The activities of companies here are determined primarily by two major factors: the demographic development that is producing an aging workforce and, in connection with that, the shortage of skilled workers. Added to this is the fact that technical development has revolutionized communication in the application process – which also has its consequences.
E-recruiting – the shifting of employee selection to the Internet – continues to advance. This impacts the application process in particular. More and more companies rely on online application forms because these can be used to selectively ask about important selection criteria and because they simplify the entire process by avoiding paper. On the one hand, this makes the process easier for applicants because they can focus on the company’s requirements, which have been made more transparent. On the other, this throws up obstacles for people who are changing careers and don’t fit into the employer’s usual mold. However, because diversity is needed for corporate development, employers will not be able to afford to let this happen over the long run.
It’s actually rather bizarre: there’s a wide-screen monitor on almost every desk these days, but the text boxes on websites have increasingly shrunk down to a narrow bar in the middle of the screen. This development is due to the triumph of smartphones, the number one information and communication medium of our generation. This has consequences for recruiting, and not only because corporate messages must be technically adapted to devices; the omnipresent availability of information also accelerates interaction between employers and applicants who are looking for direct information.
It’s no longer enough for companies to present themselves as attractive employers. Increasingly, they must actually approach applicants in order to persuade them to join their firms. And this has one particular requirement: interaction. We at careerloft believe this is best done in partnership. Companies that don’t respond to an applicant’s questions are simply losing out. Because today’s entry-level employees not only want to be informed quickly, but also are looking for entertainment, corporate communication is increasingly developing in the direction of “recruitainment”. And that’s not a bad trend.
Because recruiting new employees is becoming more and more difficult, retaining existing staff has also become more important. For companies, this will involve creating compelling working conditions and opportunities for development in order to avoid losing highly sought after experts to competitors. Internal communication and freedom within organizations play a particularly important role here. This also means that applicants will have more freedom to organize their own workplace, which offers both opportunities and risks. Since knowledge work can be performed anywhere, it is becoming more and more difficult to switch off and relax. Preventative medicine in the workplace will be an important issue for HR specialists, who in particular want to avoid losing high potentials to burnout.
Because mutual expectations and offers can be most easily reviewed face-to-face, the importance of direct communication between HR specialists and applicants is growing. Initial contact takes place more and more through those networks where friends, colleagues and fellow students serve as intermediaries. This includes a number of virtual networks that expand on the classic real-life points of contact. To use these networks, however, a lot of time and energy must be invested in their development and maintenance. Career networks like careerloft are trying to create an option whereby university students can easily make themselves available for searching by companies.
The bottom line is that the roles in the application process will continue to reverse: employers can no longer bury job announcements seven levels back on their websites so that only truly interested applicants will find them, because talented applicants simply won’t click that far. What’s more, the companies will have to go further in approaching university graduates and satisfying their requirements.
For some employers this will require seriously rethinking their role – after all, they are used to simply going through incoming applications and selecting candidates from the pool. But those days are getting further and further behind us.
For job seekers, however, applying is becoming easier. Rather than focusing on the requirements of the employer, applicants – especially the highly qualified ones – can allow themselves to be wooed by employers. This doesn’t mean, however, that they can sit back and wait for the right offer to come to them because the right offer can only be recognized by people who have already thought about – and developed – their own career plan in advance.
By now many of you are familiar with the name of Gero Hesse, the initiator of careerloft. We’ll let him have the last word here: