This piece is a great lead up to our “Future of Work” Open Session which we will present in Johannesburg on the 18th of April and in Cape Town on the 16th of May…
What’s trending now?
Why it’s important?
Amsterdam-based advertising agency, Muse, caused an electronic stir when they released a talent search for new interns. The agency has a reputation for their quirky antics but their latest venture took the cake. Using the popular iPad and iPhone app, “Drawsome” (which has reinvented the dusty game of “Pictionary”), they allowed any hopeful graphic designers to “play” them on their customized username. A random category would be given and the recruits would have to draw/recreate the category for Muse. The best of the lot would be given a paid-internship with the company. No formal interviews were conducted, just a quick drawing game.
Although there is a place for traditional recruitment agencies, companies such as Muse, have proved that technology provides an effective way to combat using so-called middlemen. In turn, costs are significantly curbed which makes for a business-savvy move in these shaky economic times. Social-media networks, immediate push notifications on our smart-phones and an unprecedented global interconnectivity have made it possible to rethink how people find work. Although “word of mouth” remains the chief method of recruitment, technology challenges this age-old custom. In the next five years this trend will be in full force.
What’s the butterfly effect?
As companies turn to creative and innovative ways to recruit, the need for recruitment agencies will become obsolete. What will emerge, and which is already evident in many forms, is the trend that people have become their own brands. These days, young millennials, have blogs, Facebook pages, personalised websites and a constant twitter-stream. By the time that they are ready to join the workforce, they have already publicised themselves in a public domain. It is far easier for these employees to represent themselves without the need of a reputable recruitment agency behind themselves. Not only do they brand themselves, they have instant access to the global community. They follow their favourite companies, agencies, law-firms and personalities on Twitter and have access to the inside scoop. This gives them an advantage when it comes to their search for work. These days, recruits can easily source an MD or CEO’s email address, email them their C.V. and get the ball rolling. In return, employers can scout social-media hubs to see what their potential employees are up to, and whether or not they would be a good fit.
The problem with this kind of recruitment is that employers have even more trouble trying to decipher the real version of their employees and are simply dealing with their avatars. Employers and recruits both run a risk of bypassing the standard interview process which usually helps settle any discrepancies that usually exist between the C.V. version of someone and the actual version. There is a risk, however slight it may be.
While these changes in recruitment may seem absurd to traditionalists, they are not uncommon. It is something that we, as South Africans, need to embrace as a necessary solution to cutting costs across the board. South African companies need to keep in step with these effective trends beyond our shores.
It comes as no surprise that the pioneers of this trend are the creative industries: advertising agencies, design houses and even coffee shops. What is interesting is that, besides the already-mentioned Muse, other less-glitzy industries are also taking up this unique experiment. A law-firm in Copenhagen were so taken with the unorthodox approach to law from the TV series, “Suits” (where a hot-shot lawyer hires a young prodigy with no law degree), that they decided to recruit their new associates in a radically different way. Instead of having formal interviews at the country’s law schools, they sent out a tweet calling for anyone who wanted a once I’m a lifetime shot at law to post a 30-second YouTube clip doing anything that would inspire their law firm to change the world. Candidates needed no formal experience in law and would be given a position in the firm.
The global hotspots
Perhaps the recent plight of the Eurozone has forced the hand of cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Berlin to spearhead this new approach. Yet, what would a trend be if it didn’t come from the Asian leaders in all things progressive? Japan leads the pack in this regard. Check out Muse Amsterdam’s recruitment video.
By: Wendy-Jane Chong
Wendy- Jane Chong is a freelance writer and a keen trend observer. Last year she was an intern at Flux Trends. She launched a kiddie party business called “Imaginary Friends” this year and runs a blog with her husband.
Image credit: The world wide web