How Do We Bring Recruitment into the Digital Age?

Chris Kirk, the Managing Director at Digitalme, a City & Guilds Group Business, here discusses the digitalisation of the recruitment process, amid a shortage of skilled labour in the UK market and beyond.

When I finished studying and started to hunt for the perfect career (any job to be honest), my initial step was to create my CV. It certainly showed the basics such as my qualifications and work experience, but little more than that. It’s difficult on two sides of A4 paper to show the fully rounded individual you are and all the useful skills you’ve learned along your journey through education and early jobs.

Over the last decade, we’ve all probably given our LinkedIn page a polish before applying for a new position, but essentially we still see a CV as our best hope in landing the dream job. And recruiters and employers are in an equally tricky position pouring over hundreds of them trying to get the measure of a person from a few pages. Countless excellent candidates have undoubtedly been missed because the CV didn’t show the richer picture of their achievements and skills.

The UK is facing huge skills challenges thanks to globalisation, automation, Brexit and an ageing population. As people move around more and between jobs more frequently, and as the world becomes increasingly digital, we need to look to new ways of capturing and recognising the full range of skills needed to succeed in a job. Given how many companies are struggling to recruit and retain the right people to grow, a traditional CV and hour interview is simply not enough to ensure more diverse and effective decisions. It’s time business leaders and individuals got on board with the next big revolution in recognition and recruitment – digital credentialing.

If you haven’t heard of it before, this is a way of allowing people to tell their story – framing, capturing and communicating all the skills that they have learnt and developed through study and work. It provides a broader picture than a certificate simply stating that someone has passed a qualification or a CV stating where they worked. It helps individuals showcase their achievements by publishing them to professional profiles like LinkedIn, or embedding them in their CV, websites or blogs. Crucially, as workers move through institutions, jobs or roles, their credentials travel with them, visible to prospective employers.

In his review of the modern labour market, RSA Chief Executive, Matthew Taylor championed the use of digital badging. As he said, it provides a much more objective picture of a potential employee’s capabilities, which recruiters can then validate, meaning no more white lies on CVs.

Digital credentialing doesn’t stop at recruitment. Once a person has been hired, they will need to be equipped with additional skills to enable them to develop in the role and meet the business’s future needs. Yet right now, workplace learning isn’t being prioritised – the IPPR recently concluded that UK employer investment in skills per employee has fallen.

This problem is likely to grow. Increasing globalisation and digitalisation, a more flexible working environment and a more knowledge-based economy mean that the skills that are needed will continue to evolve, and quickly. Training, personal development, and the acquisition of soft and transferable (human) skills will be ever more important.

Likewise, management training to prepare employees to lead a remote or flexible workforce will only grow in importance as more people move into gig economy roles. Using digital credentials can contribute to a better understanding of what the required training might be and where gaps are. Working with Digitalme, a number of business have already used credentialing to objectively benchmark the capability of thousands of staff and, in return, provide reward and recognition to each individual.

Ultimately, it’s in businesses’ interest to support and enable individuals in capturing their full set of skills, especially as digitalisation and globalisation reshape the jobs market. And it’s also about strengthening the workforce by encouraging staff to take charge of their own development and generate their own progression framework.

The opportunities are almost endless. At Digitalme we help organisations from educators to employers to design and issue their own credentials, using open badges, to recognise individuals’ skill, talent and progression. There is no single model, organisations can build their own digital credentialing to recognise the skills that matter to them so they can ensure current or future staff have the skills they need.

Once, the paper CV was the gold standard. But, as the Taylor Review’s discussion of the gig economy makes clear, the parameters of the labour market are constantly changing. These days, business is digital. Recruitment and staff development should be no different.

There may be no silver bullet to the lingering issues in the employment market, but digital credentialing will be a vital layer of trust and understanding in the whole the solution.

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