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QR Codes: Possibly the Ugliest Innovation in Recruitment

By January 26, 20122 Comments

When HR thought leader Dr John Sullivan ponders upon whether QR Codes might be the next Big Thing in recruiting technology, it’s worth paying attention.  But when a marketing agency make a QR Code out of Oreo cookies then you know this is something that requires serious consideration.  QR (Quick Response) Codes, originally developed by Toyota in the 90’s, and used occasionally in manufacturing, have found themselves suddenly thrust into the limelight of the new smartphone enabled mobile recruiting sect.

But boy do they look ugly.  They’re a bit like the Susan Boyle of the digital world.  Spending most of their lives knocking around low-key establishments and singing for their Mum, it takes the development of fancy new technology and a sparkling, brightly-lit platform, for their talent to finally make the world stand up and take notice.  No wonder ad agencies are having to dream up creative ways to make their appearance more exciting.

But being ugly never held anyone back, just ask Peter Beardsley.  QR codes are a cool, quick and easy way to feed data into your smartphone, whether it be a link to your website, a code to produce your boarding pass at the airport gate, a special offer campaign, or contact information fed straight into your phone’s contact list.

The question remains, though, of how us in the recruitment industry can make the most of this technology.  The recruitment community appears, to me, more open than most to the embracing of new ideas and technology, but possibly fall behind in the effective implementation of those ideas.  I think that the internal recruitment sector, in particular, can do some pretty interesting things with QR Code technology.  Placing banners at Graduate careers fairs to take the scanner to the company’s website.  Printed on handouts or business cards to steer scanners towards the careers page.  Check out some of these examples from the UK recruitment market.

Jobseekers, too, can use these codes on CVs to direct the reader towards their Linked In profile, maybe even a video resume for the brave.

And what about agencies?  This is where the benefits can start to get more tenuous.  I have seen print media job ads bearing QR Codes that take the reader to the online ad so they can quickly send a CV, but this would only work if your phone has your CV stored so you can send it as an attachment (I’m no expert but apps like Dropbox should enable you to do this).  We here at Rice Consulting have added QR Codes to our e-mail signatures which take the scanner to a smartphone “business card” that can be immediately saved to your Contacts.  Maybe there are smartphones everywhere carrying my contact information now…but I’ve had no feedback yet to suggest this!

QR Codes are a developing trend that the recruitment industry needs to keep a close eye on.  Benefits, and opportunities, will emerge as people get more imaginative and creative, and it’s something worth having some fun with for now.  And one thing is for sure: like any new fad, people can’t resist getting involved when they see one.  I will scan any QR code when I see it, just to see what happens.

Creating a QR code is easy.  You can visit Vodafone to make your own ones here.  Go to your App store or Android marketplace thingy and download a QR Reader to your smartphone, and have a go at scanning the one below that I made earlier:

QR Code

Now you can take The Whiteboard with you wherever you may go.  Enjoy!

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.


  • Stewart Farr says:

    I dunno. I kinda like them. Appart from the convieniance they have……..their look reminds me of the 80’s. Stop thinking of them as Susan Boyle and think of them more like Atari 😉

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