9 Talent-acquisition Trends to Watch for in 2017

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Dec 14, 2016

We spent the last year surveying and talking to HR teams across the U.S. to get their perspectives on emerging and fast-growing trends around talent, technology and process. Whether you’re on the front lines with candidates or behind the scenes working with employees, here is a list of must knows for the New Year, taken from a nationwide Q4 2016 survey CareerBuilder conducted via Harris Poll.

  • The hiring manager’s experience will become a bigger priority. Improving the candidate experience is one of the most talked about topics in HR today — and rightly so — but that’s only addressing one side of the equation. Like candidates, hiring managers want a consumer-like experience where results are quickly delivered and information is easily obtained or shared through the click of a button. In the year ahead, HR teams will invest more time in setting expectations for how long it will take to fill a position (based on data), provide more frequent progress reports, and facilitate a more efficient process for their internal clients.
  • Technology will help recruiters predict how likely a candidate will be to respond to them. Sourcing systems are becoming much more intuitive and can pick up on certain cues that will give employers a whole new level of insight. How well is the candidate’s current company performing? Is the candidate updating his/her social profiles? How long do employees in this role typically stay with this particular company at this location? Sourcing systems will be able to assess these factors to establish predictions around whether the candidate is on the verge of being ready for the next role, which will help companies expand their labor pool and potentially hire at more competitive rates.
  • Machine learning will teach us a thing or two about how to talk to humans. Fifty-nine percent of HR managers reported they have used search terms to find candidates only to discover later that those search terms were different from how candidates described their skills and experience. Given the breadth of roles companies are recruiting for and the vernacular associated with each one, being an expert on all the different ways to describe a skill or a tool is virtually impossible. More and more companies will be turning to tools with semantic search capabilities to do the translating for them.
  • A/B testing will become a critical factor in the battle for talent. Do fewer candidates drop off during the application process if you reduce your number of screening questions? Is a candidate more likely to join your talent network if you include an employee video on your site? Do candidates respond faster if you email or text them? More HR teams will be testing and gathering intelligence to optimize their process and communications strategies because chances are their competitors are already doing it.
  • HR will use expertise in the Finance department and other departments to replace gut intuition with data. Forty percent of HR managers use data and analytics in their recruitment program, and the vast majority report a significant improvement in time to hire and cost per hire as a result. However, pulling and drawing meaningful conclusions from data can be complex and overwhelming, so more HR managers will be turning to groups like Finance or Business Intelligence — teams that eat, breathe and sleep data — to help make sense of mountains of data so they can create better strategies.
  • HR will become aficionados of the labor market overall. Company leaders and hiring managers are looking to HR to have their finger on the pulse of the local and broader labor market. Where is the talent you need to meet your business objectives? How much will you have to pay to stay competitive? Where are skill shortages growing? Are there alternative talent pools you can consider? With more data resources available at their fingertips, HR will be providing more in-depth insights on supply and demand and compensation trends and ROI of recruitment resources.
  • Recruiters will partner with Marketing and become social media mavens. Recruiters need to think like marketers and figure out how to bring the value of their product (working at their company, their culture, their benefits, etc.) to life for candidates. Stock photos on a career site won’t do the trick. More recruiters will be stepping out from behind the curtain and promoting the company’s employment brand and career opportunities across social channels.
  • Purchasing HR technology will be a joint decision between the CHRO, CTO, and CFO. The fastest way to get a new system prioritized and implemented is to get the powers that be in tech and finance to champion your cause. Forty-five percent of HR managers reported that their CFO is directly involved in HR and recruitment software buying; 33 percent say the same for their CTO. We see those percentages climbing in the year ahead.
  • There will be a heightened focus on stocking the internal pipeline with highly engaged employees. One third of employers (33 percent) say employees have been leaving their company voluntarily at a higher rate in the last year as the economy improves. The biggest exodus is among mid-level and entry-level employees in areas like customer service, information technology, sales, product development and marketing. Employee engagement will be a huge focus as companies look to build and nurture a pipeline of internal candidates who are eager to move up within the organization and contribute to the growth of the business. 
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