The speed of technological change, coupled with a workforce who grew up with technology is having a powerful effect on how employers are able to attract the right people.

Recruitment professionals, more than most, have had to learn how technology is being used by the new working generation, and through closer alliances with IT companies, have learned how to incorporate this into their own processes and practices.

Here are nine key messages from 2016 to help attract top talent in 2017.

Mobile is still king. Most of the web traffic to business websites now comes from mobile devices, and the Millennials, and especially Generation Z, have grown up living with smart phones. At least one-fifth of job seekers have filled out a job application on their mobile device, and many search for roles while on the move. Mobile therefore needs to be at the heart of the recruitment process, not just making your existing application pages mobile friendly, but building simple ‘gather now, ask for more documentation later’ processes that can be easily accessed and completed via smart phone. Reaching graduates via mobile apps such as Debut has also offered employers easier, less expensive access to the skills they’ve been looking for.

Social media matters. Means of immediate messaging, chat applications such Snapchat or Whatsapp, and a clear ‘story’ of your business on social media can all help the recruitment process from both sides.

Keep it simple. Since the bulk of the workforce is now made up of Millennials and Generation Z, when it comes to recruitment and technologies that they are expected to be used at work, user interfaces need to be simple, and user experience made as easy and intuitive as possible. This is because people from these generations expect and are used to easy-to-use technology, and are known to dislike complexity when it comes to their interactions with technology.

Get used to using technology in interviews. Face to face, in-person Q & As are now being replaced by live chat, video interviewing, and more interactive processes such as whiteboard sessions.

Make use of video. Building a short and engaging video, and sharing it across social channels can be a very effective way of delivering important messages to candidates about the culture, a lifestyle and opportunities in your business in controlled way. Also, reports of a less than 2% unemployment rate for IT roles means, for example, that employers may now need to look further afield geographically for candidates, and therefore video interviewing could be valuable.

Security matters. With cyber crime and online fraud at record levels, and with many costly data breaches happening due to employee error (many involving younger members of staff), security concerns are now a board-level issue, and a two-way-street concern in recruitment. As well as digital / cyber security specialists now seeking roles in and being sought by companies (GDPR comes into force next year), recruiters / employers are now also keen to find candidates who are not just IT literate, but who have basic security awareness, and who already work in a way that can help the company to avoid and prevent costly and damaging breaches.

Keep the focus. Technology can now be used in a way which enables you to reach the right niche of ‘specialist’ people rather than attracting generalists.

Expect a desire for flexibility. Expect some specialist IT workers to prefer the independence, freedom and flexibility of moving from one client to the next for specific jobs on temporary contracts (the gig economy), rather than staying with just your company. Build this trend into your expectations and planning.

Sometimes you may need to pay more. One message that recruitment analysts have for employers in 2017 is that they should expect to have to have to pay premium rates to attract and retain people with the right technology skills.

What does this mean for your business?

The ‘high-demand but low supply’ hiring landscape, continued growth in the IT market, and the need to adapt to new technologies and the changing needs and expectations of the workforce, have all presented recruiters and employers with new challenges. Finding new, technology based methods and models for reaching the new working generations is a way for businesses to attract the right skills and candidates in a competitive and global marketplace.

How to attract top talent in 2017
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