This is the final blog giving a glimpse into Online Recruitment: A New World. Personally, the book has given me more than I could have set out to achieve. From confidence to being able to not just have a vision but to communicate it.
What I have found interesting about doing this post is that these ‘final points’ were written back when the book was completed mid-2013 – and interestingly 18months later, the focus on employer brand, social recruiting and mobile remains.
The Final Point Creativity, Innovation and Future Thinking
“The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” Winston Churchill
Theodore Levitt, in his book, Marketing Imagination asks the poignant question; what business are you in? A train company is not in the business of trains but in the business of transportation; a telephone manufacturer is not in the business of phones but in the business of communication. This different insight is creative thinking and innovation starts with creativity. Future thinking comes from innovation.
If you are a recruiter or HR Manager what business do you think you are in – hiring, on-boarding or recruiting? Or are you a facilitator, a connector? When you understand the role, in the context of the bigger picture, then that is when you start to get creative. A lot of people ask me what is my creative outlet is, do I paint, make sculptures, sing? I tell them that say I do business and that, for me, business is an art for me. Business it is an orchestra and I am the conductor and – if I get all the sections of the orchestra playing together you have music that can move nations but if not you just have a cacophony. Business can bind people with expected norms and fixed parameters whereas the makers of change are those who disrupt and innovate, the future thinkers. This conclusive chapter looks at three key areas that future thinkers are focusing on.
Mobile has changed the landscape of recruiting by enabling localised and highly targeted marketing. It has forced the drive for recruiters to produce lightweight information that is both relevant and creative. No longer can you rely on the pen and paper application form but now companies need to innovate and think of the users of the future, in particular the younger generation where smartphones are the norm not the exception. The difficulty and benefit of mobile is that it is highly tailored to the individual, in fact every smartphone is different in terms of what apps the user has, which order those apps are and how the device is actually used. This means that while there is no single way of conducting mobile recruiting there are a thousand different ways that it can be. Mobile is inherently social and is a key tool for sharing information. The evolution of the device and the move to even more convenience for the user means that the mobile is not just future thinking it is now thinking.
Recruitment is social, as is seeking a job. Candidates will talk to friends and family about their job-hunt, who they are applying to, why and what their experience is of the company. Similarly jobseekers will listen to friends and family (trusted contacts) for advice. A term that is being used a lot is social integration and, as with the Private Talent Network framework, is about understanding who your network is and gaining insight, anonymous or otherwise, about the company. This is a key way to build trust and continually develop your talent pipeline. It is less about the recruitment transaction (i.e. the application) and more about the social aspects of engaging, sharing and educating your target candidate market so the right talent comes to you.
When you socialise and meet a new person at an event you will invariably make an assessment of that person. Did you like them, were they funny, boring, interesting and importantly would you trust them? The same applies in a digital realm; trust is still key to securing the confidence of jobseekers that are looking at your company. People know that a company is not a tangible element per se, it’s a legal entity and it’s made up of people – therefore you need to humanise your communication, be transparent, listen and so build trust.
Another very social (though at times highly antisocial) engagement method is gaming. As technology becomes more and more sophisticated gaming tools are beginning to be used as a means of assessing potential candidates and giving applicants the opportunity to really understand what it is like to work with a company.
Creativity isn’t just future thinking about platforms yet to come but can be applied to existing tools. Facebook is a great example as you can build a referral network, post job ads or provide a presence and engagement point for active jobseekers – that’s three different methods to attract the attention of different jobseekers. Engagement is no longer a capture of contact details and one-off email newsletters, engagement is live, present and with the continued use of video this is a reality across a number of different platforms.
A lot of companies run open-sourcing and collaborative working models with individuals who aren’t necessarily employees. This innovative method engages the top talent and allows the best to shine through and with a first connection in place it will make the approach to hire much simpler and more effective for both parties. This is another method of building up your talent pipeline and works in a similar way to aggregators (bringing the right talent into one place). However this is about crowdsourcing, finding the proactive individuals and running a ‘work experience’ style set up which will give both the company and the candidate the opportunity to see if the other is the right choice for them.
The importance of a strong and relevant employer brand cannot be underestimated. An employer brand is not a subset of the main company brand but rather it compliments it. As companies begin to listen more online, using the social tools available to them, their brand will be refined. The employer brand should never be seen as a static entity decided by committee behind closed doors, but instead as a crowd-sourced output that is likely to differ from one department to the next. How dissimilar, for example, are the employer brands of the finance department and the marketing department?
Understanding the different skillsets and tailoring down to the individual is key – think about your industry landscape and if you’re an SME in fast food, how are you going to compete with the likes of McDonalds for talent? One thing is certain; you won’t if you compete using a generic employer brand.
Sometimes you need to step out and see the bigger picture and sometimes you need to go back to basics, starting from the grass roots up to build a solution that works for the jobseekers. If it works for the jobseekers it will work for your company.
If you would like me to blog about a specific topic in more detail or have a question please message me. This blog series have highlighted snippets from the book, if you’d like to delve into the world of online recruitment further, e-version and hard-copies are available in Amazon.