Engaging different ways for recruiting
In the past five years, online recruitment has become an essential HR practice with US research showing 92 percent of companies now recruit via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Seven in ten companies have successfully hired this way.
The South African situation is very different. Only half of companies have moved online and technology is still used in a very basic way to advertise on job boards and direct candidates to an email address or applicant tracking system. A tiny number of companies have fully woken up to social recruitment and are driving relevant jobs and content to niche online communities to engage talent.
We see three big opportunities this year:
1 Mobilising recruitment: With Africa’s 650-million mobile phone owners growing 40-fold since 2000 and eight in ten South Africans now owning a mobile phone, it is the best way to reach candidates, especially blue collar workers. Different to the US, Africa will have 85 percent non-smartphone users by 2015, which makes SMS an ideal communication channel.
Recruiters should start figuring out how to integrate mobile into the recruitment process as a job application channel. When looking for options, choose software that not only does mobile marketing of job ads, but can also automate the job application process via various mobile channels including SMS, mobile Internet, Instant Messaging (like Mxit) and USSD.
2 Opting for job aggregators: Job boards are based on an outdated model of big databases with no relationship to job seekers and poor integration to social media, if any. The traditional SA job board model has been to charge companies large sums to advertise their jobs with the chances of success being somewhat of a lottery. Aggregators are disrupting the market by collating and featuring jobs from multiple sources on one site for free.
Only the strongest and most innovative will survive and the days of the traditional job board is numbered. Recruiters need to start focusing on aggregators like Indeed.co.za for smarter use of their budgets and better exposure on a job-search tool giving candidates what they really want: quick, simple and effective search of their job niche.
3 Tapping into relationships: While personal recommendation is a top source of outside hires, most companies don’t have formal referral practices. Recruiters need to make sure employer branding is well executed on their career sites. By making jobs easy to share across social networks, employees will be even likelier to pass on opportunities. Equally important is to properly track and reward referrals to avoid great candidates falling through the cracks and to continue encouraging great leads.
An increasing number of vendors are now building candidate referral systems. Integrating these with an applicant tracking and workflow system can easily help track referrals along with the source, comments, notes and other content to make better hiring decisions.
2013 will be the year that companies deploying well thought out strategies can get a massive advantage. SA recruiters have to urgently up-skill on technology in the recruitment space and how it merges with marketing to stay relevant.
In the US, recruitment has already started unravelling for companies that are behind the curve. Local recruiters will start to feel the pressure this year as stopgaps for timely, cost effective and efficient recruitment stop working.
Cape Town-based Graylink is a private technology company specialising in cloud based recruitment solutions for corporates in emerging markets, particularly Africa. Its web and mobile offerings automate recruitment processes and help companies recruit the best talent quicker, more efficiently and for less.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”