The Hits and Misses of Recruitment Methods in 2017

The Hits and Misses of Recruitment Methods in 2017

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The talent war is raging on. 83% of recruiters state that recruiting talented people is their top priority for their company. In a labour market that’s undergoing major transformation, the challenges are significant in both number and scope – the increase in the number of ‘passive’ job seekers, reportedly accounting for 75% of employees on LinkedIn, the growing appeal of self-employment, and above all, the arrival of the Millennials who are already changing the game.

In 2025, three out of four employees will be millennials, and a considerable proportion of them won’t be employed in the traditional sense of the word. More and more millennials are being attracted to freelancing and entrepreneurship and their turnover rate is twice as high as for other generations (rarely do they spend more than three years in the same company).

It’s no secret – more relevant and more innovative recruitment methods are essential when trying to respond to threats and attract the talented people who will make your company a success. Here’s our list of 2017’s hits and misses when it comes to recruitment methods.

6. Recruiting via serious games

Serious games (not to be confused with business games) are defined as “a game designed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment.” Serious games are simulations of real situations that candidates might be faced with if they were hired, and take the form of video games. Recruiters judge candidates’ abilities by analyzing how they react and how they behave.

It’s a practice generally used by major groups such as Renault and Total for professional training. Essentially, it’s a more enjoyable approach to learning – less vertical and less hierarchy-focused – that gives employees more independence than in traditional training. However, the very high costs (between €75,000 and €150,000) and the significant involvement and engagement required from HR managers mean that serious games are rarely good value for money.

Plus there’s the fact that in the age of video games with stunning, ultra-realistic graphics, your serious game might pale in comparison, and instead of improving your employer brand, there’s a good chance you’ll damage it. Another disadvantage is that maintaining the right balance between fun and learning is tricky – you run the risk of ending up with extremely fun games that are little use when trying to assess and choose talented people, or, on the other hand, your game might be a highly effective way of choosing between candidates while boring them to tears.

5. Recruiting via recruitment forums

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Here’s a rough outline of how recruitment forums work. You were given the forum map a week in advance, you memorized the layout of your 12m2, and you set up your table, your two bar stools, your flyers and your banner that morning at 8.25. A deluge of nervous students frantically floods through the stands. You aren’t Google or Facebook, and you aren’t a startup either – so you’ll need to use every ounce of imagination (and some cool goodies) to win over the horde of young talent in attendance. Candidate after candidate, interview after interview – they all have the same qualities and weaknesses, they dress identically, and they all say more or less the same thing.  As the day comes to a close, you’ve got a pile of CVs, and at the end of it all, you still feel like you’re not a single step closer to hiring the gem of an employee who’ll revolutionize your department than you were at the beginning.

This imaginary scenario – albeit one inspired by real events – might seem familiar to a lot of HR managers. Recruitment fairs suffer from a number of key faults. Firstly, they only have a very local impact, meaning they have limited reach and attendance. But the talented people who’ll transform your company could come from anywhere.

The majority of candidates you meet at recruitment fairs all have the same profile – i.e. they all come from the same business schools and universities. So what’s one of the only ways to distinguish between them? By judging them based on their school’s rankings, which reduces your chances of finding promising talent from less prestigious schools and universities. What’s more, most (or perhaps all?) of the time, interviews at employment fairs – and elsewhere – are focused on the past rather than the future. They prioritize degrees and professional experience, and the challenges the future position will bring are rarely discussed. How can you recognize a talented individual if you don’t have an idea of how they would tackle upcoming challenges, the company’s mission and the long-term?

Another disadvantage of fairs is that it’s difficult to showcase the company’s actual business culture at this type of event. As such, people with more alternative and unusual profiles (despite being highly skilled) won’t necessarily attend.

Find out more: Recruitment fairs vs open innovation challenges – how should you recruit?

4. Recruiting via obsolete recruitment firms

Staying ahead in this talent war also means using quick, effective methods. You have to be able to be flexible and bend a few rules from time to time. Let’s take a classic example – you’ve found your ideal candidate, but he doesn’t meet all the selection criteria. Bad luck – he didn’t go to one of the top five business schools, he hasn’t got the required two years of experience in this or that area, and he doesn’t have the exact skills you’re looking for that would only need two weeks of in-company training to learn. Sometimes it’s the underdogs (see the header image) who are best placed to bring your projects to life.

Despite the high costs (20-30% of the employee’s gross annual salary), a huge number of companies use recruitment firms. According to Syntec figures, French businesses use external firms for one in five recruitments.

Often, HR directors end up frustrated by the standard of service provided by consultants who are unable to identify their company’s needs and values. Lack of responsiveness combined with poor knowledge of their environment means a disappointing experience for HR directors. The suggested candidates don’t match up to their expectations and as a result, turnover is much higher.  Ultimately, you end up paying twice – once when you pay the recruitment fees, and again when you have to find a replacement, resulting in yet more costs.

The firms aren’t entirely to blame, however – it’s also down to the relationship between businesses and recruitment firms. Their clients’ selection criteria are often difficult to achieve, and frictions can emerge when recruitment takes longer than planned or doesn’t match up to expectations. Unrealistic demands often lead to a lack of agility, despite the fact that it’s a crucial quality for recruitment firms.

3. Recruiting via social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat)

According to Career Builder, in 2016, 60% of employers used social media (rising to 76% in the IT sector!) in their recruitment processes – an increase on 2015 figures (52%), and the trend shows no signs of stopping.

It’s no secret that LinkedIn is the social media site most commonly used by recruiters, with 94% of them reporting that they use LinkedIn in their recruitment processes. The problem is that this makes it even more difficult to stand out.

That’s why some companies have turned to less-used social media sites to improve their employer brand.

Twitter & Periscope

With 328 million users logging on each month, Twitter and Periscope certainly aren’t small fry.

At 6pm every Thursday since 26 November 2015, Accenture has organized a discussion session aimed at candidates, whether newcomers or veterans, via the hashtag #AccentureRecrute [#AccentureIsRecruiting] on Twitter and Periscope in preparation for plans to recruit over 1000 employees across all of its areas of business (strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations). The result: around 100 people get involved in each session, and the numbers rose to 160 for a session dedicated to Data Sciences.

Facebook Live

The Facebook algorithm favors Facebook Live, so why not take advantage of this?

It’s a fact that Accenture makes full use of. On 8 March 2016, the Accenture teams ran an innovative marketing campaign, which centered around live broadcasts of key moments from the company’s internal International Women’s Day event. The initial results from this pilot were clearly extremely conclusive, with the videos being watched over 4000 times within 24 hours of being published.


With over 300 million active users every month, Snapchat has the most loyal user base of all social media. There are a range of original ways of recruiting on Snapchat that break away from traditional recruitment practices.

McDonald’s Australia teamed up with Snapchat to offer a filter that allowed applicants to dress up as the perfect McDonald’s employee. After sending in their ‘Snaplication’, candidates were redirected to the brand’s recruitment platform to submit their CV, and afterwards, all they had to do was wait patiently for the recruiter to get back to them.

2. Investing in mobile recruitment

With web searches via mobiles outnumbering those via computers for the first time last year, it’s essential for recruiters to have a presence on mobile platforms.

The survey carried out by the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute in 2015 only confirms the importance of mobile in recruitment. IBM teams questioned 16,000 people from 23 different countries, including representatives of a wide range of business sectors, types of organization and positions. They then separated them into two distinct groups based on their performance levels at work – high-potential employees (top talent) and the rest. The report reveals that almost 70% of high-potential employees view companies that use mobile recruitment as more appealing. What’s more, 74% of these top talents use their mobile when looking for a job.

Save candidates time

Recruiters’ presence via mobile technology saves time for candidates, as dedicated recruitment apps help to spread job information. Smartphones also have the particular advantage of accompanying their users wherever they go. With apps’ push notifications – which display a message on the screen even when the app isn’t open – companies enjoy more immediate and wider contact with the pool of potential candidates. By making the application process less time-consuming, companies win big.

Simplify the application process

CVs and cover letters were fine in the 90s, but those days are long gone. Millennials no longer want to spend hours perfecting applications that they know recruiters won’t look at for more than a few minutes. That’s where mobile enters the field. There are already apps that collect information from a user’s LinkedIn profile so they can submit a job application with a single tap.

Find out more: Mobile recruitment, the secret to attracting the best talent

Open innovation challenges have a wide range of names – O2O (online to offline) hackathons, online hackathons, innovation business games, crowdsourcing, and more.

The idea behind open innovation challenges is to use collaborative innovation to mobilize the creative power of innovative individuals to address a company’s strategic challenges. They’re a way for businesses to attract and identify the best talent.

Open innovation challenges give targeted groups (often students) an issue to work on, and participants then present their innovative solutions through PowerPoint presentations or videos. Open innovation challenges take place through three main stages:

  • an ideation stage, which concludes with an initial selection of projects (50 out of 150, for example),
  • an expansion stage: the chosen teams have the opportunity to develop their projects in more detail. Ultimately, a second selection process takes place (five out of the 50 pre-selected teams, for example).
  • the real-life final where the finalists present their projects to the organizing company’s top management team.

The aim is to test participants’ technical skills (hard skills) and interpersonal skills (soft skills) before offering jobs to the best of the bunch.

Why do we think that participatory innovation challenges are the best way of recruiting? Because as well as helping to boost innovation at your company based on key issues, they also mean you can recruit the best individuals who took part in the challenge.

Challenges reveal talented people – teams of two to four participants who worked together to produce an in-depth and innovative solution have an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and showcase their talent and ideas. By working on the business’s key issues, participants learn about the organizing company’s values, work and projects. Following a challenge, companies recruit an average of four to six new employees. And if that wasn’t enough, open innovation challenges are a powerful tool for boosting employer brand.

The final word

Managing to stand out in the talent war isn’t an easy task, especially without major involvement from top management and a long-term vision, both of which are guiding factors. Each of the methods listed in this article has its advantages and disadvantages, but open innovation challenges are the most comprehensive and most effective. As well as being a fantastic tool for improving your employer brand, they’re also an excellent way of identifying motivated and talented people.

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