The Future of NED Recruitment

Discover the future trends sourcing roles and the recruitment journey when pursuing a non-executive career .



The Future of NED Recruitment

As technology increasingly plays a role in job searches and recruitment, it pays to keep ahead of the game and know what the next big changes will be. That said, it also pays to remember the importance of the ‘human’ element in landing a role; networking and creating a compelling and unique personal brand will continue to be of huge importance in the online and offline spheres. Here we look at what the predictions are around online recruiting and social media, assess some of the ‘next big things’ which failed to materialise and also consider why, especially as a NED, it always pays to ensure you are putting in the work in the real world.


Recent research demonstrates just how important social platforms and online resources have become to the jobs market, with 91% of employers using social media for recruitment. 

And with 20 million jobs and 575 million registered members - 25 million of whom are in the UK - LinkedIn is a well-known market leader and a popular resource, whether recruiting or looking to be recruited. Though 73% of millennials  who found a role through social media platforms are not representative of those seeking a portfolio career, the importance of LinkedIn really does hold true for anyone seeking a non-executive role.

In a sphere where your network is so often instrumental in getting to the boardroom, LinkedIn is an invaluable tool to any aspiring NED, allowing you to grow your influence and connections, utilising the platform as a shop window for your achievements, experiences and endorsements. Hiring boards and senior-level  recruiters know this and will be trawling LinkedIn alongside Googling you for any other online presence you have such as articles, video or photos. 

Future proof?

Technology moves quickly and in recent years, the predicted advancements in recruitment technology have been fairly extreme. 2018 was heralded as the true dawn of AI’s influence on the sector yet this, and the resultant ‘death of the resume’, failed to materialise.

AI programmes have struggled to process the intricate and multifaceted nature of a CV, and this holds true especially for people who have varied careers and skill sets such as NEDs. With such a great weight of complicated and often contradictory information, such candidates cannot be profiled or pigeonholed easily or neatly even by advanced software. The promise that AI would be able to remove much of the leg work for recruiters, and find the perfect job for those seeking their dream role, is still a pretty distant prospect.

Although there have been limited successes with disruptive tech platforms such as Upwork, Expert360, and TopTal, all of which remove the need for a CV by utilising a review and recommendation system (think having your employability rated in the way people review businesses on TrustPilot), this model is limited and still in its infancy.

The one area in which technology does seem to be progressing rapidly is applicant tracking systems (ATS). They’ve been around for quite a while but are continually being improved and refined, so it will likely become increasingly difficult to ensure you are producing a CV that satisfies the software’s criteria. For that reason, it’s recommended that you consult a professional CV writer to optimise your recruitment collateral if you are at all uncertain about ATS.

Back to the Future

Advancements predicted for the near future are really building on the tech triumphs of recent years. Learning Quotient (LQ) tools will look to assess a candidate's ability to come into  a new role and assess whether they will quickly and successfully adapt, regardless of whether they have experience in this sector or role. This is predicted to see less of an emphasis on direct, related experience and more on an ability to learn and adjust to new demands and situations - a talent that is much in demand in non-executives.

There is also a sizeable section of the recruitment community who believe CVs will soon be a thing of the past. Technology is being developed that will harvest information from across multiple social media platforms to give prospective employers a comprehensive picture of your professional credentials, passions, personality and employability. In fact, LinkedIn has  already developed their Talent Insights software which allows recruiters to use such data.

Keep it Real

So, while it definitely pays to ensure your LinkedIn profile and other social platform presences are optimised and casting you in the best light, you shouldn’t neglect your offline efforts, especially as a portfolio professional. 

AI is currently limited and not only does it have vast data sets to analyse, it is also doing it against models of human behaviour which are limited in themselves. Remember that most NEDs land their role through their extended network, so getting yourself out to events and meeting people face-to-face is hugely important. 

Independent board roles are all about possibility, adaptability and potential and AI is still struggling to identify this; a human recruiter would not rule you out of a non-executive role in the energy sector just because you’d always worked in banking. AI would probably throw you on the reject pile.

So our advice is to keep networking, keep your social presence strong but don’t lose too much sleep, just yet, about the rise of the machines. Keen to get networking and expand your contact book? Check out our upcoming events calendar here. 

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