Is your company on board the digital train? Matilda von Gierke, founder and managing director of digital recruitment service Zalvus, warns that players not embracing the latest trends – from chatbots to text analysis – will lose out. Her presentation at the RecPlus Conference in Barcelona will also explore the changing role of recruiters, which she says now goes way beyond mere talent acquisition. 

In your opinion, what are the major challenges facing the recruitment (classified) industry in the next three years? 

To name one of the many challenges ahead of our beloved industry: the successful preparation of recruiters for our increasingly digitized HR market. More specifically, the role of recruiters will significantly change; it will have to. It will shift increasingly towards a role that extends by far mere talent acquisition. If you ask me, a successful and contemporary recruiter is one who is increasingly active as a concept developer, an analyst, a valued contact person that can read and interpret data and act accordingly. Companies must look in the mirror and consider whether their HR department is staffed with the right people. Only recruiters armed with the skills to significantly adapt their role to the current trends will be of help in the long run. Otherwise it’s time to start looking around for new candidates.  

What will most surprise conference attendees in your presentation at RecPlus? 

That transparency is possible in recruiting! While creating transparency in HR has been my daily business for almost four years, I frequently encounter surprised reactions to the level of detail and transparency possible in recruiting. Alarmingly, many still rely on a “blind guessing game”: when a recruiting measure has excellent results, no one knows why! Equally, no one can point the finger to the problem when a measure does not achieve results.  

Also, relying on the registration of talent for acquisition is “so yesterday”! Activating passive talent in their everyday lives is key to acquiring top-notch employees – without any pre-activity. My company Zalvus makes use of online marketing technologies to support companies in their talent acquisition. The level of detailed data we have generated on different target groups will most likely also result in positive surprise. Equally, our findings reveal that – sadly – silo thinking in large corporations has not at all been combated, even though it is widespread, so the requisite disruption is key to HR improvement. 

What unique challenges does your business face in your market?  

Non-digital versus very digital. It goes without saying that my company falls into the “very, if not extremely, digital” category. We have automated processes, we track everything there is to track, we uncover hitherto unknown trends. While this is how we support hundreds of companies in their recruiting, we are occasionally confronted with a large discrepancy in the thinking and handling between client and service provider – us. Prior to revolutionizing their recruiting, it is our job to wake companies up, so that they can catch the “digital train” in a timely manner.  

Where has the major recent disruption in your sector come from? 

To my pleasure, the HR industry is starting to look right and left, and thereby learning from other industries, which are partially or largely more advanced – not least thanks to companies like my own. Zalvus, for example, brings performance marketing measures into recruiting, a measure that has been successfully used in the e-commerce industry for years.  

Additionally, HR is – also to my pleasure – increasingly learning from AI leaders. Trends like the analysis of voice and text, the implementation of chat- and video bots, the automation of processes and so on are music to my ears and definitely portray major recent disruptions in our market.  

How is digitalization further going to reshape your business? 

Those that do not want to or will not play the “digital game” will lose in the long run, or maybe even the medium run – especially those operating on candidate-centric markets. The “war for talents” will increasingly gain in significance. Accordingly, those that will not adjust and adapt will lose. Or rather, those that are continuously learning and open to change will win. It’s all about the user experience, openness, flexibility, corporate culture, etc. The brand of a company and many newer aspects will play an increasingly important role.  

The status quo is that digitization will definitely further reshape our business and that HR in general has nowhere near fully implemented or embraced the trend that is on everyone’s lips. We are all in the middle of a very long process. It’s time to hop on the train before it’s too late. That’s my daily message to our customers.

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