Sourcing Trends and Predictions 2010

Jun 26, 2009

Over the past six months, I’ve worked with dozens of major companies and some of the latest new recruiting and sourcing technologies. Based on this, it’s not a reach to contend that how companies will find, recruit, and hire top talent in 2010 and beyond will be far different than how it’s been done in the past few years.

I’ll also make the contention that only a few companies are ready for this shift and none of the predictions below are far-fetched.

For one thing, they’re now being successfully tried out today in some form by big-time companies. More important — they work, especially on a recruiting-ROI basis. I define this as the quality and impact a candidate makes divided by the cost and effort to find and hire the person. (Email me if you’d like to review this Recruiting ROI calculation.)

To further validate some of the more “off the wall” predictions, I’ve tied the major points to an online survey. The results are currently posted, providing an instant view of where your company stands in comparison to your competition.

With the idea of getting ahead of the recovery, here are my 2010 New Year’s predictions for sourcing and recruiting:

  1. Job boards will soon be archaic. Major job board advertising will continue to decline as corporations finally realize that posting individual requisitions on these boards targets “C+” type talent. Money spent here will be reallocated to sourcing programs that actually work.
  2. The talent hub and spoke model will dominate active candidate sourcing. Requisition-based advertising will be replaced by bundling similar jobs into talent hubs. Traffic will be driven to this hub via a variety of ever-changing sourcing spokes (blogs, niche boards, social networks, user groups, specialty sites, etc.).
  3. Sourcing spokes will come and go. This search-engine-optimized “talent hub and spoke” model will dominate active candidate sourcing with new spokes, like Twitter and Facebook, coming and going. Jobs2Web and TalentSeekr seem well-poised to dominate this market in the short term, with First Advantage’s HireEngine, among others, entering the fray.
  4. Applicant tracking systems will eventually react and adapt to the new model. ATS’s will finally re-architect their systems to adapt to this new dynamic sourcing model, but they will not be the driver behind this change. So expect to continue to be disappointed with lag times of one year or more.
  5. Companies will be unprepared for the spike in turnover. There will be a six-month spike in hiring as a result of a big jump in voluntary turnover once the recovery begins in earnest. The current pent-up demand for new jobs will finally be unleashed then, as nearly everyone enters the job hunting market. Expect counteroffers and compensation to increase.
  6. Twitter will not become the silver bullet. Twitter will be one of the spokes in the talent hub model, but not a dominant source of candidates. However, it will be a very useful means to spread the news about open opportunities to a company’s prospect pool. Here’s a very short survey you can take that validates this.
  7. Effort will increase to source passive candidates. Passive candidate sourcing and recruiting will become more aggressive, since this represents 70% of the population (based on surveys indicating that 20%-30% is active). In the short term, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, and Broadlook will be the primary tools used to find passive candidates, in combination with strong recruiters to drive the process to closure. However, the ERP (see below) will become an increasingly important driver of this.
  8. Just-in-time hiring and virtual recruiters will soon arrive. Companies are now building proprietary databases of top talent nurtured by CRM (candidate relationship management) workflow systems. These systems are now becoming more robust with the addition of advanced workflow design and auto-responders. This will result in an online “virtual recruiter” automatically converting prospects into interested candidates. Avature and First Advantage’s Talon seem to be leading the pack here.
  9. The employee referral program will become the primary driver for future sourcing. The traditional ERP will be transformed into a far-reaching network of top talent by integrating it directly with tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. This way the ERP will quickly become the prime source of prospects for a company’s proprietary talent pool.
  10. There will be increased focus on implementing “Hiring A-level talent” training for both recruiters and hiring managers. Recruiting, interviewing, and hiring A-level talent who have multiple opportunities requires strong recruiters and sophisticated hiring managers. Few corporations can pull this off without a significant investment in the proper training. (Email me for info on who does this best.) This void will keep external recruiters in business by hunting down companies that haven’t figured out how to do this.

Peering into the future, it’s pretty clear that sourcing active candidates will largely rely on a search-engine-optimized talent hub and spoke replacing traditional requisition-based advertising. More important will be the use of proprietary talent pools powered by a “virtual recruiter.” This capability will provide companies the opportunity to hire truly passive candidates before they enter the market. For those companies that haven’t built these models, and to fill specific critical needs, there will be increased reliance on advanced passive candidate recruiting approaches including continued use of external agencies.

As I indicated earlier, I don’t think any of this is too tough to predict, since most progressive companies are already moving in these directions.

However, too many companies think this can all happen without the total involvement of the executive team and every single line manager. This has been the weakest link in the chain in the past, and my prediction for the future is that it will continue to be the problem. I have seen very little effort to get hiring managers totally engaged, and because of this, hiring top talent will still be problematic, despite the efforts of HR and recruiting leaders and some innovative technologies.

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