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The Whiteboard’s (Alternative) Recruitment Predictions for 2012

By December 15, 201110 Comments

Hmmm, there seem to be rather a lot of predictions for 2012 wafting around the social media blogosphere in recent days.  How on earth is one to know what to do with themselves as the impending end of 2011 looms ever closer?  How can one prepare for the trials and tribulations of 2012 with such conflicting logic and predictions afoot?

Aha, well it is just as well you visited The Whiteboard today, for below you will find all you need to know about what is in store for recruitment in 2012:


1.  Social Recruiting

The surge in social media for recruitment we all witnessed in 2011 will continue unabated into the next year.  Nearly every recruitment firm in the world will develop a Twitter profile and link it to their new cloud-based ATS so that every job ad written gets automatically posted to Twitter.  So many job ads will flood Twitter that the only people who read tweets will be other recruitment agents trying to work out who their competitors are recruiting for.  Upon realising this Twitter will lengthen the number of characters per tweet to 1,400 and start charging recruitment companies for each job tweet posted.  They will then change their name to Tweet Board.  Meanwhile Facebook will take notice of the fact that more jobseekers found their last role through Facebook than any other social media network.  Clever algorithms will be developed so that any status update or wall post that includes positive sentiments about work will create geo-based ads for local career managers and talent management while negative connotations will lead the user to ads for recruitment agencies or, based on the relative youth of the user, Work and Income.  Interaction through gamification and virtualization will encourage users to enter RecruitVille and undertake an augmented reality set of interviews before being steered towards the most relevant corporate careers page or agency company Facebook page.

Social Recruiters intent on using these mediums to build cohesive and engaged online communities and share useful, genuinely interesting content, will be treated with suspicion and distrust, and will probably migrate towards Google+ for good.  The most radical thinking of these new breed will take social media interaction to a whole new level and go “all retro” with telephones to arrange actual face to face meetings.

2.  Technology

Recruitment teams will continue to be early adopters of the most cutting edge technology.  QR codes (Quick Response codes, like a 3D bar code, download the i-Nigma app to read them), will start to appear on all job ads both online and in print media.  They will also appear on recruitment adverts at bus shelters, on stands at careers fairs, on recruiter business cards, and even on the ties of recruiters still wearing them in 2012 (about 1%).  Problems will persist around what information the QR code can reveal to the scanner that isn’t already containable within the medium carrying the code, but that will not deter forward-thinking recruiters.  In a similar vein, iPads will become commonplace and replace the good old black compendium folder.  Client Visit KPI expectations will be halved as the length of time the meetings take is doubled as recruiters struggle with the funny touch screen keyboard and predictive text and have to keep asking their clients to repeat what they just said.


3.  Mobile Recruiting

Recruiting will go mobile like never before.  Not only will every recruitment business make their websites smartphone-friendly and jobseekers store their CVs onto easily retrievable cloud-based Apps, but new smartphone hardware technology will enable plug-and-play add-ons that unfold out of the back of the smartphone or tablet.  Wherever a recruiter may be, with one press of an icon, a designer desk and reclinable swivel chair (with arm rests) will unfold along with mini filing cabinet and in-tray.  Not only will recruiters be able to harness technology to operate solo from their kitchen tables, by 2012 they will be able to instantly pop-up an entire mobile office wherever they may be.


4.  Job Board Innovation

Under continued threat from the phenomenon of social recruiting (especially Twitter’s evolution into a Tweet Board) job boards will be forced to continue to innovate.  Trade Me Jobs will stop trying to be like SEEK and start to actually make interesting press releases that Kiwis really want to read.  Meanwhile, SEEK will on-board groundbreaking technology to enable them to issue invoices via e-mail as opposed to their current cutting edge snail mail versions.


5.  Internal Recruitment

Internal recruitment departments will continue to increase in number, sometimes also in quality, but not often.  Employment branding will become the hot topic as they compete for the top talent in a talent short market.  Large technology businesses will change their names to those of various fruits, with the more funky and whacky workplaces plumping for the citrus varieties.  At least one large professional services firm will change their global branding to an archaic symbol, and become known mysteriously to potential recruits as “The accountancy firm formerly known as…”  A new trend will start to emerge whereby internal recruitment functions begin realising that the quality of delivery and service they get from their agency partners is directly correlated to the fee percentage ensconced into their PSA agreements.  One or two bright teams will agree to paying full fee for recruitment services and suddenly encounter greater levels of talent in the marketplace.


6.  Talent Shortages

Talent will become so crucifyingly short in such an expanding range of sectors that submissions will be made by the recruitment industry governing bodies to have the actual word “Talent” shortened officially in the English language.  After much lobbying the latter part of 2012 will see the Oxford Press make an offical release proclaiming that the word “Talent” is no longer the correct and modern usage of the word and it will hitherto become spelt simply as “Tlt”.  This will be music to the ears of employment commentators, large global recruitment firm press releases, and Twitter hash-taggers with limited space to say their piece.


7.  RCSA Conferences

Following on from the RCSA Conference in Fiji in 2012, recruitment company owners struggling to pay their contractors on time and angry mobs of “fat cat” shouting jobseekers will force the region’s recruitment industry body to consider less exotic climes for 2013.  After much debate, conjecture and hand-wringing, the board will settle on Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.  Symbolic of the mining industry that is the driving force behind much of the industry’s billings, they will nevertheless discover that delegates in fact spend more time actually attending the conference they went there for in the first place, as the hotel will be the only sufficiently air-conditioned building in the vicinity.  The kiwi delegate numbers will increase.  Although further to travel than Fiji was, they will be unable to resist the allure of pubs with topless barmaids.


8.  Youth Unemployment

Unemployment rates of New Zealand youth will hit such highs that every school-leaver and graduate under 25 years of age will leave for Australia to work in the mines.  So many holes will be dug into the country’s interior furnace that the country will eventually lose its moorings and start drifting across the Tasman towards New Zealand like a big, brown, iceberg.  The two countries will collide by late 2012, providing instantly devastating access for Australia’s wildlife to “introduce” itself to New Zealand’s bush.  By December 2012 the assorted creatures will have razed New Zealand’s pristine foliage to the ground, doing the Greens out of a role in Parliament and clearing the path for more lucrative mining of the South Island.  New Zealand’s prodigal youth will return to mine their own land and be greeted as saviours.  John Key will take the plaudits for developing the policies that led to them leaving for Australia in the first place.


9.  Recruitment: The Movie

Rumours are already starting to circulate that Warner Brothers have commissioned the filming of a movie based on the recruitment industry, following on from the success of the pilot series “”Top Recruiter” Reality TV show.  Rumours circulating around Twitter suggest that casting has begun with Daniel Radcliffe playing the “gutsy upstart” IT temp desk Recruiter and Steven Seagal as the renegade Auckland GM.  Actors to have agency recruiters quaking in their boots include Alan Rickman as the “ball-breaking” HRD with Chris Rock the wise-cracking know-it-all internal recruiter.  Rumours continue to circulate on Twitter and are trending under #recruitmentmovie.  Seriously.



Ten?  Why does there always have to be ten?  In fact the rules will change for 2012.  It will be perfectly acceptable to compile a list of any number ranging from 3 to about 287.  What is absolutely obligatory for 2012, though, is that all articles, blogs and press releases shared on social media must consist of a list, for readers will henceforth be blind to anything that isn’t in list format.  The suggested logic is that it makes the content more easily digestible.  The real reason is it increases the number of times the piece is shared and improves SEO.  Look at the Linked In Today headlines on your LinkedIn homepage if you don’t believe in this emerging trend.


What a year 2011 has been.  Hard work, but it feels good.  It’s been a hugely eventful year in New Zealand and I feel the recruitment industry has come through stronger and better than ever.  Clearly I need a good break, and am very much looking forward to one soon!  This will be the last blog post from The Whiteboard for 2011.  Thanks to all of my readers and especially those who took the time to contribute, comment and debate.

Happy Christmas and see you all again in 2012.

Jonathan Rice

MD at New Zealand rec-to-rec firm Rice Consulting and co-founder of on-demand recruiter offering Joyn. Recruitment agitator and frustrated idealist, father of two, husband of one, and lover of all things Arsenal and crafty beer.


  • Rclarke says:

    Any further progress on the female leads for the movie?  Helen Mirren can’t be the only one considered at present, surely…
    Thanks for some interesting and provocative content this year Jonathan – very valuable!  Enjoy the break.  Merry Xmas.

    • Sean says:

      Megan Fox has been auditioned to “sex-up” an Industrial Temp desk, but was put off whilst researching the role when informed she’ll have to take the company out-of-hours mobile phone home with her.

      Rumours that Sharon Stone has been approached to play the high-flying, yet emotionally crippled Wellington Recruitment General Manager are unfounded.

      • Rebecca says:

        I hear there may be some royalties coming your way..well deserved!
        I have to ask, what decade is this movie set in and who’s your target moviegoing audience?  
        Clearly we all recognise these roles…but from the sheer perspective of maintaining the credibility of the recruitment community, I’d hope to see a larger ensemble cast…maybe Michelle Williams or Kate Winslet types as strong female leads, who despite comfortably wearing lipstick and glamming it up, are described as ballsy, resilient, successful, with substance, yet don’t appear to take themselves too seriously or get too caught up in their own hype.
        Of course, if you’re determined to bring sexy back, maybe its Justin Timberlake playing the part of Jon, or maybe it may be more apt for Jon to play the part of Director.
        Well crafted guys.

  • Brad says:

    Jon, you know I’m your biggest fan but my friend… much like reading in a fast moving vehicle, I think I have motion sickness after reading today’s WB post.  As a simple old fashioned recruiter – words with more than 10 letters (there’s that number again) confuse me and articles longer than my arm lose me.  However admittedly, a satisfying read, and I think you might, amongst the journey of words have stumbled upon some interesting predictions which may prove to have legs. 
    This month has proven to be a considerably good one.  I have taken on my first consultant at the worst time of the year, in the worst possible market and a person with no recruitment skills.  Madness… on top of that I am teaching her old skool methods consisting of picking up the phone and speaking to real people, attending targeted networking functions, sending hand written ‘thank you’ notes and leveraging off old contacts from ten (that number, again) years back.  To my surprise within her first month she has established a niche of her own, taken on four senior roles and is ‘catching up’ with a couple of new clients for drinks and a game of squash.  Astonishing considering she isn’t on Twitter, forgot she had a LinkedIn profile, hardly uses Facebook and is fresh back to NZ.  I look forward to the amazing results she will yield when she does take on the latest outlined technology…
    Thanks Jon, I’ve enjoyed your blog and look forward to what the New Year holds. Brad @ Talent Capital.

  • Rachel Downey says:

    Nice work Jonathan!
    Just the right “Christmas-y” mix…..
    12 (months have passed); 11 (days to go – till Christmas); 10 (almost) bullet points; 9 (alternative  predictions for 2012); 8 (suggestions for new technologies); 7 (deadly recruitment sins); 6 (times this year I’ve read your blog); 5 (ways to make communicating with people more difficult than they need be); 4 (stereotypical recruitment types); 3 (hopefully only three readers with OCD that re-read your blog to see if my numbers are right); 2 (the number of comments on your blog before mine) and 1 absolute truth:  There is no substitute for quality – in all things.

    Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!
    Rachel Downey (Talent2)

  • Tanya says:

    The best overview of the ‘year that was’ that I have seen! Looking forward to who the female leads are in the movie…

    PS: Who will play Auckland’s recruitment to recruitment guru Jonathan Rice?

  • Craig Watson says:

    Jon, Fantastic Blog!!! Gave me a much needed pre christmas giggle and left me with a smile on my face…… Rumour has it that they are considering Matthew Newton for the role of the ‘slightly’ unhinged Aussie maverick recruiter, with the substance abuse problems and the severely unsatable work history….. Merry Christmas to you and all at Rice Consulting!!!

  • Jayne Rice says:

    Excellent Blog as always Jon (and no I am not being biased) and it will be a refreshing change to spend the next four Thursday evenings with my Husband again as he will be embracing the Christmas and blogging break. Only thing left for me to say is that Colin Firth is an absolute must to play Jon Rice.