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    2017 Recruiting Trends


    Recruiting top talent continues to be a high priority, as it has been for years for companies. Successful companies understand the need to invest in a solid recruiting program, as a company is only as good as its employees. With the job market on the upswing, job seekers generally have more options when seeking employment.

    "I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies."—Lawrence Bossidy, former COO of GE.

    LinkedIn's Global Staffing Trends 2017 survey found that 57% of recruiters say their biggest challenge this year is competition for top talent. As we march ahead through 2Q of 2017, how do your company's recruiting efforts stack up against five of the declared industry trends for this year?

    1. Increased Hiring Volumes


    An increase in hiring volumes was a stated trend at the end of 2016 and that forecast reflects the current trend across the board. The trend is supported by data, including the March 2017 jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which demonstrates another month of job growth. Looking again at LinkedIn's recruiting survey, which found 56% of all respondents expected to hire more people in 2017, provides additional evidence of growth. To mine the data a little deeper, specifically in the U.S., 58% of recruiters planned to see an increase in hiring volume.

    The verdict is still out whether this trend will continue throughout the year, although the indicators so far suggest that it will. With this knowledge, recruiters know that candidates have many employment options. That's exactly why recruiters need to convince the C-Suite that investing in hiring the right talent is more than just posting a job on a job board. It's about making the process efficient and the recruiting experience memorable.

    You might also be interested in A Handy Guide to Successful Employment Screening

    2. The Candidate Experience

    Work Place Trends reported that 56% of HR professionals said that they are seeking ways to enhance their "employee experience" in 2016. To better enhance this experience for candidates, employers are investing more in coaching and development, improving workspaces, and offering more rewards. Candidates and employees have indicated these few investments into their growth can be the deciding factor of whether or not they accept a job offer. Additionally, top recruiters are looking for ways to extend their company's culture and brand into the candidate experience. If a company proclaims how spectacular their brand and culture is, but fails to convey the message during the recruiting process, that candidate will likely take to the internet to share their experience, and can potentially harm your brand. A Work Place Trends Candidate Survey found that of those job seekers that had a poor candidate experience, 72% of them took to the internet to share that negative experience on popular employer review websites.

    For those who may balk at the thought of creating a candidate experience altogether, think about it this way. If Johnny or Jane job seeker has a poor experience applying to your company, they may never apply for a job at your business again, effectively reducing your talent pool. A more compelling reason—depending on the kind of business you have—is Johnny or Jane could be potential customers. Your underdeveloped candidate experience may have just cost you a revenue-generating customer. The "poor experience" could be as simple as the candidate was not notified of their application status or inquiries about the job details went unanswered. If you're looking for a great read about how a company is planning on turning its 89% of people applying for jobs who were not customers and were not hired into a $7 million revenue stream, check out this Inc.com article on Richard Branson's Virgin Media.

    3. Top Source of Quality Candidates

    Employers that have established referral programs are acknowledging this funnel is the quickest and most cost effective way to recruit new employees. The LinkedIn survey found that 48% of recruiters say employee referrals is their top channel for hiring quality recruits. This bodes well for job seekers as well. RecruitingDaily.com reported that referrals are "400 times more likely" to get hired than applicants with no previous relationship with a company. The stat lends credence to the old adage that it truly is about who you know.

    So, how do referrals benefit your company? RecruitingDaily shared that 47% of referred candidates stay with a company at least four years, compared to just 2% of those hired from a job board. This means less turnover, effectively reducing the amount of time spent onboarding new employees, which can have a positive impact on your company's bottom line. Businesses that invest in referral programs are seeing costs go down, even with the expense of paying out their employees for the referrals. Plus, referral rewards will have a residual impact on current employees' moral, adding to the list of perks that help retain quality employees. Referral candidates remains a solid recruiting trend in 2017.

    4. Soft Skills Assessments

    In the Global Recruiting Trends Report, 35% of recruiters agreed that soft skills assessments will continue to shape the industry. As recruiters are regularly asked to hire more, more frequently, and using the same resources to do so, it's no coincidence that conversations about automating soft skills assessments are taking place. That said, automation may only take a recruiter so far. The argument can be made that the best way to assess a person's soft skills is through the traditional method of a face-to-face interview. There a recruiter can ask behavioral questions to see if a candidate can articulate their response effectively, assess interpersonal skills, leadership qualities, decision making, etc. The debate will continue on the automation of soft skills assessments and how they will impact recruiting in the coming years. This is definitely a topic to keep an eye on.

    5. Innovative Interviewing Tools

    Recruiters may be looking to change up how interviews are conducted, or ways to better assess if a candidate is a good fit for a company. Some companies are using "shadow" time to place a candidate with a current employee for an hour so the candidate can get a feel for the day-to-day tasks and for the employer to observe how the candidate reacts within the role. This tool is not uncommon in the education world, where interns shadow a professional for a day to see if that field is of interest to them. Another tool is asking candidates to explain themselves or their resume in 140 characters (length of a Tweet) or less. A company could use this tool as a way to qualify resumes. This can be particularly effective if you know your candidate pool will be Millennials (18–34) and Generation X (35–50).

    Going a little further into the deep end, video games have been used to recruit individuals. The U.S. Air Force created a video game that allowed young men and women to become immersed in what it was like to be in the military. Other methods include tossing recruits into a department-wide Rock-Paper-Scissor contest, as was done at San Antonio-based tech company, Rackspace. The idea was to see how candidates respond to different settings, company culture, and evaluate quick decision and problem-solving abilities.

    While some of these "innovations" may be difficult to absorb for some companies, the key takeaway is for recruiters to think outside the box to find and hire talent. That's probably why 34% of recruiters found innovative interview tools as an important trend that will define the future of recruiting.

    These are just a few of the current trends within the recruiting industry. What other trends do you think are/will be important in 2017 and beyond? Share with us in the comments below!

    Related Categories

    Recruiting & Employee Retention

    Marci Swann

    Marci Swann has been with SWBC since February of 2015. As a Talent Acquisition Specialist Marci works closely with the hiring managers to recruit new employees across all divisions of the company. She has worked in the recruitment and human resources industry for 9 years. Prior to joining SWBC, she spent 7 years as a Client Operations Manager specializing in recruiting. Marci also covers the HR Corporate Policies section of New Hire Orientation.

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