Recruitment and Employee Engagement in the Digital Age

Big Cat event - recruiting in the digital age

Last week we attended a Big Cat event in Birmingham entitled Recruiting and Employee Engagement in the Digital Age, and here is a summary of the key talking points for those that could not attend.

It was an extremely interesting event touching on many ‘hot’ topics in an industry that is rapidly changing due to technology shifting the way that people communicate at the most basic level. The explosion of Social Media, the importance of the ‘Digital shop front’ and the employment game changer that is LinkedIn has obviously altered the the way that Recruitment companies and HR professionals recruit new employees.

The panelists leading the discussion encompassed a whole spectrum of views on the subject from John Mortimer, Chief Executive of Angela Mortimer plc who thinks Facebook has two years left until it crumbles, and dared any recruitment company to run a website that lets candidates register a C.V quicker than they could if they just picked up the ol’ blower. To Andrew Springhall CEO of Blusource who admitted that on three separate occasions twitter has been used to solely source and place a candidate successfully. Dee Dee Doke, editor of The Recruiter magazine was the special guest and led the discussions forward with enthusiastic gusto.

The Digital Shopfront – It’s all about the user

Michelle Hughes, Head of Digital Marketing for Pertemps led the first discussion and she pleaded to always remember the user when implementing digital projects. Many companies spend time and money investing in social media channels and search advertising trying to drive traffic to a site that is confusing for the user to navigate.

The Pertemps site took over a year to get live, Michelle told us, and that is because they tested it to death. Not because of fancy graphics and flash animations. Usability is the most important aspect with simple site layouts that enable visitors to quickly access the information they need. Michelle researched what the target audience wanted, which was to find jobs, and now when you go on to the Pertemps site you are hit straight in the face with job listings and a large search box to enter specifics such as location and job keywords. They researched extensively with focus groups analysing where people are drawn to click on the page to perform certain commands. This research has paid off as the amount of people registering CV’s through the site is up 536% and their bounce rate is down significantly.

“Don’t drive traffic to a site that doesn’t work for the user”

Digital Innovation – There’s lots of Noise out there

John Mortimer headed this discussion, he is notably sceptical of the place of ‘digital’ or what he referred to as ‘whirligigs’ in the recruitment process. He sees the recruitment process is one that can’t be computerised well, the presence of digital recruitment solutions are a substistution for real interaction and provide a watered down version of it.

John made many interesting comments on the current changing tech landscape. He noted how recessions are accelerators of change, but it is important to identify what are actual cultural changes that will stick around and stand the test of time, and what are just trends that will be gone before you know it. John sees Social Media, and highlighted Facebook in particular as trends, saying that it has between 2-5 years left to live, and will fail due to the failure to monetize the network successfully, and then fall out of our collective consciousness forever.

digital recruitment solutions are a substistution for real interaction and provide a watered down version of it.

He sees social media as creating a lot of noise, with not that many people listening. And says it is wrong to just assume you can have a captive audience waiting for your each and every tweet.

But he placed importance on email marketing, particularly on optimising it for mobile. Seeing the way we interact with content on the go is a definite cultural shift to pay attention to, not a disappearing trend.

LinkedIn – Friend or Foe?

LinkedIn is a double edged sword for recruiters. Used effectively and sparingly it can be an important tool to resource clients in the first instance. But it also threatens the recruitment industry by giving HR professionals hiring a much stronger card to play when looking for potential new candidates and makes recruitment more accessible. Stephen Edwards Managing Partner at Talisman Executive argued that LinkedIn is a good source for connecting to different candidates but reminded us that great candidates exist that aren’t on LinkedIn and when you work with a good recruiter, they don’t work a vacancy by scraping through linkedIn, you are buying into their talent pool that they have spent years researching, building and nurturing.

Many of the best candidates, Directors and CEO’s, have taken themselves off linkedIn for fear of being repeatedly harassed by lazy recruiters.

A HR professional in the audience was asked by the panel whether she would recruit in house using LinkedIn or through a recruitment company and she answered always through a recruitment company. That is because the quality of candidates is always superior and the vacancy is worked in a much shorter time scale.

when you work with a good recruiter, you are buying into their talent pool that they have spent years researching, building and nurturing.

Other Discussions from the day

Is the gamification of LinkedIn devaluing the site?Who owns the your

LinkedIn connections – you or your company?

Should Facebook be used to screen candidates, or by HR to monitor employees?


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