Recruiting Trends for 2016 and Their Supporting Best Practices, Part 2 of 2

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Nov 23, 2015

Tracking upcoming recruiting trends is a professional obligation, but it can also help you identify and adopt powerful new trends before other firms are barely aware of them.

The Countdown to the Top 12 Recruiting Trends That Will Become Dominant in 2016

In Part I of this article on on 11/16/15, I covered these six recruiting trends for 2016:

Trend No. 12 — Anonymous resume screening and blind interviewing

Trend No. 11 — A significant shift toward selling, and away from finding talent

Trend No. 10 — Video becomes prominent in all recruiting messaging

Trend No. 9 — Improve the selling capability of your job descriptions

Trend No. 8 — A focus on recruiting innovators

Trend No. 7 — Take a forward-looking approach to recruiting

In this Part II, the countdown to the No. 1 trend continues. I will cover the remaining six highest-impact recruiting trends and their related best practices.

Trend No. 6 — Calculate the tremendous costs resulting from a bad candidate experience

Why being aware of this trend is critical — we’ve been treating candidates poorly for years, but, unfortunately, we have routinely underestimated the costs associated with that negative treatment. Recently, CareerBuilder (and the CandEs) has identified some of the unexpected consequences, including lost sales, where 9 percent would tell others not to purchase products from the firm and up to 23 percent would reduce their own purchases. A firm will also get a reduced volume of applications, where 22 percent would tell others not to work at the firm. You should also assume that at least 10 percent would post negative social media comments about your hiring process, which would discourage many others from applying.

Best practices for improving the candidate experience

  • Survey a sample of past applicants and new hires to identify what they didn’t like about your hiring process.
  • Consider periodically using “mystery shoppers” to go through your hiring process to identify issues.
  • You should also check to see (or ask them) if a to-be-interviewed applicant is currently a customer so that you can treat them better.
  • Periodically track negative social media comments about your interviews on and other similar sites.
  • Follow the CandEs and learn about newer best practices.

Trend No. 5 — All recruiting applications and communications must be deliverable on the mobile platform

Why you must track this trend –– the smart phone is ubiquitous and people carry everywhere. As a result, it has the highest response rate of any communications channel. Already more than 43 percent of job seekers use the mobile phone in their job search, and that number will continue to rise until the mobile smart phone is dominant in recruiting. And as a result, it becomes the primary way for applying, communicating, and providing information to candidates and maintaining candidate relationships.

Best practices that allow the movement of more recruiting tasks to the smart phone

  • Failing to have the capability to complete an application on your corporate applications site from any mobile platform may cause your application drop off rate to skyrocket.
  • You should also make it possible for candidates to accept your offers directly on their mobile phone.
  • You should always use the most responsive channel for communications, and currently that is often texting.
  • The mobile platform makes it possible to hold live video interviews from anywhere.
  • All internal recruiting applications and webpages should be mobile phone accessible for all managers and recruiters.
  • Employees must be able to do all of their referral tasks on the mobile phone.
  • Eligible candidates should be able to self-schedule their own interviews within any of their hiring manager’s available times.

Trend No. 4 — Increase your speed of hire in order to increase new hire quality and corporate revenue

Why you must track this trend — unfortunately, very few hiring managers and recruiters realize that if they don’t act quickly, many of their top applicants will drop out of the hiring process within as few as 10 days. That is because the best are likely to receive other offers, so they are not going to wait for a delayed offer, even though it may be a promising one. Others may view your slow hiring as a mirror of the speed in which you make business decisions, and drop out because they expect faster decision-making. Firms also need to be aware that slow hiring times are posted on sites like, so if you are slow at hiring, many potential applicants will know it. Finally, realize that if a vacant position is a revenue-generating position, a great deal of corporate revenue will be unnecessarily be lost if a slow hiring decision keeps the position vacant for too many days.

Best practices that allow you to reduce your hiring time

  • Measure the correlation between hiring the speed and new hire quality to show that slow hiring reduces the quality of your eventual hire.
  • Prioritize the recruiting for jobs and candidates that require speed in order to land the best candidates.
  • Identify the unnecessary delays in the hiring process and show those causing the delay the impact it has on the quality of hire.
  • Widely distribute a ranked list of the managers with the slowest hiring speed in order to embarrass them.

(A quick definition of quality of hire: The percentage of improvement in the on-the-job productivity including work volume, work quality, and the retention rate of new hires.)

Trend No. 3 — Use quality of hire data to identify “what works” and to help quantify your business impacts

Why you must track this trend — by measuring the on-the-job performance of new hires, you can group them into a high-performing and below-average-performing groups. You can then identify the factors that the individuals in the top performing group had in common. By identifying which factors correlate with success, you can more accurately determine which of the selection criteria that you’re using actually predict on-the-job success. Quality of hire data can also help you determine which sources produce great hires. By knowing the top- and the worst-performing new hires you can refine your recruiting process and improve the elements that work and fix or eliminate those that don’t. By quantifying the percentage that new hires perform more than the average, you can quantify the business impact of recruiting.

Best practices that allow you to take advantage of quality of hire data

  • Work closely with the CFO’s office in order to add credibility to your data.
  • Using mathematical correlations, identify which sources, selection criteria, recruiters etc. have the highest predictive value in identifying new hires who will exceed average performance.
  • Measure the percentage of improvement in output of your new hires who work in already quantified jobs like sales, customer service, and then put a dollar value on their performance improvement.
  • In other jobs, multiply the improved performance percentage of new hires by the firm’s average revenue per employee in order to get a dollar value for jobs that don’t have their output quantified.
  • Calculate the percentage of your hires who are weak hires and then estimate the cost of each one.
  • Calculate the loss to the business for each high-quality “missed hire” who applied but that you never landed.

Trend No. 2 – Referrals will become 50 percent of all hiring … so you better get them right

Why you must track this trend –– now that the best firms are getting nearly 50 percent of their hires from employee referrals, invest time and resources into your referral program. Referral programs routinely produce the highest quality hires, the highest volume hires, hires with the highest retention rate, and if done correctly, referrals can be among the fastest and cheapest hires. Unfortunately, referral programs are not self managing, so they must be continually updated and improved.

Best practices that will improve the effectiveness of your referral program

  • Rather than focusing on the money, motivate your employees to put the company first and “hire for the team.”
  • Educate employees on how to make good connections and referrals with an educational referral toolkit, which provides sample social media profiles and advice on how to build relationships and to effectively assess potential referrals.
  • You must remain highly responsive to each referral in order to maintain high participation levels.
  • Give feedback to your employees on weak referrals, so that individual employees can improve.
  • The best single way to improve referral quality is to require your employees to know the work and the skills of the individual. Also, require that they have assessed the prospects fit for the firm/manager and that they have presold them on the company, to the point where they will accept an offer of an interview. Actively discourage referrals where the employee is not totally familiar with them and their work.

And finally…

Trend No. 1 — Shifting to data-based decision-making in recruiting

Why you must track this trend — lately in recruiting, we have gotten quite good at collecting metrics. Unfortunately, after collecting them, we don’t use them to make decisions or to force change. Because data-based decision-making improves decision quality and speed, it has already been adapted by every other business function, except HR. I estimate that compared to the normal intuitive decision, data-based decisions can be at least 25 percent better. Google is leading the way by declaring that “All people decisions are based on data & analytics.” And “We want to bring the same level of rigor to people-decisions that we do to engineering decisions.”

Best practices of a data-based decision model

  • Data will reveal which sources produce quality applicants and hires.
  • Data will reveal which types of interviews and interview questions best identify future top performers.
  • Data can show you whether your references are accurate predictors of future performance.
  • Data can show you your new hire failure rate (which can average 46 percent).
  • Data can reveal which recruiters and hiring managers routinely produce the highest-quality hires, and which ones do not.
  • Data will reveal which single factor has the highest impact on hiring success (i.e. the relationship with the hiring manager).

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to read about trends, but few in recruiting actually follow up to prepare for even one of these upcoming trends. And that “I’ll get to it later” approach will, unfortunately, mean that their firm’s recruiting competitors will implement these emerging practices faster and they will win a higher percentage of head-to-head battles for top talent. That dooms the recruiting leader to a life of catch up” and unpleasant surprises because what worked in the past no longer produces even average results in the ever-changing world of business and recruiting.


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