Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, technology was playing an increasingly valuable role in the world of recruitment. From the use of chatbots to engage candidates and automation to ensure regular communication with candidates, to arguably less sophisticated but still just as relevant developments such as data analytics tools to help track applicant’s movements. And all of this sounded incredibly promising for recruitment, potentially streamlining a lot of the administrative work for consultants and allowing them to get back to what recruiters really do best: connect with people on a human level.
Then the unthinkable happened. Covid-19 struck and suddenly we’re all faced with a completely new world of work. While it’s certainly been difficult for hiring companies, we’re facing a much more promising economy than back in March. But we can see from the recent experience of our recruitment members and the developments in services provided by our affiliate members that staffing has changed, possibly forever. In particular, hiring technology has seemingly evolved and been implemented quicker than we could have expected. So, what does the face of digital recruitment look like now, and are we really ready for it?
A new approach to digital recruitment
Of course, the most obvious technology development we’ve all seen is the shift to remote working. While this flexibility is certainly welcome by almost everyone in the industry from both a recruiting standpoint (how long have our candidates argued for this?) and an employee perspective as consultants seek more flexibility themselves, it’s arguably one of the smaller tech developments that the hiring landscape has seen.
Before the pandemic, utilising platforms such as Zoom was a relatively rare situation, arguably reserved for international positions where bringing an applicant on site for an interview simply wasn’t feasible. Now, however, video interviews are the norm, and it looks like they are here to stay. As a result, we’re seeing more staffing firms providing support for candidates and employers alike on how to interview online.
But it’s not just interviews that have gone remote, consultants have too. As Ronnie Lewis, Director at leading IT managed service provider, Blue Saffron, explained:
“There has been a steady rise in remote working in recent years. The Office of National Statistics had predicted back in 2015 that as many as 50% of UK employees are likely to be working in some variant of this by the end of 2020. The impact of Covid-19 has accelerated adoption beyond what many considered overly optimistic to an estimated 50-60% of UK working population.
“It makes sense as there are so many advantages to it – not limited to increased productivity, improved efficiency, lower overheads and reduced stress. It presents an opportunity for all of us to reconfigure and re-examine our workplace practices and make changes so technology works better for us.”
“We have had unique visibility and insight into the technology challenges many of our customers have faced through the Covid-19 pandemic. We have combined the experience of migrating hundreds of customers to secure and performant remote working environments with independently commissioned research to help us understand what technology will be of most value. The result, a remote working solution designed specifically for the mid-market Enterprise. As technology makes leaps and bounds, the good news is that the solutions are here for the taking now.”
Automation to support staffing challenges
Of course, it’s not just remote working that’s impacted recruitment companies. As more businesses put teams on furlough as hiring stalled, automation became a key factor in operations. Again, this is something that has been developing in the background for recruitment firms for a while now, but the pandemic certainly brought the importance and value of this to the fore. With candidates and clients still requiring communication and people’s employment status changing rapidly in the uncertain market, ensuring data was up-to-date and processes were in place to keep everyone informed became more crucial than ever. And we’ve seen suppliers to the recruitment profession adapt accordingly. Bullhorn, for example, fast tracked a number of developments as Covid impacted its customers, as Andy Ingham, VP, Sales International at Bullhorn explains:
“With the onset of the COVID-19, Bullhorn reviewed its customer priorities and focused efforts on supporting them in three key areas: engagement with clients and candidates; driving new efficiencies in their businesses whilst allowing them to adapt to remote work arrangements, and helping set up a tech-stack designed to help them bounce back stronger.”
“At the heart of that was automation and specifically our investment in Herefish by Bullhorn, where we focused on streamlining the ‘busy work’ within an agency and providing new operational efficiencies. To support a wider base of our users we introduced our new Blueprints edition with a set amount of key automations to drive engagement, database hygiene, and candidate redeployment, with the aim of opening up automation to more of our users.”
Better data integration
However, one key element to ensuring that this all works in a business is recording and utilising your data. As Joe McGuire, Global Sales Director at Cube19 explained:
“With remote working at its height and likely to continue, the ability to effectively coach and manage teams, identify opportunities and understand what’s going on with your business will require strong CRM adoption and real-time reporting. Digital recruitment is a facet of the recruitment process; however, leaders need to first look at their business in its entirety to understand where the opportunity lies across clients, jobs, candidates, industry and regions.
“Real-time insights are key to achieving this. People have always looked at the past to ask ‘If we had done something differently last month, would have been more successful yesterday?’ It is more useful to understand what we should do today to be more successful tomorrow. Using platforms like cube19, Bullhorn, Cloudcall, video interview platforms like Odro or Hinterview and candidate sourcing tools like SourceBreaker to streamline your remote working processes and automate the recording of data insights is key to achieving this.
“Once armed with this data, the integration of your digital marketing with your internal CRM processes including the automated source tracking of candidate and client conversions through to revenue, will, of course, be pivotal to optimising spend and resources. We truly believe recruitment businesses will become more data-driven post-Covid. How that will affect digital recruitment for each company will ultimately be defined by what the data tells them.”
The future is digital
We certainly don’t doubt that the face of digital recruitment has changed – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The evolved services that our affiliate members are offering staffing companies are all designed to help consultants work smarter, and as we begin to move forward from Covid-19, greater efficiency through technology is certainly likely to play a key role in a firm’s competitive stance. We have an opportunity now to shape the future of hiring, and it will arguably be those truly digitally-minded recruiters that will be set up for the best possible success.