Disruption of the online talent sourcing market by social networks

Here’s  a summary of the dissertation I wrote 5-6 months ago for the Strategy and Innovation Masters Level Diploma at Oxford Said.   I’m making it public for a few reasons. Firstly, I was pretty pleased to get a Distinction for it – which means it “demonstrates a total grasp of relevant concepts and frameworks.” Secondly, although events might have moved on somewhat in the past 6 months, I am not aware of anyone having dealt with the issues raised – and I think they (we?) should.

The PDF is available here: Disruption-online-talent-sourcing-market-social-networks_Public

It’s not the easiest read, nor the most polished text, and I resisted uploading the entire dissertation (this is an extract). But please do download it and take a read if you’re interested.

If you do use any ideas or quotes herein, please do credit me as the source.  Likewise, any comments or questions, feel free to contact me:

The value of a CV over time?

As part of the online talent sourcing research I was doing recently, I rediscovered some data (a few years old now) from which I was able to extract the following chart – plotting the number of times CVs were downloaded over time, based on their age.  If you assume (a big assumption) that the popularity of a CV equates to its economic value, then you can extrapolate the value of a CV over time.


It was only tangentially relevant to my research, so I didn’t include it in there, but I thought it was quite interesting and posed questions for both jobseekers and those whose businesses are based around reselling CV data.  I’ve removed the # scale to protect confidentiality, but it’s a reasonably-sized data set, which shows a clear trend.

The trend is presumably driven by both the jobseeker behaviour of regularly refreshing their CVs on job-boards and contacting recruiters repeatedly; and also the recruiter behaviour of focusing on the freshest CVs. I wonder whether it also reflects the unemployment issue of stale candidates left on the shelf.  There’s obviously a real opportunity in effective mechanisms for data refreshing/enhancement, which is where LinkedIn, Facebook et al have demonstrated genuine leaps forward.

I can’t say whether this is representative of the industry as a whole, or whether things have changed in the very recent past, or even whether the original data was 100% accurate … so it is presented “as is” rather than as empirical evidence.

Infographic: Innovation in the online recruitment market

Thanks for a great response to the survey.  I have included below an infographic with some of the more quantitative data. I made two £50 charity donations – firstly, to Barnardos and secondly to The Ethiopian Education Foundation – both great choices.

(c) Gareth Lloyd
(c) Gareth Lloyd

Academic survey: Innovation in the online recruitment market

Interested in online recruitment and innovation?

If so, I’d like to ask for your expertise and insight on a subject I am researching at the University of Oxford. This is an academic survey and I will be happy to share the results with you on completion.

The research analyses the changes in online talent sourcing driven by the use of social media, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and the strategic responses available to agencies and job boards.

The survey will take around 15 minutes to complete. Your responses will be anonymous.   I really appreciate and value your input, and please do let me know if you have any questions.

As it is so close to Christmas, I will be donating £50 to a charity chosen by a survey participant picked at random (by email address) on the closing date of Friday 4 January.


Interview with cio.co.uk

I was recently interviewed by cio.co.uk (Trinity Mirror Digital Recruitment completes transformation).  It’s always fun to see the angles that are interesting to journalists and industry commentators, and it gives me a chance to reflect on what’s important in what I am doing every day in my job.  The framework I am using to plan what we do is across 4 pillars (there are always 4):

  • Cloud – scale and speed of infrastructure
  • Social – recognising that the way communications happen is continuing to change
  • Mobile – usage of software in the post-PC (and Mac) world we are now in
  • Data/search – trying to personalise and be smarter with what we (our systems) know

This translates into roadmaps for the different web platforms and back office systems we have.  It is brilliant to have largely removed the millstone of legacy systems from our TMDR business – and now to be able to move forward so much faster.  As the article mentions, for me that is about improving the user experience in online recruitment –  using technology to replicate the personal, face to face experience – not putting technology barriers in the way of people hiring people.

My next mission is more process-based, and it centres on these 3 consecutive steps:

  1. Quality
  2. Visibility
  3. Innovation

This is a simple technique I came up with in my consulting days and it has stood me in good stead whenever I have been looking to take (technical, product and customer service) teams forward.

Firstly, Quality: invariably digital teams are trying to move at the speed of light and losing internal and external credibility by just not doing a high enough quality job.  Sure, you need to define what quality means,  and it definitely doesn’t mean bug-free software or months in QA, but on the whole – quality is king.  Too often, Quality is the accidental sacrificial lamb in projects where Iron Triangle* trade-offs have not been properly considered.  “Good enough” ends up meaning “pretty crappy really”.  Lean start-up is a trendy spin on this, which is basically saying Scope trade-offs are the right way to launch digital products – but that’s only giving part of the story of the Iron Triangle:

Secondly, when the building block of Quality delivery is in place, the focus moves to Visibility.  Visibility is pretty simple – it’s communication – ensuring everyone sees and hears about successes.  Technical teams can sometimes not be the best communicators within a business (my own excluded of course), and often the simple fact of increasing visibility and increasing communications can result in a virtuous circle of confidence, trust and delivery.

Thirdly, once we’re delivering Quality outcomes, and everyone has Visibility about those outcomes, we can move on to Innovation.  When we have the Quality and Visibility credits in the bank, and the trust and goodwill of our customers and colleagues, it is so much easier to persuade everyone that (a) it is worth investing time/money in developing something new and (b) it is worth changing to something new.  Quality and Visibility means the corporate antibodies don’t come to life, and Innovation has the opportunity to thrive and grow, or act as a learning experience.


* Please note the Iron Triangle is no longer a PMI approved concept. 

Intro to TMDR’s ART platform

ART YouTube Intro
ART YouTube Intro

Here’s the intro video for the new ART platform that we’ve been working on for a year at Trinity Mirror Digital Recruitment.

There are 4 key themes to the new platform, which will power some of the UK’s top jobsites, and over 100 sites in our portfolio – handling millions of job applications per month:

– Social:  we’re experimenting with more extensive social integration than most of our competitors. Bullhorn Reach has done some interesting stuff. We’re trying to take it one stage further.

– Mobile: mobile access is exploding in the recruitment market right now, and we’re taking this very seriously – ART has distinct UIs for classic/desktop; tablet; and phone.

– Search & Match: this is the fun bit, where we have spent a lot of time working out how to better match candidates and roles.  There’s some interesting new developments in the beta version, with more to come.

– Cloud: ART’s built on a Java stack, and hosted by AWS.  To my knowledge, the first 100% cloud-based platform in our sector (of any scale).  Being cloud-based gives us flexibility to try new stuff and not worry so much about capacity planning.