Looking back 10 years is … nostalgic and astounding:
- 2014: Mobile devices accounted for 25% of all web usage.
- 2012: Facebook reached 1 billion users.
- 2011: LinkedIn launches a feature to allow companies to include an “Apply With LinkedIn” button on job listings pages.
- 2010: Instagram launched, signaling the importance of photos online.
- 2010: Those between 10 and 24 years old accounted for the 28% of the world’s population (the world’s largest generation of young people ever).
- 2010: Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy, after numerous declined offers to buy Netflix.
- 2009: Twitter had a breakout year, earning a valuation of 1 billion dollars.
- 2008: Glassdoor launched its company ratings site.
- 2007: Apple’s first-generation iPhone was created (a point where 36% of Americans said they would have a hard time giving up their Blackberry devices).*
As a true millennial (born almost right smack dab in the middle of the generation), I lived these constant and definitive changes as I made my way to college and into the workforce. They largely shaped the way I learn, the way I connect with others and the world, the way I find and choose what I buy and who I work for and with. They shaped the way the world works, from journalism to business to hiring.
The Transformation of People and Business
It’s been a decade of immense change for technology and for people – the change in the latter shaped largely by the change in the former. We look to our phones for everything. We can shop, order food, rent a movie, find a hotel room, transfer money, get directions, book a flight and more in nearly one click. We listen to peers (both friends and strangers) for where to eat, where to shop, where to travel and where to work. When we don’t know something, we ask Google (or Siri or Alexa). When we want to rant or praise, we have an open forum to do so across social media and review sites.
We believe that a career is bigger than a job and that work doesn’t have to be work. We, in the workforce today, as a multi-generational group of millions, are Generation Why.
Plus, since 2007, we’ve seen the emergence of new business models that have entirely crushed their age-old competition (think Blockbuster and Netflix; taxi companies and Uber; Borders and Amazon). The youth of today will never know what it’s like to browse movies on a shelf and decide based on the cover of their package. The refusal to adapt resulted in the failure to thrive (or merely survive). And this will only continue as change accelerates.
The Business of People
With all of this change in people and business models and technology in the past 10 years, where does that leave technology and the business of people: talent acquisition?
Simply: at a turning point.
In 2007, the company I now work for – SmashFly – was founded with the creation of the industry’s first next-generation job distribution platform. Why? Because our CEO Mike Hennessy believed that there was a better way to recruit and hire top talent: by using marketing principles to proactively reach and communicate with candidates before they applied (and entered into the one-way system of the ATS).
In the next 10 years (among many other things), Glassdoor emerged; mobile usage took off; social media became the networking norm; too many applicants flooded applicant tracking systems; unemployment increased then decreased; millennials entered the workplace; and having a job meant something more.
Now in 2017, that next-gen job distribution platform has evolved into a new category of HR technology, the Recruitment Marketing Platform, used by global enterprise customers across industries like transportation, financial services, technology, manufacturing and healthcare. Why? Because these companies sought to be ahead of the curve in mastering the art and science of attracting and hiring talent who fit their organization – what we call hiring with purpose. And they transformed their thinking because they knew the people they needed to hire – those who will help their business grow and succeed – have changed.
Soundbites from Industry Leaders
I believe this. SmashFly believes this. But we’re not the only ones – so I of course asked others what they saw as the biggest shifts in talent acquisition and recruitment marketing in the past decade, plus how to succeed in the future. Here’s what they said:
“Talent acquisition is no longer about being reactive to the current hiring market. Instead, it’s about building a strategy that will eventually take the company into the future. Talent will help companies innovate and grow the business now more than ever. It’s becoming increasingly important because we now have the lowest unemployment rate in over a decade, and the need for highly specialized talent is increasing in this changing economic climate and evolving business atmosphere.
When the iPhone became Apple’s flagship product, it was because of the talent that was hired to build and develop it. In order to stay relevant to consumers and always be innovating, you need top talent. Talent is what defines a company – every function of the business – and talent acquisition is the cornerstone of building a world-class company.
Technology has affected every single intricacy of the entire talent acquisition process. Working with vendors like SmashFly enables talent acquisition to adapt not only globally, but organizationally in ways that they wouldn’t be able to without it. They help automate much of the legacy administrative parts of recruiting so that recruiters can focus on building relationships with candidates and being a strategic partner to the business.”
Will Staney, Founder & CEO of Proactive Talent Strategies
“The biggest change I have seen in recruiting is that so many organizations are recognizing the value of applying marketing best practices to their recruiting efforts. The recognition that a lot goes on between ‘attraction’ and ‘application’ is leaps and bounds from where we were 10 years ago. We are more focused on creating experiences that are differentiated and compelling because we recognize that not only are candidates like consumers, they are our consumers.
I see a future where there is more transparency into a culture and a company that will drive candidate decisions around authentic fit. I can see a day when our marketing efforts are measured so effectively that we have more HR leaders with a seat in the C-suite.”
Tracey Parsons, Director of Recruitment Marketing Practice, SmashFly
“There is a powerful shift from talent scarcity to talent reverence : a new paradigm where companies create a feeling and attitude of deep respect for the candidates they look to attract and retain. Today, talent acquisition is more important than ever because, in addition to global labor shortages, it’s harder to woo top talent to join your company, and even harder to continuously convince them to stay. Having a robust capability to attract and retain top talent gives companies a competitive advantage, and talent acquisition plays a critical role in delivering this benefit to companies.
CH2M has stayed ahead of competitors in the talent acquisition space by consistently balancing cutting edge technology with diligent management of results. We’ve wisely partnered with companies who push the envelope, but don’t chase shiny objects. SmashFly is a perfect example. When we first partnered on job distribution over six years ago, the result was cost savings that we could then shift toward other talent attraction programs. After that, we worked closely with SmashFly to develop recruitment marketing and candidate relationship management tools. Over the years, the partnership has allowed us to keep ahead of competitors and exceed most industry best-practice benchmarks.”
Ryan Cook, Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition, CH2M Hill
“The biggest change in recruiting is the shift of validation between the candidate and employer. It’s no longer ‘why you?’ with the onus on the candidate, but ‘why us?’ with an onus on the employer. With better access to opportunities, more choices of employers than ever before and a consumer-driven world that’s affected all interactions between companies and people, we’re seeing that organizations are more frequently on the hook to demonstrate their value to skilled candidates.
It’s the organizations that invest in demonstrating this value that see their employees stay longer with the company – it’s the right fit. I see recruiting rapidly evolving in this direction, where recruiting success is predicated not on the resources you have, but on who you know and who knows you. Relationships will be the lifeblood of success for winning organizations. ”
Chris Brablc, Director of Product Marketing, SmashFly
“Companies cannot recruit how they did in recent years, because candidate behavior has changed. Job seekers are now job shoppers. They no longer search for jobs and apply to them. They engage in content, read reviews and rely on relationships to find the perfect job. Therefore, recruiters need to think more like marketers to attract and hire the best talent.
SmashFly shares our recruitment marketing vision, which is why we chose to partner with them. We are all in this journey together, and vendors and companies need to work together to develop the best technology solutions to support our goals and the direction we are headed. Companies wouldn’t be successful without technology, and technology vendors wouldn’t be successful without the input from companies who live it every day. Together, we will win.”
Jared Nypen, Director of Talent Acquisition, Great Clips
Sense a theme here? Fit, value, marketing, experiences, relationships, talent reverence. (What a concept from Ryan Cook!) The shift in recruiting this past decade is that people don’t just fill your reqs – people shape your organization and drive business success. I am so proud to work for a company that believes in this wholeheartedly and has helped lead the charge to transform others companies’ perspectives. Remember, refusal to adapt results in the failure to survive (just ask Blockbuster).
Long story short, this is my way of saying: Happy 10th Anniversary, SmashFly. Here’s to (at least) 10 more.