Is the Key to 2017 Recruiting Success a Happy Marriage?
Industry experts share their hiring trends and predictions for the year.
By Nathan Brumby
The bar for recruiting and hiring workers gets higher with every passing year, and 2017 is no exception. Over half of recruiting professionals indicate their hiring volumes will increase this year, but even for organizations large enough to have recruiting headcount, help isn't on the way: 65 percent report they will not be adding recruiting staff in 2017.
What's more, hiring leaders are expected to increase the quality and quantity of hires in a market that largely favors jobseekers -- employers are no longer in the driver's seat. At the core is the need to find, attract and hire talent easier and faster.
It's no secret that technology is a key enabler of this process -- helping to streamline and automate job posting processes, improve candidate experiences through better messaging and management, and equip hiring leaders with the big data and analytics they need to make better hires. Yet, at the same time, it's become increasingly obvious that the human element of hiring is just as critical.
What follows is a point resoundingly corroborated by HR authorities in a recent study titled 2017 Hiring Trends and Predictions: Industry Experts Weigh In -- this year will be about cultivating and then perfecting a marriage between technology and the humans who are doing the actual recruiting.
Or as Steve Levy, the principal of Recruiting Inferno Consulting, puts it, "While technology is playing an important role, personal relationship -- the ability to find that visceral connection between your company and the person you're talking to -- is the linchpin."
As Laurie Ruettimann, founder and principal of LFR LLC and GlitchPath Inc., puts it, "It's about the right mix of technology and in-real-life, human-to-human experiences. You can't use technology to do the work that humans do. It's got to be the right blend of technology and human interaction. One of the lessons for recruiters is that you can't Skype your way to an effective hiring decision. You have to bring candidates in and spend some time with them."
So, what are some of the things that organizations can do to appropriately wed technologies and human interactions when it comes to recruiting and hiring workers? The following are the top areas the seven experts identified:
1. Candidate quality. With more than half of all new hires leaving before they've been on the job for 18 months and almost one-half of companies admitting at least one bad hire in a given year, it's almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of finding and hiring high-quality workers. "The cost of critical talent is rising, and our ability to hire more of them with a high quality at the same price is under enormous pressure," says Gerry Crispin, the principal and founder of CareerXroads.
When it comes to candidate quality, there's a seemingly never-ending supply of advice out there guiding you to the land of making stronger hires. But it all starts with the job description. If yours is a mere laundry list of responsibilities and expectations, don't expect to woo passive candidates or generate a high-quality applicant pool. Job descriptions should be written to attract jobseekers, and that means focusing on how employees can contribute to the organization, develop their skills, be part of exciting projects, and more.
2. Recruitment marketing. To attract and engage passive jobseekers, hiring leaders are beginning to think like marketers, employing both the technologies and the strategies and tactics these professionals use to source, manage and nurture candidates before they apply for a job. The private talent pools that follow are fast becoming an important staple for many organizations, enabling them to fill jobs faster and with higher quality candidates. A top benefit of talent pools is the ability to segment candidates by groups and to nurture those based on segmentation.
Bill Kutik, the host and managing editor for Firing Line with Bill Kutik, explains how candidate relationship management evolves underneath the umbrella of recruitment marketing: "The first thing a sales person does is create a relationship with their prospect. Good recruiters have always created relationships with candidates. Previously, it was done with the phone. Now, it is being done with email and content marketing; just as marketing tracks open rates and click-through rates, so does recruitment marketing."
3. Employee brand. Employer brand has received much attention over the past couple years. And while candidates still want to know what it's like to work at your company, and a good employer brand is still something that can grab and hold the attention of a candidate, Katrina Collier, chief searchologist and social recruiting expert at The Searchologist, believes jobseeker and candidate engagement goes beyond employer brand.
She explains that it's now about employee brand -- represented by employee advocates. Companies that make it easy for employees to share genuine, real-time content and experiences via technologies, like social platforms, will be able to attract and hire higher quality candidates.
4. Automation and machine learning. In most instances, the recruiting challenges hiring leaders face are not connected to lack of applications, but rather the quality of those applications -- over half of applicants for a typical job fail to meet the job description's basic requirements. Sorting through these applications can consume a substantial amount of time -- and often isn't an effective means for finding the most qualified candidates for a job posting.
Crispin believes machine learning and artificial intelligence will begin to streamline recruiting processes, making it easier and faster for hiring leaders to identify candidates who match job requirements and even corporate culture. "We are reaching a point where machines will represent humans in a way in which an objective observer cannot determine the difference," he explains. "For example, prescreening candidates will become an automated process using chatbots backed with machine learning and artificial intelligence."
Evidence of Crispin's predictions can already be seen via tools like X.ai, an AI-powered assistant that schedules interviews, and features like MightyRecruiter's vector-space matching algorithm technology which uses machine learning to sort and rank candidate resumes based on their relevance to job descriptions.
This kind of innovation is already saving hiring professionals precious time, but as the experts point out, it's still up to the humans to work their magic when it comes to putting this time to good use.
Nathan Brumby is the vice president and general manager of MightyRecruiter. He has more than 20 years of experience and has held senior global roles in both public and private companies.