The 10th annual Onrec Conference and Exhibition took place in London last month. As ever, the event featured a great line up of speakers offering their insights in to the world of online recruitment.

Having first started in 2004, speakers took the time to reflect on what has happened in the industry over the past 10 years, as well as covering the latest trends and topics within online recruitment.

The day covered a broad range of subjects including candidate experience, big data and HR gamification. Below are our key takeaways from the conference.

A lot has changed over the past 10 years…but quite a lot hasn’t.

The day started with Joe Slavin (Johnston Press) reflecting on changes in the industry since the first Onrec Conference. Whilst a lot has changed with regards to new technologies, new strategies and new threats, many of the fundamentals of the industry have stayed the same.

The basic model of a job board remains unchanged – candidates use them to search for jobs, employers use them to advertise and to search for candidates. Joe also noted that there are still a number of frustrations within the industry.

For example, candidates are still unhappy with their experience and many recruiters are still dissatisfied with the quality of applications.

However, as Joe acknowledged (and was made extremely clear throughout the rest of the day), there have also been a lot of positive changes in the job board industry over the past 10 years.

An example of this is mobile recruitment and how it has created an ‘always on’ recruitment industry that allows candidates to be reached wherever they are, resulting in even more opportunity for job board owners.

Flexible working is a growing market – businesses need to open themselves up

With up to 48% of companies admitting they have trouble filling vacancies, businesses should look at how much flexibility they can offer in order to attract top talent. Karen Mattison, of Timewise Jobs highlighted how offering flexible working can open up a whole new talent pool to employers.

In the UK, there are already over 8 million people work part time and a further 8.4 million who would like it if their full time position offered more flexibility. The market for flexible working is growing and businesses who fail to consider this are likely to find it harder to attract talent.

Timewise recently discovered that 9/10 companies would consider offering flexible working in order to get their dream candidate. Despite this, they also found that only 3% of jobs (£20k+) are advertised as being available part time.

Businesses are underestimating what a valuable talent-acquisition tool flexibility is and need to adapt if they’re going to attract talented employees in the future.

Companies need to be transparent – there’s no hiding a bad work culture any more

With the advent of social media, it has become harder and harder for companies to retain control of their corporate image. Amidst a growing skill-shortage, companies are starting to invest large amounts of resource in to building their employer brands and doing all they can to attract the best talent.

Companies are trying to position themselves against each other as employers of choice and the war for talent is becoming increasingly competitive. However, social media and review websites such as Glassdoor have made it increasingly difficult for companies to control their employee brand.

Companies are no longer able to hide a bad working culture, as current and former employees can now speak out against their employers. This can be potentially damaging to companies as candidates now ‘shop’ for jobs in a similar way that they would shop for consumer goods. Job seekers are taking the time to research and review opportunities before committing – if a company has a bad reputation or public image this could be off-putting to candidates.

Employers have much more accountability for the way they manage their businesses. If a company is receiving negative publicity online, they shouldn’t hide from it, they should address it either through some form of public reply or through making internal changes that will improve their working culture.

In this new era, to avoid any negativity and to protect their employer brands, companies should be focussed on creating great places to work. If their working environment is genuinely as good as they claim it to be, they will have nothing to hide. A good working culture will be key to attracting talent in the future.

About Onrec is the leading B2B resource for online recruitment news and industry information. They hold regular online Recruitment Events and Exhibitions including Recruitment Conferences and HR Conferences throughout the UK and Europe

To find out more about Onrec please visit their website.

Written by: Stephanie Mills, Marketing Executive

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