Decisions: Recruitment

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There are a few trends impacting the recruitment industry, but few likely to have the cumulative effect of artificial intelligence, reports PAUL HEARNS



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14 November 2018 | 0


In much the same way that online and social media have impacted the way we work and play, it has also dramatically impacted the very human process of recruitment.

With themes such as work flexibility, continuous learning, attention to diversity and data-driven processes shaping how the tools are developed and the processes implemented, the overarching theme is artificial intelligence and how it is hoped to refine and improve candidate selection and differentiation. All this, of course, is taking place in the context of a severe shortage of digital skills in general, with a vast number of open positions, particularly in information security.

According to Aoife Geary, content editor for Jobbio, the skills shortage will lead to an increase in recruiting of passive candidates, or headhunting as it is also known.

In a blog, Geary argues that the accessibility of candidates through the likes of online platforms and social media, will make passive candidates a more attractive and practical option to try to fill vacancies. There are other advantages too, she says, as such candidates are more likely to have up to date skills as they are already in the workforce, as well as being familiar with current demands and practices.

The skills shortage will lead to an increase in recruiting of passive candidates, or headhunting, Aoife Geary, Jobbio

Currency of skills is a key factor for both candidates and recruiters, particularly in light of the pace of change within the technology sector.

“Continuous learning will be a hot trend this year,” according to Michael Heller, CEO, iRevu, a performance monitoring platform provider. “HR leaders are recognising the need to overhaul learning and development opportunities for their employees, considering that careers are now likely to span 60 years. Digital training through learning management software (LMS) is an increasingly attractive option because it gives HR teams the ability to measure employee productivity through data. It also makes for a more collaborative experience since various departments across the organisation supply learning content.”

Coupled with the need for continuous development, is that fact that new roles are emerging and are likely to do so at an increasing pace in the coming years.

Geary of Jobbio observes that as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has prompted many organisations to nominate a data officer for the first time, new roles in other areas driven by technological development will also occur, such as drone manager.

In the data field in particular, there seems to be an explosion of new roles and specialisations such as data hygienist and data disposal specialist. Such new roles will require candidate identification and selection practices to evolve, as well as interview processes.

Deloitte in its 2017 Human Capital Report, says “As a result of disruptive technologies and demographic changes, organisations face a radically shifting context for the workplace, the workforce and the world of work.

“We believe that HR can strongly influence how businesses organise, manage and develop their people at work in these ever-changing times. HR can help leaders and organisations adapt to new technology, help people adapt to new models of work and careers, and help companies adapt to new changes in society.”

“HR leaders are recognising the need to overhaul learning and development opportunities for their employees, considering that careers are now likely to span 60 years,” Michael Heller, iRevu

The author of the Irish edition, Valarie Daunt, partner, Deloitte Ireland, said the traditional recruitment process is still important but technology is helping speed it up, removing the possibility of misjudgement, and assisting in sourcing candidates, who may not be actively looking — essential, she says, in the ‘war for talent’.

“In a Deloitte Bersin report,” said Daunt, “there’s evidence that organisations who use AI, predictive data analytics and other technology tools are more successful than those who don’t. In addition to helping source candidates, AI can prevent bias in hiring by using data-driven analytics and digital, cognitive tools to better source and assess candidates and prevent possible misjudgements caused by this bias or false logic.”

Results from the 2018 HC Trends Survey gave some interesting insight into talent acquisition in Ireland, Daunt reports, with an area for concern being around people and data, especially with the arrival of GDPR.

“Only 8% of the 212 Irish companies who participated felt ready to deal with the challenges of people analytics, despite over half rating it as ‘very important,’” said Daunt. “Approximately a quarter described their people data capabilities as ‘advanced’ and almost half said that people data and metrics are playing an increasing role in their decision-making. That said, only 11% are currently using people analytics to support their talent acquisition.”

On the phenomenon of emerging roles, Daunt said the approach of simply hiring new employees may not be as feasible as it once was.

“Upskilling will be a prerequisite in the future. Organisations will need to focus on retraining their existing workforces to meet the ever-changing demands.”

“In our view,” she said, “the HR function has a key role to play in driving the use of data and new technologies. HR functions have gone through constant evolution in recent years. Now, given the changes that are shaping and changing the workforce and the work that we are doing, HR must become a strategic advisor to the business and take a seat at the leadership table. It should be driving digital strategies for the business, and it must pioneer the use of people data to enable better processes and decision-making.”

Social media as a tool of engagement will continue to be a feature of recruitment in the future, said Daunt, but will need to be used along with other channels and techniques.

“Organisations are feeling the impact of talent shortages. Organisations need to expand their minds and rethink how they hire and who they hire,” Valarie Daunt, Deloitte




“Organisations are feeling the impact of talent shortages. Organisations need to expand their minds and rethink how they hire and who they hire. We have already seen how companies are moving away from traditional ways to reach out, such as newspaper advertisements and instead are relying on channels such as social media. We are seeing more social media engagement from the larger organisations and this will continue.”

“However, using social media is no longer enough,” she warns, “as most organisations are looking for candidates who are not actively looking for a new role. AI recruitment is now being used. Bots crawl the web and search hundreds of sites that are not just the traditional social media sites. Not only do they find a good match, but they also predict the likelihood that someone is open to a job change.”

Looking broadly at landscape, Daunt said change is exponential as technology is moving so fast.

“Organisations will need to rely on retraining their own workforces to meet their demands. This will result in a shift in upskilling and retraining which could mean an end to the traditional career path. There will be a move from the hierarchical, job description-based organisations to much more fluid project-based organisations that are focused more on assignments, tasks and activities, rather than rigid roles.

“Artificial Intelligence enables us to think differently about how we construct work. In fact, creating good jobs that play to our strengths as social beings is necessary if we are to realise AI’s latent potential and break us out of the persistent period of low productivity growth that we are experiencing today.

“Our goal,” argues Daunt, “must be to construct work in such a way that digital behaviours are blended with human behaviours, increasing accuracy and effectiveness, while creating space for humans to identify the unusual and build new knowledge, resulting in solutions that are superior to those that digital or human behaviour would create in isolation.

“As machines do more of what was once human, companies and people who thrive will not be those who guess correctly at the next narrow skillsets and series of processes, but who envision work as a set of complementary behaviours concentrated on addressing a problem.

Daunt asserts that those organisations that make the most of technology, will realise that the productivity, and consequent quality of life, improvements it promises, and opportunities it delivers for operational efficiency, need to choose to create good jobs.

These jobs are ones that:

  • make the most of our human nature as social problem identifiers and solvers
  • are productive and sustainable for organisations
  • have an employee-employer relationship aligned with social norms
  • support learning by doing, providing for the worker’s personal development, for the improvement of the organisation, and for the wealth of the community as a whole


“The question, then, is,” Daunt argues, “what do we want these jobs of the future to look like?”

The Deloitte report concludes by saying “It’s clear that the future workforce will be more diverse and augmented by artificial intelligence, robotics and cognitive tools. Driven by accelerated connectivity and cognitive technology, the nature of work and the workforce is changing. The time to think about job design and growth has passed. The future of work is now.”

“In the past, we have focused on individual trends of future work; machines as talent, disruption and collaboration not competition. These are now unified in their force and have fundamentally changed the nature of work at an unprecedented rate. Despite the growing presence of this augmented workforce, only 17% of global executives believe they are ready to manage a workforce with people, AI, and robots working side by side.”


How to stand out in a crowded IT jobs market
“When talented candidates have their pick of places to work, they want to satisfy themselves that the company suits their goals and values. Companies need to adapt their hiring processes to match those expectations”








Vantage Resources Jason McNeill, sales director

There’s a revolution taking place in the recruitment market, but I would argue it’s cultural as much as it is technological. The market for IT roles ranging from AI and analytics to development and QA is exceptionally healthy. We see a lot of demand for front end skills as companies look to put slick interfaces on the channels they use to engage with customers. From our experience, we believe companies need to put similar thought into making themselves attractive to potential recruits.Job interviews tell us a lot about how the landscape has changed. In the past, interviews wrapped up with the company’s hiring manager asking applicants ‘do you have any questions?’, and a timid response usually followed. Today’s interviews are more like a two-way conversation from the start.

When talented candidates have their pick of places to work, they want to satisfy themselves that the company suits their goals and values. Companies need to adapt their hiring processes to match those expectations.

Before hiring anyone new and building the team, the first step is to look at the internal recruitment process; how fast, smooth and transparent is it? Can you improve it? Speed wins; for example, why not do the first two rounds of interviews via Skype and the next in person? This gives companies a better chance of seeing a wide range of prospects while minimising the risk that long delays between interviews push sought-after candidates into other jobs instead.

In our experience, whenever two companies have an open position with similar benefits and salaries, the one to win the race for talent will have set candidates’ expectations with clear communication. Prospects will know how long the process will be, who will be interviewing them, and when they will know the decision.

One of the most notable recruitment trends this year has been a massive push towards flexible working. It’s one of the biggest factors swaying job seekers. Companies that can show they trust their staff to work remotely, and provide the support structure to do so, have a massive competitive edge in recruitment.

Obviously, this is a big step for many companies. Moving to outcome-based work instead of expecting people to be at their desks involves a shift in mindset and organisational culture. Once a developer can deliver against the project deadlines, there’s no reason for them to be in any particular place to do this. Flexible working has definitely become a clear differentiator in the market and I can see it staying that way.

Companies benefit from this approach, too. If the work isn’t restricted to any location, suddenly the company can recruit from a much wider pool of available talent instead of only hiring people within reasonable commuting distance of an office.

With so many jobs for candidates to choose, hiring managers need to think differently in order to stand out. Base salaries are a starting point; in the race for talent, the winners will be the companies that can show recruits all of the added value that comes with working there. That means a slick recruitment stage and flexible career policies. Hiring used to be a matter of replacing the person; to stay competitive, it’s about re-engineering your processes.


Diversifying strategies
“This is a solid example of how technology for recruitment is advancing to ensure people are fully informed prior to making a decision on their career paths”







Fastrack to Information Technology (FIT) Aoife Sheehy, tech skills research and development officer

As demand for ICT skills prevails, the industry is looking to diversify its recruitment strategies to access a wider talent pipeline. One pathway for doing so is Ireland’s New Tech Apprenticeships in Software Development and Network Engineering. To cater for this new surge in Professional Apprenticeships, the Mid-West Regional Skills, in association with Limerick Clare ETB, have launched a new Apprenticeship App to assist future apprentices in deciding their career pathway while helping employers identify and build new talent pipelines.The app will link potential apprentices with approved registered apprenticeship employers across all sectors including ICT. This one-stop-shop for both employers and candidates will prove extremely informative and valuable for developing talent and shaping careers.

The interactive app allows employers to upload their apprenticeship vacancies at no cost and allows potential apprentices to view a comprehensive list of companies along with the location and contact details.

This is a solid example of how technology for recruitment is advancing to ensure people are fully informed prior to making a decision on their career paths. With the Government’s Action Plan for Apprenticeships planning to double the number of apprenticeship programmes, it is this innovative use of technology that can create direct linkages between candidates and employers to find their perfect fit.

To download the app check out


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