How Will Recruitment Change In The Next 20 Years?

May 26, 2014 1 Min Read

In HR Talk, we pick one human resources (HR) related topic each week, and gather a few HR experts to share their opinions on it. If you have any questions about the HR industry, send them to us at and we will get our panel of experts to answer them.

This week’s topic:

How Will Recruitment Change in the Next 20 Years?

Shazmi Ali –  Director of human resources, Pfizer Malaysia

Hiring of talent is more art than science, or is it? Recruitment or talent acquisition has evolved more in the last 10 years than the previous 50 years. Social media, psychometric tools and job postings have changed the face of recruiting.

I personally feel recruitment is the key game changer for an organisation trying to make the leap from good to great. Getting the right people in is always 50% of the battle and many organisations fail at that stage and then try to focus on the development of their employees. Some gaps cannot be closed once a wrong hire has been made.

If I am going to be a clairvoyant and look thru the crystal ball, these are some of the key areas that will be evolving in the next 20 years.

1. Individual and organisational values

A candidate’s ability to match his/her values to the organisation will be the most important element in future recruitment. A candidate who has an “all win mentality” will not be suitable for a regulated industry while another one who has a “ I must be nice to succeed” attitude will not survive the Wall Street environment. Obtaining a first class honours, although something to be proud, of will not get you the job if your values do not match to your employers.

2. Adaptability

There is already an array of tools that assess psychometric behaviours etc. I am predicting that in the future, tools will be use to assess someone’s adaptability to get out of their comfort zone. The business landscape will be changing every six to 18 months, thus employees who can’t shed their skin to the needs of the business will be left behind. Recruiters will be searching for candidates who are adaptable and flexible. The future awaits the Jack of all trades.

3. Today’s vs tomorrow’s role

There will be more emphasis on what an individual can bring to the organisation in the next three to five years compared to the role today. Recruitment will need to hire beyond today. Taking into account Malaysia Labour Laws, an employee that is hired permanently can remain in the organisation for a very long time. Thus a lot more focus will be put on the organisation future needs than current needs.

4. Networking

In the future, I predict who you know will be more important than what you know. With social media, connectivity across various social relationships will only heighten the chances of someone getting a job.Print media ads will be a thing in the past and targeted online recruitment will be the norm. Your profile on LinkedIn or Facebook will be the first “screen cut” of any headhunter. In fact, that has already began today. More people will be hired via alumni than newspaper ad. Recruiters will start “romancing” candidates when they are freshman instead of waiting for them to graduate.

I am not a gambling man and thus won’t put a wager on the above, however, my friends will attest, I am not someone who loses a non-monetary bet.
Datin Nancy Lim – SVP & head, human capital, Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) Berhad

The global workforce is now more empowered than ever, and this is essentially enabled by technology and the rise of social media.

1. Online resumes and recruitment

Jobseekers today are mobile and energised by the opportunities that social media avails them.

There is a need to self-regulate one’s image on the internet and not let social media take control of it. Jobseekers registered on LinkedIn as a paid subscriber can easily be contacted by individuals and groups. There is a need to strike a balance of how much you want to reveal in your resume, your intent and your overall purpose.

I have seen resumes of individuals that disclose too much information about their current job and also what their firms are currently engaged in. Too much disclosure could be a double-edged sword.

LinkedIn can also be another way of looking at crowdsourcing as recruiters and employers become more empowered than ever using this site.

The other phenomenon is the increase in online job recruitment sites. You will see fewer firms advertising in print, but more firms moving online. This places added pressure on in-house HR practitioners as to how often information on career sites should be updated because as long as the servers are working well, the information is always ‘on’ and ‘available’, unlike print job ads. Regular updates are vital as jobseekers are constantly seeking information and an updated site enhances the company’s image and accessibility.

2. Outsourcing

As we advance further into the technological era, outsourcing through the use of technology brings glocalisation into sharp, yet strangely disparate, focus. All at once, we reach further and are much closer to the labour market yet interestingly, more impersonal.

The opportunity that outsourcing avails to firms is that one can now embark on multi-channel sourcing. For instance, head to India for software programmers, off to Manila for call centre experts, on to Pakistan for doctors, etc. The other advantage is, with a robust market of recruitment consultants, you can also tap into hiring top talents and may come across recruitment consultants who are more skilled than your in-house pool. This is an immediate benefit of outsourcing – the world can literally be brought to your doorstep.

Or rather, in the digital era, to our fingertips. We can even do our manpower ‘search’ more intelligently – for instance, rather than doing a simple search with a search engine, carrying out an ‘advanced search’ can help to filter out and target better-fit candidates.

3. New jobs, new firms, and a more adaptive market

Due to emergent technology and cost containment, many new roles have evolved and similarly many traditional degree graduates like software engineers, accountants, lawyers, etc. are performing new roles.

We would also see a future where recruitment would no longer be the exclusive domain of traditionalist HR practitioners, and instead rest more with the business. Recruiters would therefore need to adapt to the market and source out talent differently whilst thinking out of the box.

Looking ahead, recruiters must work even closer on retention and job redesign, and the pressure will be there to deliver applicants faster at lower costs.

The war of talent remains thin especially with the retirement of the baby boomers from Year 2020.

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This article is published by the editors of with the consent of the guest author. 

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