10 Cutting-Edge Recruiting Trends That You Can’t Afford to Ignore in 2017

As seen on LinkedIn Talent Blog.

As we are kicking off 2017, many of you may be thinking about what you can do to boost your recruiting strategy this year. What’s new and different and will allow you to gain an edge over the competition and find and attract the best talent?

In order to get this edge, a great place to start is looking at the most advanced recruiting practices top companies are using. This post highlights 10 such innovative recruiting strategies that are slowly but surely making their way into the mainstream and you should be aware of.

It’s important for forward-looking recruiting leaders to realize that even if you can’t adopt these cutting edge practices immediately, knowing them helps you understand the direction that your recruiting function needs to begin moving in.

1. The year of the algorithm:

You can call 2017 “the year of the algorithm” as recruiting finally begins the shift away from a decision model based on past practices and intuition and toward data-driven decision-making. Algorithms reveal which selection criteria, sources, and hiring practices produce the best performing hires. An algorithm is no more than a mathematical equation that is used to determine which recruiting practices have the highest impact and which ones simply don’t work.

Yes, only the leading-edge firms are currently using them but Google, for example, has used algorithms to find that learning ability is a much greater predictor of new hire success than grades or a candidate’s answers to brainteaser questions. And they provide an added value in that utilizing algorithms makes a function appear more analytical and businesslike to executives (because most other business functions like CRM, supply chain, and marketing are already run with algorithms).

2. Everything goes digital:

Going digital means that every process and recruiting program must become electronic and interconnected. Being digital means that all results are expressed in numbers and that makes everything easier to track and measure. It also means that formerly independent recruiting processes and programs can now communicate with each other. Just like “the Internet of things,” going digital improves coordination, the workflow, and results. Obviously, going digital also means the elimination of all paper in recruiting.

3. Market research allows you to fully understand your recruiting targets:

You can’t effectively find and convince the best to apply and accept unless you fully understand how your candidate’s think and act. Market research methods allow the recruiting function to shift away from intuition and towards a more scientific approach for determining how targets actually look for a job. Following the path that the product side of the business shifted to a long time ago, recruiting will shift heavily into a market research approach. Prospect personas (i.e. profiles of individual targets) will be developed. These allow recruiters and hiring managers to know precisely how each individual target prospect looks for a job, what are the key attraction factors, when they are most likely to enter the job market and what factors influence their final job acceptance decision.

4. Selling becomes the dominant TA area:

Almost everyone can now be found on the Internet. And with the refinement in AI-enhanced search engines, most sourcing will become 100% electronic. Effective online skill assessments, coupled with the AI-aided assessments of digitally recorded interviews, together, will eventually leave influencing and selling as the most important remaining area in recruiting.

The remaining recruiters will have to become experts in convincing already employed people (that everyone can find) to apply and to accept your offer. With no more hidden prospects, selling top talent with multiple opportunities will become the dominant area of competitive advantage in recruiting. Unfortunately, most current recruiters do not excel at selling and influencing.

5. Your “what others say about you” employer brand becomes critical:

Firms will need to supplement their selling capability with a strong external employer brand image. But first, recruiting leaders must realize that with the growth of the Internet and social media, finding out information about any firm has become so easy that the importance of an employer brand will grow dramatically. In fact, prospects now get as much as 80% of their information about a firm that they are considering from others. This means that the importance of your career web and social media sites in building your employer brand will decrease because they are simply not considered to be authentic or honest by prospects.

That means that the best way to build your employer brand will be to “influence others” to talk and write about what makes your firm a great place to work. As a result, recruiting functions will also have to develop expertise in managing employee and applicant comments online. Taken together that means that your employer brand will no longer be owned and exclusively controlled by your firm.

6. Neuroscience enters recruiting:

This might sound far-fetched but tracking your eyeballs and your facial and mental reactions can make recruiting marketing materials like job postings much more effective. Firms like HireVue have already started to dramatically improve interview assessment by using neuroscience technology to more accurately evaluate videotaped interviews.

7. Business people move into and begin to dominate recruiting:

Many would argue that recruiting has already become a business imperative. And with all business imperatives, recruiting must continually build its business case and quantify its business impact on corporate revenue. But recruiting can’t become more businesslike unless its leaders purposely populate recruiting with individuals with business acumen and finance and technology backgrounds. For example, the new top HR executive at Google comes from sales and she is constantly demanding that everyone “show me the numbers.” At least in the short-term expect a cultural clash between those with an HR mindset and those with a business mindset.

8. Beginning a shift toward an internal consulting model in recruiting:

With much of the transactional part of recruiting done by technology (e.g. sourcing and assessment), there will naturally be “a shift up” to become more strategic. In recruiting, that strategic shift will mean that TA will transition into an internal consulting model. Where consultants advise managers on strategic talent and recruiting issues and how to successfully land high impact industry icons and innovators. Unfortunately, many current recruiters won’t have the skill sets necessary to become strategic consultants.

9. Diversity becomes a business imperative:

Data is already revealing that having increased diversity in “customer impact jobs” (customer service, sales, and product design) directly improves business results. Data is also already revealing that some current processes, like assessing fit, actually have a negative impact on diversity. Market research will be used to determine the best ways to successfully recruit the many individual categories of diversity prospects. This stratification will be necessary because market research data will reveal that each diversity category has unique job attraction factors and job search methods.

10. Robots will take jobs, so there will be less but higher-level recruiting:

It’s hard to argue against the fact that robots and software will replace most hourly, customer service, driving, accounting, and data jobs. Firms like Amazon, McDonald’s and Home Depot are already making the shift. So as this transition increases, there will be much less recruiting to be done. And as technology permeates the organization, this will require recruiters with a high level of technology knowledge and a deep understanding of what it takes to recruit technologists.

Final thoughts

For the foreseeable future, more companies will continue to suffer economic damage as a result of their inability to recruit talent with higher level skills. This continuing damage will mean that recruiting will have no choice but to become more technology and data-driven. This change was initiated by Google and its years of insistence upon the use of data for all people management decisions. And now that a handful of other companies (e.g. Sodexo) have begun using a data-driven approach to recruiting, almost universally they have been startled to discover that many of the “sacred cow” common practices in recruiting simply couldn’t hold up under the scrutiny of hard data.

As a result, “the future of recruiting” is already happening today at a handful of top businesses. It’s clear that under this new businesslike, tech, and data-driven approach that the next generation of recruiting leaders will have to combine the best practices from marketing, sales, finance, 6 Sigma quality, and technology into a startling new recruiting function. They will have no choice because the overall business world already made the shift to a data-driven, technology, and a digital approach.

Obviously, most recruiting functions don’t currently have the resources to convert to this new approach. But be aware that this doesn’t absolve recruiting leaders from the responsibility for tracking these cutting-edge trends. Because, if you don’t at least track these cutting-edge trends, don’t be surprised when your recruiting function shares a common fate (i.e. irrelevance) with the electronics and bookstore chains that ignored the cutting-edge trends that were developing at Amazon

About Dr John Sullivan

Dr John Sullivan is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high business impact; strategic Talent Management solutions to large corporations.

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