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Richard Doherty

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A decade in HR – 10 years of talent spotting and getting more social


It is fair to say that over the last 10 years the HR landscape has changed considerably, both in terms of processes and the technology used. We have seen economic boom and bust and its resulting impact on recruitment and talent management. We have also seen the unprecedented growth in the internet, and more latterly social networking, and how that has changed the recruitment process. How has HR evolved and what does the future hold?

Getting social with recruitment

Over the last 10 years, recruitment has become much cheaper as corporates have moved away from a heavy reliance on agencies to job boards and now social media. Employers have been especially aware of the need to start engaging with Generation Y, meaning that there has been increased competition to attract and retain a new, younger generation of workers. After initial suspicion from HR regarding social networking, the tide has turned and organisations are embracing it as a way to attract and retain Generation Y talent in particular.

Although ‘social recruitment’ has received a lot of hype over the last 12 months, there are still many companies scratching their heads when it comes to what they should be doing and how to do it.  As a result adoption has been slower off the mark, and certainly not as quick as predicted by many analysts.  However, we can expect to see a more marked rise in the adoption of social recruitment, using the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn during 2011, as companies continue to feel the pinch of challenging economic circumstances and seek more cost-effective ways of attracting and retaining top talent.

The evolution of the CV
Over the last decade the process of applying for a job has changed significantly.  Gone are the days of candidates printing and sending CVs in the post to employers.  With the advent of email and the web, the job application process has become an online activity, whether it is via company career sites or job boards.  Traditional CVs were notorious for being out of date almost as soon as they are written, not to mention often badly formatted and hard to read.

Today, CVs are evolving from a static word document customised for each job application, to a general, ever-changing profile like ones found on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. As a result, both businesses and candidates need to adapt and change the way they interact online, forever changing recruitment as we know it.

As more people use social and professional networks, the amount of personal data such as employment history, hobbies and interests available online for all to see is increasing. For employers, using this information instead of a traditional CV to assess a potential candidate is advantageous because it is more likely to be accurate. In addition, such a detailed profile gives employers greater insight into the candidate’s skills and personality as the CV is not tailored in any particular way.

Having a profile, or “universal CV”, on a social or professional networking site instead of a traditional CV also changes the way candidates look for jobs. Many may find themselves being contacted proactively for job opportunities they were not aware of because their profile matched an employer searching a networking site or a contact recommended them for a role.

The emergence of the personal brand
The job market has become increasingly competitive over the last 10 years. Consequently, it has become more important than ever for candidates to stand out from the crowd, especially as a good degree these days doesn’t guarantee a job at the end of it. 

Today’s candidates need to embark on a life-long, or at least a career-long, process of building their personal brand. This means being creative about the way that they market themselves to prospective employers, using different tools such as social networking and video to contact relevant recruiters. It will also be essential to think outside the box to ensure they have a solid background of work experience under their belt, as well as emphasising skills from other sources and hobbies.

Succession planning for success
Certainly over the last 10 years talent management has grown in strategic importance in many businesses.  Job titles have changed.  In many businesses there are no more Personnel Directors, they now have HR Directors, People Directors or even Talent Managers. The tough economic times felt by all businesses over the past couple of years has meant that top management, in particular, has seen a reshuffle. This “dance at the top” of the organisation can have serious implications for a company at all levels, from employee morale to the impact on stock price and the value of the business. Consequently, it is becoming crucial for businesses to ensure that they have succession planning in place and are conducting regular performance management reviews so that they are fully prepared in the event that personnel move.

Historically, recruitment and performance management software solutions have been purchased and kept separate from each other, both locally and globally, with individual systems being installed on site. However, today’s HR systems are increasingly being delivered from the ‘cloud’ via SaaS (Software as a Service), meaning that HR can do more with less money and less resources. In the future, we will see more organisations aim to achieve economies of scale and make the process easier to manage by integrating their recruitment and performance management systems worldwide.

Looking at HR today, it is clear it has become more social and there is now greater emphasis than ever on a candidate’s personal brand. We’re currently in the first wave of using technology such as e-recruitment, talent management and social networking tools. This is likely to evolve over the next decade with greater use of video and mobile devices for example. Clearly another exciting 10 years are ahead as HR becomes increasingly mobile and global.

Richard Doherty, Group Vice President Solutions, Jobpartners


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