Recruitment Professionals Talk Top Industry Trends and the Future of Staffing at RLCon Birmingham 2018

RLCon 2018

The UK recruitment industry is changing – it’s undeniable, it’s inevitable, and it’s pretty darn exciting. Earlier this month the Recruitment Leaders Connect (RLCon) event in Birmingham brought recruitment professionals together to talk top industry trends, and consider what the future of sourcing looks like.

New technologies, evolving workforces, diversifying talent pools, and upcoming legislative changes are just a handful of the factors impacting the way agencies are approaching the market. These topics were also the focus of RLCon’s interactive presentations, keynote talks, and Q&A sessions.

Following several insightful presentations from the likes of Habakuk Recruitment, Finlay James, Hyden, APSCo, SocialTalent, and even Bullhorn’s very own Phil Cook, it’s safe to say there are four key takeaway points that recruitment professionals in 2018 need to keep in mind.

Focus on Candidate Diversity

Diversity in the workplace has become a focal point for many businesses, with hiring managers deeming it as a crucial aspect of their hiring process. As such, organisations are turning to their recruitment partners to both act as strategic advisors, and to tap into more diverse talent pools of candidates.

Joanna Abeyie of Hyden (SThree) highlighted during her presentation that engaging with different and diverse people is vital to innovate, stay relevant, and succeed as a business. After all, research identifies that gender diverse workplaces are 15 per cent more likely to better perform, and ethnically diverse workplaces are 35 percent more likely.

How can your agency better identify and engage diverse candidates? In addition to helping your clients to review their own diversity programmes, turn the magnifying glass upon your own activities. Challenge recruitment processes that could potentially exclude diverse candidates. Do your application systems consider or cater to differing geographical vocabularies? Are your candidate vetting processes accessible to those with disabilities?

Culture is Key

Company culture within the world of recruitment, according to the keynote speakers of RLCon 2018, is significant in two ways: understanding the culture of your client’s organisation, and cultivating a great company culture within your own agency.

Habakuk Recruitment’s Lauren Valler emphasised that recruitment agencies need to take practical steps in understanding the culture of their clients. Why? In today’s candidate-led market a higher value is being placed upon assessing company culture when considering new opportunities. Many in fact place it directly alongside salary and benefits in terms of importance. Consultants in 2018 should ensure their qualifying processes assess and promote the unique values and practices of clients. After all, selling your client’s culture is just as crucial as selling the job opportunity itself.

When it comes to company culture you will need to practise what you preach, especially if you want to attract and retain top talent within your agency. To get great results, recruitment needs to be done the right way, says John Gaughan of Finlay Jones. By placing trust in your consultants, adapting to the new trends in flexible working, and ensuring a positive work / life balance, the happiness and productivity levels of recruiters can be seen to increase.

Don’t Wait, Automate

The days of manual, time-consuming tasks are on their way out. As Bullhorn’s Phil Cook explained, thanks to advances in AI technology, we can now automate low-value tasks, and focus on the high-value, revenue-generating activity. Ideal for recruitment, right?

The disruptive efficiency of AI may leave many recruiters concerned as to how this tech might begin to replace them. Sure, certain parts of recruitment are being outsourced with success – take Unilever’s recent screening of entry-level employees, for example. But ultimately, automation technology lacks the one key thing that really defines top notch recruitment: the human touch. AI may offer data-based and methodical support, but recruitment is the business of people.

Recruiters need to have confidence in automating low-level jobs so they can spend their time doing the things that they want to do as recruiters: talking to people, filling jobs, cultivating relationships, and being a top biller. Embracing new AI technologies can improve focus on delivering the best possible services.

Phil reminded us that as amazing as AI innovations are, it is all underpinned by data. We are always looking for tech to make our lives easier, but you won’t be able to reap the benefits of AI if you don’t look after your data, especially with GDPR literally on our doorstep. His advice moving forward? Build a culture of compliance in your agency, instill it into your company culture; encourage your consultants to collect, and care for the data that drives your business.

Throughout RLCon 2018 the theme of the human touch resonated strongly. Whilst we can (and should) utilise new technologies to improve processes, recruiters will continue to thrive and succeed by engaging with diverse talent pools, understanding and promoting dynamic company cultures, and leverage automation technology to support them day to day.

Are you interested in the opportunity to talk all things recruitment? Engage London 2018 is just around the corner, register your interest and save your seat today.

Bullhorn Engage London 2018

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