The last 12 months have been incredible. As a sector, we’ve witnessed the impressive bounce back of hiring post-Covid, with the Office for National Statistics reporting record vacancies. The challenge this created, though, was competition for talent like we’ve never seen before.
The power has very much been in the hands of the candidate this year. Indeed, our own regular updates on the latest in the recruitment market all had a common theme: Applicant numbers have dropped significantly since we came out of the pandemic.
A Positive Crisis?
This spike in hiring might be considered a positive scenario for recruitment firms, but in reality, the scale of demand has created a hiring crisis that’s put increasing pressure on agencies. Despite the slowdown we’re seeing in hiring now, this battle for the best talent still has a hold on the labor market in the UK.
Skills are still in scarce supply, and with strikes affecting a range of sectors, engaging with candidates has never been more difficult. For recruiters, the market is only going to get tougher, and in this environment, ensuring your business is operating efficiently is more important than it’s ever been.
I’m not suggesting that consultants aren’t working hard — the scale of recruitment activity has meant that most in the sector have never been so busy. Instead, what I’m urging staffing companies to do is work smarter — and that’s where the right recruitment technology will really come to the fore in the new year.
Making Tech Work for You
Recruitment is a human business, but what’s the point of having great people if they’re spending more of their time on mundane and autonomous tasks? In today’s world, consultants shouldn’t be wasting time posting jobs and sifting CVs — they should be building the relationships that matter most with candidate pools and employers. They should be using their knowledge and experience to guide businesses as to where they can find the skills they want in a tight talent market and what will motivate these candidates.
The administrative legwork should be left to the technology. The insights that are accessible through any software should also underpin everything a recruiter does — but it shouldn’t be at the expense of a person’s time.
Data is a recruiter’s best friend, and the right software can (and should) give consultants instant access to information on how well a job post is being received, what levels of engagement are being achieved and which channels are delivering the best results.
Just as SMART energy meters have become a valuable way of monitoring energy spend instantly during the cost-of-living crisis, being able to see what recruitment spend is delivering the best ROI at a simple click of a button will be increasingly valuable in driving efficiency across recruitment in the coming year.
Pick Up the Pace
We also can’t overlook the need for a hiring process that is quick as well as efficient. Technology will always win in a race against people to find information or sift through applications because tech is built to handle high-speed and high-capacity search and response.
Letting the recruitment software run the automation of the majority of a staffing firm’s processes will prevent candidates being snapped up elsewhere before a member of the team has had the chance to develop that all-important relationship with the individual. And with competition for talent set to grow, acting quickly (whether through a person or a bot) is going to be a key competitive advantage in the future.
While I very much advocate the power and value of recruitment technology, there’s a vast array of software on the market which has the potential to be detrimental to tech investment decisions. Any new software needs to work for an agency, its people and the candidates and clients it engages with.
It should not require multiple different platforms that work in silo with each other or the recruitment of an entire team of tech experts.
Getting it right isn’t easy, but when implemented well, the benefits will be immense in 2023 and beyond.