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Times They Are A-Changin’

The green shoots of recovery have well and truly taken root if all the latest reports are to be believed. The figurative trees of finance are in full bloom and bearing the fruit of some considerable size and value. Employers are feeling more and more confident, order books are the fullest they’ve been for some time, manufacturing growth is likely to outstrip the economy in 2014 and recruitment saw its strongest rise since March 2010. So, what’s actually a changin’ as a result of all of this new found optimism and growth in global economies in terms of recruitment?

Recruitment is one of the first business activities to stop when the economy starts to slow and one of the last to resume when the good times return. What happens in the period in between is fairly obvious - recruitment all but grinds to a halt. So, when those shoots of recovery take a firm hold, hiring managers would typically reach for the phone and push that reactive hire button with some gusto and start taking calls from staffing companies who happen to have that “exceptional candidate” who is looking for a new opportunity with a business just like theirs.  This approach would deliver the expected solution; the vacancy would be filled, but a knee-jerk reaction would not always help the business to prepare for the future.

So if that reactive approach is the “old way” of doing things, what’s changed? Technology is playing a big part in this shift in what is the deemed the “right” way to tackle recruitment. Mobile devices, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and social media are all contributing towards a more targeted and considered hiring process as I will discuss later, but that in my opinion is just an enabler. Sure the tech can help, but it ain’t no silver bullet. Smart businesses have changed their entire approach to recruitment; they are considering their firm’s future, taking a step away from that reactive hire button and identifying the kinds of skills the business will need through the good times and the bad in order to reach business objectives. So, what are these businesses actively doing differently in this 21st-century world of recruitment?

Employer Brand

“Build it and they will come” as Ray Kinsella from Field of Dreams is often misquoted saying. Use your brand to speak to potential employees. Your brand is represented by all of your marketing collateral including your website, careers pages, social media channels and documents – anything that you as a business are associated with. Make sure all of that material is honest, to the point and above all, consistent. Your employer brand is a powerful asset in recruitment marketing; get it right and your attraction efforts will reap results. And do keep in mind what your mother told you when you were much younger: first impressions DO count.

Social Media & Content

Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay, so take advantage of it, share excellent content and always keep your audience at the forefront of your mind. Social media should be used as a means of building on the existing brand frameworks – it should reflect the tone, culture and values of your business in order to be relevant to both prospective clients and potential employees. People want to work within dynamic, progressive environments that are sure of their place in the market and have character, so use social media to convey why your business is unique.

Talent Warehousing

After you have consciously reviewed your employer branding efforts and ensured they are being regularly maintained, you should start to see people choosing to engage with your business by following you on Twitter, opting into email marketing campaigns, sharing your content etc. These engaged individuals are valuable and your relationship with them should be nurtured over time via talent warehousing, which is a strategic way to build a pool of candidates that have bought into your Employer Branding. The information you have from folk who want to be part of your business is very powerful, so invest in a CRM system to manage it, and most importantly, USE IT! Just as you would utilise social media channels to promote your business to customers, share relevant, timely and interesting content with them, keep them informed of what’s happening with your business and when you’re ready to hire again, your warehouse should be the first port of call.


By embracing emerging technologies and scoping out their USP’s as a brand, companies will be able to stand out from their competitors. There is and always will be a role for recruitment agencies to play as part of your overall talent acquisition strategy and certainly more so within niche industries areas, but at Bob said, times they are a changin’.