dissecting the cutting edge of recruitment

June 2, 2015


Emerce eRecruitment draws a global community of recruitment experts to Amsterdam

The candidate experience, metrics, and the importance of the hiring manager were some of the highlights of the 2015 Emerce eRecruitment annual conference in Amsterdam. As a speaker and wide-eyed attendee at this year’s event, I was fascinated with some of the innovations and market trends the industry’s leading sourcing leaders shared on stage.

Why should you roll out the red carpet treatment to win critical talent around the world? Are you measuring your efforts before and after recruitment campaigns? How does personal prejudice affect the recruitment process? These and other thought-provoking questions provided lots of discussion points for this year’s Emerce eRecruitment, which drew some 370 professionals to the Parkhuis de Zwijger, a cultural Amsterdam landmark and a fitting setting for discussions around pushing the envelope.

candidate experience
With talent scarcity rising, enhancing the candidate experience was widely discussed at the one-day event. According to HireRight, 34% of candidates say their treatment during the recruitment process affects their decision to accept a job offer, so it’s more important than ever for companies to provide a highly engaging and positive candidate experience.

Keynote speaker Brendan Bank of Booking.com pointed out that employers face a dilemma as they are forced to consider more international talent because local talent just isn’t available. As a result, international relocation is on the rise, but this can present an especially difficult challenge for many organizations as they try to provide support for global hires from abroad. Additionally, employers need to consider the relocation needs of the spouse or partner of the employees as this will also affect the candidate experience.

video technology personalizes the experience
One employer provided a glimpse into how video introductions are helping candidates become acquainted with the company and its people even before they walk through the door. Financial services firm Aegon presented a case study on how its hiring managers engage candidates at the very beginning of the recruitment process. Guus Ekelenkamp, recruitment and learning & development manager, and Casper van der Veen, marketing director, explained that the company uses a series of online videos featuring hiring managers discussing the company’s value proposition. This enabled candidates to “meet” the manager, how they liked to work, and what values they stress.

Aegon’s experience affirmed findings presented by Gerard Mulder of Textkernel, who presented a candidate experience survey his company recently conducted. A majority of companies in the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, and France say candidate experience is important to them in 2015. Danish employers were most concerned, with 90% reporting this as a priority. When it comes to increasing investment in the candidate experience, 86% of Dutch companies support it, compared with 58% in Austria. At the same time, companies from these four countries think the current candidate experience they offer is positive.

Textkernel also offered a sneak peek into the future of recruitment using software to facilitate communication between candidates and recruiters, helping them to better connect and further create a positive experience.

Critical to any candidate experience is the hiring manager, and at the conference two hiring managers shared their experience working with recruiters – or, in one case, not working with recruiters. One presenter spoke about how he took over the role after his recruiter left the organization, engaging current employees to act as ambassadors. Remarkably, he improved on recruitment success – raising the output from interviewing four candidates per month to 20 per month after the recruiter left. This clearly raises the question whether we, talent acquisition professionals, are needed at all. Or maybe it just we should work closer with our hiring managers and listen to them more?

No matter what we call it – measurability, big data, analytics – leveraging data in talent acquisition continues to be an important trend. Companies have different approaches to how they use, and the conference provided a glimpse on the different approaches. In every case study presented, speakers cited the use of data to provide a clear before-and-after picture of their recruitment effort. It shows that the industry has clearly moved beyond the question of whether to measure but what to measure.

Andrew Werner of Monster demonstrated the various benefits that data aggregation and predictive analytics bring to the talent acquisition process, starting from how sourcers find talent to the hiring manager’s decision making. Despite the vast amount of data about candidates that social media generates these days, sourcing from a number of sources and accessing them in a digestible form can change the way we identify the talent, who we decide to approach, and how. Better targeting of recruitment investment, better success rates on new hires, and the ability to discover more outliers and passive candidates are just a few benefits possible.

Finally, Wim Davidse of Dzjeng presented in his closing keynote the idea of flexiconomy – an economy based on non-permanent workers. As he pointed out, fewer people today are employed under a permanent contract because organizations want agility and because more workers prefer the flexibility of contingent work. He cited research that shows freelancers are more happy at work and, as a result, show more initiative and are more participative, engaged, and productive. This then brings up a critical question: will talent on demand and crowdsourcing be the solution to the talent scarcity that many organizations face? Stay tuned as we help you make sense of the workforce trend ahead.


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