The year of the tech-savvy, well-connected recruiter
The rise of automation, big data and mobile technologies has contributed to the changing face of the recruitment industry. But what developments will have the greatest impact in the next 12 months?

David Cvetkovski, Founder of Fusion Graduate Consultancy, David George, Managing Director of Michael Page and Seamus Scanlon, a Principal Consultant at Davidson Executive, share their views on the technology and trends that will shape recruitment in 2017.

Mobile isn’t the future, it’s the present

The prevalence of mobile usage during the recruitment process continues to grow in 2017, with SEEK data revealing 60 per cent of candidates use a mobile device to visit SEEK and, as a result, 37 per cent of all job applications now come from mobile. That’s not something that surprises George, who believes 2017 will see an increase in mobile job applications. “If 2016 was all about creating job ads designed to be read on mobiles, then 2017 will be the year it becomes easy to apply for jobs on a smartphone,” he says.

“This goes back to automation,” says Cvetkovski. “It’s just assumed now that people will be viewing and responding to job ads on their phone. Employers and recruiters need to invest in the appropriate technology to facilitate that. For example, an Applicant Tracking Program that can quickly sort through 4000 applications for a grad program, identify the top 20 candidates, then send out the appropriate texts and emails to all the applicants.”

Psychometric testing is cascading down the org chart

Utilising big data to source the best candidates is also growing in popularity, with psychometric testing becoming commonplace within organisations. “I’ve seen statistics showing 80 per cent of leading organisations now use psychometric testing when recruiting. It can only be a matter of time until it’s 100 per cent,” says Scanlon. “Our research indicates psychometric testing is six times as effective as just relying on reference checks and eight times more effective than just CV screening.”

“Even five years ago, psychometric testing was still expensive,” Cvetkovski says. “Thanks to automation and big data, it’s now feasible to test candidates for any and all roles. The resulting data can then be analysed to increase the likelihood of selecting a candidate with the appropriate personality and cognitive abilities.”

Video interviews are proving to be time savers

Video interviews are gaining momentum, with the technique being used effectively for volume recruitment activity.  For Cvekovski, who specialises in graduate recruitment, video screening technology is a valuable tool to accompany the formal interview process. “Employers will still get the final candidates in for face-to-face interviews,” he says. “But by doing first-round video interviews, or getting applicants to use their phone to record themselves answering a series of motivational and ability questions, we’ve found we can speed up the recruitment process by 30 per cent.”

“We’ve used video job ads at Michael Page and they can be effective for more junior positions, such as call centre operators,” says George. “But I wouldn’t use them for more technical or senior roles.”

Social media is promising for brands trying to reach younger candidates

According to a recent SEEK study, millennials are twice as likely as those from older generations to use social media to hunt for a job. In Scanlon’s experience, this presents an untapped opportunity for both candidates and recruiters. “It’s true that most of the millions of New Zealanders on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat don’t currently post with the intention of building their personal brand to attract future employers,” he says.

While social media may not have yet reached its potential for recruitment, it has potential to become a hub for brands to showcase their culture and values to potential candidates. “Companies can definitely use social media to build their brands, which can help with recruitment – particularly with younger workers who want to feel part of something special,” Cvekovski says. Scanlon agrees, “Millennials are going to be attracted to the brands that have got a real story to tell and one of the easiest ways companies or brands can tell a story is through Facebook , Instagram, Snapchat or any of those mediums.”

The landscape is changing but the power of ‘human experience’ remains

Keeping up with the changing recruitment landscape is becoming more important for both candidates and recruiters, with those set in old mindsets risking being left behind. “I’ve seen candidates struggle with the new ways of doing things, such as interviewing on Skype rather than in person,” says Scanlon. “But the employer doing interviews via Skype will be expecting the successful candidate to be able to video conference with their colleagues. There’s no alternative other than for candidates of all ages and backgrounds to learn to navigate the digital world we now live in.

However, Cvetkovski is still a firm believe that the ‘human experience’ is as important as ever. “There’s still a place for the old-school techniques and human recruiters,” Cvetkovski says. “Once the video interviews are done, the final-round candidates will still come in for a face-to-face to meeting and maybe be observed at an assessment centre. Technology has made it more effective to narrow down the pool of candidates who tick the right boxes. However, there’s still a role for human experience, insight and intuition in making the final hiring decision.”

“Automation isn’t going away but not everything can be programmed into an algorithm,” agrees George. “A good recruiter can instinctively understand an employer’s needs and that they do or don’t want candidates from certain competitors. Or that a certain applicant won’t be a good cultural fit even if they meet all the stated criteria. At the end of the day, it’s about more than just job specs. The recruitment industry will continue to be all about putting people together with other people.”

Want to better engage candidates? Learn more about why communication is key to creating the consummate candidate experience.