Back to the Future: Recruiting Circa 2020

Jun 24, 2011

As I ponder the future of where our industry is headed, I’m reminded of Geoffrey Moore’s technology adoption curve, from his fine book, Crossing the Chasm. It describes how users (aka “buyers”) of technology follow a predictable adoption rate, generally based on their comfort with the technology and their ability to implement change.

It’s not surprising that technology, especially the use of advanced business networking tools, in combination with state-of-art Internet marketing techniques, is fundamentally changing the face of recruiting as we once knew it. What is surprising though is that most major U.S. corporations are still moving too slowly to take full advantage of these important changes. In some cases, companies are moving fast enough, but are misapplying the technology, and not getting its full benefits. Worst of all, though, are the large number of companies that are actually fighting the technology, or are oblivious to the potential positive impact of these changes.

Much of this resistance or misapplication can be attributed to both the vendor and the customer. On the vendor side it’s a lack of understanding of their clients’ real recruiting challenges, pressured by the need to sell product in order to reach Moore’s Early Majority group. On the customer side, much of the misapplication is due to being peer pressured into buying something that has some value, but not being able to fully use it properly.

With this adoption rate concept as a backdrop, below are my current predictions for recruiting circa 2020. As a party elder who has been through 3-5 of these technological transformations, I’d urge everyone to be an early-adopter, despite the skepticism you have. The first 25% always have the most success, and then diminishing returns set in. But being first is not enough. Proper implementation is the key. Without the proper implementation, the technology won’t get you there, regardless of how fast you adopt.

While some of the following points are broad projections, most are reasonable extrapolations of current trends. (Sign-up now for a webcast we’re holding on this important topic on July 14th.)

The Future of Recruiting 2015-2020 — Seven Major Trends to Consider

  1. Category-based hiring will replace individual job requisitions. Rather than drive candidates to individual requisitions, jobs will be posted by groups or projects (i.e., sales, engineering, operations, product launch, etc.) regardless of level. From these “hubs” candidates will be automatically matched with potential opportunities that best meet their capabilities and interests. Specific requisitions will be written after a candidate is selected. The legal issues associated with this shift are now being identified and addressed.
  2. Intelligent profile matching will augment SEO. Currently the big winners are those that can get their postings to the top of a job search using search engine optimization techniques. Creative postings emphasizing career messaging do even better, if they’re easily found. While jobs are now pushed to candidates that match normalized titles, there’s more that can be done here. In the next few years candidates will be able to use Google to map their resume and automatically match this with the best career opportunities across multiple variables, including track record, depth of skills, and personal requirements, among others.
  3. Candidates will be hired based on their ability to perform rather than on their absolute level of skills and experience. Current requisition-based hiring is fundamentally flawed. For one thing, having or not having the skills and experiences described, predicts neither success or failure. Worse, top people, even those with the skills and experience described, won’t apply since they’re looking for career moves, not lateral transfers. Job profiles that define successful performance rather than list skills and experiences can eliminate this problem. Here’s a video you can watch to quickly gain a sense of how to convert jobs into careers right now.
  4. Integrated workforce planning will drive the recruiting and hiring process. Workforce plans will be automatically generated during the business planning process and updated constantly based on actual operating performance. These plans will generate job requirements by category and automatically match the best prospects in a company’s internal and extended talent network 3-6 months ahead of time to begin a customized CRM campaign.
  5. 360° talent networking will become the primary external candidate sourcing process. As everyone in the workforce becomes connected by one degree of separation with everyone else, it will be easy to instantly match potential prospects with open opportunities. Dynamic talent communities will allow companies to focus their sourcing and recruiting efforts on pre-qualified prospects. The result: maximize quality of hire, minimize cost, and move to a just-in-time hiring environment that best balances candidate supply with demand. Implementing PERP (proactive ERP) programs is the first step in this movement.
  6. The hiring manager self-serve recruiting model will change the role of corporate recruiting. As search and automated matching tools become more prevalent, hiring managers will be able to personally handle the bulk of their own recruiting efforts. This will change the role of the corporate recruiter and the corporate recruiting department. As part of this, tools and training will be pushed to hiring managers to enable them to define the work, conduct the assessment, recruit the candidate, and negotiate an offer.
  7. Work will be customized to meet individual and demographic needs. As matching technology improves, it will be easier to accommodate the job and career needs of a demographically changing workforce. Emphasis on project-based work will allow for more contingent workers, with career-based opportunities provided to those with the potential and desire to grow with, and lead, the company.
  8. The underlying architecture of the ATS will need to be altered to address these changes. Unless these changes are supported by the ATS vendors, progress will be painful. In this case, some new type of ATS vendor could emerge to claim the lead role, possibly Jobs2Web, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Avature, Infusionsoft, or maybe even Facebook. Prospect management is rapidly changing the face of recruiting, and whoever does this best could also become No. 1 on the ATS side.

While these predictions are somewhat speculative, current technologies and trends suggest that something comparable is more likely to occur than not. The key is for company leaders to assess the validity of the ongoing trends, quickly identify potential problems and roadblocks within their own organizations, take immediate action to address critical issues, and begin pilot programs to assess the value of different approaches. The future of hiring is just around the next corner. You’ll have a chance to see it more closely in a webcast we’re holding on July 14th.

Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!