Digital Factors Heavily in HR Hiring Trends

By: Yasmin Ranade

January 15, 2019

Lee-Martin Seymour,
CEO and Co-Founder, Xref

The HR industry, like many others, continues to be disrupted by tech innovation and ubiquity. Companies are re-evaluating the ways they recruit and retrain talent, and also how they strategize and plan for the future. I asked seasoned HR executives Lee-Martin Seymour, CEO and Co-Founder, Xref, and Derek Smith, General Manager, Xref North America for their insights about Canadian hiring trends for the New Year.

“Tech solutions are increasingly important in an industry that is becoming more and more accountable for the hiring decisions made by clients,” shared Seymour.

Derek Smith,
General Manager, Xref North America

During the year ahead in the Canadian market,” Seymour posited, “as with any other talent-short region, there will be an increasing focus on the HR tech that enables us to work smarter not harder and make informed hiring decisions at speed.”

Seymour added, “it will be critical that some additional layers of consideration are added to the recruitment process to ensure we avoid ‘app addiction’ by taking a more strategic approach to tech adoption, setting expectations and building business cases for new app investments. We [will] move away from a pure “push recruitment” approach by recognizing the role that recruitment marketing has to play in attracting the best talent, some of whom may not even be looking for new opportunities. All industries will need to align their recruitment to three key areas of importance: speed, data-driven hiring and security.”

So, what digital strategies will employers turn to in order to recruit talent?

Digital solutions are now available for almost every element of the recruitment process and, for most, the benefits of these approaches center on the efficiency they offer,” said Seymour.

“The value of a digitally focused recruitment strategy goes far beyond convenience,” Seymour explained. “Organizations in sectors such as healthcare and not-for-profit have a duty of care that goes beyond offering a good service. We work with a number of these organizations globally to ensure they are hiring people they can trust to deliver the standard and level of service and care expected of them, without the risk of any misconduct. Two such organizations are the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation, which helps young people that are less privileged to transition into adulthood, and Revera, a leading owner, operator and investor in the senior living sector.”

Those seeking jobs in 2019 must also expect and be prepared for a hiring process that considers their digital footprint, too.

“As brands become more open and honest on their social media platforms, they are expecting the same of their candidates,” Smith explained. “Job hunters need to be prepared for this and, in the same way that businesses are adopting marketing techniques to create a favourable image of their workplace, applicants should ensure their social media platforms reflect well on their professional and personal lives.”

I wondered if digital hiring trends impacted different age groups, differently.

We need to get away from labeling people by the “generation” they belong to,” remarked Smith. “The focus instead needs to be on transparency and an openness to understanding what works for individual people. You must be flexible enough to make your workplace work for your people. It doesn’t really matter what age any of your people are, today everyone expects to join a company that offers the technology and tools they need to just get in and get started.”

“We [also] work with smaller companies in the same way we work with large enterprises and everything in between,” added Seymour. ‘”My advice for smaller companies – from my own experience of leading a high-growth business – is to hire slow, and fire fast. Understand and accept when someone isn’t right and be proactive in cutting your losses. Although competency is important, culture comes first and cannot be taught. Accept that some great hires will be notable for their productivity, but others will be more important for their impact on culture – it’s best to have a mix of both. You also need to consider how you are going to compete with the bigger brands that don’t have to find talent, as it comes to them. Understand what it is about your culture that your people love and communicate it with some carefully planned and well-executed recruitment marketing.”

Xref works with a number of recruitment and staffing firms globally. It provides compliance assurance and efficiency for hiring placements suited to each of its clients.


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