HR and Recruiting

4 major recruiting trends you need know

Written by Kate Lopaze

As an HR or recruitment professional, you know that some things in your field never change—like matching the right talent with the right position. Just about everything else, however, may be up for grabs. Like every other industry, recruiting grows and evolves with the times. So what does that mean for this year? Let’s look at some of the biggest trends that will impact your professional life in the coming months.

Crunching the data

We live in a data-driven society now. And using that data to refine hiring practices isn’t an especially new concept, but the level of detail we can harvest and use, as well as the tools we can use to analyze the information, has grown exponentially. According to Jobscience, developing a clear data-driven strategy for hiring can help speed up the hiring process from a current average of two months to fill a given position.

Data from current employees (like skills, level of experience, time in the position, or job performance) can help you develop metrics for recruiting people with the right skill sets. It can also help you figure out ahead of time which candidates might be a flight risk, or determine what kinds of hiring packages you should offer to ensure job offer acceptance and employee retention down the road.

If your company isn’t data-focused just yet, don’t worry—there’s lots of emerging tech that can help you get there. For example, this year LinkedIn is releasing Talent Insights, a self-service tool that compiles analytics data on talent pools, employee skills, and workforce composition to help companies streamline their own analysis and hiring decisions.

Embracing automation

Speaking of tech solutions, nothing has revolutionized talent acquisition quite like automation. The days of hand-scouring a slush pile of resumes for the right interview candidates are gone now. Artificial intelligence (AI) tools are already helping staffing and recruiting professionals to streamline virtually every part of the hiring process—particularly the early stages, when large talent pools need to be narrowed for particular positions.

Chances are, you already use some of the automated apps and software out there to read resumes and identify potential candidates based on keywords or other metrics. But what’s coming next will revolutionize hiring even further: tools that not only screen resumes and application materials, but also schedule candidates, create compensation models, and source candidates for future job openings.

Going hand in hand with a stronger focus on data analysis, these AI tools have the potential to make the recruitment, hiring, and retention processes more efficient. Using chatbots, companies can also add a “human” touch when reaching out to candidates to answer questions, schedule interviews, or conduct assessments. We still haven’t reached peak “Alexa rules the world” when it comes to using AI in corporate hiring, but the tools that are now emerging are bringing that level of automation closer to reality.

Stepping up diversity and inclusivity

Diversity in the workplace has shifted from a “nice to have” in many companies to a “must have,” driven by increased public scrutiny and accountability. In order to keep up with the growing diversity of the workforce, companies are left trying to figure out how to not only find more diverse candidates but also improve employee retention and meet the needs of that workforce. However, many companies are finding that merely hiring for diversity just isn’t enough—if employees feel like token hires, or like they’re add-ons, it can have serious repercussions for employee engagement and retention. Companies need to get serious about adding inclusivity as part of their diversity plans.

So what does that mean in the short-term? It’s not about filling numbers or quotas—it’s about creating an environment that feels welcoming to a broader range of qualified people. Checking boxes on hiring forms won’t cut it. Instead, companies are turning to holistic reviews of their company policies and culture to make sure that people of diverse backgrounds, genders, etc. feel like part of the team.

Rethinking the company’s culture and making conscious efforts to make it more welcoming is not the only avenue for companies to consider if they’re looking to expand their inclusivity. Much of the change happens in the employee recruitment arena: reaching out to local communities, broadening language in job postings and descriptions to reach a more diverse audience, ensuring diversity in recruiting or interview panels, educating employees and recruiters on unconscious bias, and consulting employee resource groups for guidance.

Rethinking the interview process

As part of the trend of increasing efficiency in all areas of hiring, we’re also starting to see closer scrutiny around whether the traditional interview process still works with a quickly evolving recruitment world. Traditional interviews require a significant investment of time and energy on the company’s part. That’s time that could be spent on data analysis or other initiatives. Candidates need to be reviewed, scheduled, interviewed, interviewed again as necessary, and handled at every point through the process. So how can that process be streamlined?

Companies are increasingly turning to alternative interview formats to identify the best candidates for a position. Instead of the usual “you come in and spend hours talking to a panel or a series of interviewers” format, some companies are hosting “auditions,” or competitions that give candidates a chance to demonstrate the skills necessary for the job. From these hands-on interviews, employers can get a stronger sense of what the candidate can do, rather than rely on resumes and general questions in a traditional interview format.

How recruiters and hiring managers read resumes is changing as well. Before, hard skills and experience were king; now, the focus is slowly moving to soft skills (like people skills, organizational skills, and teamwork) and potential over experience. It’s not that experience no longer matters, but rather that companies are increasingly valuing trainability and teamwork over what a candidate has done in the past.

Many companies are also shifting interview responsibilities to the employees who will actually be working with the new hire, in an effort to get a more realistic sense of how a candidate might fit in with the day-to-day dynamics. These interviews may be informal, but they give the candidate a chance to see what the job is really like and give the current employees a chance to weigh in on how the candidate might fit in with the existing team.

In 2018, the message is pretty straightforward: work smarter, not necessarily harder, to find the people you want for the jobs you need to fill. Whether that’s using the new tech tools at our disposal, or rethinking how we bring people into the fold, the status quo just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.