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♫ It’s beginning to look a lot like [insert word] everywhere you go ♫


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If you are anything like me then you have just inserted the Michael Buble disc into your brain, and added the word ‘Christmas’ into the title of the post. Now (like me) I guarantee you are singing the song - just in case here you go:

I have actually woken up 4 days in a row to this song playing in my head! My daughter calls it dream karaoke singing 🙂

Obviously with us being in December and near the end of the year, the inevitable 2014 prediction merry-go-round is in full production, and of course being liberally shared around the social media world - good or bad!Now I don’t have an issue with making predictions, as I have to do it (in one way or another) every week working with clients, but some of the crap that is being peddled by bloggers, analysts and industry commentators must be from the ‘How To State The Flipping Obvious‘ book.

So back to Michael for a moment: now insert the words “the same crap” instead of Christmas and sing the song again! If you haven’t seen the plethora of these ‘How To State The Flipping Obvious‘ predictions here are some of the ones I have seen:

  1. The top three mainstream social networks for 2014 will be Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. They already are you dummy!
  2. LinkedIn will be the no.1 social network for recruiting in 2014. This is idiot material big style!
  3. The ‘war for talent’ is back for 2014. It never left us in the first place - there has always been a shortage of in-demand skills.Enough of this tosh already ……..

So what can expect to see impact the recruitment industry in 2014? Well whatever it will be it won’t be anything that happens fast - it never does in the recruitment industry!

These below are not predictions from me, but the continuation of trends that I have seen and experienced first hand during the second half of 2013. However, I do think they will actually gain traction at a quicker speed than we saw this year.

Recruiters are going to have work harder and smarter for their placements/hires. With the upturn in hiring levels we are told will be the case in 2014, candidates will have more choice in the marketplace. Fact. So better candidate attraction, sourcing, engagement, employment brand transparency and experience will continue to come under the spotlight for next year. This is not something that is entirely natural to many recruiters, and (I really hope) collaboration across different departs and skills (i.e marketing and HR) will need to become more prevalent.

The biggest competitors for third-party (agency) recruiters will be their clients and their target companies - being prompted and nudged by LinkedIn of course! Candidates are available to everyone on LinkedIn  - even with the most basic searching capabilities! It isn’t hard for these companies to find the 80% (or more) of candidates that would fill most of their roles, and just leave the 20% (or less) for the agencies. And then when they engage the training of companies like Social Talent and Boolean Strings, the recruiters become very skilled indeed.

Google will make you pay (not in £literal terms) for not updating your recruitment technologies - career sites and mobile sites (or lack of). We have seen Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird have huge impacts on website SEO, and with more candidates turning to Google for that first job search, paying attention to Google (and other search engines) will be critical for next year. How many companies or recruitment companies have still yet to fully embrace Google Plus - even though Google themselves have told you it is important for SEO? I know the answer, and it is a pitifully small number! The thing is, G+ is a brilliant recruitment tool but the trouble is that many recruiters have just dismissed it without even trying to use it.

You don’t have to be on every single social network in 2014 - but you do have to make sure you are active on the social networks where your audience is! But first and foremost you have to actually find that out - and that requires a little homework and (maybe) some help. Many recruiters will still not learn the power of social media next year, posting and spraying their jobs like manure on a farmers field, hoping that something will appear from the mess. But at last some recruitment agencies are now finally waking up and smelling the social media coffee. They are beginning to understand the power of social media for sourcing, engagement and brand building. [Just this week I have spoken to six recruitment agencies, who have now made the strategic commitment to better integrate social media into their day-to-day working - and I suspect there will be more doing it in early 2014 as candidates prove to be more elusive!]

Specialism will continue to win within recruitment next year - both for recruitment agencies and in-house recruiters. Industry specialists, sector specialists and skill specialists will go from strength to strength next year. Candidates like working with them because of their knowledge, connections and industry understanding. This applies equally to internal recruiters who are focused on delivering specific talent for their internal clients. The best recruiters will combine this specialism with social media and provide real social proof and value for their areas of work for their target audiences.

Client tolerance levels combined with increased expectations are going to cause a lot of pain for recruiters next year. We have already seen the start of this in 2013. I still believe that many hiring managers and HR people responsible for hiring, think that recruitment is easy. They certainly don’t fully get how hard it is to get the best candidates (which is what they always ask for, of course!), and all the factors that can impact a successful hire process - information, time, speed, feedback etc! Is it down to recruiters to educate their clients accordingly? Of course it is - it always has been, hasn’t it? But too often this gets lost in the process, and all the recruiters are able to do is to feed ‘the online recruitment system’ with CV’s, salary rates and availability! Very frustrating indeed!

Technology is still going to be a HUGE FRUSTRATION
next year. Too many companies and recruitment agencies have become reliant on crap technology that is still stuck in the 90’s (or worse!). New style systems incorporating CRM, social and engagement functionality are on the market and affordable for most companies. There is no longer an excuse for sticking your head in the sand and accepting the failures of recruitment technology - great technology exists that will immediately help your recruitment process - you just need to be ready to take that first step!

Social advertising will be taking some of your job advertising next year, as you strive to attract more relevant candidates. With the ability to target large specific audiences on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc on a PPC basis, more companies (driven by their digital agencies) will be tempted to try this method next year. Beware though - make sure you have a good social strategy and a great mobile enable career site presence in place first, otherwise you will just make yourselves look stupid, and you will waste your money!

Job boards will still continue to deliver candidates next year (contrary to some opinion), but maybe not quite so many good ones, until they get their act in order themselves. The one thing I hope does improve next year is the style and quality of the adverts that are getting posted online - way too many are simply s**t (sorry but they are!) We have seen pictures adverts has started to appear more often (such as Jobgram) and I believe we will see the trend continue - especially as they are easily shared across sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram.

Finally in 2013 we saw increased vacancies and recruitment activities across the industry, which has been superb! I am hoping that this can be sustained (and maybe increased) during the course of 2014.

As I said earlier in the post, these are more observations than predictions based on what I have seen. I think you will agree there is nothing spectacular here, no re-invention of the wheel or no magic space dust, but just a further continuation of an industry that is dealing with the changing times in the way it does best…….. slowly and inconsistently :-))

Here’s to a successful 2014!


I work with recruitment agencies and corporates to help them understand and leverage the different social media networks to improve their recruitment strategy, recruitment process, candidate attraction, employer branding and content marketing strategy. If you require guidance, advice or social recruiting training, get in touch today.

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