Recruitment in the digital era: growing, higher quality and online

Recruitment in the digital era: growing, increasing quality and online

New trends in advertising and recruiting

A growing market and higher quality requirements

"Lifetime employment" was until a couple of decades more or less a given. As an employee you was bound to an organization relying that your career is taken care of by itself. This was also the time in which in most western European countries a recognizable and stable society existed with fixed beacons: family, employer, associations etc. Unless there were major changes from the outside, like unemployment in certain industries/region (textiles, state mines, etc.).

How different is it now; more flexible labour relations and shorter employment relationships are now a fact.

On one hand employers change: in order to stay competitive, organisations continuously adjust their business models and focus more on flexibility and innovation. An important driver here are technical developments(IT, Internet, Robotics) spreading rapidly and knowing literally no boundaries. Change becomes a constant, only the pace is different; from smaller steps (banks, insurance companies, travel) to fundamental disruptions (Uber, RB & B). The demand for the number of employees, their level of training, experience and skillset changes with it.

On the other hand, employees change: A growing number of employees has an ever stronger desire for personal development, to certain values (durability; "people" and "environment") or needs like working part-time. Does an organisation neglect these demands, then people switch to other employers.

A shift from "lifetime employment" to "lifetime employability". People want to update their skills during their career and stay broadly employable, independently of an organisation.

"Fix/long-term" employment relations decrease, shorter labour relations are increase. Was in the past an average "stay time" for the same employer say 20 years, then that is certainly now halved and descending.

This means that:

  • the number of recruitment actions are strongly rising
    Even with a light decreasing number of jobs (aging, compensated by migration)

  • the quality requirements for the selection process strongly increases
    A shorter "stay time" with one organisation reinforces the importance to get the right people fitting the job. They also should fit well with the organization in which they easily can change jobs for personal development ("bind and delight"). This requires for the people to feel at home, do what they are good at and find self-motivation. In other words, their preferred behaviour needs to match the required behaviour to be successful and content in their job. This also means they need to be selected not only based on their CV, but also on personal criteria, such as, for example, behavioural characteristics fitting within the organizational culture ("cultural fit").


A chance and a threat

The latest generations of job seekers live in increasingly in an "online world".

Newspapers are no longer read, instead online media more and more and most people are active on multiple Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) The younger generation (ca. 16-24 yr.) uses increasingly mobile devices (tablets, mobile) and less desktops or laptops. Recruiting of new employees in the classical way, i.e. ads in major daily newspapers, quickly makes room for other (online) methods. Utilising own employees as a recruitment channel ("referral recruitment") and recruiting through Social Media, Google, job sites and company websites become the new standard. As the most important recruitment channel is LinkedIn by far at the top and growing.

Source: "recruiting 2015", Academy for labour market communication

These new digital ways of recruitment constitutes both an opportunity and a threat.

An opportunity, because the reach of online recruitment channels is much larger; actually anyone who is online, even worldwide, and the threshold to apply is low. Thus, the number of responses from job applicants potentially increases. Online recruitment also opens possibilities to reach specific target groups (see Lucy Freund, "Advantages of online recruiting") (1) ).

A threat, because it is more difficult to choose the right candidate from the larger number of respondents. One also can be assured that among the respondents there is a number of "copy-blazers" , who respond to a variety of tenders within a short time, without really looking to the corresponding functions, just with the aim to be invited ("the numbers game": send out enough reactions, one will come through). The traditional way of selection creates a problem: selection is done manually, screening more applications means more work and a longer throughput time of the hiring-process. The consequences: no guarantee that manual selection does not overlook the right ones and, to limit time and money spent, shortcutting the process by stopping the screening when a targeted number of candidates (e.g. between 3 and 10) is identified. (see Chris Joseph, "Disadvantages of online recruiting") (2) ).

Solution strategies

The listed threats in online recruiting can be addressed in a number of ways, of which two are described here:

  1. There are ongoing developments using "Big Data" to predict to what extent there is a match between candidate and job. This includes data collected from all available online information sources; the CV and everything, even unsolicited personal information from Social Media or the internet. It is claimed that this produces better candidates from the (pre) selection(see Rina Joosten, Seedlink(3) und Colin Lee, Erasmus Universit├Ąt, "The algorithm says: suitable!"(4)

  2. A more common and more accessible method is, to first pre-select based on "hard" criteria that are relatively easy to access, such as education and work experience. The screening takes place off-line and is relatively quickly to do, but still requires manual engagement. Efforts to support this part of the process online are underway.

    Cross-check of CV data (if needed) can be done by reviewing de information on Social Media such as on LinkedIn and, (given that this information is available and backed by reliable referrals -(see (0)).

    Resides the question: which candidates fit best according to ("soft") criteria, like e.g. personal attributes or behaviour.

    There is a promising new online method that fits well as a next step in online preselection. Based on a standardised behavioural profile both candidates and jobs are compared and ranked according to the best fit. To do that right, TRiNGiNE (see "A versatile platform for talent scouts and job brokers" (5) )offers online tests to establish among others, the following profiles:

    • the behavioural profile of candidates
    • the job preferences of candidates
    • the job profile of the intended job
    • the organisation preferences of candidates
    • the organisation profile as market player and as employer

With the just mentioned TRiNGiNE -method (online) recruitment and pre-selection can be done much faster, more efficient and more effective. Faster and more efficient because all screening and selection work is done software wise. More effective because it identifies the best fitting candidates of the offered population and no candidate are left out resp. overlooked. Only the most relevant candidates go on to the final round - no time or money wasted.

The final round can take place according to a company\'s usual proceeding, with the addition that a detailed matching analysis concerning the behavioural profiles is available as well.

(0)"Startup hunts LinkedIn ", en
(1)"Advantages of online recruiting", Lucy Friend,
(2)"Disadvantages of online recruitment", Chris Joseph,
(3)Rina Joosten, seedlink, en
(4)Colin Lee, Erasmus University, "The algorithm says: suitable!"
(5)TRiNGiNE, a versatile platform for talent scouts and job brokers