The Future’s Bright

SUPPLY SIDE VIEW - We asked some technology experts what they thought would be the next significant change for recruitment technology. Here’s what they said.

Peter Linas, international managing director, Bullhorn 

In my opinion, it will be the widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI), not to be confused with automation, which has been around for years.

Automation is the process of using technology, typically in the form of intelligent task bots within CRMs and other systems, to streamline basic and routine tasks that would otherwise be performed manually by recruiters, including sourcing and contacting candidates, as well as most forms of data entry.

AI is a significant step up from this. Instead of just performing routine tasks, AI provides data-driven insights to recruiters which will, in turn, support them in making smarter, more agile business decisions. In other words, automation already benefits recruiters at a micro-level, while AI will benefit them at a macro-level.

Some recruiters may see AI as a threat to their jobs, but it stands to enhance, rather than replace recruiters. Both automation and AI help to remove the burden of time-consuming, routine tasks so that more promising work can be the focus. Technology will fundamentally alter how recruiters work, but more so, it will force them into a change of mindset. They will need to think harder about how to make their relationships with candidates and clients work in an increasingly technology driven world.

Joe McGuire, head of sales, cube19

The world of work is changing rapidly and agencies are increasing the investment they channel into technology to reflect this. Spending decisions are becoming much more diverse as a result. Agencies are continuing to pour money into inbound marketing, SaaS products and searching for ways to integrate all their systems.

It’s a technological arms race and the biggest change will come from how agencies mobilise their data. Is your CRM providing you with the actionable insights you need? Do you entirely trust your data and more importantly, how could you be doing more with the data you do have? These are the questions that agencies will be asking over the next 12 months.

Five years ago we might have had to convince agencies about the advantages of data analytics, but everybody now sees its value. That said, only half of agencies are actually using data analytics in recruitment decisions and less than a quarter believe in its accuracy.

As an industry, recruitment has been slow to turn data analytics into business intelligence and over the next 12 months we’ll see this change. It will cease to be an afterthought and move into the heart of recruitment strategy. Those at the front of the pack will need reliable, communicable and useful data.

Which all comes back to data quality and ensuring you have the right information and all the information, to make the best decisions. As we know with technology, those that don’t evolve will be left behind by those that do.

Toby Conibear, CCO DaXtra Technologies

The recruitment industry is constantly changing and technology plays a key role in facilitating the recruiters’ day to day job. Technology is facilitating access to a huge quantity of data providing both the employer and job seeker with a great deal of choice. It therefore makes sense that this technology should drive both greater variety and choice for the job seeker and the ability to be more discerning and give greater screening capability to the employer. At the forefront of these technological advances are intelligent automation and machine learning technologies that can make the process of finding and resourcing for a job more efficient by simply enabling the user to crunch vast quantities of data very quickly.

For sure, the scope and tools available for sourcing candidate data is immense and keeps increasing. Recruiters need to manage a growing quantity of data in an effective way and technology plays a critical role in maximising the recruiter’s time.

When searching for a candidate, the ranking of results has been crucial: by automatically ranking and prioritising records, it enables recruiters to find the best candidates quickly. Real time prompt suggesting matches to roles is now a reality. In addition, technology could help identify trends in candidates’ behaviour using the metadata that exists within the candidate profile and digital footprint – for instance understanding how likely they are to stay in a job or move on after a few months. It could also help to understand if a candidate would be a good fit for the company’s culture. 

With the best recruitment technology available, recruiters and resourcers can stay ahead of the competition and take advantage of practical, cost-effective efficiencies while improving productivity.

Martin Bramall, managing director, idibu

“The future of profitable agency recruiting is where cutting edge technology meets skilled human interaction.”

This quote by Greg Savage sums up my view on how recruitment will evolve. Technology will take over more and more admin tasks – everything that is repeated twice or more and this will give recruiters more time to focus on the human to human interaction, with both candidates and clients.

In evolution some species thrive, others don’t adapt and are extinct. The difference between us and animals are our cognitive abilities – we can speed up and direct change. This makes it more surprising how slow and/or unwilling some recruiters are to embrace change. Especially as it isn’t really optional. Recruitment agencies that don’t change will soon be out of business.

By change I don’t mean cutting spend by using fewer job boards or abandoning less profitable sections and by definition becoming more niche. Running away from competition and holding on to the existing business model will still lead to extinction. Cost cutting doesn’t create real sustainable value, it only gives a short-term reprieve.

Instead, a re-think is required and answers to the following questions need to be found:

1. What do you offer to the market that automation can’t? How can you strengthen this?

2. What is your distinct expertise? Is it really distinct? How can you measure it? How can you improve it?

It may seem extreme but let’s start with the premise that recruitment will be automated and done directly by the end customer (why should it be so different to other industries?).  Work with this question in mind to find and define your current position.

Don’t wait, the old days won’t come back, change is happening and will be relentless. Get yourself in position and with the necessary equipment to ride the wave and then it becomes exhilarating!

Amanda Davies, managing director, ISV Software Ltd

When we think recruitment technology, the default thoughts are about CRM or ATS packages. However, the digital products and services we can choose from these days are vast. Looking at candidate assessments and screening, there are two significant factors impacting how recruiters are working with this type of tech. Firstly, we have the need to shift to a feature rich, compatible product. Previously, recruiters were content with a ‘here is the test, here is the result’ type of platform. We’ve been online for many years now. It’s a given that both candidate and recruiter need flexibility in where they are taking tests.

What we’re finding now is the demand for more diverse content and reports that offer more than standard scoring. Showing that someone has achieved 80% in a numerical reasoning test for example, gives no context or comparison. Recruiters are asking how their candidates stack up against each other and the global norm. Here at ISV Software, we are adapting and building new features into the platform constantly. Recruiters need to show their clients that they are putting forward capable candidates or those with transferable skills who can contribute to the business from the word go.

The second biggest change or impact on recruitment technology is the GDPR. The General Data Protection Regulation is having and will have, for those who are just wising up to the legislation, a huge impact on how we as recruiters manage candidate information. 

Even just minor changes like allowing candidates to request changes to their personal data are a big thing we need to consider. As the ICO said “make no mistake, this one is a game changer.”

Alexandra Gorog, director of business development, JobDiva

Cyber-Recruiting: The next wave in recruitment technology

Temporary staffing and recruitment technology is all set to experience a quantum leap forward. But how — in which direction? When you know this, you can start to invest in the right software solutions and profit from your position on the cutting edge.

The evolution of recruitment software design

Although data analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and robotic tools are all impressive advances coming down the pipeline, it’s the future-focused architecture of staffing and recruitment technology that will have the greatest influence.

Globally, software gurus are asking themselves the same question: how can I architect tools that don’t only mirror present market realities, but actually anticipate real-world market shifts? The visionaries of tomorrow will build software that intelligently predicts evolutions in the contingent labour market and adapts accordingly.

Anticipating Market Needs: Tomorrow’s top technology

The temporary staffing and recruitment technology of the future will anticipate the market’s future direction; this technology will be built by brilliant business minds who can see where recruitment is tending. Recruiters will have at-hand tools that, with yesterday’s software solutions, they never could have imagined.

Think of recent research into neuroplasticity – the study of how the malleable brain changes shape as we age. The business minds at the helm of future technology will, similarly, build software that evolves along with the market; these digital solutions will be equipped with tools that are flexible enough to accommodate everything from small shifts to radical changes in the ever-bustling market.

With adaptive software, recruitment professionals will, one could argue, advance from merely digital recruiting to “cyber-recruiting.” Staffing and recruitment technology will have predicted any evolution on the recruiter’s behalf, and solutions will already be in place.

The recruitment industry and recruitment technology will be as one, so that the mental labour of wondering whether you’re tapped into the latest market dynamics will be outsourced to the software solutions you use every day.   

Jorge Albinagorta, director innovation and strategy, JXT

Recruitment technology is poised to deliver on a couple of key areas that will be transformational to the industry.

Firstly, the move from transactions to relations. At both candidate, contractor and client levels, technology will finally deliver on its promise to enable recruitment agencies and corporate recruiters to unbind themselves from physical restrictions and provide a radically different experience through personalised communications and touch points. No more ‘only shortlisted candidates will be contacted’ but rather ‘let’s have a conversation that involves a mutual exchange of value.’

Secondly, technology will power scalable operations, in a way that means a recruitment business or a corporate recruitment team will operate more as a software business (e.g. exponential candidate and client reach growth and manageable/contained resources and cost growth). As business models evolve along these lines, new profitability benchmarks will be set.

Analytics, AI, predictive technology and automation will all contribute to these two key pillars of the recruitment business of the future.

Louise Rayner, CEO, NumberMill

Technology should be at the forefront of excellent service to all contractor and agency clients and the future will see technology enhance both efficiency and compliance. At NumberMill, our contractors benefit from our state of the art portals, online apps and docusign contracts. Agency partners can utilise our automated referral sweeps and automated registration reports. Technology also means all our calls are recorded in our CRM and via our IP telephone system. Right now this technology means our contractors and agencies are not only efficient but fully compliant. At our recent invited HMRC inspection, this automation and call recording proved invaluable and we will continue to ensure technology is utilised to the best advantage of our clients in the recruitment industry.

David Thornhill, managing director, Simplicity

For decades, recruitment CRM providers have been competing to develop the perfect software for each and every single recruiter out there and the end users are finding it increasingly difficult to choose the right supplier. With multiple systems to manage and an endless chain of bolt-ons to complicate things, recruiters are finding it more and more challenging to reduce their administrative tasks in such a competitive marketplace where business development is crucial. And that’s without mentioning the high cost of it all!

Surely the time has come for the recruitment CRM to evolve?

They say necessity is the mother of invention so recruitment technology must evolve helping recruiters work smarter whilst allowing room for growth. I believe that this can be achieved by integrated software, where back office meets front office in one seamless operation. One system that streamlines the recruitment workflow from CRM right through to reporting. This means that CRM providers supplying ‘stand-alone’ systems and companies offering bolt-on products must review their technology to meet the expectations of an evolving industry, or risk going out of business.

Growing businesses need technology that can help them to become more efficient, save them time and reduce their overheads, whilst yet still ensuring compliance. And let’s not forget that the Recruitment industry is all about people. The evolution of recruitment technology should enable recruiters to spend more time with people and less time on administration.

That’s why we have spent the past three years developing a free recruitment CRM and workflow solution for our partners called GEMS. GEMS technology combines front and back office systems. From CRM and compliance, right through to payroll and invoicing, GEMS allows recruiters to spend their valuable time nurturing clients and candidates helping them to achieve their growth aspirations.

Joshua Pines, corporate development and marketing, Sirenum

It may seem cliché but to me it’s too clear to avoid mentioning. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning (AI) is primed to transform our industry, as it is doing in many other sectors. AI will impact agencies of all shapes and sizes. For permanent placement agencies and executive search firms, AI will drastically alter the way candidates are sourced and tracked. Systems will be able to learn how to screen candidates in a way that streamlines the work of a recruitment professional, minimising busy work while increasing the median value of work performed. Furthermore, it will take marketing automation on both sides – candidates and clients – to a level unimaginable just two to three years ago.

In short, the day-to-day activities of a recruitment consultant at one of these organisations will look decidedly different by 2020, if not sooner.

But it’s in temporary agencies where the impact of AI is already being felt and where change in the next year will be most acute. While permanent (and long-term) placement agencies have long benefited

from technology to simplify operations, the temp market has lagged tremendously. Only in the last few years have software platforms emerged that focus on workforce management for temps. But AI takes them to a whole new level.

For example, while existing scheduling solutions can save significant time in the roster building and management process, those infused with AI can already build entire rosters from scratch. They can even anticipate which worker combinations have the best on-time and safety performance. In the coming months and years, they will be able to anticipate the impact of traffic, weather, and other factors to adjust rosters automatically. But that’s just scheduling.

AI will also significantly impact processes for time and attendance, payroll, compliance, and other aspects of temp workforce management. With the advent of marketplaces like Über, Rota, and JobToday, the pressure is on agencies to raise their game. But with advanced workforce management and AI, innovative temporary agencies will be ready for it.

Kim-Marie Freeston, managing director, uComply Ltd

When I’m asked about new developments in technology for the recruitment world most expect me to point out Right to Work as the main compliance issue facing employers and recruiters. With almost 3,000 civil penalties issued (value circa £50 million) to UK businesses in one year you wouldn’t blame me would you. But there’s one new upstart which stands out more than others: GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation.

With technology, once you know what you have, then you can track, control and measure your GDPR commitments. We believe that Mobile phones/tablets will take centre stage combined with secure on-line (UK-centric) database storage solutions to help manage the data being stored.

From my perspective the GDPR is ‘Data Protection on Steroids’ and it impacts any company/organisation that holds personal data for either the public or workers. GDPR compliance breaches can result in penalties of up to €20 million or up to four per cent of worldwide turnover. Effectively this level of fines could in my view create an extinction level event for the company/organisation concerned.

So, what has changed? Here’s a 10,000 feet view. Take DPA and add:

• Permission based (proof of valid consent) – systems must capture and store validation received.

• Look to digitise all paper records - move towards paperless by scanning records.

• Clearly defined processes on storage including timescales and purpose – electronic T&C’s become a must as you can demonstrate data given is permissioned.

• Ability to erase/correct/move individuals records when requested – electronically stored and controlled records must be easier to manage and control.

• A responsible person – see a dashboard of records stored, requests made and breaches.

• Understanding of your organisations data flows – to implement technology you need to understand your process.

Paul Thompson, sales director, Voyager Software.

There has been much recruitment hype over Artificial Intelligence, but I’d like to highlight it doesn’t actually have to be that ‘intelligent’ in order to offer significant benefits to the recruiter, or applicant for that matter.

Just as Google is trusted to show the best, freshest, most appropriate matches to your web searches - whist displaying them in one simple screen, some CRM’s can now offer the same.

A decent CRM or ATS can already intelligently prioritise the closest, most available, most active, most engaging candidate with the best skills and strongest pedigree and in the very near future we’ll see that insight extended by plugging into the candidates very own vacancy/agency management app.

Via the app, and in real-time, applicants will be able to review client profiles and their vacancies along with the recruiter profiles that represent them.

Candidates will love being able to ‘thumbs up’ an interest in a range of hand selected vacancies in seconds. In return, Recruiters will be gifted additional insights into their candidates, such as the applicant’s actual location, conduct a video interview, review their references, booking history, availability and compliance information. Adding instant messaging between the recruiter CRM and the candidate app will offer huge efficiencies with ‘killer questions’ delivered in real-time via integrated instant messaging.

Some of the industries very best recruitment software talent are working on these features right now.

At Voyager, we predict in the very near future a sea of ‘Recruiting Ninja’s’ managing their candidate on a much more honest and transparent platform, and nurturing much closer and more honest relationships with them. The freshness and transparency of that data will once again see clients turning to their trusted Recruitment partners to represent them.

What will be the next significant change for recruitment technology? A platform will soon exist which levels the playing field between the candidate, the client and recruiter, which in turn we believe will allow recruiters to professionalise the industry, at least for those who take recruitment seriously.