The Future of Tech Recruitment: 3 Trends Driving Innovation

11 September 2016 By Alastair Cleland

1534 Original

​Informed by our own (extensive!) experience - backed up by industry stats - we’re examining three key trends that are mixing up the world of digital recruitment.

Almost every industry claims to be ‘fast evolving’. For some, that can be an overstatement. But in others – like recruitment - there’s a genuine excitement that comes with continual improvement and innovation. Recruitment is, always has been, and always will be a fast-evolving field.

In the beginning: Wartime brought recruitment into being

Recruitment or ‘staffing’ agencies first came to prominence in the 1940’s, helping fill vital roles vacated by conscription. Post-war, these agencies helped ex-service people find civilian work. Ever since, they’ve formed a crucial part of the job seeking experience.

Evolution has, however, been critical to the success of recruiters. From newspaper job supplements to social media searching, from faxes to CV databases, recruitment has evolved to keep up.

What does the future hold for digital recruitment?

As digital specialist recruiters, we’re always discussing and exploring some of the big trends we’re noticing our sector. Today, we thought we’d share some of the recurring themes we're encountering day-in, day-out...

TREND 1: Increasingly Savvy Candidates…

…who know what makes an employer “great”, and are prepared to search for them!

​Candidates have always been smart, but – bolstered by near-limitless online information – there’s definitely no ‘pulling the wool over’ today’s candidates’ eyes. With access to company review sites like Glassdoor, discussion forums and searchable news archives, candidates research deep into a company’s history.

Certainly, the candidates we speak to come armed with impressive knowledge and, often, clearly defined criteria.

Salary, working culture, benefits and career opportunities are in the sights of top candidates. Companies are bending over backwards to provide the optimal experience that will impress the best.

They’re also paying careful attention to how they broadcast that experience via ‘employer brands’.

Why? Well, it’s been proven that 84% of candidates would leave their company if they were offered a job from a company with a great employer brand.

Conversely, 69% would NOT take a job with a company that had a bad reputation, even if they were unemployed. It’s a real challenge for many employers, 87% of whom cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges.

TREND 1 Key Take-Away: Embrace employer branding, but understand it requires investment in the core employee engagement of your business.

TREND 2: The Gig Economy…

…freelancers and ‘non-standard’ workers (particularly millennials) on the rise.

​You can’t move for companies who are ‘disrupting outdated industries’. Many, if not most, are doing so by embracing new modes of employment: zero hours contracts; utilising freelancers; offering remote working…

We’ve seen a huge increase in candidates requesting ‘non-standard’ working arrangements, particularly remote working.

If you’re a developer who writes code all day, do you really need to be cramming on to a packed train to work a 9-5 in a city-centre office?

By 2020, Forbes Magazine predicts that 50% of the USA’s workforce will work at least partly freelance. That’s a big rise from the current 34% (53 million people) but, apparently, highly likely.

New digital platforms – from Uber to TaskRabbit – are playing a huge role in this trend. Large companies and SMEs are beginning to learn how moving away from standard employment can fuel growth and creativity whilst (and see Trend 1 for this) maximising employee satisfaction.

Amazingly, 87% of the UK’s top-performing grads see freelancing as a ‘highly attractive career option’. Watch this space for a big shift in how we all work!

TREND 2 Key Take-Away: Consider shifting your perception of how ‘work’ gets done. You might reach better quality candidates by embracing non-standard employment models.

TREND 3: Trusted Recruiter Brands…

…building long-term relationships with candidates to attract the best.

​Cold calling is so 1990’s. Cold emailing is so 2000’s. The future of recruitment is undoubtedly ‘inbound’.

In fact, the future of recruitment is all about building ‘brand trust’.

52% of hiring decision-makers say ‘passive candidate sourcing’ has been ‘less effective’ recently. Top candidates are becoming immune to heavy-handed recruitment practises. And rightly so!

To cut through, recruiters have to build a level of awareness and trust with their target candidates, long before engaging with job offers. It’s worth the effort - candidates are, for example, 2x more likely to accept an email if they’ve interacted with a brand before.

The really big elephant in the room, though, is that a massive 75% of professional candidates are in that ‘passive’ group: the vast majority. This group are either happy in the jobs, not looking, or have intentionally distanced themselves from talent-seekers.

So how will recruiters engage this crucial 75% of the talent market? Only by using the very best marketing practises, on and offline. From content to social, conferences to podcasts, it really is a game that favours the long-term player.

Recruiters who build brand and earn candidates’ trust will, though, reap the rewards for their clients.