Seven recruitment tools you need

We assess the cutting-edge technologies and tools that have the potential to revolutionise recruitment

As anyone who has queued overnight in the cold for the latest smartphone will tell you, keeping up with technology isn’t easy. But with many HR departments taking more responsibility for resourcing, it is essential to get to grips with the myriad recruiting channels, tools and technologies that have emerged in recent years. 

Although areas such as social and mobile recruiting are still subject to considerable hype, they are growing in importance and HR needs to assess where their true value lies.

Today everyone can be found somewhere on the web; the challenge is what to do next. “There is already a plethora of social recruiting tools to find people quickly – that is not the problem,” says Andy Headworth, social recruiting specialist and founder of Sirona Consulting. “The problem is how to best communicate, contact and engage with the people you find in a time-effective way.”

More recruitment tips:

Is it time to re-think the recruitment process?

Recruitment in the metaverse: will it become a (virtual) reality?

Should we be using video CVs?

Complex hiring processes are losing talent

With so many channels available, HR must not only identify which are best for their needs but also find ways to use them efficiently and effectively. Similarly, areas such as video-interviewing and gamification offer potential to improve recruiting practices.

When it comes to the mobile space, organisations will need properly thought-through and coherent strategies that will deliver exceptional candidate experience.

According to 4MAT, which provides marketing and web services to the recruitment sector, mobile career and recruitment website visitors now account for 20-30% of traffic.

“What this means for employers is that, unless their website is optimised for mobile, up to one-third of visitors will be receiving a poor experience,” says David Johnston, senior business development manager at 4MAT. “This could be even higher for companies that are embracing social media and especially Facebook, since about half of Facebook users are on mobile.” 

Tools and technologies are being developed in many areas that can help HR make more effective use of existing and emerging recruitment channels. Here’s our rundown of seven technologies and tools we think have the potential to change the way you work.


1. Applicant tracking systems (ATS)

ATSs were among the first pieces of online recruitment technology that emerged in the 1990s. Early systems did little more than track incoming CVs but in recent years they have expanded their functionality into areas such skills-matching, CV parsing and job posting to multiple channels, including social media.

As talent management research and advisory firm Bersin by Deloitte underlines, today’s ATSs are “integration platforms” that connect to other tools and services used in the recruitment process.

How it will impact the way you work?

Although they have always been a core technology for HR departments, the new generation of ATSs can help bring many recruitment functions into a central place, further streamlining practices.

One is TribePad, which describes itself as a “social” ATS and whose users can advertise their jobs anywhere on the web. It features intelligent skills-matching based on semantic technology and provides built-in real-time analytics to evaluate what channels perform best. 

Importantly, the product allows hirers to create specific communities based on skills and location so they can more easily communicate and engage with those candidates on the system. Recruitment and HR departments need to extract maximum value from their ATSs, not just when looking for talent but to capitalise on the talent that already resides in the system.


2. Mobile recruiting tools

Mobile internet and recruitment has had many false starts, but record sales of powerful smartphones and tablets are likely to result in mobile usage leapfrogging desktop browsing for the first time this year. It has pushed mobile recruiting to the forefront and is predicted to become the key channel for hiring. 

Research from Comscore shows 2.8 million jobseekers a month already access job listings from mobile devices in the UK, with 67% looking daily. A Potential Park study found 88% of them look for jobs on their mobiles, with one in three keen to apply using their device. 

How it will impact the way you work?

Mobile takes recruitment into an entirely new space. While, in theory, it is one familiar to many of us, employers must be aware it marks a significant shift in how they communicate, engage with and recruit talent.

Understanding how candidates behave in the mobile environment and making sure it rivals the quality of the full desktop will be crucial. Mobile recruiting tools can be broken down into four main areas: QR (quick response) codes, text alerts, apps and mobile-optimised websites.

But often it is the latter that is neglected, with many corporate career sites failing to offer candidates any customised mobile experience. “Understanding the user journey and how visitors use mobile is often overlooked but it is an important aspect of recruitment marketing, as is the application process,” says 4MAT’s Johnston. 


3. Gamification 

According to Gartner, gamification is the broad trend of applying game mechanics to non-game environments, such as recruitment, to motivate people or change behaviour. The analyst forecasts that it is positioned to become a “highly significant trend” over the next five years and that, by next year, more than 70% of global 2,000 organisations will have at least one gamified application. 

How it will impact the way you work?

Gamification has the power to deliver significant efficiencies at the front end of the recruitment process both as an attraction and an engagement tool as well as a means to quickly identify people with the correct skills for a particular role. It can also be used to better connect, communicate and build relationships with candidates in the talent pool.

There is a burgeoning market of gamification developers, such as ConnectCubed, which builds assessment games that could, for instance, be used on candidates in a talent pool, while Peoplefluent has an app to increase the engagement of managers in its talent management software. 

“In its truest form, gamification is about driving engagement and many of these new and [innovative] tools do this in an exciting and creative format,” says Richard Hamilton, marketing director of recruitment services provider Guru Careers.

“But don’t jump into everything. Trial the services that speak to you and find the balance between traditional and unconventional. However you approach it, have fun. That is what gamification is about.”


4. Collaborative tools

Despite the vast potential of enterprise social networks such as Yammer and Jive to share and exchange information and interact, take-up in UK is limited. Jon Ingham, HR blogger and executive consultant at Strategic Dynamics Consultancy Services, suggests that there is a tendency for collaborative tools to be used by recruiters for conversation but not for collaboration.

How it will impact the way you work?

Such networks can help integrate HR and recruitment with the rest of the organisation and eliminate the silo approach that can hamper effective recruitment. Ingham suggests one application could be for recruiters to scope out a personalised role that an individual could play in an organisation, particularly if they have been identified as top-level talent. 

“The technology allows recruiters to do this but few organisations are talent-centric enough to want to try,” he says. The main opportunity is to use collaborative tools internally to share information between recruiters or with hiring managers and agency or internal recruiting functions.

“Recruiters could be collaborating over defining job specifications, encouraging employee referrals, comparing candidates and deciding on offers over reward,” Ingham says.


More recruitment tips:

Why hiring young talent creates opportunities for innovation

Data in hiring

AI in the workplace is a diversity issue HR needs to take control of

5. Location technology 

Geolocation is the ability to identify the real-world geographic position of a person from their mobile phone or computer device, typically using the user’s internet protocol (IP).

Still in its early stages, it offers a low-cost way to target potential candidates on the move at an individual level and alert them to relevant job vacancies. Last year, mutual insurance, retirement and investment group LV= became one of the first employers to use IP recognition on its careers site so it could automatically provide candidates with vacancies and contact information relevant to their location.

How it will impact the way you work?

It has the potential to bring recruitment and HR teams much closer to the right talent. Despite increased mobility, a large part of recruitment is still conducted at local level.

“When you ask jobseekers what is important to them, the three things are always salary, job title and location,” says John Salt, director of, which has released a feature that tells people about vacancies near their location or as they travel through a particular area such as on their commute.

Salt believes the ability to serve up targeted job advertising based on location is something jobseekers now expect and that HR professionals should take note.


6. Video interviewing

The level of development has so far exceeded HR and recruitment’s appetite to use the tools available. But this may be changing: a survey this year by specialist recruitment consultancy OfficeTeam UK found 41% of HR directors had increased their use of video-conferencing to conduct interviews compared with 2010. 

How it will impact the way you work?

Video interviewing can pick up on subtle emotional clues and body language. Although this should not replace face-to-face interviews, its speed and convenience allows more candidates to be seen close-up, together with something of the personality, in the early stages of the recruitment process. 

Video is also the medium of younger generations so HR must become more accepting of its place in the recruitment process. “Managers are finding it increasingly difficult to source skilled local professionals and are turning towards technology to assist them,” says Phil Sheridan, managing director of OfficeTeam UK.

“It [video] is particularly useful for candidates who have a long journey and allows hiring managers to conduct a visual and verbal assessment of the candidate.” 

There are an increasing number of tools and services built specifically for the recruitment market, including Sonru, Video-recruit, Tazio, The Interview Co-ordinator, LaunchPad Recruits and US-based HireVue.

Many facilitate asynchronous interviewing: typically, candidates answer a list of questions from the employer and the interview is recorded at a place and time that is convenient to them. The video clip can be shared with everyone in the hiring process.


7. Internet sourcing

At the most sophisticated level, internet sourcing refers to highly-skilled individuals deploying a range of advanced searching techniques to seek out hard-to-find talent. On an everyday level, social and professional networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, BeKnown and XING have become the sourcing tools of the trade for hiring professionals.

How it will impact the way you work?

The advent of LinkedIn and Facebook challenged conventional recruitment practices. Suddenly, by performing keyword searches in-house recruiters and HR departments could gain access to the same candidate details previously held only by established recruitment agencies. 

“Every recruitment team, in-house or agency, should have a clear strategy around how they use LinkedIn, whether they pay for the service or not,” says Katharine Robinson, a renowned sourcer in the UK (also known as the Sourceress).

“LinkedIn holds so much data and its search tools are phenomenal for intelligence-gathering as well as identifying potential candidates. It’s also important for organisations to consider what they would do if they lost LinkedIn.” 

But there is far more to internet sourcing than LinkedIn. Google+ is under-used for recruitment but, as Robinson points out, its relative newness has the advantage of holding up-to-date profiles.

Meanwhile on Facebook, a tool called Graph Search launched this year helps to make people and their information “more discoverable”, says Robinson.

The challenge for in-house teams is to find the tools and techniques that will point them towards the right talent cost-effectively. Semantic search capability, which bases its results on meaning rather than a word-for-word match, promises much but is still in the early adoption phase.

Tools to consider here include Monster’s SeeMore which uses its 6Sense semantic search technology for skills-matching and Evenbase’s Jobtology. 

Also helping to make sense of social recruiting channels is Bullhorn Reach, whose app allows recruitment teams to target sections of their social networks and has 1.5 million users worldwide.

Natasha Dallyn, specialist marketing recruiter at Dynamic New Alliances, says the app is essential for the career agency’s day-to-day activities. “We can add vacancies to our recruiters’ primary feeds in LinkedIn and to relevant groups,” she says. “Once a candidate clicks on a job, they are taken through to our agency’s Bullhorn Reach profile, which acts like an internal job board."