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The future of recruitment

Here at the I Am Group we often get asked about our thoughts on the recruitment of tomorrow – by clients who are trying to recruit as well as candidates who are looking for vacancies – and it got us thinking about how much the recruitment landscape has changed over the last 100 years (although we freely admit to not having that much in the way of first-hand experience of job hunting in the early twentieth century…).

The reality, which hadn’t struck us before, is that recruitment is an evolving art, just like almost everything else, and the practices of the bosses of our parents’ generation that we eschew today, will in turn be shunned by the next generation.  Although this is of course, perfectly natural, it is a little difficult to look at something like recruitment and ask yourself ‘how will the recruiters of tomorrow recruit?’  It’s not as easy as looking at a tangible product like a phone or a car and dreaming of ‘next-generation’ features, enhanced ‘usability’ and tomorrow’s technological landscape, but services do evolve almost as radically.

I was watching an article on recruitment (itself an evolutionary ‘first’, perhaps) on the BBC a short while ago, which talked about a growing trend of companies screening graduate application forms electronically, either to save time, or money, but also arguing that this is the fairest possible way of recruiting, since a PC is completely neutral with regards to ‘equal opportunity for all’.  Whilst the traditionalist in me is horrified that people can (and do) use computers for such purposes, it’s also a sobering reminder that people can bring their prejudices into play when recruiting. It’s also a heavenly vision of the future for any of us who work in response-handling or outsourcing! My latest paid assignment was the short-listing or marking of 136 application forms for a ‘Communications Team Administrator’, which meant early starts and late finishes to get them short-listed, and the idea of a computer replacing more than 19 hours of labour is incredibly tempting!

But I doubt computer-based sifting will ever completely replace human involvement in recruiting, and nor should it.  One of the reasons employers moved towards paper-based applications was the fact that it gave them a chance to glimpse the personality of their future hires, to see inside their heads, by giving them a brief and seeing how well they followed it – and until computers can start to read nuances into a string of words written together, they can’t replace a human being – but the moment they can, is the moment that computers will start to bring their own prejudices into play…

So, next time I’m asked by a client for my predictions on the recruitment landscape of tomorrow, I’m going to refer them to this blog…which if you’ve read up till now – and congratulations for doing so – doesn’t really answer the question. I guess the answer is, ‘Who knows?’  I just hope I Am Recruiting moves with it, and uses the tools of tomorrow…

2 Responses

  1. Laura Sly

    Interesting topic. I guess some of this depends on how far into the future we are trying to see – or whether by “tomorrow” people are almost meaning “today” given how quickly things are shifting…

    If, by “tomorrow” we mean “today” I would definitely urge people to craft CVs and applications very carefully to include keywords that recruiters and/or computers are programmed to search for – remembering that in a market with more job seekers than jobs, their eyes are more on eliminating than including at the first sifting stage.

    I would also not underestimate the power of Linkedin to get your presence out there, make useful connections and stay up to date with advertised roles and cutting edge thinking in your field through membership of professional groups on there.

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