Recruitment 5.0: The Future of Recruiting — the Final Chapter

(This article was co-authored with Amy McKee, Sr. Director, Global Talent Acquisition, at Autodesk.)

Mobile …finally! DNA footprints in the cloud; recruiting back to basics: getting to know the candidate; the end of the traditional ATS; emerging markets dominate; augmented reality; disruptive marketing and stunt PR; the end of social media; candidate cloning and the end of recruiters as we know it!

The impact and level of debate created by Recruitment 3.0 & 4.0, certainly took us by surprise. Based on feedback, it is clear that there has been healthy discussion and many companies have re-appraised/reviewed their recruiting strategies.

Recruitment 5.0 is the final paper in the trilogy.

3.0 was all about building.

4.0 all about driving value.

5.0 is all about … Personalization, self-sufficiency, predictability, big data, and back to basics.

The defining features of Recruitment 5.0:

  • Mobile recruiting finally takes off and becomes the dominant channel.
  • Recruiting gets back to basics and focuses on building relationships. Included in this is a focus on personalization/humanization and dominating/driving communications.
  • Footprints in the cloud. Companies obsessively get to know their customers/consumers, and recruiters do the same with their “corporate” talent pools
  • Data DNA: Companies draw data to profile candidates based on online habits and trends.
  • Technological developments bring an end to the traditional ATS.
  • Emerging markets emerge and dominate.
  • Augmented reality and disruptive marketing dominate recruiting marketing.
  • As companies seek to attract the best talent in a candidate short market, they set up their own courses, universities/academies, and “clone” future employees.
  • As talent becomes more scarce, talent becomes more contract by nature and more flexible.
  • It’s the end of recruiters as we know it … the death of the recruiting profession?

Some meaty stuff.

Reviewing these bullet points, some companies are already experimenting and executing on elements, but as time passes, these will become dominant in our thoughts, plans and strategies.

Let’s explore in more detail.

Mobile Recruiting … Finally Takes Off

This may seem rather surreal to include mobile under Recruitment 5.0 Many would include it under Recruitment 3.0. But adoption of mobile has been super slow in adoption by recruiting, thus the placement in 5.0. There is a definite time lag in mobile adoption for recruiting purposes. (Embarrassingly, this problem is thanks to us in that we are not providing candidates the tools to look and apply for jobs on mobile and not the other way round, as candidates are wanting to use their mobiles to try and look for jobs).

The demand is there for mobile job search but the supply isn’t. In a recent study, Dr. John Sullivan & Associates, found that only 8% of Fortune 100 company careers sites are mobile enabled. Further analysis showed that of the largest 35 companies in the U.S. and UK, only four had mobile-enabled careers sites, with only one having a mobile recruiting app. That hardly screams mass adoption. That shouts of delay and skepticism and laziness in adoption.

Mobile is not the silver bullet of recruiting that many proclaim but it will become a key channel in the recruiting mix and arguably THE key channel. It cannot, as it is now, be ignored.

Mobile recruiting is not new. Five to ten years ago companies were experimenting with SMS messaging campaigns. That’s a long way from today. What is pushing mobile adoption and stimulating recruiting’s interest in mobile is the rise of the smart phone which is really making mobile a mass market medium. Based on current projections by Morgan Stanley, within the next three years, mobile Internet users will exceed desktop users. Some predict that this may even happen in 2013.

These final stats are powerful:

  • Mobile now accounts for 10% of Internet usage worldwide (this has more than doubled over last 18 months) (The Next Web)
  • 1.08 of the world’s 4 billion mobile phones are smartphones
  • Apple and Android represent more than 75% of the smartphone market
  • 7.96% of all web traffic in the U.S. is mobile traffic. That number skyrockets to 14.85% in Africa, and 17.84% in Asia — up 192.5% since 2010
  • 29% of mobile users are open to scanning a mobile tag to get coupons
  • 39% of instances where a consumer walks out of a store without buying were influenced by smartphones
  • 91% of mobile Internet access is for social activities, versus just 79% on desktops (Source: Hubspot)
  • Over 1/3 of Facebook’s users access Facebook Mobile; 50% of Twitter’s users use Twitter Mobile

Facebook said at the last GigaOM Mobilize Conference that mobile was its key growth area. It stated that it has more than 320m active mobile users who log into Facebook twice as often as desktop users. The CTO then said that “within 12 to 18 months you will consider Facebook a mobile company and not a social company.” That’s a bold statement.

Let’s turn now to recruiting and mobile.

Research is showing us that people are actively searching for jobs on their mobile phones. Interesting, while people are looking at jobs throughout the day, they wait until they get home and apply via desktop. The technology for applying and linking resumes/CVs is not quite there. Mobile Internet research shows us that the heaviest usage of mobile Internet is between 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Comscore estimates that the UK has 2.8 m job-seekers a month accessing job listing from mobile devices, with 67% looking every day. PotentialPark research that 88% of job seekers are or would search for jobs via the mobile Internet, with one in three job seekers wanting to actually apply from their handset.

Mobile offers great opportunities to build trust and brand awareness and engage with talent. In India, consumers are leapfrogging traditional media and the PC to embrace mobile devices, while low literacy rates spur the development of voice activated web sites and services.

Perhaps one of the reasons for low adoption of mobile is confusion over what to do. Go for a mobile-enabled site or create a mobile app?

mSite or App?

So what do you go for? An mSite or a mobile app? Or both? Let’s differentiate the two.

An mSite is a mobile-optimized website (i.e. a site that is visible on your desktop and can be viewed on a mobile device without a loss in visual). mSites will run on any modern smartphone. If a site is not mobile enabled, graphics may not appear, text may not load, and thus it may create a bad experience for the viewer. The design of an mSite is generally much simpler and cleaner with less emphasis on graphics. Too many graphics and download speeds with frustrate end users, and some phones like iPhone/iPad don’t support flash.

The big advantage to mobile-optimized sites is that they can respond to finger tapping and movement on screen, creating a more engaging and interactive candidate experience.

In comparison, an app is designed for specific mobile operating systems. Apps can be designed for iPads/iPhones, Android, Blackberry, etc, and are normally downloaded through stores such as iTunes and Google Marketplace.

What should your company have?

Ensuring that your careers site is mobile enabled is Step 1  It ensures that, after mobile optimization, your site is open to viewing on a range of smart phones and critically attracts mobile Google searches (mSites appear in Google mobile).

An app can provide a richer candidate experience, employment branding opportunities, and critically the advantage of push notifications. These are real-time messages that alert candidates of an immediate call to action like a job alert. Mobile phone users respond quickly to such push alerts.

Comscore estimates that 50% of all mobile Internet use is via apps (iPhone being the biggest).

Mobile Apps

So what should an app contain? At Autodesk we have been developing an app for quite some time.

The key questions that have dominated passionate debate have been:

  • Who will download the app?
  • Why should they download it?
  • If downloaded, why should someone keep the app live on their phone/tablet?
  • What causes people to repeat visit?
  • Why should passive job seekers (i.e. those not looking) download the app?
  • What does success look like?
  • How do we market and build a mobile community?

In many ways, you only get one shot at releasing an app and persuading people to download. If they download and they don’t like what they see, the chances of getting them to download in the future are slim (even if enhancements are made). This is why we have delayed the release of the Autodesker app. The key is releasing an app when you are happy with it.

To help you in your decisions over mobile apps and content, we are providing an insight into the Autodesk app as we ready for launch. This is by no means a perfect app but meant to stimulate your imagination for your own mobile strategy.

“Autodeskers” Mobile App Home Page

The home page is the hub of the app and contains key links to content throughout the site.

Keeping the app simple (and one that translate to iPhones & Android), the search functionality/tabs have been restricted to:

  • Home Page
  • Job Search 
  • Gallery/photos  (a section dedicated to images of what our software has helped create)
  • Social (One-stop social media aggregator)
  • Information (“About Us” and “Meet the People,” and so on)

The home page includes our game Fake or Foto where there are 12 pictures and people have to guess if they are real photos or computer trickery, (i.e. computer generated). It’s fun, but this also reinforces Autodesk’s software capabilities.

Continuing the theme of humanizing the brand, there is a montage of photos of people and a call to action to in the Meet Us section.

The home page also contains a link to the “Autodeskers” blog page. All stories/images/videos can be viewed and the reader can comment on all stories and share content across their social pages for their friends to view.

There is also a roll call of the latest jobs just posted. The page is dominated by an image which changes each time you log in/refresh the page. This keeps the page feeling new. We have also placed some a video linked to YouTube.

Let’s delve a little deeper past the home page.

Work with Us — Job Search

Mobile technology has been slow in linking in the ability to apply direct into databases. This is now a reality and one which will see the takeoff of mobile recruiting.

The key is that the job seeker can register for the latest job alerts as we post jobs according to their preferences, (skills, location, etc.). These alerts take the form of popup messages on their phone which are hyperlinked to the new job.

About Us — Company Information

Of course an app needs company information. While this can be criticized as just being about marketing spin, those in the app may want to learn more about the company. They may want to gain a feel for what life is like behind the corporate iron curtain. The goal is to inform a potential recruit/brand enthusiast about life at Autodesk. But this has been kept visual and kept brief. We took the opinion that if someone is in the app, we did not want them to leave the app to look at info on other Autodesk sites.

Look at Us — the Gallery

We wanted our app to be visual and feel fun, which was the goal of our Gallery section. It is certainly visual. It impresses the multiple ways that our software helps create the world around us, be it cars, bridges, buildings, video games, films visual effects or consumer products and apps like Sketchbook Pro, 123D Sculpt and Pixlr.

Meet Us — Humanizing the Brand

People buy from people. Thus the goal of having a number of employee profiles. The profiles are written in the words of the employees. We used pictures they have provided, (not corporate headshots looking like an employee caught petrified in the headlights of an incoming camera crew). This makes it feel more authentic.

Talk With Us — Social Media Aggregator

Social media is key to gaining that repeat visitor and creating that reason to come back. Creating a “one-stop” for key social media channels on the app was central to its design.

Rather than have a candidate/brand ambassador visit each of our social media sites and waste time logging into each of them, the app presents the ideal way to quickly and efficiently join in with discussions on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and YouTube. You can also view art created by consumers with Sketchbook Pro on Flickr. This page presents a key reason why people keep the app on their phone/tablet and come back for more on a daily basis.

Game Time

With a focus on why someone would download and keep this app on their phone, we needed another aspect to add to the social media one-stop aggregator. That was … fun and games.

Fake or Foto was born.

It’s a mix of real photos with images visualized with computer graphics. The challenge is to spot the difference and test your eyesight. There are 12 images and each can be enlarged to full screen. Then, boom, say if it is “Fake or Foto.” It’s great fun but more importantly people will subconsciously think “Wow, I cannot tell the difference between a real photo and what your software creates.”

Then hopefully they share the content with their friends and challenge them to beat their score. The goal is for the game to go viral.

Hopefully this section gets you thinking about what you can achieve with an app. But most of all understand the real power of mobile for recruiting and building your employment brand awareness.

DNA Footprints in the Cloud; Knowing Your Audience 

Only a few years back most people logged on to the Internet to access their emails, search the web, and maybe do some online shopping. Our corporate web sites were just “push-message” vehicles for corporate marketing to spread the message and detail product information. Corporate marketing was not even worried about how many people clicked “Like” on their page! We have traveled a long way since then.

Fast forward to 2012 and there are a plethora of online communities and social networking sites. We do most of our shopping and banking online. Some of us reinforce our beliefs and opinions through our crowds/friend networks. We rely far more on our “friends,” (often people we have never met) on social sites and trust their judgement on what films to see, what hotels to stay in, what holidays to go on, what cars to buy, clothes to wear, and stances to take on news issues. Social media has created platforms for individuals to become stars; e.g. Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, posting to YouTube in their “undiscovered” days.

More than 1.5 billion people are on social networking sites. Almost one in five hours is spent on these networks, increasingly on mobile devices. These social networks have been a cultural, social, and economic phenomenon. New social behaviors have been created, new freedoms gained. Social media has been used for organizing political activities as seen in the Arab Spring. Planning weddings. Playing games. Talking with companies.

Social media is not just about consumers/people. Businesses are rushing to use social networks and communities, to help them get “informed” opinions, generate new consumer insights, and conduct online focus groups. Companies are using the web to listen, watch trends, and monitor chatter (e.g. through Radian 6). In Recruitment 4.0 we referenced “Crowdsourcing,” “Crowdfunding” and the whole power of the crowd, which can be harnessed by business.

This is a lot of communication.  That is even more information. Information is data. Data is power.

Data is everywhere. Just take a step back and reflect on the explosion of data in the world today. Companies around the world are capturing trillions of bytes of information about their customers, suppliers, and operations. Coupled with that, the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet is fueling the growth in data and what can be learned about people and their habits.

Analyzing these massive sets of data — Big Data — will become the central point of competition, driving productivity growth, innovation — and this applies to recruiting.

What we do with this data in recruiting will be key.

Imagine a world in which recruiters receive job applications, weighted and analyzed based on data patterns and “footprints” in the cloud, which weigh & rank:

  • Skill sets
  • Successes
  • Strength and depth of networks (e.g. LinkedIn connections)
  • Experience  (People who have worked at certain companies have a better track record of success)
  • Educational background  (people with certain educations have a better track record of success based on your company’s previous hires)
  • Behavioral patterns  (“Footprints” in the cloud)/what sites have been visited
  • Psychological profiling (what people do and say)

Result: The computerized pre-selection and ranking of candidates. The “ideal” shortlist.

Appealing? Bizarre? Unethical? Legally sketchy?

Hiring managers want anything that provides them a clearer insight into an individual and reduces the change of a mis-hire. Big Data brings that one step closer.

The cost of a bad hire? Harvard Business School defines that as three to five times an employee’s annualized compensation.  In specialist functions it defines that as 10 times an annual salary. That’s a lot of money and wasted time. This is a cost that hiring managers want to avoid and if better assessments and insights into candidates help make recruiting more “predictable” then there will be an appetite for it.

Houston, We Have a Problem

This section of the article is controversial. There are risks and big issues surrounding data usage. This raises a host of ethical, legal, and other issues including privacy, due process, equality, security, and liability.   We are not advocating these practices and Autodesk does not engage in these practices.

Of all these, privacy is perhaps the biggest concern. Profiling technologies make possible an intrusive analysis of an individual’s behavior and preferences. Behavioral and psychological profiling are key examples. Profiles can reveal private and personal information about individuals that they might not even know about themselves.

Profiling technologies are potentially very discriminatory tools. They allow unequaled kinds of social ranking and segmentation which could have alarming effects; for example, profiled individuals may be excluded from important offers or opportunities by the nature of how they have been profiled. The process of profiling is more often than not invisible for those who are being profiled. This creates difficulties in that it becomes virtually impossible to contest being ranked into any particular grouping. Also, scarily, is the potential of profiles ending up in the hands of the wrong people who use the information for criminal purposes, such as identity theft. It will be interesting to see how this highly controversial area of evolves.

Big Data

Let’s explore Big Data some more.

The McKinsey Institute published a superb report in May 2011 entitled, Big Data: The Next Frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. In this report some truly impressive stats were published:

  • $600 buys a disk drive that can store all of the world’s music
  • 5 billion mobile phones were in use in 2010
  • 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month
  • 40% projected growth in global data is generated vs. 5% growth in global IT spending
  • 235 terabytes of data was collected by the U.S. Library of Congress by April 2011
  • 15 out of 17 sectors in the United States have more data stored per company than the U.S. Library of Congress
  • There’s $300 billion potential annual value to U.S. health care, more than double the total annual health care spending in Spain
  • There’s €250 billion potential annual value to Europe’s public sector administration — more than the GDP of Greece
  • A $600 billion potential annual consumer surplus from using personal location data globally
  • 60% potential increase in retailers’ operating margins is possible with big data
  • 140,000 — 190,000 more deep analytical talent positions and 1.5 million more data savvy managers are needed to take full advantage of big data in the United States

“Big Brother” data is monitoring and teaching companies about us as we speak. Consider all the millions of networked sensors which are in place in cars, iPads, and mobile phones. These technologies sense, monitor, and communicate data back to their originators. Our trends and behaviors are being monitored so companies can learn more and better tailor their propositions to the market: behavioral targeting.

The ability to study and  gain real value from data increases as the amount of data captured rises. Companies are using this to good effect already, especially predictivity. Amazon makes recommendations to you based on your buying and viewing trends. The same is true with iTunes and services like Spotify or Pandora. Recommendations are made for other bands or music that data match your current listening favorites. Both Apple and Amazon use this data predictivity or behavioral targeting to drive additional sales.

When a consumer or customer visits a web site, the pages they visit, the length of time spent viewing each page, the links they click on, the searches they make, and all the elements they interact with, allow sites to collect, store, disseminate, and analyze that data. This data creates a profile that links to that visitor’s web browser.

With the data collected, website publishers can use this data to group similar data matches together. When a visitor returns to a specific site or network of sites using the same web browser, those profiles can be used to target customers likely to be interested in their product. Most platforms identify visitors by assigning a unique ID cookie to each and every visitor to the site, thereby allowing them to be tracked throughout their web journey. The platform then make a rules-based decision about what content to serve. This in theory maximizes the chances of tailored messaging and greater sales.

If this drive to understand the “DNA” of candidates and the stack ranking of individuals is the future, you may ask for evidence today pointing to this.

Some technologies are available today to stack-rank candidates based on simple criteria. LinkedIn provides us candidate matches based on complex algorithms.

But what other examples, however basic, show us a potential of the future?

Tweet Psych is an example of psychological profiling that exists today.

Psychological Profiling on Twitter

Psychological profiling is a controversial area.

When people come in for interview they have their interview face on. Their polished personality is ready to go and they are well-rehearsed … and fake.

Some companies insist on psychological profiling through assessments.

But understanding a person and who they really are is important for a company since they want to avoid expensive mishires and “team disruptors.” If we deem that people are not putting an act on over social media and “speaking their mind,” then analyzing tweets can make interesting reading. While early days the basic technology is in place which is attempting to do this. Take a look at Tweet Psych.

Communication is a window into a person’s mind and the way a person talks can tell you a lot about how they think. Linguists have developed two methods to decoding the written word into a meaningful profile of a person’s cognitive processes.

One method is called the Regressive Imagery Dictionary. This coding scheme is designed to measure the amount and type of three categories of content: primordial (the unconscious way you think, like in dreams), conceptual (logical and rational though), and emotional.

The other method is Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC), which measures the cognitive and emotional properties of a person based on the words they use.

TweetPsych uses the both the LIWC and RID to build a psychological profile of a person based on the content of their Tweets. It claims to compare the content of a user’s tweets to a baseline reading built by analyzing an ever-expanding group of more than 1.5 million random tweets and highlighting areas where the user stands out.

The service analyzes the last 1,000 tweets; as such, it works best on users who have posted more than 1,000 updates. It is also better suited for running analyses on accounts that are operated by a single user and use Twitter in a conversational manner, rather than simply a content distribution platform.

What is attempted to be measured?

  • Anxiety
  • Oral Fixation
  • Work
  • Positive Emotions
  • Negative Emotions
  • Social Behavior
  • Sadness
  • Spirituality
  • Swears (bad language)
  • Sexual References
  • Sleeping
  • Sports
  • Education
  • Self-Reference
  • Money
  • Entertainment

Once done effectively, recruiters will surely want to use this data. It will be a legal minefield and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

LinkedIn: “Pole Position”

Bearing in mind the two case studies above, and the whole potential in this area, who is in prime position to benefit from this desire for behavioral and psychological profiling?

LinkedIn of course is in the pole position.

Though it may not want to follow certain paths such as psychological profiling for ethical reasons, if it wanted to it has access to:

  • Skills/expertise
  • Experience (companies worked for, etc., and length of time at them)
  • Career progression (duration at certain positions and their seniority)
  • Training and development
  • Education
  • Further education
  • References
  • Interests groups/associations/discussion groups members
  • Comments made in those groups (maybe analyzed psychologically)
  • Personal information
  • Articles we read
  • Articles we share
  • Profiles we look at/befriend
  • Size and quality of our networks
  • Updates we make (again analyzed against certain data)
  • What we click “Like” on

You get the idea. Obsessively knowing your audience is key for business and recruiting.

Reflect on this: Your/Our DNA and footprints are embedded all over the cloud.

Recruiting Goes ‘Back to Basics’: Identifying and Building Relationships with Candidates and Keeping it Simple; Personalization Added to Humanization

Remember the good old days of Recruitment 1.0, at the very start.

Recruiting was about building relationships. It was essentially a sales profession. It was about getting to know candidates and their motivations and providing great candidate experiences.

This has been lost over recent years.

The reverse has happened. Candidate care and building relationships has not been a priority for recruiters. This can be linked to the reliance on technology. Recruiters are not picking up the phone and speaking to candidates but instead relying on emails and InMails, posting jobs to job boards, and then waiting for the electronic response. When candidates apply for a job they get a standardized bounce-back email with the hallowed words “thank you for your application. A recruiter will review your skills and experience against those required for the role.”

The reliance on the bounce-back email when someone has applied for a role is one of the criminal injustices of recruiting in this generation.

Recruitment 3.0 detailed the candidate experience and how to influence each stage. Recruitment 5.0 looks at getting back to the very basics of recruiting:

  • Picking up the phone
  • Building relationships with candidates (even if they aren’t a candidate today)
  • Identifying key motivators for candidates
  • Understanding business strategies and cultural fit
  • Advising the business and being a consultant on the talent market

We cannot get away from technology and mass communication which actually assists recruiters. But, how can we can take the data we have and personalize or humanize the message to candidates? How do we get back to the basics and reconnect with individuals and form relationships?

Back to big data. In the era of 5.0 we strive to get more data on people and understand trends and behaviors, and a key driver will be personalization. This is particularly true in terms of defining a great candidate experience and employment brand marketing. Technology has a part in providing a better candidate experience, whether real or perceived. Personalization technology adds to perceived personalized candidate experience.

Wikipedia defines personalization technology as enabling “the dynamic insertion, customization, or suggestion of content in any format that is relevant to the individual user, based on the user’s implicit behavior and preferences, and explicitly given details.

Any content (content includes images and text), can be inserted to a form of communication, and that communication could take the form of an email, app, social media communication, and it is personalized for that individual. An individual communication for an individual! Thus, making the individual feel more special!

Companies not only seek to personalize emails/direct communication to individuals. Web pages can be personalized based on an individual’s characteristics, (e.g. interests, social category, context …). Shopping sites are great at this — Amazon, iTunes, Wal-Mart, etc. Personalization leads us to make the assumption that the personalized changes are based on implicit data, such as web pages looked at or items purchased off the web. Personalization is differentiated from customization. Customization is where a website only uses explicit data such as ratings or preferences.

There are three categories of personalization:

  1. Profile/group based
  2. Behavior based (also known as Wisdom of the Crowds)
  3. Collaboration based

There are three broad methods of personalization:

  1. Implicit
  2. Explicit
  3. Hybrid

With implicit personalization the personalization is performed by the web page (or information system) based on the different categories mentioned above. With explicit personalization, the web page (or information system) is changed by the user using features generated by the system. Hybrid personalization combines both features and gains the best of both worlds.

Creating a personalized experience is key to 5.0. Whether that is achieved through a back to basics approach or whether that is through the use of personalized technology both are key to make a candidate feel special and cherished. It’s time for recruiters to get back to basics!

The End of the Traditional ATS

My dad always told me that a good workman never blames their tools.

But don’t we hear recruiters doing just that every day?

More often than not, at the root of their gripes is the amount of work and effort that it takes to source and engage great candidates and then lose that momentum by lacking an effective central repository to store, access, and mine all those great leads (both as an individual recruiter and as a wider team).

How often do you hear recruiters bemoaning their company’s ATS, or talent acquisition system? The clarion call is heard of recruiters squealing: “Our ATS is too slow”; “Candidate information is out of date”; “It takes too long to add candidates”; “The search functionality is bust”; “It requires too many clicks to get to the information”; “It’s impossible to segment the data”; and “I can’t target/market to the candidates I want.” Sound familiar?

But maybe we are on the cusp of a new era. We may not hear these Twitterings of discontent again. So here’s a bold prediction for you.

Within three to five years there will be no need for a traditional ATS. LinkedIn will have made them defunct.

This may seem farfetched to many. But take a step back and review today’s reality.

The issue today is that recruiters are still building their talent pools outside of the traditional ATS. Not every candidate applies for a job via a corporate careers site, (which is the standard route into the ATS). Maybe recruiters are proactively sourcing candidates in LinkedIn and reaching out to passive candidates via InMails; maybe they are doing Boolean searches on Google; maybe using job boards or storing info in Excel spreadsheets. Many companies may be doing good ol’ fashioned headhunting and picking up the phone and networking.

How much of this information gets back to the ATS? In reality, very little gets back into the ATS and it becomes more of an offer-processing tool. Given demands on recruiters to find the best talent, leaders can’t expect, and would not appreciate, recruiters spending their time in data entry mode getting all this data registered into the ATS.

This poses other more serious questions if an ATS is not capturing all candidate applications or pipelines. What happens to those talent pools if and when a recruiter moves on? How good can the candidate experience be if they are left rotting in a solitary recruiter’s inbox? Which company would want to lose that information? By not using a central repository to record, store, and track talent, how much talent are we losing or ignoring?

So what’s the solution if ATS’s aren’t fulfilling their very core goals?

Here’s where we keep an eye on what LinkedIn is doing.

LinkedIn is moving into this space through several initiatives. First of all, “Work for us” allows companies to post advertising/employment branding information on their employees profiles on LinkedIn, so when someone looks at an employee’s profile they will be subconsciously taking in the company information.

Talent Pipeline is another step forward with several key benefits. It’s essentially a CRM which allows leads to be centralized — whatever source they have come from (company careers sites, ATS, job boards, direct sourcing) — in one place. It permits all these leads and CVs to be imported from anywhere into LinkedIn Recruiter, allowing recruiters to search, track, and share leads like any profile sourced from LinkedIn. Recruiters can then organize and evaluate pipelines with the ability to use tools to add tags, source, status, and notes. They can even run activity reports.

What’s great about this is that most ATS’s have a lot of stale data. Over time CVs need updating so a database will always be dying over time. How many candidates send in updated resumes to an ATS? People tend to consistently update and maintain their LinkedIn profile. Talent Pipeline transforms these stale leads into dynamic LinkedIn profiles by connecting outside leads directly to their LinkedIn profiles.

The last benefit is that Talent Pipeline connects an entire recruiting organization on one platform allowing lead sharing, activity updates, and access to the latest information for all the team. It finally brings the technology of search agencies to the in-house recruiter.

Some will rightly point out that this LinkedIn functionality does not cover all ATS functionality. True. But it does show a clear step by LinkedIn and one that will have recruiting organizations asking whether it is time to switch off the current ATS.

This is not a promo piece for LinkedIn but recognition that traditional ATS systems have not made the right impact for recruiters. There is a void and that void will be filled and companies like LinkedIn are forging the way.

Emerging Markets Emerge and Dominate

By 2025, it is forecast that annual consumption in emerging markets will reach $30 trillion. This represents the biggest growth opportunity in the history of capitalism — a phenomenal opportunity!

The Industrial Revolution is widely seen as one of the most important events in economic history. Yet, in many ways, this will pale into insignificance. The rise of a new consuming class in emerging countries is the predominant trend, something that all companies want to be part of, shape, and exploit.

CEOs at most large multinational firms admit that emerging markets are the key to long-term success. But the problem is many execs are stumped by the complexity of taking advantage of this opportunity. Despite these execs running companies that are bigger, have superior product technology, larger capital bases, and the best marketing tools, they are struggling to compete against local companies.

This is demonstrable through statistics. In 2010, 100 of the world’s largest companies headquartered in developed economies earned just 17% of their total revenue from emerging markets, but these markets accounted for 36% of global GDP, (and projected to contribute more than 70% of Global GDP growth between now and 2025).

By 2025, McKinsey Global Institute estimates annual consumption in emerging markets rising to $30 trillion, up from $12 trillion in 2010, and accounting for nearly 50% of the world’s total, (up from 32% in 2010). As a result, emerging-market consumers will become the prevailing dominant force in the global economy. In 15 years, almost 60% of the approximately 1 billion households with earnings greater than $20,000 a year will live in the developing world. In many product categories, such as white goods and electronics, emerging market consumers will account for the overwhelming majority of global demand. That is a seismic change.

Trailblazing the way forward is a new generation of consumers, in their twenties and early thirties, who are confident their incomes will rise, are highly ambitious, and are willing to spend. Already, more than half of all global Internet users are in emerging markets. For example, in Brazil, social network penetration, even in 2010, was the second-highest in the world. A McKinsey survey of urban African consumers in 15 cities in 10 different countries found that almost 60% owned Internet capable phones or smartphones. As e-commerce and mobile payment systems spread to even the most remote hamlets, emerging consumers are shaping, not just participating in the digital revolution.

The preferences of emerging market consumers also will drive global innovation in product design, manufacturing, distribution channels, and supply chain management. This impacts on our world … recruiting.

To win in emerging markets, developed market companies must be willing to embrace massive changes fast. Companies will need to be able to reallocate resources quickly or face being wiped out by local competitors. Research points to emerging market companies redeploying investment across business units at much higher rates than companies located in developed markets.

Unskilled workers may be plentiful in emerging societies, but skilled managers are scarce and hard to retain. In China barely two million local managers have the managerial and English language capabilities multinationals need. A recent McKinsey survey found that senior managers working for the China divisions of multinational firms switch companies at a rate of 30 to 40% a year (five times the global average).

Barely half of the executives thought their organizations effectively tailored recruiting, training, and development processes across geographies. In a recent McKinsey survey, data showed that just 2% of their top 200 employees hailed from key Asian emerging markets. That is a scary trend.

How should companies react, especially developed market companies? Some companies are increasing salaries to win. As we recruiters know, this is often a temporary solution. In emerging markets, global firms must develop clear EVPs to differentiate themselves from local competitors. In South Korea, L’Oreal made itself the top choice for female sales and marketing talent by creating greater opportunities for brand managers, improving working hours, expanding the child care infrastructure, and adopting a more transparent communications style. Other Western firms, like Motorola and Nestle, have enhanced their employment brands by building relationships with employees’ families.

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Deepening ties between key corporate functions and emerging markets can create opportunities for local talent while enhancing organizational effectiveness. Companies like Cisco, HSBC, and Schneider Electric have benefited from strengthening links between headquarters and high-growth regions and offering emerging market managers global career paths and mobility programs.

Given the leadership requirements of emerging markets, global companies need ambitious talent development targets. They need to multiply the number of leaders in emerging markets tenfold — and to do that in one tenth of the time they would take back home. For example, in India, the Reliance Group (the largest private employer) addressed a leadership gap (a need for circa 200 new functional leaders to support growth initiatives) by recruiting a new wave of 28-34 year old managers and enlisting help from local business schools and management experts to design new development programs.

It will be interesting to see how many recruiting leaders and recruiters from the West relocate to help drive talent acquisition in the emerging markets. What is clear is that the “Global War for Talent” will be the most furious in the emerging economies that will need that talent to grow, expand, and win.

Augmented Reality and Disruptive Marketing … Disrupt, Disrupt, Disrupt

As companies realize the importance of employment brands and the value they bring to building “best-quality” workforces and of course retaining the best staff, employment brand messaging and marketing will start to converge and look very much the same. Companies will all be competing for market share and mind share and need to try and differentiate and be unique in their offerings.

Current EVP messaging focuses on companies proclaiming:

  • We offer the best career development
  • Work/life balance, spending more time with your families
  • Culture — work hard/play hard
  • Climb the ladder, gain promotion
  • Show me the money … pay & conditions

There is a limit to the positioning a company can have. All companies claim to be unique in what they offer new employees but, in reality, few are that different.

Fast forward down the line, as attracting and retaining talent “differentiators” are so similar between companies. How will a company stand out? How does a company “shout out” in the market and get noticed?

If everyone looks the same, then talent will be staring into a sea of blandness.

Therefore, the emphasis will be on augmented reality, disruptive marketing, and stunt PR to get noticed.

We all know that brand is about reputation. It’s what we hear, think, and feel about working at a company. We care about what other people say about a brand, how they rate a product. For example, 2012 marketing data shows that conversion rates are 105% higher when ratings and reviews are used by customers.

So what’s next? Giving customers ways to experience the brand in increasingly personal and emotional ways.

In Recruitment 5.0, augmented reality will be central to employment brand messaging and marketing.

The whole thrust of Recruitment 5.0 is about learning about our communities, gaining knowledge of them, analyzing data about their behaviors — and going hand in hand with that is personalization. On the candidate’s side, as we open up our employment brand, we become more transparent. Candidates will want to experience us.

Experience a company? What does that mean? Work experience? Nice videos? Employee profiles?

Experiencing in Recruitment 5.0 embraces the concept of augmented reality and augmented reality marketing.

What Is Augmented Reality?

Computer graphics today are almost photo realistic. Think of films like Avatar, (designed using Autodesk software), and the gap between graphics and reality is blurred, (almost indistinguishable to the naked human eye). Today, researchers and engineers are partnering with marketing and taking cutting-edge graphics and integrating them into real-world environments. This technology is called augmented reality, which blurs the line between what’s real and what is computer generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel, and smell.

What’s the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality? Virtual reality creates immersive, computer-generated environments, but not in real-world environments. Augmented reality is closer to the real world as it adds graphics, sounds, touchy/feeley feedback, and smell to the natural world as it exists today. Video games and mobiles phones are driving the development of augmented reality.

Augmented reality will start to change the way we view the world. Imagine walking or driving down the street. With augmented-reality displays (currently rather cumbersome spectacles but one day these specs will look like an ordinary pair of glasses or Ray-Bans), informative graphics can appear in your field of view, and audio will coincide with whatever you see. These enhancements would be refreshed continually to match your head movements. (Interestingly, there are iPhones which replicate this today.)

Augmented reality is being enhanced and driven by University research. In February 2009, at the TED conference, Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry of MIT shell-shocked the audience with their “SixthSense” augmented-reality system. SixthSense relies on some basic components: A camera, a small projector, a smartphone, and a mirror. These simple, off-the-shelf components only cost circa $350, meaning a technology that will be relatively cost effective to introduce.

All of these components wed together in a lanyard that an individual wears around their neck. The user wears four colored fingertip caps, and these are used to move and manipulate the projector images.

The projector effectively turns any surface into an interactive screen. The basics of the system is that it uses the camera and mirror to examine the surrounding world, then feeds that image to a phone, (which processes the image, gathers GPS coordinates, and pulls data from the web), and then projects information from the projector onto the surface in front of the user, whether it’s a wrist, a wall, or even a person. Because the user is wearing the camera on their chest, SixthSense will augment whatever they look at: for example, if they pick up a can of a drink in Wal-Mart, SixthSense can project onto the can information about its ingredients, price, and nutritional value. Even cooler is that it could project customer reviews.

Image-recognition software coupled with augmented reality will, quite soon, allow us to point our phones at people, even strangers, and instantly see information from their Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, LinkedIn, or other online profiles. With most of these services people willingly put information about themselves online, but it may be an unwelcome shock to meet someone, only to have them instantly know so much about your life and background.

Software today exists that can “listen” to music and then identify the track name and artist within seconds. Facial recognition is next.

But, like with Big Data, we are back to privacy concerns.

But consider this: recruiters, attending events, going to university campuses, standing outside competitors and identifying key prospects, scanning photos from news stories and then receiving their personal details — e.g. a LinkedIn profile through that facial recognition.

Sounds bizarre now. But we are not far away.

What else does augmented reality bring?

It can give people a real experience of your business, real insight. Imagine a 360-degree view of your office. A candidate gets the chance to “experience” the office and see a desk with their nameplate, and then the ability to upload a photo of them sitting at that desk. Many variations can be developed on this theme, including fun elements like creating a newspaper front page with a massive headline, “X joins Autodesk,” with a picture of the individual scanned in.

Imagine scanning a recruiting ad online, in a magazine, on a billboard, or even walking past an office block, and immediately having a list of relevant jobs presented.   The jobs will be matched against your pre-stored skill sets. A host of information could also be made available including company information, employee profiles, and reviews from sites like Glassdoor. The possibilities are endless.

Augmented Reality and Mobile: a Case Study

There is no point about talking about future technologies like augmented reality without looking at practical examples.

Mobile is a key adopter of early stage augmented reality.

Take a look at Blippar. This is the first image-recognition phone app which a goal of bringing to life real-world newspapers, magazines, products, and posters with exciting augmented reality experiences and immediate content.

Blippar is working with some of the biggest and best brands in the world today, including Unilever, Nestle, Heinz, Diageo, Xbox, Samsung, Cadbury, Domino’s and many more.

The apps use image recognition to launch interactive content on the user’s phone, so an image or logo on the ad is the trigger to launch content on the phone. This Omega watch campaign is a great example.

The print advert has James Bond standing posing, looking suave and sophisticated, with his watch dominant.

With a mobile phone, installed with the Blippar app, scans over the ad and the watch, and brings a 3D version of the watch to the mobile screen.

With this 3D watch image, your can then hover your phone over your wrist and this then allows you to try the watch on. You personally experience what it looks like on your wrist.

By offering a simpler user experience, the Blippar apps have the potential to become a valuable tool for multichannel marketers, offering potential for extending campaigns beyond print, billboards, or whatever advertising medium is being used. And this has great potential for recruiters.

As with QR codes, these apps mean that brands have an opportunity to adapt their marketing messages based on where consumers are geographically when they see them, and also what that location may tell you about their habits.

What is the difference between augmented reality and QR codes?

QR codes are well known for their rather ugly black and white pixelated box (which are added to advertisements). Augmented reality apps like Blippar automatically have an aesthetic advantage over QR codes. Blippar is integrated in the creative (invisibly), and takes the creative itself (the whole poster, a logo, the product itself) as the trigger for an interactive engagement. Cadbury’s Dairy Milk above shows the effect visually.

The only engagement QR offers is a web link to a smart phone (assuming the pixelated box is recognized from a photo the phone takes of it).

It can offer a whole world of potential virtual content on the phone screen including overlayed 3D experiences (3D product views, games etc), video, e-coupons, GPS enabled directions to nearby outlets, web links and more. QR codes could be redundant in the future. 

The Limitations of Augmented Reality

At the moment much of augmented reality is geared to cell phones, (while not exclusive, mobile is the current main vehicle).

Mobile phones have their disadvantages. People may not want to rely on their mobiles, which have tiny screens on which to superimpose information. Wearable devices like SixthSense or augmented-reality capable contact lenses and glasses will provide users with more convenient, expansive views of the world around them. Screen real estate will no longer be an issue.

An overreliance on augmented reality could mean that people are missing out on what’s right in front of them. Imagine an interview and company walk-around/tour. Recruiters may prefer to let candidates use their augmented reality iPhone applications rather than show them round, even though the recruiter may be able to offer a level of interaction, an experience, and a personal touch unavailable in a computer program.

Despite these concerns, imagine the possibilities: you may learn things about companies that you have always wanted to work at by pointing your augmented reality-enabled phone at the office building.

The future of augmented reality is clearly bright, even as it already has found its way into our mobiles and video game systems. Added to this augmented reality and new experience for candidates is the need to be seen and stand out from the crowd.

Hence the acceleration of disruptive marketing — to gain attention.

Disruptive Marketing and Emotion 

Disruptive marketing is not just about shock. It is about emotion. Creating a lasting feeling. Planting a seed that will grow in someone’s mind.

Recruiters and employment branders are fighting for the attention of potential candidates, people who have already been reached by competitors and who aren’t necessarily looking for new options. Hence, down the line, a “new marketing” will be needed by recruiters.

What is disruptive marketing? Disruptive marketing is a marketing message/initiative that serves to disrupt a market space and interrupt the reader of the message by combining new technologies, new business models, new markets, and a new approach to redefine conventional thinking and consumer behavior.

Being disruptive creates attention. In business this is a good thing. It means getting noticed. Gimmick marketing will quickly be frowned upon. Effective disruption is an art and is not easy.

There is a fine line between disruptive marketing and stunt PR. If the goal is to get noticed, then there are some interesting ideas below.

A few years back Electronic Arts in Canada wanted to hire programmers. It produced the advertisement at the very top of this article, in programming code, (which effectively tells the programmer that EA is hiring), and strategically placed it on a billboard outside a competitor. It was certainly noticed and caused controversy in the games industry.

A current trend is the art of “projection advertising,” using projections onto well-known landmarks. This form of disruption is popular with journalists for photos for the national media (great brand exposure). Why not for recruiters wanting exposure for smaller brands?

In Recruiting 5.0, employment brands will need to stand out. Augmented reality, disruptive marketing, and stunt PR will be key in that goal.

End of Social Media — All Media Becomes Social

Just as we don’t use the term e-commerce, the term social media will fade away.

As companies seek engagement, seek to understand their audiences, to listen, to crowdsource, and humanize experiences, all media and communications will become social by nature.  (That includes all consumer, corporate … any communications by a company!)

The need for “social” is removed.


We Create Candidates … Candidate Cloning

As the global war for the best talent continues, companies will be posed with a set of new questions and challenges:

  • We want to hire the best talent; there is a global war for the best talent … it’s not easy to hire “the best”
  • The experienced talent pool is shrinking (less talent to pick from)
  • Talent is less loyal, moves jobs, and is more expensive

Given these questions and challenges, more employers will start to look at new solutions. Companies will consider creating their own universities, academies, educational facilities, or training development programs to ready future talent for immediate worth to their business. We know that many companies already sponsor courses and partner with academics on course criteria. This is the next natural step.

There is enough average talent to fill roles, but companies gain competitive advantage by hiring the best. I love this slide based on data by the Journal of Applied Psychology  which tries to visualize the difference between a top performer and an average performer.

If companies are truly serious and focused on hiring the best performers, first they should define the key skills they possess. What makes them a top performer? Can they be created or trained?

All skills being equal, what distinguishes top performers from the average is what behavioral researchers call “emotional intelligence competency.” Emotional intelligence is a term popularized by Salovey and Meyer which details a combination of traits, values and behaviors that is viewed as the most powerful and reliable predictor of success in the workplace. These traits, known to you and I as “people skills” include self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy, and social skills.

In 1997, Goleman wrote a paper called: “Working with Emotional Intelligence.” This brought emotional intelligence to the fore. Goleman studied 286 organizations worldwide where job competencies of star performers at every level were analyzed. Twenty common competencies were identified, and classified within four broad categories; all but three are emotional competencies (click to enlarge):

This is quite revolutionary by nature. Don’t reach the conclusion that cognitive abilities (IQ, technical skills, etc.) don’t play a role in successful, productive work performance. Of course they do. However, if two individuals have comparable technical skills, research indicates that the individual with strong emotional intelligence (people skills) will be more successful and productive on the job.

The “Global War for the Best Talent” heats up. The experienced talent pool shrinks. As companies continue to expand, especially in the emerging markets, will companies feel the need to “create” their own talent?

Some may argue that some companies are doing this already. Most larger companies have dedicated training programs for new and existing hires. Companies focus their time on defining and then targeting the “best universities” (their definition defined by the talent they seek), and then partnering with professors to help support, nurture, and bring on the best talent.

Would company-run universities/academies/degrees/qualifications appeal to students? To understand that, we have to understand what’s happening right now.

For some, a degree is a waste of time and money. Some courses and universities have spurious offerings.  Students may be better off taking advantage of some of the new online universities. This includes Udacity. This online institution is attracting bright talent around the world as they seek to democratize education. To hire this talent requires a change in thinking by businesses and especially the recruiting gatekeepers.

Some will say this is sensationalism and headline grabbing. But underlying real issues need to be considered by students, parents, business leaders, and politicians. It is our duty as recruiters to pick up the baton to drive awareness and change.

Yes, great entrepreneurs, like cream, will always find their way to the top. But let’s be honest: most businesses would not have hired the likes of Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates based on their qualifications. As recruiters, we should naturally ask ourselves: who and how much raw talent are we missing out on?

Conclusion? This article’s aim is to stimulate debate and thought. It hopefully will encourage some recruiters to be more vocal about the inside practices of assessment and filtering within their businesses.

It’s the End of Recruiters as We Know it …

A powerful headline. (“Perhaps sung to REM’s phenomenal tune “It’s the end of the world as we know it.”)

Under Recruitment 3.0, we saw the drive away from the traditional core skills of recruitment. The “new” recruiters need skills in marketing, PR, communications, CRM, direct marketing, and database segmentation.

This drive continues through Recruitment 3.0 & 4.0, and into 5.0.

But 5.0, which is some time off yet, begs the question, do we need recruiters at all?

Will recruiters become obsolete?

Let’s look at why that could be.

The presumption is that talent acquisition and identifying talent will become easier. Recruitment 4.0 “crowdsourcing” will show the power of the crowd in sourcing talent. Just sending a message into a company’s networks yields immediate high-quality candidate recommendations; 5.0 sees the next step.

“Big data” allows for companies to quickly assess the best candidates for a role. In those assessments, behavioral, psychological profiling, from data patterns in the cloud, allow for “greater predictivity” in hiring.

Imagine a hiring manager who can:

  • Seek recommendations from crowdsourcing
  • Source candidates from “the cloud”
  • Have candidates profiled and use “predictive fit” from behavioral and psychological traits

Perhaps hiring managers will able to do their own thing. Perhaps marketing will take over employment brand messaging. What is the role for today’s recruiters? Discuss in the comments section below.

Recruitment 5.0 Conclusion

Here we are. The end of the final paper Recruitment 5.0 in this trilogy.

What struck us writing this was that many of the talent acquisition leaders in place today are not ready for 3.0, 4.0., and let alone 5.0. They have been schooled in recruiting techniques that will soon be outdated and detrimental to their business. Many are more focused on process than end results. Where does your leader stand?

Imagine those recruiting leaders who can go to their CEO and demonstrate that they have been able to map out competitors and build relationships with the best talent. They have created a predictable talent pipeline. Leaders who have created engaged communities with two-way communication, thus enhancing employment brand attractiveness while enhancing the consumer/product brand. Imagine leaders who are embracing gamification and crowdsourcing. They may be producing content and creating VIP areas that could be monetized. Recruiting leaders who have been able to reduce recruiting spend while delivering top talent to achieve business goals and drive company revenue. Leaders who are directly impacting a company’s bottom line.

Compare that to your current talent acquisition leader (which may be you, with so many being ERE readers and conference-goers). Are they shaping your future in this direction? 

Who do you think your CEO would prefer as a recruiting leader? The one described above or your current one?

There is plenty above to chew on and debate and you may agree or disagree. There are certainly exciting times ahead for recruiting professionals.

Whatever your views of this paper and the previous ones we hope you seek to challenge the status quo. Blaze trails and help to elevate our great profession and come up with new ideas. We’d love for you to share your thoughts below.

Matthew Jeffery, pictured at center, cited as one of the world's leading recruitment strategists and leaders, is VP, head of global sourcing and employment branding for SAP. Previously, he was head of EMEA talent acquisition and global employment brand for software giant Autodesk. Previous to Autodesk, he was the global director of recruitment brand for Electronic Arts.