The ever-changing world of Recruitment

Author: Heidi

Categorised as: Market Info

Recent technological advancements have forced the modern workplace to evolve. From shifts in recruiting expectations to AI-powered hiring, disruptive recruitment trends continue to emerge. Roz Grant guides us through the changes.


The impact of online recruitment and reliance on social media mean recruiters are now on the job 24/7, being available to applicants across international time zones. I’m sure I speak for all recruitment professionals, whether agency based or internal: recruitment is a tough gig and getting tougher. So what are the emerging trends and what can we do to keep up?

Embrace automation It’s not hard to believe that more and more of the talent acquisition space is becoming dominated by automation. Available now are recruitment platforms, recruitment marketing tools, applicant tracking software, digital interviewing tools and more. All aim to streamline the recruitment process, making it more efficient and faster. Businesses that disregard these advantages are likely to lose their candidates to tech-savvy competitors. Basically, you need to embrace the technology, use the knowledge, and make it work for your organisation.

The same rule applies to using social media. If you’re not using social media for recruiting, you are likely to be out-recruited. There’s no escaping it. Useful for advertising roles and searching for promising candidates, this is a method not to be overlooked. You can engage with potential candidates and build a relationship for them with your brand. Later on, you can invite them to apply for suitable vacancies.

Up-spec your candidate experience

Candidate experience is another important recruitment trend. Most of my clients would agree that candidate experience can affect buyer purchasing decisions. Virgin

Media measured the cost of poor candidate experience as being as much as US$5 million per year, so it’s worth spending a bit of time adjusting your candidate experience to align with your corporate goals, culture and values.

This links nicely to employer branding. A compelling employer brand is essential for attracting the best talent. If your company has an inspiring purpose, a respect for people and team-oriented work, that’s a great start. Employees want to be proud of the company they work for, so it’s no wonder employer branding will likely be a top recruitment trend for many years to come.

Candidates are doing far more due diligence on companies than ever before, to ensure their needs are being met, and holding their company of choice responsible for delivering on that promise. That’s why it’s important for HR and people managers to ensure their unique selling point shouts loud and clear. Shout about your diversity and inclusion strategy and ensure the success stories are heard and lived by not only external clients and suppliers but internal staff and potential employees. Remember, people talk, and reputation can be a fantastic recruitment tool.

It shouldn’t be a taboo subject to discuss salary.

Companies with strong and influential thought leadership teams will already have anticipated and embedded their strategies. However, those not so quick off the mark will need to start considering how to accommodate good practices in supporting important attractors for their organisations, otherwise they risk of losing key staff to competitors.

AI in balance with humans

Artificial intelligence is undoubtedly seeping through the HR hiring world, and the initial outcomes appear to be mainly positive. Recruiters and HR managers seem to agree that AI technology is not meant to replace recruiters, but it is hoped to improve the role they play.

Unlike humans, AI doesn’t have any biases when screening and selecting new hires. But it takes time to hone the machine-learning programming to allow better candidate–job matching to occur. The use of chatbots is becoming a widespread AI deployment in recruitment. These HR chatbots can now effectively engage candidates at the various contact points during the hiring journey and can carry out prescreening with ease.

Once called ‘headhunting’ back in the day, ‘active engagement strategy’ has a more 2021 vibe.

While technology has helped the recruitment and hiring process, it’s still about recognising and connecting potential and facilitating introductions. Clients now require more hand-holding to help with navigating immigration changes, for example, working to monitor and support visas and undertaking responsibilities to support new arrivals and provide support as they settle – it’s new territory for some recruiters but a necessary value-add to ensure success of the new appointees. By supporting these aspects of the posthire process, it also speaks volumes for your brand, by increasing loyalty and retention and referrals.

Unique New Zealand

Here in New Zealand we are a small economy, and some sectors have always battled within a critical skill-short market. This especially true in industries such as technology, engineering and manufacturing, where we work hard to identify and source skills for client companies from within the local market but are often forced to search offshore. Gone are the days of creating an online advert on Seek and wading through the volumes of responses to screen and shortlist applications.

For these specialist industries, time is spent on researching and investigating where these skills are and connecting with applicants to approach. Once called ‘headhunting’ back in the day, ‘active engagement strategy’ has a more 2021 vibe. Even with all the online resources available to identify people and skills, it’s still about ensuring recruiters validate and represent good people to reputable employers.

Now with its closed borders, New Zealand is offering a safe haven and a still relatively buoyant economy. The spotlight is on us, and people are queuing to return to the safety of Aotearoa. Sadly, there will be no more offshore recruiting for the foreseeable future.

Candidates are doing far more due diligence on companies than ever before.

The perceived ‘brain gain’ has not yet hit us in the way the media had anticipated. Media reports suggest 25,000 Kiwis working offshore are still to arrive home over the next year. So, are we ready for this? Can we accommodate these fantastic capable skills arriving home from their international careers? As I write this article, Stats NZ has just released the current job seeker figures for February 2021 of 141,000. It’s a year since the arrival of COVID-19 to our shores, and we are now starting to feel the full effect of job losses in certain sectors.

Get it right with flexibility

Companies that want to compete for the best talent are waking up and realising the importance and value of their attraction strategy. Research by the Institute for European Studies has found employers who offer their staff a comprehensive range of flexibilities, including career breaks, extended maternity and paternity leave, adoption leave, paid dependency leave, compressed weeks, job share, leave for community and volunteer work and family friendly employment will have a more significant candidate response and also a more motivated workforce. One particular area that has been given much attention is practices that allow employees to combine their work and caring responsibilities more effectively.

Recently, I followed a conversation on LinkedIn about visibly advertising salaries on job advertisements, a strategy widely adopted in the United Kingdom. In New Zealand, this has never been promoted as a popular approach, and I have to wonder why. It’s a critical consideration for anyone seeking to make a move. It won’t be the only consideration for the job seeker but a major one for sure. Let’s stop the cloak and dagger mystery around salaries and start being upfront about what we are offering. It shouldn’t be a taboo subject to discuss salary, in fact, it’s one of the first few questions to ask applicants when screening for a shortlist, time is a precious resource, and no one wants to waste time investing in a role that can’t meet their expectations.

Taking stock

Throughout my 30-year career in recruitment, recruiters have been known as talent managers, recruitment advisors, consultants, talent specialists, people engagement strategists and people advisors; although the names may have changed, fundamentally the role has not.

In an industry where recruiters come and go pretty quickly, the realisation that recruitment isn’t a glamorous career and certainly not for the faint-hearted is very real. My colleagues often refer to our industry as “champagne or razor blades”. But when all the stars align, and things fall into place, it’s a great job, and the thrill of delivering a great result for your client and the dream job for your candidate is still hugely rewarding, and it’s those positive wins that provide the payback.

If you’re not using social media for recruiting, you are likely to be out-recruited.

Looking forward, without a doubt, the challenge will be finding the right balance between digital and traditional channels. Amidst  the changes in the HR space, technology has given birth to a new breed of recruiters. Recruiters are increasingly using social media posts, web-based job boards and online job portals. However, traditional methods still have their place.

What to consider with online recruitment

•   Get clear on your attraction strategy.

•   Is your employer branding up to scratch?

•   Candidate experience is an essential recruitment factor: make sure all your processes are positive.

•   Social media-based recruitment is one of today’s most powerful hiring strategies: make sure you are harnessing it.

•   Be sure to actively look for talent within and outside your company. Facilitate career development and internal placements.

•   Be bold on advertising the salary range of roles.

Roz Grant is a senior recruitment consultant working with Crescent Consulting Group based in Christchurch. She has over 30 years’ experience in recruitment and recruits within the professional manufacturing and engineering sector, along with providing temporary and contract support staff to a variety of businesses. She has a passion for the environmental sector and is an eco-warrior at heart. She is an animal lover and is often seen rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife. She lives with her husband and two dogs.