The Recruitment Agency Landscape Is Changing

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With Matt McGilton

The recruitment landscape has changed significantly in recent years, most notably due to the prevalence of technology in the industry. Matt McGilton, Managing Director of Kaizen Recruitment, has been in the recruitment industry for 14 years, specialising in Financial Services. Kaizen has adapted business models and processes over time to take advantage of the efficiencies that technology can bring. Matt explains how recruiters, employers and candidates can best use technology to enable the recruitment and job search process, as well as navigate the challenging environment.

For recruiters, technology plays a huge role in streamlining processes. Artificial intelligence can be used in the search and screening processes to find potential matches and analyse data. Of course, the success of this is dependent on the quality of the data being interrogated. Technology also supports outsourcing of basic tasks overseas, allowing a truly global team, and a more efficient workflow. But it doesn’t replace the work of a recruitment specialist. “Communication is still at the heart of the recruitment process” Matt says – “relationships are more important than ever to find the best candidates and a strong match to the work environment. Technology helps us to quickly identify potential candidates, and free up time for quality conversations.” He also noted the importance of candidates feeling engaged and heard in the process – while the generation of university graduates are digital natives, a purely online process will make them feel alienated. It is important that recruiters develop genuine relationships to support them through the process with potential employers.

Access to online recruitment platforms has led some employers to bring the recruitment process in house. While larger organisations may have the budget to invest in the required technology, they are unlikely to have sufficient specialist resources to deal with the volume of applicants, or to be across all roles in every specialisation at every level of the organisation chart. Another challenge, Matt explains, is developing and presenting an employer brand. It’s not enough to offer a role and a salary in this market – candidates want to know if their future work place is right for them in terms of values and culture as well as career development. The ‘gig culture’ of recent years has meant employers have lowered expectations of employee tenure, but this may be adding to the problem. Despite all the tools available, it is hard to find quality candidates. Employers that prioritise building the employer brand and retaining talent would be best places to attract them.

For candidates, technology can be a curse as much as an advantage, with their entire digital footprint available to recruiters and prospective employers. Matt cautions that candidates need to be really aware of their online presence, not just in terms of their personal life being up for scrutiny, but also making sure all information online (CV, LinkedIn and Seek profiles, job applications etc) is consistent and up to date. Increasingly, employers will look for evidence of the work you have done, rather than relying on examples in an interview, particularly in the tech space.

Matt’s advice to candidates is to be really proactive in managing your career path from initial recruitment through to career development and promotion. Candidates should use the tools available to them to capture quality data and ensure their online profiles will be picked up by AI searches. Even the largest organisations may not offer a structured career path, and it’s easy for existing employees to be overlooked for promotion by external candidates. Matt says “use the technology to build your online brand, but make sure you are also building your personal connections with your peers, superiors and leaders. Look for mentors to help you to navigate the industry, and have honest conversations about what you want from your career. No one knows if you don’t tell them.”