The Way We Recruit Is Changing: A Recap of RAE Birmingham 2018

RAE Recruitment Agency Expo

It seems the biggest takeaway from the Recruitment Agency Expo (RAE) 2018 is recruiters need to get ready for change: changing mindsets, changing technologies, changing ecosystems, and changing candidate and client expectations.

In a marketplace undergoing significant changes to the rules we abide by (GDPR), the technology we use daily (AI and automation), both the candidates AND clients we work with are becoming more sophisticated, adapting with the changing marketplace to measure and demand more. We need to revolutionise the way we attract talent, consolidate our customer bases, and retain staff. How can we do this? By making the most of the new tech we have available, personalising our services, and changing the way we think about the industry in which we work.

James Osborne, Chairman of The Recruitment Network raised an interesting question during his seminar: do we, as recruiters, need to go through a process of revolution or evolution? Ultimately the answer is both. We need to go through a revolution in order to achieve evolution. Here are some key takeaway points on how to revolutionise recruitment, and evolve in what you do:

Attracting Talent and Accepting AI:

As APSCO’s Ann Swain pointed out, ‘finding candidates has never been easier but finding the RIGHT candidate has never been harder’. In fact, the talent shortage was a prominent theme throughout the expo. So what can recruiters do to make sure they’re attracting the right talent, and effectively managing their time whilst doing so?

All of the tools and technology we have available to us right now can add value, especially AI. Many of the speakers stressed that we shouldn’t fear AI, we should accept it. AI and automation technology won’t replace recruiters; it cannot replace the human element of our jobs, e.g,. persuade or reassure a hesitant candidate, for example. But it will be able to help us become more efficient in sourcing and attracting the right candidates for our clients.

Don’t forget about reskilling: On an additional note relating to the talent shortage, reskilling was a popular theme at the RAE this year, with much talk about how we can create our own pools of talent in changing recruitment landscape that may not yield what our clients are looking for. The example circulating among attendees was that of Adecco’s acquisition of General Assembly, and the retraining of developers, something that even Bullhorn CEO, Art Papas referred to in his keynote at Engage London 2018 earlier this year. 

Consolidate Your Customer Base:

As recruiters, we sell an intangible service. Osborne explained, “we need to transform these services into products that our customers can easily understand”. And – considering that there may well be a Brexit induced recession on the horizon – it is more important than ever to lock in on the business we already have. A good example of how this can easily be achieved can be seen in the increasing popularity of Microsites; recruiters are locking in existing customers by building Microsites dedicated to that customer. For the cost of around £50 (or so), you are able to utilise new technology, penetrate deeper into existing accounts, and provide clients with a personalised, dynamic product to meet their needs.

It may also be worthwhile to consider what opportunities lie within replacing competition with cooperation. New technologies and outsourcing opportunities can provide things that recruiters can’t. This is where we need to change our mindset and embrace new players and new technologies within the ecosystem. Ann Swain echoes this sentiment during her session: “We need to stop thinking of how to kill off competition and instead on how we can cooperate to deliver for our clients”.

Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast:

Whilst change can be great, it can also breed a sense of uncertainty which may lead to a turnover in staff—something problematic if you are trying to scale and grow as an agency. You need to consider a retention and engagement plan for your recruiters as well as your clients and candidates.

Several seminars over the two days emphasised the importance of having a strong foundation on which you can rely to roll with the punches of change. “Slow down to speed up,” Dave Pye, Founder of Melius, advised. “You need to put frameworks in place before scaling—build foundations and develop a structure, get the right people and keep them”. Easier said than done, right? Well, the best place to start is to ensure your culture is right: be quick to invest in new technology, encourage forward thinking, and be innovative. Ultimately, “your staff want to work for a company that’s innovative, your client’s needs are changing so you need to innovate too”, says Pye.

Inspired by these latest industry trends? Why not take a few minutes and fill out our 2019 recruitment trends survey. Share your thoughts about the future of recruiting and be entered to win Amazon goodies.


Subscribe to the Recruitment Blog

Subscribe for trends, tips, and insights delivered straight to your inbox.