Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Online recruitment: the future of the workplace

Jason Downes, MD of Powwownow

The online recruitment sector is at the cutting edge of technological innovation, with new improvements to the workplace aiding both productivity and effectiveness for management and staff alike. Technology is not new to the industry, but the impact of simple conference and video calls have reduced the need for constant face-to-face interaction, allowing professionals the flexibility and freedom to alter their work patterns to be more in tune with their customers and clients, as well as benefitting their own work/life balance. These additions have changed the way the entire online industry operates for the better, and as more innovations are introduced, further benefits will be available to the wider sector, ensuring that location or time are no longer barriers to success. In this article, I will analyse the changes to come and how these will further develop one of the most dynamic and exciting industires in the country today.

Tech & innovation

Flexible working and the growth of this trend over the last couple of years has been the first sign that the online recruitment sector is at the forefront of innoviation, but it’s no longer a new concept. In fact employers are now legally obliged to consider flexible working requests from their employees. Our own research recently revealed that three quarters of professionals (77%)  said the option of being able to work flexibly would make their job more attractive – such is its mainstream nature today. Remote working is however, just the first step towards a more advanced, technological pattern of working for online recruiters – there is far more to it than simply working away from the office or outside of regular 9-5 hours. The latest developments are at the very heart of the shift we are witnessing from traditional to futuristic patterns of working; everything from video conference call technology and FaceTime to screen sharing and webinars allows online recruiters to interact with candidates like never before. And these innovations will continue to develop, making the process increasingly seamless. Recruiters may be operating “online” today, but how do we know that the dozens of phone calls they make to candidates every day are truly helping to identify the top talent? Video conferencing gives recruiters a far greater insight into the person they are, essentially, screening – the basic phone call for recruiting talent will only exist for so much longer before being replaced by a more transparent process.

What’s more, with a growing number of train and airline operators adopting Wi-Fi facilities on board, as well as the integration across public spaces from shopping centers to parks, candidates can communicate to recruiters even when they are 100 ft underground on the Tube. The barriers that used to stifle us and require an office are being removed to allow constant two-way communication from anywhere.

Flexible workspaces

Despite operating online, recruiters still require a suitable workspace to carry out their basic tasks, and this is the second notable shift in the industry and something that will continue to develop in the next few years. Across London,  we now have access to lots of innovative, chic, flexible workspaces that inspire creative thinking and in turn increase productivity. One example is The Office Group, which I’ve had a great experience with. As well as being a peaceful place to settle down to work, these workspaces are designed to support innovative styles of working, with the equipment and facilities necessary to get the job done efficiently. Candidates can share presentations and bring ideas to life in front of their recruiters and prospective employers, all via a sharable screen, wherever they are in the world. Thanks to these workspaces and the technology they support, virtual meetings between recruiters and employees are quicker and simpler than ever to arrange. Conference call users no longer even need to share a dial in number with participants – all it takes is an invite via text and everyone can be part of the conversation in just one click, creating a highly efficient and productive communication procedure. All of these innovations mean that candidates across the UK and internationally are “in play”, easily accessible and available for UK businesses, resulting in a global talent pool able to attract the very best talent to our shores at the click of a button.

International reach

Online recruitment is becoming increasingly fast-paced, complex and competitive, which means the vital implementation of technology that empowers professionals to collaborate with one another and their candidates, rather than fostering isolation, if they want to grow and establish themselves as industry leaders in the future. It’s important that the shift to a more innovative workplace does not lead to businesses forgetting the power of people. A big part of being major players in an industry is your international appeal. Today, with the skills gap we are experiencing across tech and other STEM careers, it’s particularly important that the recruitment industry has access to the best talent from abroad and have easy access to these candidates. Again, technology comes into play in a major way here. Language apps and translation services will continue to play an important role in contacting and liaising with international candidates, which are vital for online recruiters who, in an industry driven by numbers and candidate conversion rates, need to be able to relay information to their clients quickly and in great detail regardless of where the candidate is based. A language barrier is no excuse in the world of recruitment.

Matchmaking processes

When we think of recruitment across social media, the first thoughts often shift to Linkedin and such websites. But these are becoming increasingly saturated and when it come to the future of the workplace. There are many more platforms available for online recruiters to unearth and match candidates. For instance, Adzuna has a platform which analyses CVs for key words and uses these criteria to pair candidates with available jobs, as well as salary, giving them an insight into the ‘market value’ before acting. This is valuable when it comes to setting a benchmark and also managing the expectations of prospective employers. Again, this is a trend that is making the online recruiter role simpler and less hands-on, meaning the role lends itself to a more remote way of working, away from traditional practices.

While online recruitment is becoming more competitive and complex than ever, the processes at the heart of the profession are becoming increasingly sophiscated, and recruiters are taking full advantage. The physical workplace has developed drastically and will only keep evolving as technology advances, which is good news for recruiters, candidates and employers alike. Innovation is allowing a smarter, more efficient way of recruiting, while granting access to a wider array of candidates who are accessible wherever they are in the world, thanks to technology.

While face-to-face contact will always have a role in the recruitment process from an employer’s perspective, there will continue to be a growing opportunity for smarter working for online recruiters, which the industry should continue to embrace for years to come.