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Tech evolution of recruitment processes

Rise in cross-border video interviews, background checks through social media and instant updates through mobile devices are some ways technology are used in recruitment processes today.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Recruiters and headhunters are increasingly tapping on technologies such as the Internet, social media, low and high cost videos and mobile devices in order to reach more a greater pool of talent and be more efficient.

ZDNet Asia spoke to industry insiders to uncover four ways technology has evolved recruitment processes.

Rise of cross-border video interviews
Over the past few years, video interviews have been used more frequently for recruitment where meeting face-to-face is difficult and typically deployed at final stages of the process, Darren Morris, Asia-Pacific program director of Hudson, observed. He cited research by TeleGeography, which estimated that cross-border Skype-to-Skype calls, including video calls, grew by 48 percent in 2011 from 2010 to 145 billion minutes. On the other hand, traditional international long distance traffic growth continued to slow.

Video interviews have "tremendously improved efficiency" the preliminary stages of the process, Melissa Norman, managing director of Kelly Services Singapore and Malaysia explained. She cited that multiple attendees from the employer's side can assess the candidate together, or alternatively, have an entire table full of applicants at once in a group interview.

Bronwyn White, Cisco's human resource director in Asia-Pacific, also told ZDNet Asia that the company conducted telepresence interviews, at both executive levels and senior levels, and that enabled a "holistic assessment" of the candidate.

She explained that telepresence has a sharp definition, does not lag and "almost feels like a face-to-face interview". "We can see their facial expressions, how they react, body language, transparency, whether they are honest or comfortable while they are a million miles away," she said.

White added that the different interview experience also helps to "sell the job". "Candidates today have very 'cool' technologies and are put off when they see that a company does not have technologies better than the ones they have at home," she explained.

"Candidates today have very 'cool' technologies  and are put off when they see that a company does not have technologies better than the ones they have at home."
-- Bronwyn White
Human Resource Director
Asia-Pacific, Cisco

Social Media for background checks, references
Norman noted that social media accounts could assess the suitability of a candidate, before meeting them in person and gauging their skill sets and true standardized company tests and questionnaires.

"Depending on privacy settings, such online tools can also be used to do quick background checks on how the candidates present themselves online," she said.

Recruiters can also scout for potential candidates through the connections and friends list on social networks, Norman added.

Consultant Barry Teo, for one, said that he logged on to LinkedIn every day and that it was a "great place to [showcase] my skills and experience", and "get headhunted".

White also stated that the company has been recruiting through LinkedIn and Twitter and has quite "good success".

"We also use social media to stay connected to our candidates--some candidates may not be ready to join Cisco but are still very interested in our company and want to see what future openings we have," she said.

Mobile devices for interviews and updates
Recent advances making video conferencing options more accessible and affordable such as Facetime, coupled by the increasing growth of mobile devices have caused recruiters to embrace mobile videos in recruitment processes, Morris said.

Mobility has also led to a significant reduction in time and cost to schedule and conduct a call with a candidate using video, he explained. It offers increased levels of connectivity to individuals as a candidate, hiring manager or referee and an acceleration of the connection and hence, the hiring process, he added.

For one, White said that with the advancement in mobile devices, she was able to conduct interviews with candidates from anywhere other than her own office, such as cafes and from her home.

The recruitment industry can also use mobile devices and technology to update potential applicants instantaneously once new jobs appear, Norman added. She explained that today, some job portals had apps that could send immediate notifications on job openings to smartphones and tablets.

"[The updates] can make a difference, especially if the position needs to be filled as soon as possible," she said.

Job postings go online
Online advertising of jobs has helped lower cost and increase efficiency in recruitment processes, Morris said.

The Internet has enabled recruiters to reach out to job seekers, and most companies today post job positions on their Web sites or on recruitment sites, Norman explained. He cited 2011's Kelly Global Workforce Index which revealed that the majority of respondents--21 percent--got their jobs through online job postings.

Candidates can register online or submit their resume for a position and can then be contacted for interviews, Norman explained. Today, there are also online job matching processes on current databases against open positions, she said.

Choy See Wen, an undergraduate in his final semester, also said he preferred looking for jobs online over other media such as newspapers and magazines. He cited that online job advertisements were more convenient for him.

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