What do recruiters have to look forward to this year and beyond? Plenty of changes! Here are the top trends driving talent acquisition for 2017.
1. New Candidates Will Trust Each Other More Than You
Here's a question: How do young adult consumers make purchasing decisions? What sources of information do they trust? If you've been keeping up on buying trends, you probably know the answer – they trust each other. They look to social media, and peer reviews, and testimonials, and simple word of mouth to make their decisions.
That means that, increasingly, candidates will make their application and job-acceptance decisions based on what their peers think about your company. Every business Facebook profile and online job board profile is reviewed – and these sorts of reviews are quickly becoming the most important factor in candidate decision-making. Yes, that means that other employees – including candidates that were rejected and employees were fired – are helping the best talent to make up their minds. What are you going to do about it?
The latest answer is called "candidate experience," and is borrowed almost directly from marketing tactics designed to deal with the same problem. In other words, you need to impress candidates from the beginning onward, and that includes candidates you turn away. This means hiring recruiters who make a great first impression, encouraging positive word of mouth, and generally recognize that the power is now with the candidates. Your online reputation matters!
2. Recruiters Will Use New Types of Data for Prediction
This is no surprise – recruiters often look for new data. But this year we are seeing more complex data analysis used not only to sift through applicant pools, but also to find the best places to recruit and the best channels to use for recruitment, in order to get the specific results wanted.
When done correctly, this yields targeted, effective recruiting results. HR puts in a position description, and using data analysis, recruiters are able to say, "We need to use this social media channel, and we're going to target this college, because that's where the highest level talent comes from."
However, the challenge will be doing this effectively. If analysis grows lazy or focuses on the wrong metrics, it will do more harm than good. There's also the always-present threat of bots and scammers finding ways to cheat purely data-driven approaches. Look carefully for best practices and proven methods in this area.
3. AI Programming Will Encourage More Humanity
We're already seeing a lot of AI use for basic tasks (Amazon's Alexa, Cortana, Google Now, Siri, etc.), but increasingly these types of AI programs are saving time and providing automatic scheduling procedures. The question is: What will recruiters do with their new time savings?
The proper answer is, "Spend more time with candidates." Few things impress top talent like the human touch – spending real time answering real questions. The more that recruiters are freed up to do just that, the more effective recruitment strategies can become. The problem is service creep, where employees don't even recognize they have more time and productivity doesn't increase despite more efficient technologies. This requires clear direction on how new services can save time, and what should be done with that new time.
4. Talent Acquisition Will Get Less Independent
Take a quick look over our first three points. Marketing, data, IT...as you can see, our predictions for the future of recruiting involve a whole lot of other departments. And when multiple departments get involved, that means decision making usually gets bumped up a few levels. That's right, talent acquisition will less of an independent part of HR and more a part of overall company strategy.
On one hand, aligning hiring decisions to overall company strategy is important and can be very helpful. On the other hand, the last thing that experienced recruiters want is to be told what to do by upper management that doesn't have a clue. Recruiters should prepare for more frequent communication and start focusing more on data-based evidence and the ROI of their projects. It's all right – marketing went through this same difficulty a couple years ago. It's not always easy or productive, but departments can make it through.
5. Job Descriptions Will Grow More Holistic
Okay, what do we mean by holistic? Essentially, past job descriptions were almost entirely focused on skills and experience (with some educational requirements often thrown in, too). But we can expect a different kind of job description in the future, one that's already on the rise. These job descriptions include not only skills but also requires for personality, social habits (favored apps do tend to vary by department, interestingly), passions, interests outside of work, and much more. The goal is not only to create a more complete idea of a perfect candidate, but also to help identify the right age groups for a positions in an oblique way – Generation X Millennials, iGens, and so on.
As you can imagine, HR is still grappling with this idea of "candidate personas," as they're sometimes called. For larger corporations in particular, job descriptions are so carefully coded that the era of holistic descriptions doesn't even make sense. There are also strict legal requirements to avoid problems with discrimination issues. However, recruits generally like these new holistic descriptions, so we can expect them to grow more common over time.