Lifelong learning: the importance of technology best practice L&D in a changing recruitment industry

Authored By Bullhorn (Business)

Peter Linas is the EVP of Corporate Development and International of APSCo Australia, Affiliate Member, Bullhorn


The only thing that is constant in the recruitment industry is that it is always changing. Consultants are continually learning new skills, pursuing developing trends, and following new topics.


The recruiting industry is extremely competitive, driven by historically high levels of employment and a rapidly shifting number of agencies. This means that it is more important than ever for consultants to stay up to date with the latest tech and industry trends. This is where learning and development (L&D) around technology best practice comes in: here are the most critical areas for recruitment agencies to focus on to remain competitive.


Integrating AI

Recruiters have access to an ever-improving technological toolkit for their work, and they’re already beginning to leverage its potential.


According to Bullhorn’s Global Recruitment Insights & Data (GRID), 36% of UK consultants believe that it is a top priority to embrace digital transformation to improve their operations, develop their brand, and enhance their marketing strategies. A further 16% said they would benefit from more training on how to use technology for automating manual processes, social media, and the screening and selection of candidates.


In order for an agency to achieve the promise of digital transformation, it must focus on helping consultants to take advantage of intelligent systems in three key areas.


The first area is talent intelligence. Consultants must understand how best to reach quality candidates for a specific role, including where to post jobs, how many candidates on average they should source, and typical characteristics of suitable candidates.


The next area is workflow intelligence. Consultants must receive training on how to create an intelligent workstream for application management, including automating processes like screening, invoicing, and billing.


The final area is insight intelligence. On-the-job intelligence and prompts, such as ‘now is the best time of day to reach this particular candidate or prospective client’ can make a massive difference to a consultant’s effectiveness. These prompts can save time, and let consultants jump straight to useful insights.


While AI is excellent at recognising patterns in data, it cannot necessarily tell us why these patterns are occurring, or encourage human beings to take action based on the intelligence gathered. This is why it is essential to integrate human understanding and experience into any digital transformation training. For the best results, AI should work along with expert human oversight, deciding when and how to apply the results of its work.

Prioritising management and digitisation of data

With an increase in tech adoption comes a deluge of data. This information reveals important client and candidate information, which is fundamental to choosing a firm’s strategy, tactics, and even overall philosophy. Consultants need to be trained on how to manage this data effectively.


First, consultants need to know what they can and can’t do under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Three of the most important GDPR directives for recruiters and hiring teams to understand are:


   Legitimate interest to process candidate data: Consultants can source candidate data so long as it is limited to job-related information and they intend to contact the sourced candidates within 30 days.

   Candidate consent to process sensitive data: The candidate must give their consent before answering questions regarding disabilities, cultural, genetic, or biometric data.

   Privacy policies are crucial, and they must be made available to candidates.


Beyond just following the rules, training consultants on the company’s standardised hiring and reporting processes helps avoid random, inefficient, and inadequate data use. Educating consultants on the company’s best practices for data gathering and reporting is better for both them and the company. It is also essential to make consultants aware of the company’s goals and standards and to avoid isolation by ensuring that they have access to a unified information system. In a world where recruitment agencies are moving to a completely digital data model, it is imperative that best practice adoption begins now.

Keeping the human touch

While automation takes care of some of the more menial tasks a recruiter must complete, many others still require the human touch. Consultants’ intuition and judgement remain vital, and neither clients nor candidates want to build relationships with a robot.


It is unsurprising, then, that 21% of survey respondents think their fellow industry professionals would benefit most from additional training on client management and relationship building.


Computers are still terrible at matchmaking. For example, they don’t account for candidates who want a change from their current job or career, and they certainly cannot build trust. Consultants need training to spot these opportunities so they can confidently assess whether an outside candidate will be a good fit. Support and training which enable consultants to improve and add value to candidate and client relationships are essential for agencies looking to remain competitive in a crowded market.


Consultants must simultaneously build the skills to work with innovative technologies and develop more traditional skills in communication, critical thinking, adaptability, problem-solving, leadership, creativity, and innovation.


Learning is key

For consultants to continue delivering high-quality candidates and building relationships with hiring managers, they must ensure that they’re constantly adapting to the latest trends. Offering strong L&D support is vital to keeping consultants – and the company as a whole – up to date.


As digital technologies continue to change every aspect of the recruitment process, consultants need to be confident in modern best practices and compliance. Instead of diminishing the human element in recruiting, technology makes it even more crucial that candidate and client relations remain top priority.