Originally Posted on Recruiter.com:

No prizes for guessing what month it is when your Tweetdeck stream is overflowing with links to blogs reviewing the year that was, and previewing the year that will be. The HR and Recruitment communities have been in a flurry trying to hone in on the single biggest trend, for both sides of the Times Square Ball Drop.  There’s been no shortage of buzz words: social, video, infographics, mobile, candidate engagement and personal brand (to name a few). And the big question is how it all ties in with existing processes and tools, like the Applicant Tracking System.

But one question: why do we feel compelled to choose only one trend? The companies that place top talent will utilize a strategy that takes advantage of all of the above – and more.  This was the message at July’s truBoston, a leg in the famous unconference organized by Bill Boorman, which attracted sorry people like me who think it’s actually exciting trying to make the recruitment process work better. The discussion was, well, awesome – no idea was wrong. We listened, we shared, and every one of us walked away with a richer knowledge base.

Let’s address each hot-topic, and see how they’re continuing to gain traction in the coming year. Or not.

Social

Entrepreneur Magazine’s Amy Cosper said it best: “2011 social media found its voice. The first time that customers are influencing strategy hand-in-hand with CEOs.” But given that the “social” notion is developing by the day, it’s still all the talk. However, the fundamental idea of what social can deliver remains: developing and maintaining relationships, for both the candidate and the hiring company. As Joshua Waldman notes in his recent book Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies, when “a jobseeker really learns to use social networking well, his chances for finding opportunities multiply exponentially.” Social Networks are potentially a brilliant arena for companies to develop relationships with prospective talent. But these have to be real relationships, not simply a stream of job opportunity spam.  “You’ve found your voice – now break through the clutter.”

The other key to social recruitment is reach.   By transforming how we can stay in touch with our friends and colleagues, the size and accessibility of our networks have never been larger. The greater our networks, the greater our reach. And when taking into account 2nd degree networks, we can quickly and easily communicate with previously unreachable people. The communication has to count. If it doesn’t, it’s a big step back.

Video

We are surrounded by video; we have so many capabilities to make them even by using the devices that we carry around all day! In an age where we’re nearly all carrying around video recorders in our pockets, a staggering 48 hours of videos are uploaded every minute to YouTube. Given how accustomed we’re becoming to video, it’s no wonder that video is becoming a medium of choice for both companies and candidates.

Face-to-face interviews can be time wasters and costly (especially in international recruitment).  Phone interviews were therefore a weapon of choice for early-stage screening. But given that phone interviews can’t be easily recorded, stored and shared, it’s a tool due to be phased-out. By implementing video interviews with shortlisted candidates, recruiters and hiring managers can get a better ‘feel’ for a candidate, as well as allowing for easy candidate comparisons if the questions are standardized, and if automated, even time-saving. The technology is here, and its adopters are smiling.

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Infographics

Goodbye to pages of text. Hello to the infographic. Be it because of information overload, or because we’re forever time-poor, we increasingly want information to be visually summarized.  Hence the discussions about visually representing jobseekers. And why not? Infographics can be powerful book-covers that provide recruiters an immediate grasp of a candidate’s capabilities and skill-set. Of course, you still need quick and easy access to the data behind the graphic for a deeper-dive when necessary. But watch out for the rise of irrelevant infographics too – a graphic that, while looks smart, adds little value. Beware.

Mobile

With projections that  mobile internet should take over desktop internet usage by 2014, recruitment is going mobile. And that’s good news for everyone. Candidates, after hearing about an opportunity, will no longer have to wait until they’re by their desktop to apply. Applications on-the-go – whenever, wherever. Mobile is just as important for those doing the hiring too. Recruitment delays and bottlenecks, such as the hiring manager not finding the time whilst traveling to review the short-listed resumes, are coming to an end, finally!

Candidate engagement & personal brand

It’s no secret: candidate-experience has traditionally not been a top priority in organizations’ recruiting strategies – to say the least. We hear story after story about disgruntled candidates and their inevitable trails of destruction. David Head, Publisher of Recruitment InternationalMagazine said in an interview to Innovate CV, that one of the biggest upsets candidates have with the recruitment process is that they don’t have clarity on the status of their application. ‘Transparency’ and ‘communication’ are two words you can expect to increasingly hear in 2012.

Existing technological innovations allow significantly more interaction with candidates even if streamlined and automated, candidates might even – gasp – enjoy the hiring process. Now fancy that.  Ries and Trout’s classic marketing handbook Positioning: The Battle for your Mindadvocated back in 1981 using positioning strategy in career advancement. Given that hiring managers are only clicks away from finding out significant information about a candidate, the idea has been forced back on the table. The ‘brand behind the candidate’ is using social media and other focused tools to provide hiring managers with a better insight into their suitability for a role. Traditional resumes just aren’t satisfying enough.

2012 will see the emergence of new innovative technologies. Some will work, and some won’t. Products not only need to take into account recruiting trends, but show how they build off one another. For example, social shouldn’t compete with the Applicant Tracking System, but sit within its existing work flow.

This year’s trends have a unifying driving force: using technology to create opportunity. As long as that technology is practical and robust, recruiters and candidates can confidently embrace 2012’s challenges.

Adam Lewis is the CEO of Apploi, a jobs ecosystem and hiring app that replaces the traditional application with an interactive exchange between employers and job seekers.

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