I think there are many themes emerging at the moment, but what we’re seeing is a greater concentration on building more meaningful relationships with talent – with a greater focus on those that aren’t looking for a career move or in most cases aware of the organisation as a potential employer,” says Nathan Perrot, director of technology and candidate solutions at TalentBrew.
This means that the way organisations communicate with potential candidates becomes more like they might attract new customers, a world away from simply “broadcasting” job ads at them, and more relationship focused.
Technology such as VE Interactive’s re-engagement software captures jobseekers as they go through the “attraction” process – whether that is clicking on a job ad, beginning an online application – and if they fall away it aims to bring them back, for example through overlays asking “Can we help?” or a follow-up email providing contact details for further assistance. Similar to what you might see when browsing products online as a consumer.
“The aim of our software is to keep users on a site through their user journey, towards a transaction, which, in this case, is applying for a job,” explains Tom Weeks, director of automotive, charities, education and recruitment at the company.
Aligned with this more consumer-led approach to attracting candidates is making the job-seeking experience more tailored to them as individuals. Just as programmatic advertising uses customers’ browsing data to deliver specific messages to different audiences in the consumer world, it is possible to create algorithms from a whole host of candidate data to better target the job ads they see.
“Whether it’s an intelligent content destination that can contextually match the relevant content and jobs together (thus saving the user time by not having to filter through tons of irrelevant content) or using programmatic marketing to better engage with relevant audiences, technology will be a key facilitator in getting in front of the right audience at the right time in the right place with the right message,” explains Perrot.
Companies such as the employer review site Glassdoor are already offering employers the chance to use this approach to their advantage, for example by allowing clients to post advertising on a competitor’s profile page, or to site ads where they know jobseekers are looking. “So if someone is looking for a software engineer role, you can be high up in their results because we analyse the job titles people are searching for and the profiles they’re looking at,” says Joe Wiggins, Glassdoor’s European head of communications.
Using data in this way, recruiters could also create micro sites or landing pages for specific roles or campaigns, making potential candidates far more likely to connect with those roles.
All about transparency
“Jobseekers want to hear your side of the story, your voice,” adds Wiggins of Glassdoor. The rise of the review site, which is now the fourth largest job board in the US, is testament to candidates’ desire to browse and share information about their recruitment experiences and how they felt treated by an employer.
And while some employers have been concerned about losing control of their employer brand – people can post honest and sometimes unflattering reviews – those that have entered a dialogue with the audience tend to come across better. “It’s a bit like social media eight years ago, at first there was a fear, people choosing not to interact. But there’s been a huge shift in mindset in the past two years.”
This transparency will extend to the likes of salaries and benefits, predicts Wiggins, particularly with the Government placing pressure on employers to reveal details of their gender pay gaps. “Everyone wants to know what others get paid but nobody wants to talk about it,” he adds. “It’s useful when you go into a negotiation, too. Go in too high and you’ll look greedy, too low and you may end up resenting it.”
More power to the mobile
The shift towards mobile job seeking will continue apace this year, with employers who do not optimise career sites and application processes for mobile devices likely to lose out. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 14% of job seekers have filled out a job application on their mobile device, and many more search for roles while on the move.
A key element of attracting candidates via mobile is honing your story on social media – and we will start seeing this move beyond traditional platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, to more “immediate” messaging and chat applications such as Snapchat and Whatsapp.
“HR needs to put mobile at the heart of the process, and it needs to be optimised at every stage,” advises John Salt, group sales director at TotalJobs. Simply web-enabling pages upon pages of application forms will soon lead to applicants dropping out of the process – keep it simple and you can always ask for further documentation after an offer has been made.
There will also be innovation in the use of apps to attract potential candidates – whether that’s as a gateway to a careers site, or assessment and gamification. Salt adds: “I think we will look at how we can use mobile apps in a more niche way – so rather than having one app for all types of jobs, can we make them local, or sector-specific?”
Video brings the job to life
There is a frequently quoted statistic from Forrester Research that one minute of video content holds the same value as 1.8 million words. And the chances of getting a page one listing on Google increase 53 times with video, according to the same analyst company.
“High quality video content has become an intricate part of the digital marketing framework,” says Jessie Hickman, digital consultant at Crunch Simply Digital, a recruitment ad-technology and data provider. “The gains in video advertising cannot be argued and recruiters are the next industry to feel the joys and benefits of video content.”
Hickman adds that video can be even more valuable in the hiring process, because “you’re not just selling a product; you are selling a culture, a lifestyle and opportunities”. She advises organisations to build a short and engaging video that tells a story, to share it online and across relevant social channels. A good example is from Google, whose five-minute long “interns’ first week” video has been viewed 3.4 million times, shared 12,000 times and has driven 14,000 YouTube subscriptions.
To take it further, consider new media developments such as programmatic TV or in-banner video advertising, which “all allow for you to reach and attract new talent at an efficient price”, she advises. Developments such as 360-degree video (allowing you to explore an organisation from the camera’s perspective) or interactive video (enabling users to choose different scenarios) will make the job-seeking experience even more three-dimensional.