The future of recruitment
5 minutes | Posted 06 January, 2020

For busy recruiters, it’s easy to get caught up in operations; but this can detract from strategic, big picture planning. The following insights from our CEO Andrea Davey at Scout Talent’s recent Recruitment Insights Event will help guide your strategic decision making to achieve your recruitment goals in 2020.

Over lunch and drinks at the beautiful Greenhouse Howard Smith Wharves, Scout Talent spent time with our Brisbane clients and contacts, sharing knowledge and new tools, gaining feedback, and speaking about the latest recruitment marketing data and insights. 

Our CEO Andrea Davey began her presentation about 2020 recruitment insights with a quote from Marc Benioff, founder and co-CEO of Salesforce.

“Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring is the most important thing we do.”  

Benioff, one of the most influential business leaders of our time attributes the success of his organisation to hiring the right people. Which means recruitment is more important now than ever.  

The ability to recruit the right people, with the right skills, into the right role, at the right time is consistently cited by CEOs globally as one of the major threats to the growth of their organisations. 

“Recruitment has never been more critical to the success and growth of an organisation, than it is today,” said Andrea. “Why? Because businesses are on a more level playing field than ever before, and it’s therefore the people who work in our organisation who give us the competitive advantage required to grow and get ahead.” 

We can attribute this level playing field to globalisation, extraordinary technological advancements with low barriers for entry and a culture of disruptive innovation where established organisations are being challenged – and in some cases overtaken – by startups. 

“A more level playing field means that the key differentiator between a successful, growing organisation and a stagnant or unsuccessful organisation is the quality of the people working within that business. And your recruitment strategy is the first step to building this human capital, the strongest source of competitive advantage and the leading contributor to the success and growth of your organisation.” 

In the early 2000’s:

  • Job ads were geared to what experience, skills and behaviours candidates needed to be considered.
  • Candidates were expected to download and address lengthy selection criteria in order to apply. (Scout data from 2009 reveals the average number of first-round screening questions was between 10 and 12. One employer had 42!) 
  • Often, employers would specify a closing date (usually 4 weeks) and would wait until after the closing date before reviewing or responding to any candidate. 


  • Often, at least half of the content in job ads talk about what’s in it for the candidate and the benefits on offer.
  • The number of screening questions have dropped. Scout data shows that the average number of first-round screening questions has dropped from 12 to 5. 
  • Employers of choice now realise that the best candidates won’t wait around and are contacting strong candidates as soon as possible.

The key drivers behind this change include low unemployment rates, advancements in technology resulting in more opportunity and options for candidates, and the fact that a ‘job for life’ is no longer sought after with many people comfortable with shorter tenures. 

The most effective recruitment strategies are underpinned by marketing best-practices.

“To put it simply,” said Andrea, “recruitment is marketing.” 

We’re seeing a rise in employer branding, proactive recruitment strategies to target passive candidates, and organisations are delivering great consumer-like candidate experiences. 

“LinkedIn data shows that just 36% of the workforce is actively looking for a new opportunity at any given time. Yet 90% of people are open to a conversation about a potential job opportunity.” 

We’re also seeing the evolution, adoption and disruption from advancements in technology.

“Job boards have evolved from online classifieds, to more intelligent tools that provide a targeted and relevant experience to job seekers. HR and recruitment software options are more readily available, and the ease at which organisations can switch, add and integrate systems has improved significantly. The use of social media (and the overall rise in “review culture”) for recruitment has risen dramatically.” 

Recruitment professionals have had to become more adept at managing change in the way they reach and engage with candidates, for example through digital marketing strategies, such as keyword search and SEO in recruitment advertising. 

The proliferation of technology and the shift in the balance of power from employer, to candidate are just some of many changes the recruitment industry has experienced over the last decade.

Further changes lie ahead. Without covering large, in-depth topics such as AI, chatbots or virtual reality, Andrea shared three key predictions about how the 2020 recruitment landscape and beyond will look. 

“These predictions are based on how the marketing industry has evolved, and as I’ve emphasised, recruitment is marketing.”

Recruitment specialisation 

Recruitment teams will become increasingly specialised. Over the last decade the world of marketing has evolved and grown in complexity as technology has transformed the way marketers reach consumers. No, there are dozens of marketing specialisations to accommodate this dynamic profession.

“We’ll see the same shift take place in recruitment teams in the future. As recruitment and technology continues to evolve, recruitment functions will be broken out into distinct specialisations covering talent analytics, employer branding, recruitment marketing and recruitment tech.” 

Personalised recruitment content is king 

Another change we expect to see is that recruitment content will become king. 

“In the marketing world, content marketing used to just be a way to set your brand apart from competitors. Nowadays, in order for your message to be heard within a sea of competing voices, strong, personalised content is a necessity for any modern brand.” 

“72% of consumers only engage with marketing messages that are customised to their specific interests.” 

With candidates behaving more like consumers, every successful recruitment strategy will be underpinned by a strong recruitment content strategy, and personalised, using technology to target the right candidates, both active and passive, via a range of channels. 

Exponential rises in recruitment technology (RecTech) 

Recruitment technology (RecTech) will rise exponentially. 

“Not only will more and more options continue to hit the market, they will be more specialised and better integrated, and they’ll enable more successful recruitment outcomes – if we humans learn to harness them well.” 

Interestingly, there were approximately 150 marketing technology solutions on the market in 2011. This grew to 1000 in 2014, 5000 in 2017 and over 7000 in 2019. This is due to customer demand and low barriers for entry. 

Integrations will become more common and the global recruitment software industry is predicted to grow by more than 7% each year over the next five years.

“With the number of RecTech options and integrations increasing, the question will change from “should I use technology in my recruitment strategy?” to “which technologies should I use to enable my recruitment strategy?””

This means organisations will be able to mix and match the HR and recruitment tech products that suit their industry, the size of their business, their recruitment strategy and goals and they’ll be able to obtain seamless integrations with other recruitment systems. 

Knowing that recruitment is key to driving organisational growth, Andrea recommended using this knowledge to shape your recruitment strategy for 2020. 

Empower your team to focus on their areas of expertise, create a recruitment content marketing plan, and harness the right technology in line with your organisation’s goals. 

“Technology is an enabler. I believe that success in recruitment will lie at the intersection of people and technology.” 

There’s no doubt that the recruitment industry has experienced significant disruption over the last 10 years – and this is only set to accelerate in the coming decade.

As Andrea summarised, “in a world where the competitive playing field is essentially flat; where candidates hold all the cards; and where technology disrupts the way we work on a daily basis, recruiting the right people into the right role at the right time has never been more critical to the success and growth of an organisation.”

“The best-performing companies, the employers of choice, will be those that approach recruitment with a marketing mindset; embrace technology to empower their teams; and recognise that recruitment deserves its own seat at the business strategy table.”

Stay up to date with the latest recruitment news and insights by connecting with us on LinkedIn, and check out the complete album from the event.