screenshot 2023-08-23 at 10.29.09













Contact us

Privacy policy

Website terms of use

Cookies policy


Recuitment & retention

Foresight Focus

Hybrid work resources

Our vision

Who we are

What we do

Client engagements

The Future of Work | Working the Future
wtflogostrapline tm transparent
wtflogostrapline tm transparent
screenshot 2024-04-05 at 11.45.14

Working the Future blog: our latest insights and future of work sensemaking


2024-07-11 10:46

Cathryn Barnard



Recruitment urgently needs an upgrade - if it is to meet the needs of modern workers and address 21st Century labour market dynamics.


Labour markets have never been so complex. Shifting attitudes to work, employment and life itself are having a dramatic impact on organisations’ ability to successfully staff with all the skills, talents and competencies needed for long-term resilience.  


Next-generation enterprise AI makes it hard to know what skills will be required and for how long, threatening job stability still further.  


The worsening climate crisis threatens the very foundation of capitalism and the pursuit of growth at all costs. Employee activism is taking hold across a range of sectors and leaders are under pressure to substantiate their business strategy like never before. 


All these external realities create friction, leaving organisations struggling to recruit – and retain – staff. This is amplified by recruitment processes that - largely unchanged for 25 years – are no longer fit for purpose.  


Recruitment urgently needs an upgrade, if it is to meet the needs of modern workers and address 21st Century labour market dynamics.  


Having worked in staffing since the early 1990s, our co-founder Cat knows a thing or two about recruitment process design. She set up centralised recruitment functions for both Orange in Switzerland and 3 in Sweden – two hugely successful Telecommunication brands.  


Building on this experience she has created a nine-step recruitment process redesign framework to help clients reboot hiring processes and improve their staffing outcomes.  


Integrating marginal gains theory, Working the Future’s recruitment process redesign framework helps organisations introduce small tweaks that yield substantial improvements to hiring success.  


This article sets out the nine steps for recruitment process futureproofing.  


[1] Strategic workforce planning 

Not so long ago, we thought of employment as being for the most part permanent and stable. That has all changed.  


Modern workers are willing to work in an increasingly diverse range of employment types and organisations need to be ready. 


Alongside, digital disruption means it’s becoming harder to know what skills will be required in the future. Nonetheless, organisations must identify the capabilities they will need over the long term AND prioritise agility, resilience and future readiness.  


How many businesses have a robust strategic workforce plan? While of course it is hard to know what skills will be required organisationally three to five years from now, it is nonetheless vital that businesses take the time to map out how they will successfully navigate increasingly fast-paced, dynamic markets. 


[2] Organisational and job redesign 

With so much change and uncertainty afoot, ambitious businesses must organise themselves to be agile, market-responsive and future ready. What business models and operating frameworks will allow for optimal market-readiness? 


The need for business speed and agility also prompts a rethink of how we create and perform jobs. How can organisations hire for permanent roles when they can’t be sure what the associated roles and responsibilities will look like in as little as two years from now? 


The way we think about organisational design – and job design – needs a radical overhaul. Fortunately, there are plentiful documented examples of businesses that are successfully leveraging self-management and decentralised organising to enhance the pace at which they can respond to emergent market contexts.  


[3] Employee value proposition and branding 

Too few organisations have a clearly defined and commonly understood shared identity.  


Given the increasingly transactional and transient nature of employment, it’s never been more important for current and future internal stakeholders to have a strategic narrative they can psychologically buy into and work towards.  


To feel optimally productive, modern workers want to know:

  • Why are we here? 
  • What are our shared goals? 
  • What is our shared identity? 
  • What are our shared values? 


Organisational identity sits at the heart of a thriving employer brand and should be reflected in all aspects of a well-designed employee value proposition. Until organisational identity can be revealed, scoped and clearly articulated, we’d argue there’s little shared purpose. And as we know, over the longer term, this undermines organisational performance.  


[4] Market outreach 

Too many recruiters today use the same tired tactics. Rather than proactively build engagement with sought after talent, there’s a tendency to post job adverts and reactively wait to see who applies.  


Recruitment is a relationship business.  


For hiring to be successful, businesses must equip their recruiters with the knowledge and know-how to think strategically. They must be encouraged to invest in long-term relationship building in a quest to undo the damage caused by years of transactional hiring. They must be able and willing to authentically engage in conversations that build connection, community and trust. 


There are so many easy ways to build reputation and trust, but this is only achievable when recruiters are invited to step beyond shallow metrics like cost-per-hire and time-per-hire. In modern operating environments, the only way to build trust is to consistently and authentically show-up time and time again to demonstrate value.  


Like it or not, this truth sits at the heart of successful recruitment strategies.  


[5] Continuous communication  

To successfully build authentic and resonant employer brands, organisations must focus on trust and what that means for ALL stakeholders.  


Respectful two-way communication is the first building block of trust. This demands a forensic evaluation of all the potential touchpoints a jobseeker might anticipate with an employer before a CV submission even takes place. 


It demands the willingness to continuously communicate throughout the hiring process and the willingness to override algorithmic matching processes. It prioritises curiosity and empathy to seek information that explores potential and possibility.  


Most importantly, a commitment to continuous communication demands the courage to deliver bad news. When jobseekers haven’t been successful with their applications, LET THEM KNOW! It’s the respectful and right thing to do.  


In turbulent, squeezed and slowly shrinking labour markets, consistent communication with ALL jobseekers is a super-power. It builds trust, goodwill and brand loyalty and is critical for organisations to successfully build and nurture a flexible and future-ready talent ecosystems.  


[6] Hiring for attitude 

In increasingly digitised workplaces, the pace at which ‘hard’ skills – the skills acquired through education, training and lived experience - become outdated and obsolete is accelerating.  


Yet too many employers are still hiring for hard-skills and spending far too much time trying to predict what these might be down the line.  


Arguably, a more effective approach is to prioritise hiring for learning agility. This is a mindset whereby the individual is fully invested in continuous evolution, development and growth. They demonstrate resilience and comfort in adapting to meet new contexts as they arise. Moreover, they enjoy doing so.  


Commitment to lifelong learning can be easily identified by using great interview questions and / or psychometric evaluation. 


Identifying and successfully hiring for vital skills is a sure-fire way to ensure business sustainability and continuity. The sooner organisations recognise and reward growth mindset, the faster they will bake in resilience and future-readiness. 


For more advice on creating a winning offboarding strategy with us, please get in touch today for a no-obligation chat.

[7] Interviewing 

In 2023, the UK-based Chartered Management Institute published research showing how few managers receive any formalised training. If 82% of UK managers have taken on management responsibility without any training, how many line managers or hiring managers have been educated in effective interview techniques?  


Lack of interview training gives rise to inconsistencies and worse, bias. It’s also a massive deterrent for savvy jobseekers.  


In squeezed labour markets, those conducting interviews need to be acutely aware that the hiring process itself is a two-way evaluation process. It’s an opportunity for a candidate to discover more about the organisation and opportunity. It’s just as much the opportunity to market the employer’s brand as it is to evaluate for sought after skills.  


Modern jobseekers want to know an organisation can meet their needs. Like it or not, this is the new reality where every jobseeker is also a consumer.  


Anyone involved in hiring urgently needs to understand the new labour market realities. They must be match-ready to optimally represent their employer’s brand. And finally, they must uphold a recruitment process that is as unbiased, transparent and equitable as possible for all parties. 


[8] Making offers  

Too many businesses follow outdated recruitment processes that take way too long to make offers to candidates. When organisations don’t move fast enough, they risk losing talent to alternative job offers. This is increasingly problematic in tight labour markets.  


It’s always healthy to benchmark salaries and market rates for key skills. Knowing you can offer competitive salaries or other compelling benefits makes a difference. In parallel, transparency and candour are standout virtues that help all parties reach agreement faster.   


Maintaining consistent contact helps avoid ‘ghosting’ - an increasingly common feature of modern labour markets. Continuous communication helps address any last-minute changes of heart.  


[9] Pre-onboarding and onboarding 

For too long, recruitment and HR functions have operated in siloes. Insufficient communication between these functions means balls can get dropped between end of a recruitment process and the start of the employment experience. This inevitably has a negative impact on the experience of the jobseeker. 


Employers must adapt to think holistically and design full-spectrum employment experiences, regardless of the type of employment contract.  


There are so many ways to build trust, goodwill and engagement throughout this lifecycle. First-class onboarding experiences are an essential component of flourishing and sustainable talent ecosystems. 

+ + + + + +


There are so many easy ways to improve recruitment processes and meet the needs of modern jobseekers. Thankfully there’s no need to invest in expensive technology as what’s needed most is a rehumanisation of recruitment rather than anything else. 


Of course, this can look daunting when recruitment itself has been treated as a cost to be managed for so long. Low-cost recruitment means candidate experience suffers.  


It’s time to call time on dehumanised, unempathic hiring processes. Get in contact with us today for a no-obligation chat about how and where to get started.   

© Working the Future Ltd. 2016-2024. Limited company no. 10512378 registered in England and Wales

 Registered office address: 42 Longfield Drive, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, HP6 5HE, United Kingdom

Working the Future, the Working the Future logotype and the arrowhead device are all registered trademarks of Working the Future Ltd.