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As Lisa Jones of Barclay Jones said in her presentation, “Innovation in recruitment is about the approach you take not the tech you have”.

On the 18th September 2014, I attended the Innovation in Recruitment Summit, which was very well organised by Symposium Events. The conference was certainly an interesting one and it really got me thinking about what recruitment innovation actually means in 2014.

There is a lot of online debate round this topic and in the main this is driven by consultants, suppliers and a small handful of extremely forward thinking employers. Unfortunately though genuine case studies providing the validity of some of this thinking tend to be few and far between. While some of the innovation being showcased at this event might have been considered by some more radical thinkers to be slightly predictable, it was great to see measurable outcomes and results being presented. I would also argue that the difficult environments some of the participating companies were recruiting in means what they were doing was genuine innovation rather than the theoretical debate that happens elsewhere.

So what were my key leanings from the event? Well the biggest underlying issue of all is a growing candidate shortage across the board. As Tom Hadley from the REC noted in his opening speech, candidate availability is currently decreasing at its fastest rate for 16 years and this was something all the speakers echoed even those involved in volume recruitment. With candidates now driving the agenda the speakers all agreed that a quality candidate experience and an employer brand, which is based on listening to employees and candidates thoughts and needs, were vital. Also with so much at stake in terms of business growth and expansion as we come out of the recession, hiring the wrong people is luxury most companies can’t afford.  

All this means that having an agile flexible mindset towards recruitment seems to be vital in 2014. It seems to me that the length of the recent downturn means that a significant number of in house recruiters have never worked in a candidate driven market before and, as Clare Lewis from Willis said, the danger of recruitment being outdated and inflexible like the “Lotus Notes” of the company is something employers have to fight against. 

Finally what was clear from the event is that the majority of recruitment innovation that happens in the real world has to pragmatic and practical as well as strategically sound. As Lisa Jones of Barclay Jones said in her presentation, “Innovation in recruitment is about the approach you take not the tech you have”. The case studies on display reflected this with presentations from Ovo Energy and Essence Digital particularly standing out for me showcasing high growth companies that were leading by example.  

Overall I really enjoyed this event, I felt there were some very useful practical case studies and it was great to hear from a set of employers I’d not heard from before speaking about their experience innovating in a challenging market.

 If you missed this year’s event, make sure to save the date for the Innovation in Recruitment Summit 2015, which will take place on Thursday 24th September 2015.


Matt helps companies get more value from their digital talent acquisition strategy by offering strategic advice, training and auditing based on his wide range of experience in the recruitment and HR industries.

Over the last fifteen years he has helped numerous employers connect to the talent they need, improve ROI and drive value via digital, social and mobile recruitment strategies and techniques.

Matt is also a highly regarded futurist who is fascinated by the way organisations are becoming more connected to create the future of the world of work.

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