Q&A with Erin Osterhaus, Managing Editor at Software Advice

By Jenn Steele - Dec. 17, 2013
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Erin Osterhaus, Managing Editor at Software Advice

Today, we’re chatting with Erin Osterhaus, Managing Editor at Software Advice about what she sees in the future for HR and technology. Her opinions and advice are her own, since none of us has the advanced coercion skills that would be required to make her say anything else…

Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?

I joined Software Advice after graduating from Georgetown University with an M.A. in German and European Studies. Before I joined the company, I held various writing positions in the private, non-profit and government sectors with a focus on human rights and humanitarian emergencies. I also hold a B.A. from Southwestern University in Spanish, French and German, and am a Fulbright scholar.

What got you really interested in HR?

I’ve always loved the idea of “helping people,” and it’s what drove me to study things like human rights as a graduate student. I’ve also always loved interacting with people of all social backgrounds and cultures–which is primarily why I chose to study languages as an undergraduate.

HR really interests me because it combines these two key passions into one role. While I may have focused on helping people in humanitarian emergencies during my time in academia, I’ve found that helping people closer to home can be just as–if not more–rewarding.

Where do you see the next big HR changes coming?

Recruiting is definitely changing. Technology is playing a larger and larger role. That said, I don’t think technology will ever completely take over the role of the recruiter. However, it has made the job more efficient.

And as technology makes recruiters more efficient, it will also change the types of jobs for which they’re recruiting. A part of my job at Software Advice is to write reviews on recruiting software–I recently authored an article detailing the type of person who will fill this role in the future. In the article, I mentioned the rise of a resource procurement professional. Because more workers can now work remotely–largely due to advances in technology–they’ve become more like “free agents.” As a result, recruiters will need to be able to find and hire individuals with specific skills for a specified task.

However, although technology will make it easier for recruiters to pinpoint these free agents, as well as do their jobs overall, in the end, recruiting is a human resources function. The key word being “human.” There are some things that technology simply can’t replace–like a recruiter’s intuition.

What are some of the most exciting things you’re seeing in recruitment?

For me, I think the “democratization” of the recruiting process is very exciting. Lots of companies are realizing that they can help their causes by increasing the number of employees posting about jobs. Some companies now encourage employees to use their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to post open positions. Some go a step further and tell employees to post about company events, interesting projects they’re working on, or successes they’ve experienced with your company. The workplace is becoming much more transparent with these type of recruiting tactics, and I think it benefits both jobseekers and employers. After all, if you expose your company culture, and let potential applicants know what they can expect if they’re to work for you, you’re more likely to get candidates who are sincerely interested in your organization who will be dedicated and hardworking employees.

What’s new that really excites you?

I think the move to mobile is very exciting, and very necessary. Vendors like iMomentous now allow companies to create mobile friendly, customized career pages. With one click, candidates can search jobs, view position benefits, undergo pre-qualification screening, call the recruiter or even tag jobs they’d like to apply to later as favorites.

And that’s just the beginning. There’s even software out there now that allows companies to engage candidates on their mobile phones. One vendor, Loop Works, collects candidates’ mobile numbers during the application process. Once a candidate submits their application, they can opt in to receive text updates about additional open positions, as well as invitations to participate in engagement quizzes. The quizzes are created by employers and often consist of multiple choice questions, like:

  • What are the types of benefits offered by [employer name]?
  • How long, on average, does it take for entry level employees at [employer name] to move up to managerial positions?

Things like this are really cool ways to keep candidates engaged, even if you don’t have a job for them immediately. You can keep them interested by letting them know the advantages of working for your company via these type of gamification features, and can keep your company on their radar.

Any advice for our readers on how to survive all the changes we’re seeing in HR today?

Read continuously. There are hundreds of blogs and websites dedicated to the HR space, so you have no excuse not to know what’s up and coming in your industry. And you shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to the experts you read about. Quite often they’re more than willing to give you advice or point you in the right direction.


Jenn Steele

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