Untapped opportunity lies ahead for South African recruiters who are quick to recognise that reactive, conventional recruitment practice is a thing of the past.


Long Live Recruiting Infographic


As I write, we are rapidly moving into a dynamic new digital and networked environment. With the fundamental shift towards digital channels, both recruiters and work-seekers are now presented with opportunity and challenge, and if I were to predict and focus on the critical key performance areas of the future ‘Recruiter of SA’, I would outline them as follows:

Digital media

KPA: Social media savvy coupled with the ability not only to advertise and source talent via traditional job boards, but also to develop, manage and make use of social recruitment channels to attract and engage talent.

A recent case study within SA revealed that upon recruiting for a social media recruitment marketer, more than half of the recruitment applicants were equipped in sourcing and utilising professional, generic and industry-specific job boards.

While social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook haven’t yet been recognised in South Africa as business channels for job seekers, global insights confirm that they are starting to prove rich channels for engagement with top passive talent.

Universum confirms that there has been a larger shift towards a more social, networked approach to recruiting where (instead of large-scale, broad campaigns) daily engagement online through dozens of channels to key audiences rules.

With Statista confirming that Facebook has now surpassed 1.5 billion registered accounts and Instagram boasting 400 million monthly active accounts, this gives SA recruiters sight of an unexplored, potential passive candidate base that they can tap into, to effectively educate and engage.

Recruiters need to shift their focus towards using social media platforms as a business recruitment tool, ensuring that they are fully equipped to leverage off these progressive channels, thus putting themselves at the forefront in the race to secure class talent.

Employer branding and engagement

KPA: Drive top-of-mind awareness through employer branding initiatives and internal advocacy communication drives.

Our SA case study showed that to date, the role of your typical recruiter is to utilise job boards to post /publish adverts, headhunt and source talent. No attention is being given to using these channels to proactively and effectively convey information about the hiring company, its employees, why it is a good place at which to work or why exactly candidates should join them!

An uneducated, passive market will not win you the talent unless you are top-of-mind through making them aware, informed, interested, excited about what you have on offer. SA recruiters are still not proactively employing digital media to market, inspire and channel information on their companies or clients as a great place to work.

Whether it be via job boards or social media, companies can leverage off untapped opportunities by developing an ongoing recruitment marketing and employer branding strategy to proactively showcase their company.

Daily online engagement can certainly build your employer brand presence, but it is time-consuming and one needs to manage and be responsive to ongoing communications. While plenty of SA companies are still resistant to allowing employees to make use of social media, if managed correctly, employees can be your greatest advocates in assisting you to build brand awareness and reputation.

Recruiters need to start thinking like marketers, begin gathering insights and a clear understanding around the relevance of their employer brand. There are global best practice and plenty of case studies of companies that have done this successfully.

Marketing and creativity

KPA: Excellent written communications and copywriting abilities to compile extraordinary adverts and digital content, to address/engage various candidate markets.

With recruitment being merely one aspect on which today’s hard-pressed HR practitioner focuses, it is evident from scanning the copy content on some of the SA job boards that little to no thought whatsoever is given to the manner in which adverts are created.

Recruiters that aren’t ready to leverage off social media channels need just to focus on ad content, associated value-adds and think like a marketer in order to stand out from the crowd. Visual creativity is often required to underpin a well-written digital advert, with Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey confirming that 51% of respondents said they would be more attracted to a company with a job posting that incorporated visual elements. I stress, however, that these should seriously add something to the written message.

While there is still ongoing debate on whether employer branding should sit within Marketing or HR, it is still necessary for recruiters to partner with their marketing department in capitalizing on their creativity and marketing intelligence to jointly build and translate their employer branding initiatives into the market place.

A creative flair with good copywriting skills is becoming more and more necessary with the migration of talent towards digital media channels. To avoid the “sea of sameness”, your copy content and visuals need to be desirable enough to stand above your competitors’ when seeking to promote your brand and attract top talent. Together with this, your ability to track, measure, and analyse all initiatives, report on social media spend and manage a monthly recruitment marketing budget to ensure maximum ROI, would be needed to confirm that you on the right track.


KPA: Ability to champion, promote and present on new era recruitment trends with internal key stakeholders and decision-makers, ensuring that initiatives, performance and ROI are effectively reported.

Recruiters need to be strong sales people, especially when it comes to changing old school practice in favour of new trends such as social media recruitment, recruitment marketing and employer branding.

If your ExCo happens to be progressive and in-the-know, you as the recruiter stand a better chance of transforming your company to implementing globally accepted best recruitment practice that can set you ahead of your competition. Universum’s Employer Branding Now report confirms that while there is consensus on the definition of ‘employer branding’, executives are still trying to understand the significance of it.

This newly-crafted HR role will take time to emerge but fortunately there are a few insightful companies that are already upskilling their Talent Attraction Teams to leverage off these exciting tools.