Recruitment planning – Post-Pandemic-Crisis
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

People often say that everything in this world happens for a reason. Well, sometimes it’s hard to understand and often it can feel very unfair when you are the one that feels the full impact. Covid-19 indiscriminately affected so many of us. It all happened so quickly, that most of us had little time to adequately prepare. And now of course, many of us are already starting to contemplate, what happens next?

 

Looking ahead

The eternal optimist in me says that we need to start planning and to prepare for life after this crisis, because if we were a good company going into this situation, then we can potentially be an even better company coming out of it too.

This disruptive situation has provided most of us with an opportunity to reflect on everything, and assess our strengths and weaknesses. We at Smart Recruit Online will be making some fundamental operational and strategic business changes as a result of what has happened, that is for sure, and I have been looking at new tools and systems that we will need to help make that happen.

 

What’s next for Smart Recruit Online?

Our strengths and areas of expertise will certainly remain within Online Recruitment. Specifically, in talent attraction strategy and recruitment management and selection process and delivery.

Our credentials going into this crisis, saw us consistently outperform every other online recruitment service when it comes to key recruitment metrics, such as application volumes, quality of applicants, time and administration efficiencies and successful fulfilment rates from direct applications and we intend for it to stay that way.

 

Talent Attraction

 

Future challenges

There will be significant challenges ahead when it comes to post-pandemic recruitment of staff over the coming months, as we get back to some degree of normality. With unemployment predicted to skyrocket, impacting application numbers and quality, having efficient systems in place is going to be crucial.

Having the best possible recruitment solution in place to assist you post-pandemic, when the upturn arrives, doesn’t actually require a massive investment of time or cost. SRO have been helping dozens of hospitals all over the UK to recruit front line staff during the crisis and have onboarded entire teams in less than an hour. We also have a free version of our platform and very competitive, low cost options, for paying customers that want to activate a wider range of tools and services.

Anyone can trial our full suite of products and services free of charge for 3 months and use this opportunity to build a business case that is based on evidence and facts, not a fancy sales pitch.

I would like to invite you to join us for an online demonstration, on how you too can quickly and easily get ahead of the game and prepare for the post Covid-19 era.

You can take a tour and then delay the start of your trial until you have your first campaign ready to go, so there is nothing to pay now, just 30 minutes investment of your time to join one of our system specialists and do something that will potentially enable you to deal with the recruitment challenges that lay ahead far more effectively.

Good luck to you and your business, we hope that you and loved ones stay safe and well.

Mark Stephens

 

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book A Demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


How is Covid-19 really affecting the job market?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

The impact of Coronavirus on the UK job market isn’t so much about where the most cases have been recorded. Geographically we have seen regions that are more dependent on manufacturing, rental or holiday accommodation, travel & tourism being hit much harder than those regions with large numbers of cases, or where there has been more ‘Stay-at-Home working’ capability.

 

Detailed and comprehensive research and data analysis by leading AI software and labour analytics company Burning Glass has been conducted across the United States. The regions suffering the greatest jobs impact from the coronavirus pandemic aren’t those with the highest number of cases too. Those most dependent on the vulnerable industries, such as those previously mentioned, have been the worst affected.

 

Nationwide, new UK job postings dropped to more than 70% below the annual average in April. CV applications initially dropped to 21% below, but recovered to just 12% under the annual average, according to job board data provided by WaveTrachR.

 

covid-19 affecting job market

 

Regions with the highest number of reported COVID-19 cases and early social distancing restrictions saw declines in job postings. Yet other regions with lower per capita reported cases saw much larger declines in job postings.

 

“The economic shock of the pandemic is a nationwide phenomenon, but just as some places are suffering more infections and deaths than others, some regions and sectors are suffering more economically – and the two aren’t always related,” said Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies. “The jobs impact is driven more by the underlying economy of a region or sector than how many COVID-19 infections it has or what kind of social distancing rules are in place.”

 

WavetrackR data and CV-Library data, confirmed that application numbers in the UK were down in 9 out of the 10 largest industry sectors in Q1 of 2020.

 

covid-19 affecting job market

 

Other key trends in Burning Glass job posting data include:

  • Job postings are up around 10% for many health care roles such as Pharmacists, Respiratory Therapists, and Registered Nurses. There’s an even larger demand for cleaning workers, vital in keeping clinical areas sterile. Demand for housekeeping staff is up over 10% in the health care field. Even as overall demand dropped by over 30%. Demand for health care Laundry and Dry-Cleaning Workers is up around 30%, even as it dropped overall by 40%.
  • Yet health care postings dropped by over 15% overall. Driven by sharp declines in back-office postings and roles that require non-essential but personal contact.

 

Predicting the future

One thing is apparent from the lack of clarity coming out of both professional and non-professional channels. There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to what the post Covid-19 business world will look like. History tells us the job market and the recruitment of staff provides real-time insights into economic recovery. It is likely that this crisis will be no different.

 

Common sense says changes will come at some point in the next few weeks. As the Government implements the first phase or wave or return to work directives. Especially for the most critical jobs and sectors, with a caveat that work-from-home jobs should remain as such, for as long as possible.

 

The sectors affected most by the crisis are also likely to be those effected longest. Travel, Events and anything that involves large unnecessary gatherings of people will require long term plans to help re-establish themselves.

 

Here is another data set generated by David Whitfield at The HR Datahub this week, outlining some of the key decisions being taken by businesses during the crisis:

 

covid-19 affecting the job market

 

Obviously there are some slightly shocking statistics in here. Most notably that nearly 50% of all companies surveyed anticipate making redundancies or enforcing reduced pay within 3-6 months.

 

Over the coming week, Job posting and application numbers will no doubt provide us with more meaningful real-time insights.

 

We wish to acknowledge and thank The HR Datahub, Burning Glass, CV-Library and WaverTrackR for providing data for this article.

 

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book A Demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


The Ideal Driver: How To Recruit A High-End Delivery Driver For Your Business
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Amazon have announced a temporary pay increase of £2 an hour for UK delivery drivers, and they’re currently hiring thousands of new employees in the US to cover the increase in demand for deliveries. Small retail businesses looking to keep up with the competition in the current climate may be considering how they can branch out into home deliveries. With pressure on existing courier services, it may not seem like the best time to offer home delivery, but local businesses could navigate the issue by recruiting in-house drivers. If you’re looking to hire only the best talent for your business, here’s what skills you need to look for when you’re recruiting a delivery driver.

 

Talent Attraction

 

The Basics: Driving And Vehicle Maintenance Knowledge

Any driver you hire for your business should be able to prove a clean driving licence, so make sure they bring this with them to interview. You can check their licence information online using a check code from the candidate and the last eight characters in their licence number. Prepare a checklist for the interview to ensure that candidates have no positive substance tests and no history of traffic violations. As well as a valid driving licence and no record of having had a suspended licence, they should also have no record of operating a vehicle without permission and no criminal record.

The ideal candidate will also know the basics of the vehicle they will be driving and be confident about carrying out minor repairs if necessary. If you will be providing them with an older vehicle, this is particularly important, as older cars and vans are more likely to run into problems, such as oil on their spark plug threads. If your driver spots this, for example, and knows that it can be a sign of something serious like faulty compression rings, the vehicle should be taken to a mechanic immediately. This will protect the efficiency of your deliveries and minimise the financial burden of repair. While this level of knowledge is not essential in a driver, recruiting someone with this skill can give your business the edge.

 

The Cutting Edge: Good Physical Shape

Any driver you employee will need good energy levels and focus in order to make deliveries both promptly and safely. Your business cannot afford time lost through unnecessary delays, and it’s important that the driver is safe at all times. Additionally, as they will be making deliveries as well as driving, they should be physically capable of lifting the deliveries and bending and carrying safely. Once you have hired your driver, you can provide them with training on safe lifting, but it’s important that they’re fit and healthy before they begin. Be mindful, however, of the fact that you are only legally allowed to ask a successful candidate to complete a health check if it’s a legal or insurance requirement. Make sure you include information about health checks in your offer letter and do not contact the candidate’s GP without their consent.

 

The Icing On The Cake: Good Customer Service Skills

An Ombudsman Services report estimated that UK businesses lose approximately £37 billion each year because of poor customer service. Customer care is vital to your business, so your new recruit should be courteous, personable, and willing to go the extra mile when interacting with a customer. To help you find this person, include interview questions about how they would appease an irate customer and how they would respond to a question they don’t know the answer to. Ask them to provide anecdotal evidence of times they’ve delivered good customer service.

Branching out into delivery is a big step for any small business, so finding the right driver is essential. However, in a world where home delivery is playing an ever-bigger role, investing the time and energy in doing this can make your business stand out above the rest.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable software platform integrated with multiple selection and screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

Book a demo

Lucy Wyndham


Lucy Wyndham is a freelance writer and editor.


Defining the Art of Talent Attraction
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Talent Attraction strategy is much more than just media acquisition, multi-posting and attracting applicants.

There is a defined art to delivering each component associated with successful talent attraction so that it optimises the outcomes during each stage of the process.

The art and techniques should be influenced by data and research, human behavioural science and tried and tested methods.

 

 

It basically consists of 3 primary elements:

 

MAXIMISING VIEWS OF YOUR JOB

 

Media Range: The breadth and range of media channels that your job actually goes out to.

Media Selection:  An evidence-based approach to selecting the right media channels where your prospective applicants are most likely to visit and that give you the best ROI.

 

GENERATING MORE APPLICATIONS

 

Improved Visibility: Increasing visibility within each media channel by manipulating the search engine, so that your job appears higher in the results, thus generating more views.

Increased conversion: Maximising applications by converting more views into actual applicants through better copywriting techniques.

 

job advert writing

 

BETTER RETENTION

 

Improved Capture: Avoiding the loss of any applicants in the first stage of the application process.

Improved Engagement: Avoiding early drop off immediately after the application takes place by deploying a reward and nurture strategy.

 

Getting all of this right for each individual job certainly isn’t easy, but many online recruiters consistently get this very wrong.

 

Working with our clients to generate significant tangible improvements in this area is certainly one of the most rewarding parts of what we do.

 

 

At SRO we have refined every single part of the talent attraction process, in order to optimise results and get more jobs filled with higher quality direct applications.

From job creation, channel selection, styling and tone, to applicant experience. We ensure that every touchpoint with each prospective candidate is designed to increase the probability of a positive outcome. To find out more request a demonstration of our platform. 

Book a demo

Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


Recruiting Mature Workers For Your Business: The Why And How Behind This Trend
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

In 2019, 19% of Americans 65 and older were in the workforce — a 7% increase from 1996. By 2026, that number is predicted to grow to 22%, according to estimates from the U.S Bureau Of Labour Statistics. Interestingly, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, a 2019 research by Deloitte showed that 67% of companies still consider older age to be a competitive disadvantage. However, as a business and workforce, you stand to gain a lot from attracting senior employees to your organisation. With the right jobs and the right support from their employers, older workers can add a wealth of experience, innovation, and add needed diversity to your business.

Why You Need To Include Older Workers In Your Workforce

Older workers are known to be more loyal which means your employee turnover rate is diminished. In the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project, 54% of workers aged 65 and older are employed because they want to be and not because of need or money. Their desire to be employed means they are driven by passion and career fulfilment and are less likely to be constantly on the hunt for a better paying job.

Older workers also come with years of experience in the workforce and a pre-built professional network. With such experience behind them, your business can utilise their acquired skills and past experiences to launch new, reinforced strategies. They also tend to be better in customer-facing and high pressured roles thanks to improved communication and leadership skills, giving you just another reason to consider older workers for jobs. Once you realise the immense benefits of including older workers in their workforce, you must then focus on how to attract such talent. As an employer, the message, method, and channels you use in recruitment will determine the quality and demographics of your potential candidates.

 

Talent Attraction

 

Implement And Publicize Senior Specific Recruitment Program

Many companies across America now offer innovative programs aimed at mature workers in the market including fellowships and return schemes. To use this as inspiration, employers must be prepared to amend the terms of employment to suit older candidates such as offering reduced work hours, emphasized medical and wellness benefits and paid training opportunities for older workers looking to switch professional paths at a later stage. This way companies can still access the merits of hiring an older worker, while senior workers can achieve a work-life balance in retirement.

 

Tap Into Non-Profits And Volunteer Organizations Around You

Another way to attract workers from a mature age pool would be to work in conjunction with local and national organizations — such as community volunteer organizations— to become a point of recruitment. One glance at community programs and volunteer effort shows that a majority of people running these groups are often retired and looking to occupy their time.

 

Include Phased Retirement And Working Options

Employers must also focus on the employment packages offered to their current workers as well. Many older job seekers that are close to retirement age or those not wanting to commit to a full-time job after 65 feel discouraged to even apply to open vacancies since they only have a few years left or seek amended terms. Offering a phased retirement can address this and encourage more seniors to apply for an opening in your business. It can include a gradual reduction in hours and responsibilities or the option of switching to part-time employment or moving into a consulting role.

You can also work with recruitment agencies and online talent platforms that cater just for mater workers like Operation A.B.L.E that works with those aged 55 and older. Above all, rethink your strategy to recruitment and the benefits lesser employed groups such as mature workers can add to your business and beyond. Doing so will not benefit your bottom line and brand, but impact the economy, the wellbeing and the lives of the workforce at large.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers a low cost multi-award winning online recruitment service with a 98% independent customer satisfaction rating and the highest direct-hire fill rate in the UK.

To book a demo with us and learn more about how our technology can transform your recruiting process, click here.

Book a demo

Lucy Wyndham


Lucy Wyndham is a freelance writer and editor.


Large vs Small Businesses: Which Is Better For Your Mental Health?
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Many of us — an estimated 10 million in Britain — work in medium-to-large sized organisations. Companies which employ between 250 and 1,000 staff. But the most common source of employment remains small businesses. And very small businesses at that: about 13 million Brits earn their living in organisations with workforces that average around just five people.

Obviously, as anyone who has made the jump from small to large business (or vice versa) can tell you, life can be very different at these two ends of the employment spectrum. But which is better for employee wellbeing and mental health? As it stands, far more research has been compiled on the functions of large businesses, the government’s own civil servants, in particular. But with investigations of small businesses finally catching up, a picture is beginning to emerge that might reveal a definite answer.

 

The power of trust

Large organisations, which often have more money to invest, often provide valuable training and avenues for their employees’ development and progression. Yet at the same time, employees tend to be suspicious of larger companies and trust them less. This may be down to two reasons: one is a simple matter of size and communication. That it is difficult to always communicate clearly to larger bodies of teams. The second is that larger corporations can be more ‘political’, with their being inevitable winners and losers divided along these political lines.

To contrast this with smaller business or self-employed workers, there are much higher levels of trust, job satisfaction and job involvement. But there are also higher levels of conflict between the spheres of home and work. In the initial advantages of flexible home working and more autonomy, there are also jarring gender differences. With women tending to be more than likely the ones with the highest home/work conflict.

While it is true that more autonomy and control over one’s work can help to reduce stress levels. The problem is that small business-based workers report having so much more of it. And with these heavier workloads comes — paradoxically — raised cortisol (stress) levels. Small business-based workers have also reported increased loneliness and isolation than their larger-organisational counterparts.

 

Company Culture

 

 

The power of performance

As larger organisations struggle to communicate with their employees. It should not be surprising that they also struggle to recognise the individual contributions of their hardest workers. The resulting effect is that people often feel like they are nothing more than invisible cogs in a huge machine. Efforts to identify hard work, such as performance management systems and KPIs, are only understood to have short term benefits. In the long run, asymmetric salaries, bonuses, and promotions, only serve to punish and demoralize workers who feel they’ve been left behind.

Competitive cultures can make the workplace an unpleasant environment, and drive out pro-social behaviour. And if the competition is valued above learning and development this can lead to what is known as ‘knowledge hoarding’. Where team members guard the secrets to their success to ward off rivals.

Mastery Climates

Small businesses, on the other hand, tend to lean toward so-called ‘mastery climates’, which are the opposite of knowledge hoarding ones. Here people are encouraged to emphasise learning and collaborations with co-workers. Yet that doesn’t mean mastery climates are only available to small businesses. On the contrary, such a climate can be replicated by local managers able to implement model knowledge sharing behaviours by putting a great degree of trust in the employees. In large organisations, positive organisation and support can go a great deal to overcome the conflict that can come about in hierarchies.

 

The power of ‘job crafting’

It seems that there are not a lot of opportunities to determine what and how the work is done in larger, hierarchical businesses. The result is that work is often fragmented into smaller pieces for employees to work on. Who then fail to realise the bigger picture and the true meaning of the work carried out.

‘Job crafting’ has been shown to be effective in helping to not only retain staff. But also in engaging them and enhancing their happiness levels. Crafting in itself does nothing to reduce the demands of the job, but it does force employees to think about the resources they have and to engage and use them more effectively. This type of crafting is more familiar with smaller businesses (though it isn’t a guarantee), but there is no reason why it couldn’t be implemented into larger businesses under local managers as well.

Job crafting also encourages greater co-operation and dialogue between employees. And can help to unravel a toxic work atmosphere and reduce feelings of isolation in smaller businesses.

 

Some thoughts and reflections

There are advantages and disadvantages to working in both large organisations and smaller businesses. It is too simplistic and unfair to say that working in large hierarchical businesses is bad for employees within them. After all, working freelance, or for small companies can also be depleting and bad for mental health. What is crucial to good mental health, is that all employees recognise or find meaning in what they do. After all, work plays a hugely important role in our personal identity and wellbeing. So does making sure that we are paid well, and fairly, for the tasks at hand.

What is equally important is that, whether one is working for a large or small business, there are positive organisational supports in place. Support in the way jobs are designed, and executed; preferably by good local leaders. The use of fairer ways to track performance management is also very important. Especially if it is to lead to the development of a ‘mastery climate’.

 

This article was written by Neil Wright of Re-Space, an office refurbishment and fit-out company located in Kent, UK. 

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Neil.Wright@smartrecrooot.com'
Neil Wright


This article was written by Neil Wright of Webster Wheelchairs, one of the NHS’s leading suppliers of wheelchairs, rollators, and other elderly and disability-friendly eq


4 strategies to get the best talent for your small business
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Did you know that unemployment rates in the UK are now at their lowest since the 1970s? This is obviously great news for the economy but presents a big challenge when it comes to hiring the best talent for your company. With the job market now being candidate-driven, finding the right people for your organisation can be harder than ever before.

We all know how important it is to have the best people working for you. With a talented and motivated team on board, your business stands the best chance of being successful. In that sense, employees are your most valuable asset, and care must be taken to recruit and retain them just as much as generating sales or managing finances.

So, are you doing all of the following?

 

Review your HR approach

A new recruitment drive is all very well but before you start thinking about hiring new employees, are you sure you’re doing everything you can for your internal staff retention and development? There’s little point hiring new people if they won’t stay with the business long enough for you to reap the benefits.

Business Coach and Online Educator Rob da Costa suggests the following talent retention incentives in one of his recent blog posts:

  • A focus on education
  • Salary increases based on merit
  • Flexible working conditions
  • Attractive benefits package
  • Pointing out future possibilities
  • Promoting from within
  • Investing in quality managers

Take a look at your team and ask yourself how happy and engaged your workforce is. Are you training them, promoting them, rewarding them appropriately? Do you have a positive company culture? In a job seekers’ market, it’s not just job seekers who are being harder to please. Your existing staff may consider changing jobs if they feel more valued elsewhere.

 

Invest in your company culture

Company culture is a big and growing topic that you cannot afford to neglect. It’s a magic formula that goes like this: Get your business model and your internal culture right and you’ll be surprised just how quickly word gets around that your company is the place to be.

When your candidates, employees, customers and the public interact with your business, what’s their experience? The way your company is perceived hinges on its internal culture and how this is managed. Everything follows from here – from team engagement and productivity to employee happiness, staff retention, and business success.

Identifying and developing your company’s brand doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be done. Here are four things you should be doing:

  • Build authentic and meaningful recognition and reward into your company culture to meet your employees’ needs to be recognised for their efforts and achievements, and drive performance, staff retention and employee engagement.
  • Build strong teams that collaborate eagerly, communicate openly, trust each other’s views and are motivated to engage in best performance. Team building shouldn’t be a one-off activity, day-to-day reinforcement may be needed to create a collaborative work culture.
  • Build a flexible work environment, allowing and trusting your staff to choose when, where and how they work. This freedom coupled with personal accountability strengthens your work culture by encouraging happier, higher-performing teams.
  • Create a caring culture that genuinely looks after its employees and goes beyond the norm. X, Y, Z generations want to know that you will look after their best interests and care for them, especially in their hour of need. Employees now prefer healthy food and access to help and advice over a beer fridge or pool table.

 

Company culture

 

Recruit with precision and focus

If there are no internal candidates you can promote to the vacancy, outside recruitment is going to be your next step. Start with a clear job description and be focused on what exactly you are looking for in the right candidate, and what you are going to offer.

The customary ‘spray and pray’ efforts of yesteryear will no longer cut it in a job market where candidates can afford to be choosy. With so many other companies competing for the highest calibre candidates, your job advert needs to stand out for all the right reasons.

In order to reach the right people, you need to know where to find them. Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, are an excellent place to start engaging with potential candidates. There are plenty of specialist organisations and software tools to help you with this. You could also partner with a recruitment consultant who will have the time and resources to dig deep into the job market on your behalf.

 

Ensure a positive candidate experience

Once you have shortlisted your best candidates for an interview, follow through with a carefully prepared and organised meeting. It’s amazing how many companies invest time and effort into recruiting candidates, yet blow their chances on the day. A good candidate will know if they’re being fobbed off with an ad hoc interview.

A negative candidate experience is unlikely to lead to the result you are seeking. Worse still, a disappointed candidate may share his experience on online platforms. Poor feedback may discourage others from joining your company and negatively impact on your brand.

According to recent figures, a positive experience will make the job candidate about 1/3 more likely to accept your job offer. You are selling your company, so you should put your best people in front of the candidates that you want to impress. Confident, ambitious job seekers will have plenty of other opportunities on the table, so do your best to woo them.

 

Written By Annie Button

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that can streamline and revolutionise your recruitment. To find out what we can to for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

 

Book a demo

Annie Button


Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and recent graduate. Annie has written for various online and print publications, she specialises in business, recruitment and career development.


Top 10 biggest recruitment trends in 2020
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

Recruitment Trends in 2020

LinkedIn’s 2020 predictions for the world really got us thinking.

How will the macro trends, determined by such a rich data set (their entire 2019 content) play out in the world of recruitment?

The last decade has been the most transformative the recruitment industry has experienced. From the tools we now use, the processes we apply to even the language we speak – it has all changed.

A so-called RecTech revolution has impacted the way we attract, acquire, onboard, understand, manage & even reward talent. The cumulative impact has been a technology network effect. That is, not investing or engaging online is simply no longer an option.

Given that each company, department, and job can require its own unique approach, the need to enable more people with these technologies and tools has never been so apparent.

However, when you contrast all of the influencing forces impacting the job market economy against the vast range of solutions providers out there – it’s frankly mind-blowing! And depending who you talk too – better or worse than ever.

 

Has RecTech wrecked us or just rewired us?

Keeping up with this pace of change and interpreting it so that you can hire or get hired in the most effective & efficient way possible – seems impossible.

However, the attraction, development and retention of the best talent are still listed as a massive concern for the vast majority of CEOs. As Mark Benioff, Founder and CEO of SalesForce, explained;

“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do”.

The emergence of “employer”, “personal” and now “career” branding further demonstrates a radical shift in the world of recruitment.

So that’s my prelude, now let’s make sense of what I believe are the top 10 most significant trends.

 

 

 

1. Evidence based recruitment to become the new standard

There are many stages within the recruitment lifecycle where better decisions could be made. Unless you are on the OJ Simpson trial, the best choices are based on real evidence. In the world of business that proof is in the form of extensive data sets, aka “Big Data”.

The evidence-based recruitment trend will mostly be delivered by technology. AI, Big Data, Machine Learning, Predictive Algorithms & other cognitive technologies are going to enable this shift.

Thinking more intelligently about how we do what we do, based on facts, without slowing us down – will only make us better.

 

2. The top perk that professionals will want.

Several significant 2019 surveys confirmed that the perk that professionals appreciate and desire most – is time.

Expect the following “time perks” to continue and expand:

  • Flexible hours
  • Burnout breaks
  • Remote working
  • Coworking spaces

With cloud computing the norm and collaboration tools like Asana and Slack, the time sink of commuting every-day is being addressed. There is no more unequivocal evidence to support this than the adoption of Microsoft 365.

Even the company most synonymous with the desktop & office has its head firmly in the cloud.

 

3. What prospective employees value most.

Anyone born pre 1980 will remember a corporate world of reputable and trusted brands to work for and the concept that a “job for life” being desirable.

However, between 2000-2010, Gen X and Y shifted employee mindsets towards a “cool culture” as the most influential factor when looking for a job. Initially, this manifested itself in the form of egg-shaped chairs, casual Fridays, ping pong and a beer fridge.

Over the last 10-years, we have seen cultural trends evolve even further. This reflects the influence of the millennials, many of whom – now in their thirties – are calling the shots. And it’s more likely to be double expresso over tequila shots.

 

This generation has shifted corporate culture from “cool” to “caring”

The beer fridge has been switched out to a smoothie machine and healthy eating options. Company happy hours? How about discounted or subsidised health club memberships and access to a range of wellness and mental health-related initiatives.

The newer generation genuinely cares about the environment and want to work for companies that take environmental issues and corporate responsibility seriously.

They also have no time for management speak, waffle words and lip service. Any divergence in the public image and the company culture will be exposed by employees anonymously via social media and platforms like Glassdoor.

Even a whiff of “David Brentitus” will be remedied with a level of ridicule that Ricky Gervais would be proud of. In an era where the Clickarazzi can make even the smallest infection go viral, keeping it real is the only way to win.

An authentic & caring culture might seem like a “nice to have” to many leaders, but the trend towards “must-have” is in full effect. If you want the minds of the next wave of bright young talent, you must first understand their hearts.

We have effectively moved from a ‘Cool’ to ‘Caring’ culture. The working environment has replaced the ‘family’ in terms of ‘who will look after me’.

 

4. Brexit

At the point of writing this article, we are just a couple of days away from the 31st Jan deadline.

Markets do not like uncertainty, and the employment market is no different. I think 2018 took the brunt of the Brexit negativity with companies investing more in talent acquisition in 2019. However, this bad break up is not over.

Brexit is the single most potent force that could affect the stability of the British economy over the next 12months. Continued whispers of an economic recession refuse to go away. And subsequent caution and procrastination may resume when it comes to spending money on talent acquisition.

I am, however, relatively optimistic that we will grind out an acceptable deal with Europe and secure a good trade agreement with the US & other international partners. Hopefully, in 12 months, uncertainty will be replaced with optimism and Boris saying, “I told you so”.

 

5. Plugging the skills gap

Internal training, upskilling & reskilling programs combined with a far more proactive long term apprenticeship and graduate recruitment program that recruits from ground level up, seems to be the only reliable and sensible approach to plugging the skills gap.

Continuous increases in salary and the use of contract workers can not be the long term strategy. The competitiveness of organisations will continue to suffer if labour costs and price pressure are not rationalised with more proactive and forward-thinking workforce strategy.

In a rapidly changing, technology-driven world, it is very easy for individuals to get left behind. The government must anticipate this problem and policy must keep up with reality – even if it’s virtual.

New technology entrants focusing heavily on next-generation features, including social and video learning, microlearning and learner engagement have disrupted the traditional LMS (Learning Management System) market over the last few years.

Look for the emergence of Learning Experience Platforms (LXPs) to see where this market is heading in the future.

 

6. The role of AI in recruitment (and recruitment tech)

AI continued to make a significant impact on the recruitment environment last year and is set to continue for years to come.

Just as robotics has shifted mechanical tasks away from human beings, AI has the potential to impact so-called knowledge workers. Reskilling programs that are run either within colleges or the workplace can help address these issues.

Any company that fails to see the overall and ongoing role that variants of AI will bring to the table will undoubtedly get left behind. Burning Glass has demonstrated that AI is no longer a buzz in this industry – it’s in play today.

2020 will “clearly see” more technology platforms embrace and incorporate AI. Also, watch out for a new variant of AI dripping into our consciousness as Quantum AI joins the conversation over the next few years.

“Quantum recruiting” – you heard it here first!

 

7. The new-look independent recruiter

Independent recruiters and HR professionals that deliver recruitment services directly to corporations will start to benefit from the lower costs of Talent Acquisition and HR Technology. While most already understand the benefits, they are put off by what the perceived investment would have on a “Me Ltd” business model.

The reward to the (early adopter) recruiters will be that more clients will that want to work with them. The independent recruiter model makes sense in the right situation. By adding a technology benefit (usually reserved for teams), it will make even more sense and therefore more money for the freelance professional.

The advantage to the client will be a deeper external recruitment partnership that can provide a more comprehensive range of recruitment & HR services.

Advanced recruitment platforms and tools such as Smart Recruit Online can become the cornerstone of the independent 2020 recruiter’s service offering.

 

8. Wellbeing, Mental Health, Diversity & Inclusion

High on the agenda for many companies are issues such as wellbeing, mental health, and diversity.

We believe that 2020 will trend away from a reactionary box-ticking approach to these critical issues – to a more proactive mindset.

Depression and anxiety alone cost the global economy more than $1 trillion in lost productivity every year, according to the World Health Organization.

As the millennial’s move from the management to the executive level of the corporate world – expect their values and concerns to permeate only further.

 

 

9. Highly configurable centralisation recruitment software

Most of us are aware of and probably already use an ATS or HRIS system for managing recruitment activity.

What you may or may not know is that ATS and HRIS systems don’t really do meaningful talent attraction. Or at least they do it poorly and in most cases are actually counter-productive to a direct hiring strategy. They also offer minimal configuration and customisations are usually very slow and very expensive.

Unwitting users are often stuck with a complicated, over-engineered one size fits all platform for several years. Modern recruitment platforms are cloud-based, plug & play, and acts like a configurable web application rather than a website. Think of a mobile device where each feature that you want to use is downloaded and activated like an app.

Next-generation software platforms are designed to be far more proactive and effective when it comes to talent attraction. They are simpler to use, provide a better candidate experience and cost a fraction of the price of an ATS or HRIS service. However, before you rush to throw away your ATS. First, look at whether the system you are considering can complement what you already have.

 

The recruitment ecosystem is fragmented. Centralisation systems are evolving to help users embrace and utilise the ever-changing best in class tools and services.

Despite the marketing hype, the idea that a single technology platform will be the “total” end to end solution – now and forever – will continue to trend towards nonsense.

A single dashboard that consolidates and generates management information from a dynamic technology stack should be the preferred end game.

 

10. Tech providers to deliver complementary services

I will paint the scene. You sign up for an expensive ATS or HRIS. Once the system is installed and you’re trained to use it, it’s as if the vendor no longer has any interest in you.

But now you’re signed up for the next 3 years. And that’s the SaaS model and good luck trying to get someone on the phone who can actually help.

Sound familiar?

Servicing models that take a proactive role in ensuring that users continue to get the most out of technology will be the trend as customer churn becomes the focus. Customer acquisition is only as powerful as customer retention when it comes to growth.

Beyond ‘services’, expect a commitment to performance becoming a vital feature of the current business models. This will, in turn, change the mentality of the vendor in terms of the ongoing development & support of their technology and customers.

Vendors becoming accountable for what their tech delivers is what the market wants.

Solutions providers understand that adapting and supporting an evidence-based approach to the processes that are applied will influence and optimise desired outcomes when using their systems. And we are back to prediction number 1 – Evidence based recruitment will become the norm.

Article was written by Mark Stephens and Simon Billsberry.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers a multi-award-winning talent acquisition software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy.

We offer a customisable cloud-based platform integrated with multiple screening tools, enabling you to make well-informed recruitment decisions. 

To find out what we can do for your recruitment strategy, book a demo by clicking here.

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Mark Stephens


Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last ten years, he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications. His company, Smart Recruit Online, has been the winner of 5 international awards for technology innovation and Recruitment Technology in the last 18 months. And currently holds the accolade of filling more jobs from direct applications for their clients than any other online recruitment service in the UK.


De-biasing language in job adverts
Danielle Meakin - 6 Comments - 29 Sep 2019

The wording in job adverts can discourage certain segments of the population, but here’s how to de-bias them

 

Are you looking to recruit a ‘dynamic leader’ or a ‘committed people person’? Chances are you’re just looking for the best person for the job. But the choice of language used in the job description could be alienating and dissuading the best – and most diverse – candidates from even applying.

Recent research from Adzuna revealed that 60% of businesses showed significant male bias in the wording of their job adverts. This research was based on a study by academics Gaucher, Friesen and Kay, which found that job descriptions with more masculine wording were less likely to appeal to female applicants. It wasn’t for the most part that female candidates assumed they weren’t up to the job, the research found. Rather they – consciously or unconsciously – were less likely to feel they’d belong at such an employer and didn’t want to work for a company whose first impression was one of being biased in favour of men.

And so the debate on the issue is hotting up. The UK government recently announced a trial of gender-neutral language to define science, technology, engineering and maths apprenticeships to encourage more women to apply. A pilot will apply gender-neutral language to 12 apprenticeship standards.

But while most HR leaders are aware that biased language exists in job descriptions, many don’t know how to fix this. Part of the problem is an inability to identify biased language because of its subtlety. Words that seem innocuous are often rooted in societal conditioning.

 

How to use gender neutral language

A 2017 analysis of 77,000 UK job adverts by Totaljobs revealed ‘lead’ to be the most common male-gendered word used in job specs, while ‘support’ was the most used female-gendered word. According to Gaucher, Friesen and Kay, popular recruiting adjectives such as ‘ambitious, assertive, decisive, determined and self-reliant’ are male-gendered. While words like ‘committed, connect, interpersonal, responsible and yield’ are considered female-gendered. For instance, in a male-gendered job description, a company might be described as ‘a dominant engineering firm that boasts many clients’. Whereas the female-gendered version could read ‘we are a community of engineers who have effective relationships with many satisfied clients’.

So how can HR de-bias a job description to make the language gender neutral? According to Andrea Singh, HR director of BAM, the first step is to focus on gender-coded words. Job titles should be neutral and descriptive language should give equal weighting to male- and female-coded descriptors, she explains. However, Singh also points out that de-biasing a job description goes beyond replacing adjectives. Employers need to make sure that the requirements listed are actually necessary, because “women will typically only put themselves forward for a job when they meet 100% of the criteria”.

But with unconscious bias ever present there are questions around whether it’s possible for humans to conduct this de-biasing. Singh believes that with the right training it is. But she admits the best results come when software and learning are combined. “Technology brings information and suggestions to the fingertips but job specs need to feel authentic. The people writing and editing specs need to be trained to spot the bias too,” she says.

However, Richard Marr, co-founder and chief technology officer of Applied, doubts whether training a person to remove biased language can be as effective as relying on dedicated software. “The evidence is pretty weak that training is effective,” states Marr. “Processes trump training and tools trump processes. With training, you’re just expecting people to do the right thing.”

That said, the trouble with using software is that neither Applied nor its competitors AdPro and Textio currently extend their job description analysis beyond gender to include other demographics such as ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disabled or economically-disadvantaged candidates. Applied is working with Google to expand its analysis tool to incorporate ethnicity (and other dimensions). But until such tech is available removing gendered language from job descriptions can still have a positive impact on other diverse groups, Singh believes.

“I think language can be looked at in the same way. Masculine phrasing might also be off-putting for candidates from particular ethnic backgrounds where their culture doesn’t typically fit with this type of approach,” she says.

It’s a view shared by Marr. He explains that a job analysis tool will also assess the readability and density of a job description, scoring it for how many syllables, words and sentences it contains. His thinking is that the more readable the job spec, the more inclusive it is likely to be.

“There are heavy socio-economic correlations,” notes Marr. “If you look at people who have low incomes they will have less access to desktop computers and are more likely to rely on their phones and to live in a distracting environment. Each of those things adds a cumulative layer that results in something quite substantial.”

So there are certainly steps that can be taken. But, in an age in which many urge the need to move away from binary definitions of men and women, is so-called male and female language really meaningful anymore? Or is it just another theory to get bogged down by?

 

Looking at the impact of using more gender-neutral language

 

Adrian Love, recruitment director for the UK and Ireland at Accenture, certainly feels male and female language is still a ‘thing’. He points to Accenture figures showing an increase in female job applicants from 34% to 50% since 2014, thanks in part to the de-biasing of job specs.

“The impact has been very positive. But there are no silver bullets here. It has to be part of a wider inclusion and diversity programme,” he says.

It’s a similar story from Applied, with Marr reporting that the tool has helped trigger an estimated 10% to 15% swing towards female candidates. Singh also reports a significant increase in female applicants since implementing de-biasing.

“This shows that [using] gender-neutral language is affecting the talent we can attract,” she says, adding that de-biasing could now be taken further. “We now need to delve into the data in more detail… and analyse the next stages in the process to see if we have more women being shortlisted, interviewed and ultimately selected.”

After all, a gender-neutral job description can only go so far if, when a candidate is successful or unsuccessful in their application, the language in the feedback or job offer sees a return to bias.

Both Singh and Love concede that their job description writing tools are unable to analyse interview feedback. But this is where training comes into play, they say.

“Software raises awareness and can point out bias that people may miss,” says Singh, but it’s also important teams are trained to spot it elsewhere in recruitment materials.

Love agrees: “[It’s] not just about one action, it’s about looking at every element throughout the recruitment process. There are opportunities to drive inclusivity end to end, but job descriptions are important because they’re a gateway for candidates.”

 

 

 

Analysing bias in the Bank of England governor job advert

 

Later this year Bank of England governor Mark Carney will stand down. He’s the 120th white man out of 120 individuals to have ever filled the role, and so the institution has been heavily criticised for embodying a ‘stale, male and pale’ image of finance. By its own admission, it will fail to meet any of its diversity targets this year. So with calls to appoint a female to the position for the first time is the language in the role’s job description gender-biased?

Not according to Applied’s job description analysis tool. Following the appointment of diversity specialists to head up the search for Carney’s replacement, HR magazine analysed the job description to see if the bank’s commitment to diversity extends to its recruitment materials. It scored a respectable 84% for inclusivity and contained an equal amount of male-gendered and female-gendered words.

Marr says that language falls into two categories: agentic and communal. Agentic language is considered male coded. In this advert, agentic traits found were words like ‘confidence, decision, lead and determination’. The communal traits were female-coded words such as ‘responsibility, commit, communicate, and understanding’.

Marr argues that performance evaluation and leadership development should also be defined in a way that balances both sets of traits. “Companies often define success for leaders along agentic lines and measure performance and promotion that way, even though communal traits are just as valuable in leaders,” he says.

Written by Sarah Ronan for HR Magazine.

 

Smart Recruit Online offers an award-winning talent attraction software that will streamline and revolutionise your recruitment strategy. Our service also includes a dedicated copywriting service to advise on content and structure, and help you get the most out of your job adverts

To book a demo with us and learn more about how our technology can transform your recruiting process, click here.

 

Sarah.Ronan@smartrecrooot.com'
Sarah Ronan


Written by Sarah Ronan for HR Magazine.


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