Peter Linas, EVP Corporate Development and International at Bullhorn, looks at the key recruitment technology trends to watch out for this year
‘Technology might not help you develop a winning recruitment plan – but it will give you the time, the data and the insights needed to outthink and outperform your competitors.’
The recruitment industry has never been shy about embracing innovation: the internet arrived, and online job boards followed soon after; LinkedIn launched in 2003, and was almost immediately swarmed by eager consultants; and CRM systems, as we can attest, have been popular for as long as they’ve been available to use.
With new developments in data analytics, AI and machine learning, marketing technology, social media and more, the industry now benefits from a hugely diverse ecosystem of technology. The challenge for agencies in future will be keeping tabs on emerging trends, evolving their infrastructures to accommodate new tools, and adopting best practices.
So, which areas should recruitment companies pay the most attention to over the next year?
Here are just a few.
1. Recruitment marketing technology
It’s an oversimplification, but when you boil it down to its barest elements, recruitment is about two main functions: the first is to sell clients on certain candidates; the second, to sell potential candidates on certain roles. The latter is often more complicated than you might think, particularly in the midst of sustained talent shortages in several key areas.
Fortunately, the evolution of new marketing technologies has made it easier than ever to reach candidates through their preferred channels and at their preferred times. Some fifteen years on, platforms such as LinkedIn remain viable sources of highly qualified and experienced talent — even after all this time, it’s constantly evolving its offering to meet the demands of the recruitment industry.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) was already important — if your postings aren’t getting seen, you’re not likely to receive applications for them — but in the era of Google for Jobs, it’s an essential part of your marketing toolkit. Email marketing has, in the wake of the GDPR and the rise of other, more popular channels, become a more cautious practice. But it’s still a vital means of contacting candidates.
Above all, don’t ignore the humble smartphone: SMS marketing was long perceived as intrusive, but in an era where push notifications are commonplace, it’s finding new levels of efficiency. The rise of Rich Communication Services (RCS) has seen a corresponding rise in engagement: tools like CloudCall unite IM, text, and voice within a single distinct database – one where conversations are saved and made searchable in candidate records. It also integrates with CRM systems such as Bullhorn, and is therefore ideal for the most responsive and agile recruiters.
Whatever shape your strategy takes, use marketing analytics tools to understand what activities are working, and which aren’t. You can’t improve or refine your practices otherwise.
Recruitment trends in tech for 2019: Machine learning, AI and predictive analytics
2. Background check and assessment technology
In an age where digital fraud is a viable career choice for would-be-criminals and where recruiters can spend cumulative days on candidates who might be a waste of their time, it’s vital to make use of background screening technology.
Some of these tools focus on drug testing or criminal record checks; others come as full-service pre-employment screening solutions. Either way, the process of assessing a candidate’s background and their likelihood of success is too complex, too important, and frankly too time-consuming to be done manually: AI-empowered chatbots, for example, can filter out candidates who are unsuitable, unlikely to be interested, or otherwise unavailable before they ever talk to a human being.
3. Semantic search technology
Finding better candidates faster: some recruiters say it’s the dream. Others just use semantic search tools.
Semantic search technology is essentially about analysing what the user’s looking for – not what they type. That means analysing synonyms to discern meaning, so a two-word search effectively becomes a 20-word search. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the vaguely cryptographic process of guessing which combination of terms and phrases will throw up a suitable candidate. Overall, the effect is to make recruiters source more quality candidates in less time
TextKernel, for example, parses revenues and jobs to understand the concepts behind words as much as the words themselves: the phrase ‘CEO’, for example, could be used in the context of a business leader, or someone who has worked for one. Technology can determine these differences more easily; to the great advantage of recruiters and their clients.
Data and AI recruitment: A risky business?
4. Real time communication platforms
Recruiting is a high-volume, high-time investment industry, and communication should be streamlined wherever possible – on the phone, via text, or through video platforms. What digital platforms have done is make it possible to eliminate communication, without sacrificing too much of the ‘human touch’.
Phone contact can be greatly simplified with the right tools. A recruiter can customise and design a unique interview experience with pre-recorded messages, the consultant’s authentic voice, and discrete screening questions. This allows you to notice top candidates quickly and easily – before passing them on to the hiring manager.
Text interviewing may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s some of the most advanced and sophisticated technology in this area: it can quickly analyse the candidate’s credentials, and if they’re suitable, move them on to the next stage in the interview process.
If that’s a video interview, then technology also has you covered: with on-demand tools like Harqen, you can gain a clear idea of your candidate’s professionalism, presence, and personality – which are all essential if they’re in a customer-facing role.
Tech recruitment: How can businesses overcome this challenge?
5. Multi-posting solutions
Finally, the problem of individually uploading listings to job boards – invariably missing one or two in the process – has been definitively solved: with multi-posting solutions such as IGB, you can rapidly and conveniently publish job postings to as many of your chosen boards, social media platforms, and other avenues as you like. This significantly expedites the process of attracting applicants to your listings.
And in the future, expedience is going to be the name of the game. Having a great strategy to pursue is all well and good, but not if you don’t have time for it. Technology might not help you develop a winning recruitment plan – but it will give you the time, the data and the insights needed to outthink and outperform your competitors. Embrace it.