Attracting Digital Talent

The digital industry is ever evolving and allows for individuals to become experts in new fields. Many people want to be part of the evolving world of digital, but perhaps they haven't got the right amount of experience or they are not at a certain level to be considered for their first role. There are many ways nowadays for candidates to be able to show their skills, whether it is from their portfolio or a single project which they have been working on. Although there are different ways for candidates to be able to show their skills, there are also many ways for companies to attract digital talent.

As the digital world is evolving, this allows platforms to be introduced, it is important to take advantage of these platforms. They have have allowed us to communicate and share content in many different ways. We now live in the era of social media which allows us to share content and also attract a certain audience based on their interests. This can be achieved with the use of hash tags. There may be different factors involved when it comes to attracting the talent that you want. For example age, sector, level of experience level etc. It also may be necessary to adapt to the audience or talent that you are trying to recruit. There are a range of skills that could be seen as beneficial for potential employers. There are different methods of recruiting for different types of work. 

Before recruiting talent, it is important to identify the type of candidates that you want to bring in. Are they already proven and ready to walk into a company and deliver straight away? Or are they only just starting their careers and need time to settle in? Are they a specialist in Web Development or Analytics for example? It also may be necessary to grow your network; LinkedIn is the most popular network in connecting with candidates and potential employers. If using these networks, it is important to make the job postings exciting, but clear.

It's very easy for candidates who aren't currently employed to be contacting employers for work opportunities. However, candidates who are already in jobs, may not be so easy to contact. It may not be a good idea to constantly contact them during their working hours. If attempting to hire someone who is already employed, you have to make it easy for them. When scheduling interviews it could be difficult for the employer. It could mean working outside of usual working hours or at the weekend.

This is where the candidate becomes successful or not. Candidates will need to be thoroughly assessed so that you know what the candidates abilities are, which could mean setting up assessments and tasks for the candidates to take part in. This way it is clear to identify their skills and strengths as well a how they deal with pressure and tricky situations. You as an employer will then know the type of candidate that you could be employing.

The recruitment process or the potential new job is not just about finding the right candidate; the talent will need to feel that they are joining the right company. It is always of benefit to mention the perks of working at the company. For example potential bonuses, benefits, pensions, insurances, clubs they can become involved in and the working environment. If a candidate is unhappy somewhere, talent cannot perform if they feel uncomfortable in an environment.

It is always important for a candidate to know the progression of their application process. They don't want to feel as if they are chasing employers or recruiters for an update on their application. They will end up feeling frustrated and resentful and may decide to not take up the opportunity if it was offered to them. The talent will improve the company, so try not to drive them away before they have even started.

Social Media has been a blessing to the marketing activities of different companies. It allows companies to take a different approach in not only advertising their brand, but also attracting new potential customers. The power of hash tags is greatly underrated. Hash tags allow us to attract certain audiences. There are different platforms which enable us to share jobs, such as Facebook, Twitter and the professional network, LinkedIn. Research from a social recruiting platform called Jobvite, which was taken from 500 recruiting and human resources professionals from different industries. The research revealed that 94% of recruiters are either planning to use social media for recruiting or they already do use it for recruiting. Research firm, Aberdeen group has said that 78% of 18-34 year olds found their last job role through a social media network.

O2 are one of the biggest telecommunication providers in the country, they are also known for having one of the most well-known entertainment arenas in London. O2 were listed by Potential Park Research as one of the top 10 businesses in the UK for social media use in talent attraction in the last two years. According to Michelle Adams who is head of leadership, talent and resourcing, she says that their secret to attracting top digital talent, is to develop a "two way street" to show talent why they would want to work there. Michelle explained "At O2, we want to be known for being an exciting, fast-paced environment that’s at the cutting-edge of digital, so we make sure those aspirations are reflected across all our social media platforms, and that our online personality matches up with the experience people get when working at O2".
If targeting a specific audience, Twitter would prove to be the perfect platform to attract young, energetic audience. Many companies have used Twitter to connect with young fresh graduates who are looking for opportunities within digital. These opportunities may be permanent positions, internships or apprenticehsips . It can also be used as a platform for a Q&A, where users can tweet to O2 to enquire about any digital related issues.

O2 also provide a chat service where they can speak to one of O2's advisors on a particular subject or for any query that they may have. Michelle also explained that O2 experienced a massive boost on their recruitment site for young people, which came directly from Twitter, she also went on to add "We also use Twitter to spread the word about all upcoming roles in local stores, tweeting about our new vacancies directly to relevant local media and local influencers,” Adams says. “This is really effective as it helps us to be targeted with our information, showcasing our opportunities to the right people.”

Although O2 have had a lot of success with younger talent, they also try to focus recruiting for in store too. Michelle added "We also use Twitter to spread the word about all upcoming roles in local stores, tweeting about our new vacancies directly to relevant local media and local influencers. This is really effective as it helps us to be targeted with our information, showcasing our opportunities to the right people.”

Social media has had much success when it comes to hiring talent which is younger and inexperienced. However when it comes to more senior roles, that require more experience, it seems as if LinkedIn is the route which many take to apply for a job. It was revealed that 45% of candidates who are hired externally come through social media channels, especially Linkedin. Michelle explained "We recently recruited our head of online for stores using LinkedIn after exhausting other recruitment channels". 

Although O2 are doing very well in recruiting candidates by using social media, however they are not the only ones. There are other companies who are also doing well in recruiting digital talent.  Another company which is doing very well is the online retailer, Asos. Just like O2, they use social media to promote the positions which they have available. Users are able to tweet to them to inquire on all things.

Using Social media to recruit definitely works for some recruiters, however throughout the UK, it does not seem to be the main strategy for recruitment companies. According to the UK social recruitment survey (Jobvite) 60% of recruiters do not use social media whilst recruiting. The 40% that use social media, seem to prefer using Facebook (75%) and Twitter (57%) the most.

There are many candidates out there, which provides different application routes. However recruiters and companies still find it difficult to recruit that perfect talent. 88% of recruiters still count CV's and 74% references when it comes to choosing the best candidate. In the world of digital, skills for the role are one of the most important traits, however it is not the only element that matters when it comes to choosing the perfect candidate. When it comes to recruiting talent, a standard one to one interview may not be enough, there may be additional tasks to see how the candidate deals with what they could face in their new job.

Having good conversation skills seems to be one of the top priorities. To be able to have the skillset to do a certain job is great but social skills do play a big part in if you are successful in the role or not. The reason why employers will value social skills is because ideally they will want someone who is willing and able to communicate within a team to work on projects and complete tasks. Enthusiasm is equally as important because enjoying the industry that you work in will only enhance your ability to produce good work; and being motivated is what will make you stay at the top. For a candidate to excel in the digital industry they should have decent knowledge of the sector, that is where staying motivated comes in. The best candidates will always want to keep up to date with the latest developments in the digital world because it’s constantly changing and it’s important to not only keep up with it, but to stay ahead.

How will recruiting candidates change in the future?

Social media has played a massive part in the way companies and recruiters seek candidates but social media is not the final step. There are many applications that we use each day which collects personal information about ourselves, which we don’t realise – could that be a factor in recruiting digital talent? The introduction of Snapchat has been a hit in the digital world which allows users to communicate using images and videos; and they have now introduced SnapMap. SnapMap allows users to identify other Snapchat users, by location.

According to Mashable UK, they predicted Snapchat to play a massive factor in the way candidates are screened by companies in the future in terms of screening candidates. They said the following “Snapchat is quickly turning into a platform for businesses to reach their target audience.”  It also seems as if Snapchat have already started using Snapchat in their recruiting process. They added “Believe it or not, there are already employers who are using Snapchat to recruit candidates. For example, earlier this year an Irish pub accepted job applications exclusively through Snapchat — the employer thought this technique would force candidates to sell their skills in 10 seconds or fewer.”

Talent acquisition is becoming more and more of an issue for recruiters, with 65 percent of recruiters citing lack of talent as their main concern according to a recent survey on Jobvite. This trend is placing increasing power into the hands of the candidate meaning that employers and recruiters will be competing more and more for the top candidates. Therefore it is important to make your site easy to access for the candidate.

Candidates cite convenience as a key issue when applying for jobs with many applying on the go. Engaging candidates on the mobile is now vital, according to research from career builder, one in ten millennials said they would not bother applying to a company if they could not do so through their mobile device. Also, 1 in 5 candidates said that they are not willing to apply for a job if the application process takes longer than 20 minutes.
Our current generation of graduates have grown up in a world where little is guaranteed. For most, the prospect of owning their own home is more distant than it has ever been, in fact many are barely able to afford renting in the city. With a sense of vague hopelessness for what lies ahead and the rise in promoting ‘mindfulness’ it is understandable that we are seeing an increased number of millennials focussing on the present. They seem to make their decisions based on the here and now more than any other generation. By prioritising a work life balance, excitement and variety, over progression, their career transitions are becoming more lateral and less vertical, as they jump from one potential to the next, trying their hand in a range of diverse experiences.

What does this mean for employers? They can either accommodate for this divergent behaviour or they can ignore the large contingent of millennials who do this and attempt to impose their desire for sustained reliability. Fortunately we appear to be seeing the former occurring more and more. We live in a renting economy, which expands further than just Spotify and Netflix, it is affecting the way we hire. Many companies are turning to contracting and offering temp roles.

We are seeing a rise in Boomerang Recruitment, the act of re-hiring an old employee who has previously left the company. This allows employees to feel more comfortable branching out into a different area, or taking some time out travelling, to come back later. It also means that employers can be more confident about their candidate’s skills and how they fit into the culture while they portray an image to the rest of their workforce that, not only do their employees come back for more, but they will remain loyal to them in response. This is progress, and As Bronwen Han, the president of Argentus supply Chain Recruiting, warns Undercover Recruiter, companies which continue to be “rigid” in their hiring requirements will “miss out on the best people because of it”. 

Recruitment companies can engage with the boomerang recruitment trend by paying more attention to their candidate’s history. Any former positive experiences with a company could also be indicative of potential avenues in future, providing that their old company is looking to re hire. Also it might be worth noting that one shouldn’t judge a divergent graduate too harshly. Instead recruiters can focus on how to most appropriately showcase the varied and flexible skillset of their adventurous millennial. It will be the recruiter’s responsibility to ensure that companies make the best decisions and don’t remain too prejudiced against “job hopping” to see talent and creativity when it is standing in front of them.