· Features

Offline recruitment has a shelf life – here’s why

Traditional methods don’t always put the candidate first. Online is faster, cheaper and more effective

2017 will be a tipping point in recruitment. We predict that this year, for the first time ever, companies will spend more of their recruitment budget online than offline.

This might not come as too much of a surprise given the rise in online recruiting over the years. Candidates are increasingly focused on creating an online profile and employers know they can reach a broader audience more quickly. Even government security service GCHQ has turned to Facebook in a bid to recruit social media-savvy teenage girls. But this is the first time we’ll actually see online channels take preference overall.

Why now? There’s one simple reason: the kind of technology available to recruiters and hiring managers provides a faster, cheaper and ultimately more effective way of finding and recruiting talent than traditional means; human processes can be prone to error and unconscious bias.

But most importantly, traditional methods don’t always put the candidate experience first. We talk about the war on talent in the tech industry, but the war is already won. And it’s the talent that has come out on top. Demand for security engineers increased 234% between 2015 and last year, so they’re hardly going to be short on opportunities.

If companies want to attract the best people they need a process that prioritises the candidate experience – something fast, transparent and relatively stress-free. Matching people to companies and opportunities through data can achieve that. And the fact we can do this effectively now means an increasing number of companies will turn to this approach.

I’m surprised we haven’t got to this stage sooner, particularly when you look at how far other industries have come in terms of the user experience and intelligent use of data. It seems crazy that we can buy everything from toothpaste to a new car at the click of a button, but when it comes to looking for a job the way we go about it is still relatively antiquated.

But are traditional recruitment methods going to die out? Maybe not completely – candidates will always want some form of human touch. But it’s not too much of a stretch to predict that 90% of all talent acquisition will happen online as early as 2020. Think about how completely Amazon and Netflix have transformed their industries and how much further that transformation is likely to go. The recruitment world is still a way behind, but it’s getting there.

The technology available to match highly-skilled people to relevant opportunities in a timely way will become increasingly sophisticated, to the point where sifting through a bunch of CVs or scouring social media for candidates will no longer make sense.

It’s time to get really good at the things computers don’t do so well: understanding cultural fit and communication styles, assessing soft skills, negotiating a total compensation deal. People make much better career coaches than robots. The face of an employer brand – the real first impression – will always come from a human. Technology just gives you more time to focus on what matters: selling your company as a great place to work.

Mehul Patel is CEO of Hired