Flexibility is vital for the future of web recruitment

What will recruitment technology be able to do for you in the next two years? IT suppliers and users to look ahead

Jane Baseley, UK recruitment manager, Sainsbury’s

Running a 24-hour operation is a challenge for many businesses, and the ability to be flexible when you need to communicate with candidates is a huge benefit. In future, enabling candidates to book their interview and assessment slots online would be a great practical advantage in a business like ours.

However, the real challenge is that when technology is able to go a long way in enabling an organisation to provide excellent candidate service, the emphasis is on the organisation to be able to match, or exceed, this candidate service with its own internal operational processes. Online recruitment sets very high standards for any organisation to meet.

Lisa Astbury, director, Changeworknow (technology-based HR provider)

Research conducted by Changeworknow last year shows that an under-utilised area of technology is applicant tracking and candidate management. Only 33% of organisations are maximising the use of technology for tracking and monitoring candidates. Many still print off application forms and handle the process manually, which is time-consuming and expensive. The next few years will see an increase in companies embracing applicant tracking with the key driver being one of better managing relationships with candidates. Applicant tracking will also extend to internal candidates as the focus shifts towards internal talent management. Candidate relationship management will become the differentiator to the employer brand.

We will also see more emphasis placed on the overall ‘online experience’ of the candidates, through better design of the online application process, resulting in streamlined questionnaires, less time online for the candidate, and candidates being more involved in managing their time. This could be through booking interview slots, taking online tests only when they have passed initial screening criteria, and being able to communicate with the hiring organisation via e-mail or text messaging services.

Peter Collis, managing director, Hy-phen (workforce management solutions provider)

First, we will see software move from being a product to being a service. Applications will be more flexible, and on-demand, pay-per-use functionality will become available. The focus will be on the technology provider’s ability to deliver specialist support services and ongoing product development specific to the HR and recruitment market.

Second, no product is available today that offers ‘best in class’ in both temporary and permanent staffing. While successful client-side applications for each will remain specialised, products with truly leading-edge functionality in both temporary and permanent recruitment will emerge.

Third, although the best recruitment products will retain their speciality, their ability to integrate with other applications and ERP (enterprise resources planning) systems will improve, as will their ability to be configured to meet specific client demands.

Brenda Todd, head of talent management and organisational development, Ceridian Centrefile (HR solution provider)

Making recruitment administration more streamlined is a ‘hard’ process benefit and we can clearly see the return on investment. However, the focus of recruitment technology will shift from the needs of recruiters and concentrate more on the candidate experience. This critical relationship side of the hiring process will be improved by making the process feel much more personal and make the candidate experience more positive. In the future, technology needs to be more flexible and enable recruiters to communicate with potential candidates in a variety of different ways on an ongoing basis.

At present, recruiters often find they are battling for space on jobs boards with recruitment agencies. In the future, I would expect to see the advent of employer-only jobs boards.

Professor Dave Bartram, occupational psychologist and head of technology and research division, SHL (workforce solutions provider)

The construction and implementation of item generation and test generation programmes will, in the future, help to prevent ability tests becoming compromised through repeated exposure of the same items in unsupervised conditions.

Similarly, data forensics will identify anomalies in response times and patterns to assess whether information has been leaked to an individual, organisation or whole region.

Chip-and-pin cards and video links might also be employed to initially identify a candidate and monitor them throughout the test.

These measures are all technically feasible now. Once they are sufficiently widespread, it is possible that online testing will rival the assessment centre in terms of security, while offering real advantages in terms of efficiency and cost effectiveness.

Tim Forster, head of resourcing media, accounting and business consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers

A lot of the actual functionality that employers and employees need is already available. What I’d like to see, is people making better use of the power of the internet. I’d like to see the availability of mobile devices increase so that recruiters, line managers and, of course, applicants, can all access the technology more easily on the move. I’d like to see employers exhibiting more transparency online, so that applicants can view the status of their application at any time.

It would be nice to open up a Sunday paper and see all of the job advertisements referring people to company websites to apply for work instead of ‘write enclosing your CV’ or ‘e-mail your CV to…’. The people who have embraced the web the fastest are those whose livelihoods depend on it – namely, the recruitment agencies. I’d like to see companies catch up, and realise the huge benefits of a proactive online recruitment strategy.

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