It’s true that 2020 was a year unlike any other – particularly in recruitment. During a webinar hosted by ourselves and our partners, JobAdder, three top recruitment agencies shared which recruitment technology they leveraged to help them navigate hiring in Covid times.
2020 turned the way we recruit on its head… No more face-to-face interviews. No more working in the office. Redundancies. Hiring freezes. Role redeployments. Massive spikes in applicant numbers.
Recruitment agencies were hit hard – with one in three Australian-based recruiters losing their jobs thanks to changing market conditions relating to Covid. One big contributor to how well agencies recovered and adjusted to the crisis can be traced back to how they used technology to help them navigate the stormy waters of ‘recruiting in Covid times’.
We were keen to delve a little deeper into what technology recruitment agencies leveraged, how they used tech and what benefits they experienced. So smartAI and Jobadder invited 3 top recruitment agencies to give us the inside scoop in a recent webinar.
Lynne Johnston, Managing Director at MAYDAY Recruitment, Jacqui Russell, Managing Director at National Workforce and Sinead Connolly, Director & Co-Founder at Lotus People, shared how their agencies approached and survived last year. And Ez Kahn, Managing Director at Spencer Lane added valuable insights too, as he moderated the conversation.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the session:
1. 2020 was turbulent
While our panel was diverse in terms of the industries and types of recruitment they represent, they were united by one thing: The impact of Covid-19 on their business was undeniable.
Not only did they have to navigate what fully remote working and remote recruiting looks like rapidly, some of the agencies also needed to lay off staff.
2. In times of crisis, focus on people first
Another thing all three agencies had in common was the immediate extra emphasis they put on:
- Their recruiters’ wellbeing
- Their client relationships
- Their candidate experience
MAYDAY, for example, launched a newsletter called “the Good News” to keep their team and client’s spirits high.
Adding to the above, Sinead from Lotus People explained that the “candidate experience has been a core focus at Lotus and something we’ve been recognised for a lot. We absolutely prioritise it. We commit to getting back to every applicant with an outcome within 48 hours, with volumes at the moment – takes up a lot of time.”
They aim to achieve this by harnessing the likes of “the smartAI and JobAdder partnership to integrate AI into the application process to really shorten the time spent on screening applications whilst maintaining candidate experience. We also use Recruiter Insider as a survey platform tracking candidate experience. While RIsponded tracks all applicant experiences for us – given that we’re committed to 100% response rate.”
3. Using technology was a game changer
The examples above already allude to the fact that all three agencies looked to technology to better navigate the challenges associated with 2020.. For general agency ops, they used the basic BAU tools like Zoom, Slack, WhatsApp and Google products. For efficient recruiting processes and improved candidate experience, they turned to HR Tech.
Some of the tools and platforms they got particular value from include:
- Referoo – for online references
- JobAdder – for applicant tracking
- All Sorter – for CV formatting
- PASS Technologies – for background checks
- Mail chimp – for events and mail outs
- Survey monkey – for research, client and candidate surveys
- smartAI – for conversational hiring using chatbots and automation
- Recruiter Insider – to track candidate experience
- Sourcr – for feedback
- Onboarded – for onboarding
- Ento – for rostering, time and attendance
For recruitment marketing, MAYDAY and Lotus People further reported using tools like:
- Miro – enabling the marketing team to collaborate
- Trello – for lists, ‘to dos’ and planning
- Prezi – for client prezos
- Envoy – as a digital check-in at reception
- Canva – presentations, marketing docs
- Zubtitles – for marketing and job ads
- VSDC & Loom – for making videos
- Zerobounce – for emails
- LinkedHelper – for LinkedIn automation
4. For your process to be optimised, an agency’s tech tools need to integrate
Our panelists agreed: just like departments within a business should not function in silos, your recruitment software needs to integrate into each other for agencies to see the maximum value. Consider it a relay of sorts, where information about the candidate is passed like a batton from one step in the recruitment process to the next.
Jacqui from National Workforce had a great way to illustrate this point:
“We were already using an ATS > this integrates into a job board network to distribute our job ads > the response to those ads triggers our recruitment chatbot from smartAI (called Charlie) to reach out to those candidates > data is collected and the chatbot screens those candidates based on their responses – which means all all candidates get some sort of response from us.
Charlie, in turn, is integrated with our self scheduling interview tool, Calendly, and our onboarding platform, Onboarded, and initiates the interaction with both of them. > Onboarded is integrated with our automated referencing tool, Referoo, as well as our Health assessment platform and our time and attendance tool, Ento > and just to keep everything on track, post employment, Charlie monitors various expiry dates on items such as visas and licences to ensure we maintain full compliance.
This empowered our recruiters significantly. The first time they actually engaged with a candidate would be during an interview. Imagine the value of automating the entire pre-interview process.
Ultimately, this resulted in:
- 5,600 equivalent ‘recruiter hours’ (approx 6 recruiters)
- 153 jobs managed through smartAI
- 16,800 candidates screened
- 9,200 candidates shortlisted
- 2,547 interviews & onboardings organised
- 14x ROI
All in the 2nd half of 2020 alone…”
It’s true that 2020 was a year unlike any other – particularly in recruitment. What was interesting was listening to these agencies talk about how, despite its significant challenges, 2020 actually helped mold their attitude and approach to using technology. Not to mention a renewed focus on people and relationships, candidate experience and recruiter wellness – all enabled by their use of technology to help shape and optimise their recruitment workflow.
There are so many valuable takeaways from this discussion. You can watch the full JobAdder & smartAI ‘Tech Stack For Success’ webinar here’ for free.