The Recruitment Revolution

A few weeks ago, walking the streets of San Francisco, I was suddenly stopped by a local bystander, asking me not to continue any further. I was on my way to a restaurant, only about a kilometer away, and I had checked the most direct route on a map. The person who stopped me was a potentially dubious character who had been biding his time sitting on a stairwell by the street. He told me, that if I continued further, I would be entering a dangerous block, and I would most likely be mugged, or worse. Now taking a closer look further into the distance, I realized that he was right. Whilst taking my Market Street detour to the restaurant, I was mulling over my recent experience. As a Finn, danger on the streets is a foreign thing to me. Here in San Francisco, choosing the wrong turn at one street corner would have put me in danger of physical injury. The rules of everyday life are different here.

I had spent the last days discovering the solutions of next generation recruitment software companies – one more innovative after the other. The solutions I had seen during the day seemed much more efficient compared to the ones we generally use in the Nordic countries, even though we are known for our efficiency in general. Also in this aspect, the rules are not the same as what I have been accustomed to. There is a new set of rules for the recruitment game, the revolution has begun.

We all have a choice, a decision to make. Do we want to embrace the new trends and tools and make them ours, or do we want to go with the flow? From my point of view, the most interesting emerging recruitment trends are crowdsourcing, social search and all the digital solutions made accessible to us by the development of technology that makes automation of intellectual work possible.

For a very long period of time, there have been no essential changes in the recruitment industry, the process of recruitment has remained more or less the same for decades. There have been some changes of course. First, job listings went online and soon to follow, applying online was made possible as well. After this, we have seen different solutions for taking all or some of the next stages online as well. Even though these changes seemed tremendous at the time, the process still remained the same: publish job listing, wait for applications, pre-screen, communicate, interview, communicate, select, communicate. Changes? I say that we haven’t seen anything yet.

We experienced the power of crowdsourcing a few weeks ago. We had a case where we needed to find Finnish ICT specialists to another country. Relocating for a job is nowhere as common here in Finland as it may be in many other countries, so we knew at the beginning that we would have to go all in to get the best candidates. Our initial solution was an online marketing campaign, where we made sure to have a targeted channel mix and good content. Even though the campaign went on for weeks, the results were slim and we only found a few suitable candidates. During an internal crisis meeting, we agreed that we have to change our approach. Crowdsourcing was our game-changer in this case. Within a short period of time, we were able to create a network of 1000 professionals who were doing the recruiting for us. In the end, we were successful. Crowdsourcing increased the amount of suitable applicants exponentially. Even now, I am wondering how rapidly these new tools have become a part of our everyday lives.

Another mainstreaming international trend is social search. This means utilizing all available information on the Internet in applicant evaluation. In most cases, this means scanning social media.

Social search is a hot potato in Finland, as our laws prohibit using Internet as a means of gathering background information during a recruitment process, unless this has been separately agreed upon with the applicant. Internationally however, everyday there are more and more companies that use this method as a means to gather all possible information about applicants. In this kind of a social search process, the candidate profile contains a detailed brief on education, work experience, professional articles, academic publications and yes, when necessary, also personal details such as hobbies and interests. A surprisingly great amount of details are logged into the depths of the Internet. At the moment, many recruitment professionals are contemplating what their take is on social search in terms of business ethics, and can we really afford not to use it as a tool.

New applications emerge that make recruitment more effortless and less time consuming. The entire ideology on information work is undergoing fundamental changes. Just a few years ago, artificial intelligence sounded utopian, but today it is reality. Today, it is possible to have a database of open positions, applicants and workers in all of Finland, where just by entering a few criteria, you can sip your coffee while waiting the few minutes it takes for the artificial intelligence to find the matches, that in quality are comparable to those made by recruitment professionals. It seems that this is the time to stay alert, because the revolution will not only be restricted to recruitment, but to work and working methods in general.

A few weeks ago in San Francisco, I had the possibility to change my game, because it was pointed out to me, that I was playing with the wrong set of rules. We recruitment professionals have that possibility here and now. The options are to give into going with the flow, and seeing what lies ahead or to take initiative, and start playing by the new rules one little change at a time. No matter which way you choose, the recruitment revolution is here. It is up to you to define which game you will be playing.

This article was first published on (a website of a Finnish business online daily newspaper). Read the original article here. 

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