3 Trends Toward the Revolution in Recruiting

Jun 18, 2012
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

As I consult through my business, the Thought Leadership Institute, I am amazed at the speed of how things are changing in recruiting, even though most of us would still admit that we are in the midst of an economic downturn. Despite not hiring at the rates most of us are used to, this is the time period to prepare ourselves for the tide-change we will be going through soon enough.

In this article, I wanted to provide you with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek perspective on some of these game changers; I’ll begin with three today that are more macro in nature and then I’ll hit you up (I just learned this phrase from my youngest son) with three more in the very near future.

In the meantime, if you’d like to get started learning to be more adaptive, you can join me and TLI at our upcoming pre-conference workshop: A Roadmap to Recruiting Reinvention on September 5 as part of the ERE Expo, where we’ll be joined by Tom McGuire of Coca Cola and other great adaptive leaders in Florida.

Trend Number 1:  Helicopter parents/stay-around kids

This is a trend most of you already know, but bear with me because it has a twist. I recently attended the graduation of my oldest son from law school and he was telling me about a new idea he had. After three years of law school and six-digit debt accumulation, he has figured out what he wants to do: become a computer programmer! He has a way — or at least he says so — of tying this new avocation back into his law degree. This is after I just helped him negotiate a great salary and benefits.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review which surveyed Gen Y’ers indicated that only 45 percent of this demographic expect to work for their current employer for the rest of their lives (that number is too high, don’t you think?). So, I am anticipating that he will be living with us again sometime soon and we’ll be in the debt accumulation game once again. But here’s the twist: in that same edition of HBR, this group indicated that 71 percent report having elder care responsibilities. I wonder how this will impact Gen Y and their mobility? What does this mean for those of us recruiting them? Kind of makes you go “hmmmm”….

Trend Number 2:  Diversity — Is there still a need?

The short answer to this is a resounding yes, but believe it or not there are companies who are questioning the need to continue their efforts around diversity; managers covertly mention things like:  “well, we do have an African American president don’t we”?

Truth be told, most companies have made strides in becoming more ethnically diverse. A few years ago the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics informed the world that the workplace would be comprised by a majority of people of color by 2048. Just by the look test in many companies it feels as if we might be already there. But again, don’t be fooled; get behind the numbers and look at diversity by level and you will find the real story behind the story. Also, get ready to focus on new areas of diversity that haven’t been as prominently explored like sexual orientation and age and (dis)ability. You will hopefully see that there is much more work to be done, particularly because, through their wallets and purses, diverse groups more and more demand a diverse workforce.

Trend Number 3: The New Normal:  What is that?

If there has been anything I have learned over the past few years consulting with some of the most sophisticated recruiting organizations in this country, it is this: the only “normal” any of us can expect is change. Somehow we all intuitively know this, but I often wonder if ourfamily of recruiters have truly developed a framework for dealing with constant change.

There is a book I would suggest you read. It is about leadership, and whether you call it leading people or leading yourself, the book is called The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky.  To be an “adaptive leader” according to these authors, one must 1)foster adaptation, 2) embrace disequilibrium and 3) generate leadership by helping to create leaders all around.

While I cannot imagine embracing disequilibrium (this just feels un-American to me) I know that I had better get my mind wrapped around being as adaptive as possible.

Stay tuned. Next time I will cover the other three trends and talk specifically about two seeming oxymorons: centralized decentralized and recruiting as revenue generator.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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