I’ve written before that I worked for a large plc recruiter, I had the best fun. It was a firm that grew and evolved and I enjoyed going through the flotation and expansion with them. The culture was very much ‘late adopter’ which I always found frustrating, but having aged a bit, I now realise that, this is a sound position to take.

They say, that the difference between wisdom and knowledge is that knowledge is making a mistake and learning from it and wisdom is learning from others’ mistakes. This was my ex- CEO’s approach and it stood her and the firm in good stead. There was a point around 2000 when all resourcing, recruitment and exec search firms were establishing dot.com businesses and the cry was “Change or Die”. I got caught up in the froth of it all, but my CEO didn’t, she was right. In the next couple of years most of our competitors invested and lost millions in developing online platforms ahead of any discernible market demand or more critically technology to make it happen. It was a bloodbath.

That brings me to the present day, Formation and Grovelands have moved most of their operations into Co-Working spaces in Brighton and London. We have enjoyed the experience moving from long-term, inflexible leases with all the infrastructure costs and distractions that they bring to now only having one office location on a traditional lease. It has been a clear change in the way we work, but not something we jumped into too earlier. I met a firm last week who when I mentioned this change said,

“Oh, yes I’ve heard about that, it’s a bit Hoxton isn’t it, a bit trendy?”

I have been accused of many things but never, ever trendy. Ha ! I reflected on his point, it is a reoccurring theme about how you distinguish between trends that are really just bubbles (like the dot.com) and trends that have more longevity and substance to them?

Recruitment trends

One thing I do know a bit about is recruitment and resourcing and the trends are many and varied. So here are five trends that I think have something about them;

1. Video-Interviewing

Why meet people when you can do it via your pc or mobile device? I think the use of video is an interesting one within recruitment, we have used Skype as part of our process for the past four years and in the last year partnered with a tech firm for a dedicated video app which we send as part of a candidate’s pack to client firms. What we have realised is that, for contract, interim or volume based hiring video works really well and can replace a face-to-face interview where it is a transactional project-based process. However, when it comes to permanent hiring, we have found that both candidates and firms want to meet each other and start to develop a relationship, video doesn’t yet achieve this. We use video to act as a way to filter candidates as part of the process but not replacing traditional interviewing just yet.

Video-interviewing as the norm by 2025

2. Death of the cv

When I started in recruitment at Adecco, all candidates had to fill in an application form to join our “books” as we called it. We would take their cv with the information they have just duplicated onto our form and staple them together. Not particularly efficient and I don’t recall what was the point of the application form. I think the end of the cv is close to happening. It is probably the most traditional part of the recruitment process and one of the most imprecise and sometimes inaccurate. More and more candidates are referring prospective employees to their LinkedIn profile or submit a video summary of their experience. Increasingly where individuals are referred by reputation and/or approached directly, the cv largely becomes redundant.

Death of the cv by 2023

3. No more generalist or High Street recruiters

I spent five, very happy years at Adecco. It gave me the skills and experience to go on and do what I am doing today, so I am eternally grateful. However, I believe that with the challenges with business rates in the high street, the rise of Big Data, Smart apps and business social media platforms, I find it hard to see how these organisations operate in the future. All of the major players have developed digital businesses, the best example being Reed but small to mid-size firms will struggle. I recently used a digital platform to find a social media expert for a project we have, he started work 24 hours after we posted the job. No agency was involved. I think recruitment firms will need to be able to demonstrate market knowledge, insight and access to the market to survive. There is the challenge.

End of High St Recruiters by 2023

4. Millennials is not a thing

I really detest the phrase ‘snowflake generation’ as it is not my experience as either a father or employer of millennials however, it would be wrong to assume that the same approach to hiring and retaining millennials is the same for the rest of your workforce. What I have found is that candidates want to believe in your brand and no more so than millennials. From your website or careers site through to the application process, it must make sense, be easy, slick and above all, enhance your brand as they journey through it. As my eldest son said when applying for a part-time job last year. “Why do they want to know about my hobbies and interests? It has nothing to do with my ability to do the job and it’s none of their business” Well said.

Whether millennials is a thing or not, your recruiters and recruitment process needs to be contemporary.

5. AI/Big Data/Automation

I apologise for lumping this all together but I think these are the single biggest impact factors on recruitment. In the past year I have spent time with technology firms who will streamline the recruitment process, make it more predictable and lift a lot of the heavy lifting off all of our shoulders. Assessing technical skills for a job has been comparatively easy for a number of years but now the same evaluation tools exist for soft skills like behaviour and attitude. We have trialled two tools with good results but we often find clients resistant to support us on this, I think because they see it as an extra burden rather than time-saving. That will change. I say that AI/Big Data is happening now in recruitment and should be happening with your firm today.

Happening now in 2018…

These and other trends will make the transactional recruiter and recruitment obsolete. To remain relevant and vital to your market, you will need to embrace them. At both Grovelands and Formation (and I hope for other firms) it is about relationship building while you let AI do the repetitive and tedious tasks. Data will help you make smarter choices and smarter hires.

As always let me know your thoughts, views particularly if you disagree with anything I have raised, are they trends or just a bit trendy?

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