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Recruitment Industry Leaders Share Their Best Advice

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Over the past two years, the Recruitment Innovation Exchange (RIX) has strived to spark dialogue and collaboration among some of the most important and influential leaders in the recruitment industry.

Recently, we celebrated the first 100 contributors who have joined RIX to share their insights through thought-provoking discussions and value-added strategies to help you differentiate from the competition. Check out these helpful tips and nuggets of wisdom from our first 100 tenured industry experts.

Recruitment Technology

Staffing and recruiting will always be about relationships, but since technology has become a ubiquitous presence, agencies have to adapt, change, and evolve. Check out what recruiting professionals have to say!

The pace of technological advances is increasing and it is essential that enterprises have the right skills on board to remain competitive. The most flexible, scalable and cost-effective way for them to do that is to tap into a highly skilled contingent workforce.

Zaidy RamirezChief Technology Officer, K2 Partnering Solutions

Management and leaders should clearly communicate with their personnel and team members that digital transformation and technologies connected with it are not enemies, but the tools and choices which will make your work easier and more fulfilling.

Petar DivjanovicHead of Digital HR Solutions, DEKRA Arbeit Group

I would never expect to catch different types of fish in the same type of water. Catfish, snapper, and bluegill live in disparate waters, and I would need to go to those specific waters and use varying lures to catch them. Job boards are the same in their current state. They are large aggregators which are broad-based and comprise numerous candidates across different verticals.

Kyle Power Sr. Director of Interactive Marketing, CHG Healthcare Services

AI will increase productivity as we see repetitive tasks being automated. It will push people to differentiate themselves from machines, to think creatively, exercise independent thought, to work in teams, and to reskill fast. The future world of work will require us to leverage the soft skills that come much easier to humans than machines.

Ed BroadheadHead of Adecco Analytics, The Adecco Group

Candidate Engagement

In the information age, communicating effectively has never been more important. Engaging with clients and candidates how and when they want to be engaged with is imperative to the success of any staffing firm. Here’s how industry experts weighed in.

It’s really important for us to look at the candidate experience as a customer experience. I’m really thinking about the candidate journey as a customer journey and really embracing technology to enable that.

Ian TylerChief Strategy Officer, Talent

As I look at the staffing industry, it is a relationship business at the end of the day and no computer today that exists, nor one that I believe will exist in the next three to five years, is going to take the place of that relationship and the end selection of candidates and matching them to the right organizations based on culture and fit; that’s going to be done by humans. I think that what AI is going to do for the staffing industry is really revolutionize the speed at which we’re able to deliver to our customers and remove a lot of the noise.

Virginia Watson Founder, Watson Workforce Solutions, LLC

We talk about taking the customer to an impossible place, which is a level of service thought unimaginable, so innovation and change is much needed in the staffing sector.

Richard EarlFounder and Executive Chairman, Talent

I think the role of a recruiter is less about sourcing, are more about creating a candidate experience.

Ann SwainGlobal CEO, APSCo

Diversity and Inclusion

Do you have a diversity and inclusion initiative in place? Some leaders in that space offered tips for starting a D&I program. Check them out here!

There is very clear data that demonstrates a direct correlation between growing companies and inclusion and diversity, and inclusive and diverse environments. Data that shows that this isn’t just a nice to have, this is a business imperative.

Emily SwanboroughHead of Organisantional Development, Allegis Group

You need to have a vision and values around diversity, it’s not just words on a paper. It has to be what you live and believe. If you’re not living and believing it, then it’s not going to happen for your organization. If you say you’re committed to diversity, but yet you have no diversity in your leadership, that’s not being authentic. Not authentic to your clients, and not authentic to yourself. So if you want to walk the walk, you have to really own the action behind the words to make it valuable. Or, prepare yourself to miss out on major deals because the marketplace is changing.

Audra JenkinsChief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Randstad USA

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as “work/life balance.” Can you have it all? No, you can’t. But if you first define and then do what matters most and brings you happiness, you’ll have balance. You’ll achieve what’s most important personally and professionally.

Loretta PennPresident, PECC LLC.

To see change, there needs to be a focus on demonstrating a pathway, creating a culture, and providing an environment where women have the opportunity to truly thrive.

Emily WilsonManaging Partner & Co-Founder, FutureYou

Talent Shortage

With the unemployment rate at historic lows, reskilling workers has become an essential practice to fill the gap in talent. Take a look at what industry experts have to say about the talent shortage.

If you see something that you like, really just do it because in the end, you need to be happy with what you’re doing and if you’re driven and you’re not afraid to try again if it doesn’t work out the first time, then you can really achieve the goals for yourself.

Dr. Marcia GoddardNeuroscientist, &Ranj

The unemployment rate in the U.S. in IT is below 3%−and significantly lower in many high-demand skill sets. If we eliminate access to foreign talent, there are simply not enough U.S. citizens and green card holders in those skill sets to meet client demand.

Mark RobertsCEO, TechServe Alliance

We’re looking at the 4.2 percent unemployed population and segmenting it much more. I’m looking to see how we can create the right conditions to bring moms, carers, and people who really need to have flexibility in their working day into the workplace.

Bev WhiteCEO, Gi Group UK

Recruitment agencies need to sort of shift towards career coaching more and really look at what is necessary and train those skills, teach people those skills. That way you can solve the skill shortage because you’re training the people yourselves.

Dr. Marcia GoddardNeuroscientist, &Ranj

At the end of the day, if you don’t have the talent to meet client needs, there is no deal to be had at any price or margin level. We as an industry have far more to lose than to gain by restrictive immigration policies.

Mark RobertsCEO, TechServe Alliance

Future of Recruitment

It’s *gasps* nearly 2020. The year robots are slated to take all of our jobs. OK, maybe not yet. But here’s what industry experts do have to say about the future of recruitment.

I think recruitment as a brand is not quite there yet and that’s what we need to be talking about—the brand values of the recruitment profession...We’re not recruitment agencies anymore. We are employment solutions providers and if we can talk ourselves up like that, I think we’ve got to talk our brand up ourselves. That will help us in our reputation going forward.

Geraldine KingCEO, National Recruitment Federation

If you want to be successful in attracting and hiring talent, you need to understand active sourcing. You need to be able to understand the social networks that are out there, find people on LinkedIn, and be able to articulate a compelling message because talent gets bombarded with messages on LinkedIn.

Tim PröhmVice President of Digital Product Development, KellyOCG

You should constantly talk about your business and the opportunities you offer. Be aware of what your organization is looking for, and communicate that on a regular basis. You never know when you’re going to bump into someone who would be a great fit.

James ValloneVice President, Staffing Solutions, Motion Recruitment Partners

There’s so much data to show a more diverse workplace leads to a greater diversity of thought, and that leads to greater productivity.

Robin BeattieDirector, Mortimer Spinks

In terms of thriving in the new world of staffing and recruitment, firms need to really shift to being tech businesses. Staffing and recruitment organizations are very sales-orientated and they need to be. But if you’re really going to stand out and drive efficiencies to innovate and disrupt, the lens that staffing and recruitment businesses now need is [to view themselves as] a tech business.

Dean DavidsonExecutive General Manager, AUS & NZ, Hudson

Leadership Advice

While every leader has a piece of advice they can pass along, we’ve curated a few of our favorites from the first 100 contributors of RIX. Check out some important career tips from industry leaders.

Borrowing from baseball’s player development model, our approach involves not bringing in a free agent from outside the team, but closely working with our internal talent to provide leadership development and management training that prepares them for a successful career at Signature, not just a job. Thinking of talent development as a long-term proposition that steadily adds to abilities and skills allows us to invest in developing our team from college to, someday, running the enterprise.

Mark NussbaumCOO, Signature Consultants

Hiring veterans shouldn’t be viewed as charity. These are trained leaders who can offer incredible benefits to businesses at a young age. You can institute a veteran hiring program by studying and leveraging what other companies like TrueBlue/PeopleScout or Walmart or Chase have done to be successful. Don't reinvent the wheel – learn what others have done and don't be afraid to ask for help.

Patrick BeharellePresident and COO, TrueBlue

I think when you invest in your people, the opportunity to grow your company becomes that much more apparent. We also created an education reimbursement for our team knowing that many people want to keep investing in themselves and be exposed to different perspectives and schools of thought – which ultimately brings new ideas back to us.

Bill PepplerChief Operating Officer, Kavaliro

I’ve been really focused on telling people to not think about their next career move. But to basically just do the best you can at that job you've been given. Focus on being really good at it, and if you do that, there are people that are going to notice and your career will advance. Once you start thinking about your career, people notice that as well and I think it works against you.

Greg NetlandFounder and Principal, The Netland Group

Business is about changing the lives of people rather than making money.

Phillip UllmannChief Energiser, Cordant Group plc.

You can get away with having a bad leader in a business, but if you want to grow year-on-year then you need a mix of analytical and emotionally-led leadership. The best leaders have emotional and social intelligence, and the bad ones clearly don’t. As a society, we are becoming more aware of this, and there is a clearer divide between managers who lead through fear and anger and those who understand, care, coach, and facilitate.

Steve MartinDirector, Next Ventures

The best leaders are the best followers. Unless you truly understand yourself and have understood what it is to be lead, you can’t actually effectively lead people.

Peter SearleExecutive Chairman, Airswift

Interested in hearing more insights from the most influential leaders in the recruitment industry? Subscribe to the Recruitment Innovation Exchange to have a new video, podcast, or article contributed by an industry expert delivered to your inbox every Thursday!