How recruitment is changing in the digital age
How recruitment is changing in the digital age

How recruitment is changing in the digital age

4 August 2020

3 ways recruitment is changing in the digital age

Jobs were once posted on bulletin boards in local shops and newspapers. CVs were faxed and mailed by post. In fact, the only way to contact a candidate was by landline. If they had a private office, then this wasn’t an issue. But if they didn’t, you would have to call them in the evening when they got home.

Technology has changed all that. It has made a huge difference, especially in Switzerland where there has always been a shortage of talent. Nowadays, with a few mouse clicks, you have access to millions of CVs. This was unthinkable just a few decades ago.

For instance, I can view the CV of any potential candidate I want. I don’t even need to ask to see their CV. I have access to it even if they aren’t actively searching for a role. How do I do this? I head over to LinkedIn and look up their profile.

This is a great example of how the recruitment industry is changing rapidly in the digital age. And, this is especially evident in Switzerland. Here are three trends I’ve noticed.

1. Applicant tracking systems are fast becoming the norm

Many companies in Switzerland are now using applicant tracking systems (ATS) to help manage the recruitment process. Love them or hate them, these are a fact of life now. The traditional job application dossier that is so typical in Switzerland – letters of intention, CVs, educational certificates, and copies of your ID – are now stored digitally in these systems.

An ATS allows businesses to collect information, organize prospects based on experience and skillset, and filter applicants. They will scan through an applicant’s CV, and store the applicant's work history and academic credentials in a giant database.

It helps weed out unqualified applicants so more time can be taken to evaluate candidates who are a better fit for the position. But there is another very simple reason why companies use them – it makes recruiting far more scalable. The huge amounts of data collected increase the chances of finding rare talent that’s hard to find in Switzerland.

2. Everything is now done online

Clothes shopping, banking to booking your next holiday are all done online these days. The same is true for recruitment.

It has completely changed the way candidates search for roles. Nowadays, most will head over to their future employer's website to research the company they have applied for. They may even look up and follow their corporate media channels to get a sense of who these companies are.

Prior to an interview, many candidates will look up whose interviewing them on LinkedIn or search for who could be their potential line manager. They may even conduct a few Google searches to really get to know who they will meet.

This is why employer branding is so critical in the digital age. Candidates will interact with companies through multiple digital channels during the recruitment process. Consequently, companies have an opportunity to influence a candidate’s perception of how they should be viewed as an employer. This could have a huge impact on their ability to attract the best talent.

3. Lifelong learning has become the norm

Automation and AI could revive growth in Swiss productivity. Many companies realize this, which is why they are trying to accelerate digital transformation within their corporate structures. Subsequently, it will completely change the way companies hire and the skill sets they are after in candidates.

Switzerland possesses a highly skilled workforce and a strong education system. However, an extensive skills shift will be needed to keep up with the pace of digitalization. Although digitalization will replace jobs through automation, it will also create many new highly-skilled roles, which could exacerbate Switzerland’s current skill shortage.

Candidates who embrace lifelong learning, therefore, will find that it’s very good for their careers over the longer run.

Digitalization will see radical changes in the way that companies recruit. Consequently, the job market will experience a significant disruption in the decades to come. This will have a significant influence on people's careers. Candidates who see this change coming will benefit significantly from the new opportunities created. Likewise, companies that understand how candidates search for jobs in the new digital age, will also excel at attracting the best talent.

A lot is at stake, therefore, for both companies and candidates as we enter this new digital age.

Luca Semeraro

Head of Badenoch & Clark
Zurich, Switzerland

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