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This article was published on April 7, 2014

5 ways technology has changed recruiting forever

5 ways technology has changed recruiting forever
Franklin Morris
Story by

Franklin Morris

Franklin Morris is a senior writer for Rackspace. Franklin Morris is a senior writer for Rackspace.

Franklin Morris is a senior writer for Rackspace.

A recent CareerBuilder report finds that 77 percent of full-time workers are either looking for a new job or are open to a change this year.

Candidates who haven’t applied in a couple years will quickly find that the rules are different. Anyone who still thinks dropping off a resume at the front desk is enough will have better luck uploading it to their MySpace page and rushing to the nearest pay phone to place a follow-up call.

Meanwhile, companies of all sizes are in a mad dash to recruit talented candidates using the latest technology tools.

Here are a few trends you should be aware of, whether you’re a coder daydreaming of a new gig or a Fortune 500 CIO hoping to recruit the best and brightest:

1. Transparency is king

If you’re a candidate checking out a company you can go to Glassdoor to find out what that company pays and how happy their employees are. That sort of x-ray vision—the ability to peer through the company’s walls at their day-to-day operations—is a brand new superpower.

The complex infrastructure and power required to run the Glassdoor platform (there’s a lot happening on the backend to make it look seamless) wasn’t there just a few years ago. Today they return results in a fraction of a second.

On the flip side, recruiters now have better visibility into candidates than ever before—how they work and what they’re passionate about. If you’re a candidate applying for a job, you can bet that your prospective employer is checking out your tweets, blog posts, and your old LiveJournal rants. If it’s online, it’s fair game.

This may feel icky but, the truth is, employers just want to know who their employees are as people. They want insight into the guy they are going to be sitting next to every day. That’s what transparency is all about.

2. Technology can make us look more human

The technology platforms we use everyday have changed the way we communicate on a basic human level. Just a few years ago, looking for jobs meant a lot of “analog” networking or fielding emails from faceless recruiters. Today it often feels just like two people having a conversation and technology plays an integral role.

When a recruiter sends you a message about a job via LinkedIn, you’ll notice there’s a tiny picture next to their name. You’re talking to a real human being, not some monolithic HR department.

New social networks, like BranchOut, take this idea a step further by letting users leverage their Facebook friends list to find jobs. Despite the fact that Facebook isn’t branded as a professional network, a recent study by Jobvite found that 18 million users got their their jobs through Facebook connections, a fact that makes sense considering your friends list is often comprised of your true, real-life support network—family members and friends who are willing to go to bat for you.

The ability to tap into that real, human network makes the BranchOut/Facebook duo a formidable threat to LinkedIn’s dominance.

3. Real-world skills are your best credentials

Having a 4.0 GPA from Stanford still has its benefits, but today’s employers put more weight on how you apply your skills in the real world, not just on paper. If you’re a developer you better have a GitHub repository; if you’re an aspiring writer you better have a blog that showcases your best work.

The credentials that businesses are looking for today are grounded in real-world, tech-savvy skills.

For example, a startup called TrueAbility launched an assessment platform that challenges tech professionals to prove themselves by showing off their Linux knowledge, scripting abilities and WordPress expertise in a live environment.

TrueAbility’s customers include the likes of Netflix, Rackspace and Sony Playstation—all of whom have come to realize the need to vet their talent using real-world scenarios, not just resumes. 

4. The resume isn’t dead – it’s just more data-driven

Nothing is more annoying than uploading your resume to a company’s site, only to be prompted to spend half an hour cutting and pasting its content into page after page of Web forms.

It’s those forms that really matter. They’re the tools for allowing recruiters to sift through massive amounts of data in seconds. It’s not unlike the “dating site” model. The company that pairs up the right candidate with the right job posting will be the one that comes out on top.

Google has long been at the forefront of using big data to surface their ideal candidates. It would take an entire department to manage the sheer scale of their applicant pool (they receive over 100,000 of resumes per month).

Instead, Google relies on a series of mathematical algorithms that target keyword combinations to predict whether a candidate has the technical chops and how likely they are to fit in culturally.

5. Smart recruiters understand content marketing

The CareerBuilder survey also found that 91 percent of candidates said that a company’s employment brand is a major factor in whether or not they apply. The most successful companies understand this and push out content on their Web properties that will capture the interests of their future employees.

Qualified candidates don’t just carpet bomb their resume to every potential employer. They tend to find a few brands that they connect with and keep their eye on those companies’ job postings, Twitter profile, and blog posts. They can also aggregate their information using search agents and RSS feeds.

Delivering authentic content to candidates is key to recruiting in the age of always-on social media. Virtual tours are a great way to give candidates an inside peek.

The recruiting world is getting bigger. And smaller.

There’s a strange irony at play here: as recruiting begins to shift toward a more data-driven model, the entire process of recruiting is beginning to feel more authentic, transparent, and human.

The pool of recruitment data is growing exponentially—year on year—but technology companies are harnessing that data, focusing it, in radical new ways, to help you leverage your ever-growing network of digital connections and real-life relationships alike.