It’s clear that modern technologies are changing the way we work. But how are they changing the way we recruit?
Already, technology is proving vital to give businesses the edge when recruiting, whether that be existing social networks or video tools such as Skype. “In the very near future, businesses that fail to embrace new ways of recruiting talent will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage,” explains Gary Swart, CEO of online workplace oDesk. A recent survey of those hiring on oDesk revealed almost two-thirds of businesses were actively seeking a new way to hire. “Many [smaller businesses] aren’t able to compete for talent using traditional recruiting but now have the ability to access talent on-demand via the internet,” says Swart.
Charlie Walker, founder and managing director of Vivid Resourcing says that the tools already available are proving to be massively helpful. Given the slow growth of the UK personnel market, many businesses are looking internationally to fill vacancies and the tools that are currently available are helping to facilitate this. “Skype, in terms of occupational ability and enabling us to get these placements done and make revenue, has been a massive tool,” he explains. “It’s obviously great for helping UK candidates find work abroad too.”
However, a question remains as to whether these solutions, which weren’t designed with recruitment in mind, are fit for purpose. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing it locally or virtually – you still have to validate someone’s competence and you still have to do the chemistry check,” comments John Ferguson, senior consultant at producer of talent and career management workforce solutions Right Management. “You cannot do that unless they’ve either got the sophisticated online tools or you’ve actually got to meet them.” And this highlights some of the areas perhaps where existing solutions, that aren’t designed for purpose, are unable to provide integrated recruitment solutions that cover all bases.
But the industry is far from lacking in solutions. “We’re getting pitched twice a fortnight by new companies that seem to be developing solutions related to this,” comments Walker. Right Management’s Ferguson also points to specialist recruitment providers aimed at reducing the hassle of recruitment for employers. “These specialists have ways of using social networks and special search engine processes that can do all the selection of CVs and networks.’”
Of course, one of the most important things about the technological solutions available is not just how they are changing the way we are recruiting but how they are changing the way we are able to work. “One of the biggest benefits of online work is the ability to overcome local skills gaps by tapping into a larger talent pool via the internet,” says oDesk’s Swart. “With online work, businesses can find the best worker, even for difficult-to-find skills, regardless of where the worker happens to be.”
Additionally, with technology making it increasingly easy for employees to work wherever they are located, this is having a reciprocal effect on recruitment. As Vivid Resourcing’s Walker explains: “We’re finding it’s great in terms of being able to find skills – we’re able to now able to place candidates that live three and a half hours outside of London because clients are open to letting them work from home a few days a week.”
The right tool
TrafficLight is a professional networking site with a difference. “I was noticing more and more the use of social networking sites, especially Facebook and LinkedIn, for recruitment purposes,” explains Adam King, creator of TrafficLight. “It didn’t strike me as a very natural progression in terms of how we use social media and how we interact on the internet.” Making a social networking site that better supported recruitment, King wanted to create something that was tailored to specific industries, allowing professionals to keep track of the contacts they’d made but with an eye on future recruitment possibilities.
Thus far, the first incarnation of TrafficLight, TrafficLight TV, deals with people working within the television industry. Drop-down menus allow users to indicate the line of work they’re in, list their skills and experience, and then there is a space to upload a showreel. Perhaps most interesting, however, is the introduction of a calendar and the use of ‘traffic lights’ to indicate availability for work; red indicating busy, amber showing they’re available soon and green showing right away. “This is especially useful in the freelance world where people have sporadic dates that they need filling, whether these are weeks, months or in the case of a camera-person days,” says King. “People are able to then perhaps map the course of your career with a little more precision.”
TrafficLight will likely find its proponents in industries where networking is particularly vital. “You may have met them at a networking event or drinks party or at any other occasion and all you’ve done is connect, very much like on LinkedIn, you’ve got that professional point of contact with someone,” comments King. “But you know in the back of your mind, should you ever want their services or they want yours, then you’ve got that bond.”
TrafficLight Media, TrafficLight’s most recent incarnation, is currently in beta.
PowerMeeter Recruit, the latest output of Simon Campbell’s The Sandpit, is designed to streamline video-interviewing and offers an integrated solution for interviewing candidates remotely. “We’ve seen a lot of companies dabbling into a little bit of consumer video for that, the Skypes of the world,” explains Måns Gårdfeldt, head of PowerMeeter Recruit. “But it’s not branded, it’s a bit clunky, you need to download it, you need to add each other’s usernames and it’s not made for this kind of process.”
Addressing the fact that so few solutions currently being used were designed for purpose, the team developed PowerMeeter Recruit from the perspective of those within the recruitment industry. “Instead of just building something we thought was cool, we started off building something that was actually relevant,” says Gårdfeldt. This means the end result was an intentionally stripped-down and clean process. “It’s all about being able to very easily and efficiently schedule an interview, send out any invites and then conduct it in your browser.” The software isn’t intended to interfere with how recruiters are already working. “We just want to enable them to do what they already do more efficiently.”
However, it does have some neat additional features. Not only are third parties able to sit in on interviews and observe, but the interview can be shared with other members of the team and reviewed at a later date. “Of course, a key part of this is that the whole experience is branded,” comments Gårdfeldt. “Everybody is focusing in on employer brands so it’s going to be a big part of the experience.”
And while this is the first mention of PowerMeeter Recruit in print, it is set to make some very big waves in the industry. We cannot reveal any details ahead of the PR drive in January but there are some very big names already signed up to implement the software. Watch this space.