Time magazine is in the news for going to “responsive design” this week. For those unfamiliar with pixel-pushing, Smashing Magazine has a useful overview of the concept with many examples; Ethan Marcotte’s article for A List Apart is one of the early takes on the topic. Essentially, responsive design is design (typically, but not necessarily, web design) that’s geared to “respond” appropriately in as many different channels as possible, creating a consistent and appropriate user experience on a desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet, or any other device. Responsiveness can mean anything from resizing images to moving sidebars to the bottom of a page. And responsive design can mean different things to different people. For example, some focus on mobile first; others advise finding a target experience or working with infinite grids. Still, the main principle is that design should respond to the channel used for consumption.
Adaptive recruiting, discussed today at ERE.net by John Sullivan, seems to have some similarities with responsive design. While responsive design is driven by the plethora of devices used to access web pages, adaptive recruiting is driven by “turbulent times,” particularly from an economic perspective. Responsive design anticipates that a design will be used on different devices; adaptive recruiting anticipates that businesses–and candidates–will change. Responsive design offers the ability to scale images; adaptive recruiting offers the ability to scale hiring practices. And just as designers need to accommodate more frameworks, companies must also adopt a more flexible corporate culture that enables employees to have impact in many ways, rather than by adopting one particular approach.
There are more similarities to point out, but you’re probably starting to get the idea. The most important similarity, though (at least to my mind), is the following (quoted from the ERE.net article):
Rather than a single solution, users should be given a toolkit, so that managers and employees can choose the methods or tools that best fit their situation.
The idea of a toolkit gets at the heart of both responsive design and adaptive recruiting, and the ability to deal with change in general. The content/channel or the business need is the changing medium; responsive design principles or adaptive recruiting strategies help provide the toolset for accommodating rapid changes. Thought of another way, the employees or candidates are the “pixels” that must be freed up to go to the location where they’ll have the greatest impact; adaptive recruiting policies and responsive design principles are the tools that enable that freedom.
The pace of change in every industry is enormous, and continues to grow. By the time you get together your detailed six-month plan for rolling out a mobile website–never mind start executing on it–that plan will be dangerously outdated. It will fail to take into account new devices that have risen in popularity. It will fail to take into account the fact that 25% of your users now access your desktop career site on mobile devices, as opposed to the 10% that did when you began the project. Change requests are no longer something to document and file. They are something to live with–and respond to, using appropriate tools–every single day. Your internal applicant tracking system (ATS), regardless of when it designs, probably lacks at least some fields you need and has a few that you don’t–and that your candidates don’t like filling out. A more adaptive ATS–or none at all, as is the dream of Recruitment 5.0–is certainly part of adaptive recruiting.
Any adaptive recruiting toolset needs to include tools for conducting candidate outreach on mobile and other devices–tools that can be used immediately, not plans that will be implemented next year. It needs to include forecasts of a company’s future so that recruiters can anticipate changes and trends in the way they will need to work, not simply recruit for today’s openings. It needs to include interactive training tools to get new employees up to speed vast and enable existing employees to share knowledge more easily. It needs a lot–but the process of building the toolset is beginning.
Are you using adaptive recruiting strategies at your company? How is it working for you, or what are some adaptive recruiting tools you wish you had?