Article by Annabella Poon
on 2 Jan 2014
The top 6 recruiting trends for Asia in 2014. In no particular order, here they come:
1. Use of Big Data Metrics for Recruiting (Talent Analytics)
Brad Pitt stars in Moneyball, the film about how data revolutionized sports recruiting and transformed a team of underestimated baseball players into superstar athletes. In the so-called ‘War for Talent’, those who make data-supported decisions instead of relying on gut-feel will take the lead in 2014. We will see a tangible shift away from recruiting decisions based on ‘intuition’, with the smartest recruiters looking at less obvious but more accurate indicators of a candidate’s true value.
For instance, US predictive analytics company Evolv discovered that applicants who fill out online job applications with third-party browsers like Firefox or Chrome perform better and change jobs less frequently than people who use Internet Explorer. Apparently, the significance of a candidate independently choosing to download a browser that has not been pre-installed on their computer is indicative of a higher IQ and sharper sense of initiative. This is just one example of how analysis of candidate behaviors can help recruiters make the right hires- and move away from guesswork towards data-driven decision making.
Inject some Moneyball success into your own recruiting technique by employing the right tools with real-time & predictive metrics for 2014.
2. Compliance Matters
With the availability of Big Data analytics, there are rising concerns about how personal data is being used and managed by organisations across Asia. Recruitment processes need to be evaluated to ensure that basic data security policies are implemented and that personal data used for recruitment is not abused. Following the introduction of data protection regulations in Japan and Singapore, data privacy legislations are expected to be picked up by the rest of Asia in 2014.
According to Bernie Schiemer, CEO & founder of HRBoss, “There’s a lot of buzz in Singapore right now about the recently announced data privacy act and, controversially, 10 recruitment firms have already had their licenses revoked for putting non-compliant adverts on the internet…there are also a lot of organisations still using spreadsheets to manage their data. They don’t realise that they potentially can be held criminally liable if this data is taken from them and passed on to someone else without the candidate's knowledge. That data is put into a laptop and walks out of the door with consultants every night. If you are not compliant you risk having your licence revoked and losing your business- this makes the issue a top priority for recruiting and staffing industry leaders”.
Schiemer emphasises the need for recruiting and staffing firms to systemise and put infrastructure in place. “Without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of running a successful recruiting firm is to get your infrastructure right from day one. Having data on a secure email server, having candidate and contact data on a system that you can IP restrict- these are the basics. I would urge recruitment agencies to consider a solution that safeguards your data moving forward and to do so now. This is not just a Singapore phenomenon- Japan implemented a similar act in 2005 and it's had a massive impact. I predict that with the 2015 open borders policy coming in across Southeast Asia, a rash of other countries will look to adopt the same law”.
3. Social Media
If you want to hire Talent, you have to be where Talent is. The generation of Millennials are tech-savvy and seeking job opportunities online. This trend has been simmering away in Asia for the past few years and 2014 will see this continue. Social media profiles are increasingly viewed as the new resumes in Asia and professional social networks are ranked the second top source for finding quality hires in Southeast Asia. Unlike the US and UK where LinkedIn is dominant, sites like Renren (similar to Facebook), Sina Weibo (akin to Twitter) and Youku (like Youtube) are the preferred social recruiting space for accessing the Talent market in China.
Japan is also in on this trend. William Brooks, Country Manager of HRBoss Japan, shared, “Using social media to recruit is definitely a growing trend in Japan- for both agency recruiters but corporates too, as well as a way to reduce agency dependency. Culturally, Japanese are not job-hoppers and are averse to changing jobs often. Social media is one clever way to reach passive candidates here in Japan and this something that the best recruiters are leveraging on with great results”.
4. Mobile Recruiting
Still think that mobile recruiting is just hype? Think again. In 2009, there were 86.2 million smartphone users in APAC but in 2013, the number has grown to an astounding 738.2 million. The mobile recrutiing trend shows no sign of abating- rather, it will gain traction aross Asia throughout 2014. In June 2013, Google altered its mobile search algorithm ensuring that any web page that is not mobile-optimised will be demoted. Your job listing pages risk getting lower rankings and could even be removed from search results completely. The message couldn’t be clearer : to expand your current Talent pool in 2014, your website has to be mobile optimised and must also allow instant job application via the mobile platform. Integrate your mobile recruiting website with LinkedIn, Facebook and other social sites to enable candidates to apply to jobs in single-clicks. By anticipating the needs and behaviours of today’s candidates, you can make the application process easy and attract fresh Talent.
5. The Right Candidate Experience
In line with the rising trend of social spaces and mobile platforms for recruitment, recruiters in Asia are also beginning to focus on providing a positive candidate experience to transform opportunities into conversions in 2014. Recruiters should formulate targeted communication strategies which are marketed and personalised, building relationships for future Talent pipelines. A weak candidate experience is a fast route to damaging a recruiter’s reputation so it’s important that all candidate contact touch-points begin and end with a positive experience.
Recruiters are busy people- so how do you go about practising all the above trends with limited time? For in-house corporate recruiting teams, out-sourcing hiring to recruiting firms will be one trend that we will see coming back throughout 2014. Out-sourcing alleviates a company from recruiting headaches such as lack of resources, time and operational costs, enabling them to focus on core business practices and on generating revenue. This translates into not just cost and time savings, plus the quality of hire can also be improved as recruiting professionals are more experienced and plugged into the local talent market.
Steven Yeong, Chief Talent Evangelist of Singapore-based recruitment consultancy Hof Consulting predicts that we’ll see companies in Asia adopt a hybrid strategic approach for recruiting in 2014. “4 years ago, organisations focused only on in-house recruiting but this year and next, I see a trend that organisations are adopting a more hybrid approach. Many junior level recruiters are unable to recruit senior level professionals so companies turn to recruitment firms. There is always a tussle between in-house recruitment and outsourcing to agencies. By hiring a senior full-time recruitment consultant, companies might be paying high fees but they are assured that they are not losing Talent to competitors. Organisations also have more leverage in terms of salary negotiation.”