The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

Recruitment Buzz Panel: What Trends Should the Recruitment Industry Look Out For in 2014?


2014 brings with it a growing economy, plunging unemployment rates and a new optimism that recruiters haven’t had for around half a decade, since the financial crisis took hold.

Last year saw the recruitment industry beginning to embrace technology, incorporating video interviewing, gamification, and social media in a bid to stay ahead of the recruitment curve.

Recruitment Buzz took to our panel of recruitment experts in order to determine what trends will carry through into 2014 –  read on to find out what the panel predicts below…

Azmat Mohammed | Director-General | Institute of Recruiters (IOR)

Deeper Domain Expertise:
Employers will be seeking a greater knowledge from recruiters that extends to hiring graduates, apprentices and flexible working.

Smarter Technology Doing the Heavy Lifting
Technology will play an increasing role, look out for the IOR’s new Social Networking site due for release around mid-April in which we put recruiters in the driving seat.

M&A Activity
There will be more consolidation, as large companies look to absorb the well run niche recruiters to expand their reach and sales.

More recruiters, both large and small, will look to earn fees both inside and outside the UK. Networking and connectivity is getting so advanced that the barriers to international income are really about your investment in time and knowledge, not CAPEX.

Split fees will increase as recruiters widen their income streams and trust becomes less of a barrier to working with others.


Alasdair Murray | Freelance Copywriter and former recruitment marketing Ad Agency Account Director

Mine would be more of a wish that I hope would become a trend – and that would be that recruiters everywhere take a bit more time to think about what they post online and pass off as job advertisements in the future. Humans are led by their emotions, hence the glossy advertising you see on billboards, in magazines and on TV for cars, holidays, insurance, lifestyle etc. Recruitment needn’t take the same budget, but nor should it be the poor relation. The words you use should appeal to people rather than just be sterile cut & pasted ones lifted from job descriptions with no allure whatsoever. So yes, more than anything, I’d like to see more creativity become a trend in recruitment in 2014…and beyond.


Mervyn Dinnen | Content & Social Engagement Strategist for Recruitment & HR

Three important trends for this year – Data, Mobility and Content.

Most recruitment businesses have lots of data, from candidate details to market intelligence, and clients will be beginning to expect more from them. Insights around skills, preferences and locations will be important to clients who are jugging skill shortages and flexible working arrangements and there are opportunities for collaboration.

We’ve been talking about the importance of mobile for some time, and Google’s recent statistic of 88% of job searches involving mobile at some stage has merely underlined this. Recruiters need to think of mobility though, where people are when they access their site. Peak times are 8am and 10pm so if they are commuting then there may be a lack of Wi-Fi and patchy 3G, whilst if it’s second screening at home they want information quickly.

The intelligent use of content will be a differentiator too. From job ads and candidate profiles to interview advice and market knowledge, smart recruiters will be looking to find interesting and engaging ways to connect with clients and job seekers.


Mike Taylor | Founder | Web Based Recruitment

With the number of job vacancies in 2014 now at a 15 year high and with more and more candidates coming back onto the market, it is now more important than ever before to stand out from the crowd and be different.  Regardless of whether you are looking for candidates as a recruitment agency or direct employer you need to start thinking like a marketer and attract job seekers to your organisation. Job hunting in 2014 will be totally different to job hunting in 2008 (before the recession started) so if you are still doing the same things to market your company as you were before you will be sadly left behind!


Daniel Richard | UK Managing Director | Sonru

2014 is the year that recruitment really goes mobile, fuelled by candidate demand. Up to now, mobile recruitment consisted largely of sourcing/attracting and social media.

Now candidates want much more, such as mobile-optimised websites, the facility to apply via mobile devices and not to forget mobilising the actual recruitment process e.g. completing a video interview from their mobile device. Check out Sonru’s mobile solutions for the candidates, recruiters and managers.


Johnny Torrance-Nesbitt | MBA | Former Director of Employment Branding Monsanto (Corp. Hdqts)

I would highlight and hope that the year of 2014 “sees” a lot of changes and innovations for the Recruitment Industry in 2014 and beyond. Specifically, I point out that mobile recruiting processes will continue to proliferate (at a fast pace) and that Fortune 500 career websites will have to adjust to this innovation. In fact, at the present time, only 13% of Fortune 500 corporations have a “mobile career website”, while 62% of job seekers currently use mobile once a week for job search, particularly on Tuesdays (before and after work). Another (continuing) trend for 2014 and beyond will be the continued rise of the “Diverse” candidate.

The increase in diverse candidates will continue to increase both in the US and in the UK.  For example, in California, “according to California Governor Jerry Brown’s new state budget, Latinos are projected to become the largest single racial/ethnic group in the state by March of 2014, making up 39% of the state’s population”. While in the UK, “a large influx of immigrants has given the UK the fastest-rising percentage of ethnic minority and foreign-born residents of any Western nation, (Oxford) Professor David Coleman’s report concludes”. He posits that it is likely that the UK (if trends continue) may at some point overtake America, as the “Western world’s greatest melting pot”. Needless to say, Recruiters in the US and UK will discern these trends in population shifts and embrace and promote this new candidate pool along with other candidate pools for their clients over the coming years.


Matt Alder | Digital, Social and Mobile Strategist | MetaShift

In 2014 internet browsing on smart phone and tablets will overtake desktop browsing in the UK for the first time ever. Most companies don’t have an appropriate mobile recruitment presence despite the fact that huge amounts of their candidate traffic are coming via mobile platforms.

As we move into a candidate shortage environment in many areas I would expect employers and agencies to become more savvy about mobile and move to fully embrace the opportunities it offers while insulating themselves more effectively from the threats to traffic and conversion rates that come from not understanding mobile properly.


Tony Restell | Founder |

I am seeing two distinct trends unfold in 2014. First is the dramatic rise of people aggregators. This is being driven on the supply side and the demand side. There are now lots of very impressive platforms on the market that allow recruiters to search for and contact passive candidates across a wide range of social sites – and concerted marketing efforts are raising awareness of these new solutions. Whilst from the demand side, more and more recruiters seem to be concluding that LinkedIn alone cannot fulfil their hiring needs. So a big change here.

The second trend is the land-grab amongst recruitment businesses and employers to win social media audiences. The clients we’re working with see a huge first-mover advantage in building up an engaged following of candidates, influencers and advocates. There’s an urgency out there to build up an unassailable lead and therefore have a long term USP for the business or the employer brand in terms of social reach.


Mike Keeling | Sales Director | One Click Group

During the early part of 2014 we expect there to be far greater emphasis across the recruitment industry on how temporary workers are engaged and taxed.

Two major pieces of law will come into force in April designed to tackle the use of offshore employment intermediaries and the problem of false self-employment.  Both of these will have effects on parts of the recruitment industry, especially for agencies which engage sometimes unknowingly with non-compliant umbrella providers without fully understanding the operating practices and if they are compliantly making all relevant deductions for contractors.

Throughout the course of the year we expect to see more established providers working together to promote their compliant status and in turn more emphasis on diligently researched preferred supplier lists being operated by agencies that want to do the right thing for their workers.

We believe that the legislation will also lead to the demise of many aggressive tax savings vehicles set up offshore that often take advantage of inexperienced contractors.


Darren Ryemill | CEO and Owner | Opus Recruitment Solutions

Business Simulation and gamification will become more and more prevalent in the recruitment industry and will start to form part of the selection process. Many large companies are already utilising this technique as a way of screening and on boarding, however it can also be used to up skill and retain staff. It is a great way to reduce cost per hire and improve on the quality of hire.

 Imagine being able to try a career of choice or your next job before you actually take it or as an employer actually seeing how someone performs in the role before you hire them! Based on simulations you can see what’s actually involved in a role, what decisions you need to make and the challenges faced. Simultaneously, your performance in these “Games” can be monitored by the hiring employers and based on your performance (decision making, etc.); you can be headhunted or selected for interviews. It really is a win, win scenario for both employer and potential employee.


Lee Biggins | Managing Director | CV Library

Following phenomenal growth last year, mobile internet usage will continue to be a hot topic for 2014 – like social media was a year or two ago.

Job sites are constantly needing to develop their mobile services as more candidates search and apply for jobs on the go. Features that were once only accessible on desktop computers now need to be integrated and usable on devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Focus on outdoor advertising is also important, with ads needing to re-engage and capture candidates on the move.

CV-Library has already witnessed impressive growth in these areas. Alongside our biggest ever offline marketing campaign, 30% of total site traffic comes from mobile users.


Liz Longman | Managing Director | TEAM

During 2013 a majority of TEAM Members reported a steadily improving market across most sectors and that trend looks set to continue during 2014. January can often be a sluggish month but for many, activity picked up immediately after the Christmas break.

A significant factor over the last 12 months has been a continuing lack of quality candidates as in recent years those in work have tended to opt for safety by staying put. That trend appears to be changing and TEAM Members report a growing number of candidates registering who are seeking to change their employer. Lack of salary growth has undoubtedly been a factor in recent years but many employers are now realising that in order to attract the best candidates to their business they need to be offering an attractive pay package to compete against other employers. More vacancies and career opportunities coupled with improving remuneration will make 2014 possibly the best year in recruitment for the last 5/6 years.


Mike Gorshkov | Director | Linearesourcing

Many industries are anticipating growth this year which is great news for recruitment. Candidates are gaining confidence in the market and after a period of holding back, many are now looking to push their career forward.

Although candidates will be open to new opportunities this year, the days when the candidates did all the searching are almost over.  Many candidates expect to be found through proper research not job board scraping. With demand up and skills shortages across all sectors, recruiters must evolve their sourcing channels to identify candidates before their competition. We are expecting recruiters to use a mix of online platforms to engage with talent this year. While we still see value in job boards, alone they are not enough. Pay per click advertising on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook targets relevant people who may not be actively looking; and as we know, these are often the best candidates.

The introduction of 4G has made mobile web browsing even more convenient and mobile search is soon expected to generate more queries than desktop search. Your recruitment process needs to be mobile optimised, not just mobile friendly. Candidates expect an easy to use mobile experience; if it isn’t they will more than likely visit one of your competitors instead.


Paul MacKenzie-Cummins | Co-founder and Director | Clearly PR

Mobile recruiting will become a central tool within the recruiter’s tool box this year. With recent figures from Comscore stating that 2.8 million job seekers in the UK search for vacancies using their smartphone or tablet each month – 67% of whom are looking each day – mobile can no longer be ignored or regarded as a nice-to-have.

Employer branding has been one of the top three priority areas for employers over the last few years, but the same cannot be said for recruitment agencies. With the economy fast-returning to 2008-parity and competition between agencies to secure the best consultants for their businesses expected to hot up this year, we should start to see recruiters taking their own brand as an employer of choice more serious.

Video interviewing will also see an upsurge in 2014. Technological developments over the last few years have resulted in video formats which have not only proven to reduce the time to hire and cost-per-hire, but also increase conversions and improve an organisation’s employer brand.


Jamie Leonard | Managing Director | Reconverse

We work with just over 200 different suppliers that service the in-house recruitment market, which gives us a pretty good idea of what’s hype and what’s a trend.  Aside the usual bleating about “year of mobile” and “social should be already integrated or you’ll die”, we see 3 major trends this year.

Video Interviewing – Video Interviewing isn’t new.  About six years ago we started to hear a lot of noise from this space, but then along came “social recruiting” and the gurus had something else to preach about, and video interviewing was bumped down the priority list.  Fast forward to today and the market has emerged with strong infrastructure, talented people at the helm and a list of credible case studies proving the value these products.  However there’s still an issue around understanding of what this technology actually achieves.  The term “video interviewing” puts off a lot of employers as they see it as an alternative to actual interviewing.  It’s not.  The term “video sifting” may be more accurate, for 90% of the supplier out there, and open a lot more doors, giving this market more chance to develop.

Employee Referral – Scaling employee referrals is something A LOT of employers are looking into at the moment, but whether or not it becomes a trend this year or next depends on the market and how fast employers are willing to invest into it.  But it WILL be a trend.  Does that mean the supplier market that services this space will be a part of that?  The jury is still out.  Technology is only one small piece of building a successful employee referral program, alongside company culture, internal comms, reward, logistics and so on.  Like any new market, it’s littered with bad technology, with 5 or 6 players really starting to pull away from the rest and emerge as market leaders.

Recruitment Research – Again, recruitment search or talent pipelining companies are not new, but for years they have serviced the Executive Search market and are only now really making a play for in-house recruitment market.  There biggest issue is educating the employer market about what they do and the value they bring, whilst making clear it that they certainly are not a recruitment consultancy, which seems to a challenge.