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The Agenda 2020 series asks experts to discuss what business leaders should be doing now to prepare their organizations to be healthy, efficient and growing by 2020. Read more at tgam.ca/agenda2020.

The way businesses select and hire potential employees has been evolving for decades – especially with the introduction of social media. But is this the way of the future? Is the current format by which we recruit and hire a thing of the past?

To further delve into this topic, The Globe and Mail asked two experts in the field to offer their predictions: Karen Scott, vice-president of human resources at Acosta Mosaic Group, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based marketing company, and Lisa Kramer, director of campus recruiting at Royal Bank of Canada.

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How has social media affected the recruitment process for your companies?

Karen Scott: Social media has had a great impact for our organization because it took a lot of the things that we were already doing and gave us better, faster opportunities to communicate. The things we've been able to do with things like our Facebook page around what it's like to work at Mosaic, giving job seekers tips, and further connecting to what I call a "warm-candidate" population. It was just a whole lot easier to do on Facebook than it was on our traditional website. We use the term "extended experience;" we've been able to take all of the things that we did offline and put a lot of them online, which has been great. We use three of the main, traditional social media elements of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Lisa Kramer: For us at RBC, I would have to 100-per-cent agree that social has definitely impacted our recruitment process, more from an education piece. It allows us to start the conversation with candidates much earlier in the recruiting process than we would have before. We're able to educate them on the different opportunities we have with different platforms across the bank. In some cases it allows candidates to direct themselves to the appropriate area or career path within the bank that matches their skill set. In the past, without social media, [students] were waiting until we came to campus to get that information. [Social media] allows us to answer those questions and then brand and promote the opportunities that we have to the right subset of students.

How important are referral programs going to become in the next five to six years?

KS: Referral programs in networking, and sharing referrals, have been a part of how people have gotten jobs for the last 200 years. In the next five, I think referral programs and the concept of referring people for jobs has just heightened with the ability to do it in a very easy way because of things like social media. I think referrals will remain a critical part of successful hiring. We have our recruitment methods and one of our biggest successes is our word-of-mouth recruitment, which centres around some core referral programming. The tactics with which you go out and get referrals, I think they'll probably ebb and flow. I think there will be some different options you can use to get to referrals faster and with better candidates.

LK: It's really, as Karen said, going beyond the referrals. It's that whole networking piece. We've spent time in going back to campus and working with students to really understand how they can effectively network and make those connections. It's not enough now to just wait for the job posting to show up in their inbox and go in and apply – it's candidates being proactive and networking. We know that great employees know great candidates and that's why referral programs are so effective. Really working your network, maybe uncovering those opportunities that maybe aren't posted or you didn't know existed, that's going to happen through that process.

Do you see the way in which an applicant is interviewed changing from the traditional one-on-one style to group interviews?

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KS: We've been utilizing a group interview format for the last 10 or so years for a few different reasons. One, we do use a situational analysis with them to help us understand if they can interface with consumers because the skill we're looking for is the ability to interact and deliver key messages to the consumers. I expect that that will continue. It's interesting, though: I do think the way that we deliver the format will start to differ. There will be less time spent physically on campus and physically in offices. I think that there will be more video interviewing going on, both at the individual level as well as, I think in a few years, we'll be comfortable talking to groups of candidates via video interview. I'm not sure exactly how that's going to happen, but video interviewing is something we've implemented on the one-on-one level. From a group point of view, I believe it will be a part of our ability to see a lot of candidates quickly, so that we can make decisions. Speed is more and more important in terms of our delivery; the faster we can get through the candidates, the faster we can get them out in the field to one of our events.

LK: Right now we use a variety of different interview styles, depending on the area of the business that we are recruiting for. In some cases we use panel interviews, in some cases it is case studies. For us, it's what's the best form of interacting with a potential candidate? Whether we have prototyping events where candidates can come in and showcase their technical skills; or case competitions where they show how they can solve a case, break it down and actually present it; or a panel interview where they have to come in and meet with several individuals from the business. I think it's really changing campus recruiting and Karen talked about that with the video interviewing. Whether it's a phone interview, a video interview, bringing them in for an in-person interview; it will really vary based on the geography, and based on the platform that we would be recruiting for.

Are résumés dead?

LK: It's funny, I was sitting on a panel yesterday and the big question there was: Are résumés dead? Are there going to be résumés in our future and what does that look like? I certainly don't think they're dead; they're still here, they are going to be here for a while. I think that building that online presence or a brand is becoming increasingly important to potential candidates. Your online profile, your LinkedIn profile, is up 24-7 where potential hiring managers or recruiters can see that information, versus your résumé, where you're waiting for an opportunity and sending it in. I think that's definitely a trend that we've seen over the last few years and I think will continue to have increasing importance as we move forward.

KS: It's just taking a slightly different form. The way we go about it is different. I think we went through an evolution where we went from paper to electronic to essentially applying online. Today, I think we're going a different route and I think it's going to continue to evolve, just based on the tools that we use to look at candidate background information. I think that the next phase will have a video component to it. We're starting to see that on LinkedIn, as well, as you look at the profiles of individuals, they're also providing some video footage of themselves. I was thinking about this the other day because it's a bit of a throwback to when I first started my career, people put pictures on their résumé. … I look at that and I feel like we're coming back around to something like that. People are starting to include videos whether you want them or not. Whether that's right, wrong or otherwise, we are starting to see more of that. I think that in the next few years it's going to be interesting to see what comes out of that.

Answers have been edited and condensed.

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