If you are looking for a comprehensive list of the corporate recruiting trends and predictions for 2014, this two-part article covers the top 25 most likely trends. Part 1 included the first 14 trends that covered new recruiting opportunities and continuing recruiting trends. In this Part 2 of the series, I cover the 11 remaining trends, including recruiting challenges/problems that corporate recruiting will likely encounter during 2014 and some recruiting areas that will likely continue to diminish in importance. I have also included a separate section covering eight developing areas that have yet to peak.
Section 3: The Biggest Strategic Recruiting Challenges
The eight most significant corporate recruiting challenges or problems that will be prominent during 2014 include:
- Retention problems will increasingly impact recruiting — as more employees become comfortable shifting away from security needs and toward more exciting job opportunities, turnover rates will increase by over 25 percent. This dramatic increase in turnover will create many new “sudden openings” which will put an added strain on already stressed recruiting systems. In order to help reduce future turnover, the “potential for early turnover” will have to be included in the assessment criteria for all finalists.
- Speed once again becomes essential to remain competitive — over the last few years — with high unemployment and little competition for talent — in many cases recruiters could take their time and still land top candidates. As the pace of change in business and the competition for talent increases, firms will have no choice but to revisit “speed of hire” approaches and tools in order to land candidates that are in high demand.
- Limited resources will require position prioritization — the increased hiring volume coupled with the inevitable lag in being provided with additional budget resources will require most firms to prioritize their jobs. Recruiting will then allocate their resources toward filling revenue generating and other high-business-impact positions.
- Business volatility makes workforce planning more necessary but more difficult — as continuous business volatility in a VUCA world becomes the “new normal,” executives will increase their demand for data-driven workforce planning. Unfortunately, most talent functions simply do not currently have staff with the capability to conduct sophisticated workforce forecasting and planning.
- College recruiting must be reengineered if it is to succeed — the demand for college talent in key majors will continue to increase dramatically. Unfortunately, corporate college recruiting budgets and processes have been mostly stagnant over the last few years, even though colleges themselves and the expectations of their students have changed dramatically. A reengineered college recruiting model must move beyond a focus on career centers and increase its capabilities in the areas of global college recruiting, remote college recruiting, recruiting students from online universities, recruiting “passive” students, and the use of market research to completely understand the job search process and the expectations of this new generation of grads.
- The shortage of top recruiters will become evident — as recruiting ramps up, firms will begin to realize that there is a significant shortage of talented and currently up-to-date recruiters. After poaching from the rapidly shrinking executive search world, leaders will begin bidding over top corporate recruiters. A lack of quality internal and external recruiter training capability will make the recruiter shortage even worse.
- Large firms must learn to compete with startups for talent — the recent lavish funding and the economic success of numerous startups will continue to make them attractive to innovators and top talent. Unfortunately, few major corporations have a market-research-driven strategy or a set of tools that allows them to successfully recruit against startups for these valuable prospects with a “startup mindset.”
- Finding high-impact technology will still be problematic — although there is a wealth of new technology in recruiting, almost all of it is designed to reduce costs and administrative burdens. After 20 years of waiting, I have yet to encounter the breakthrough recruiting technology that produces a competitive advantage by demonstrating in a split sample that its usage directly improves the on-the-job performance of all new hires by at least 20 percent over existing processes.
Section 4: Areas That Will Continue to Diminish in Importance
The downward trend in these three final corporate recruiting areas will continue through 2014.
- Recruitment advertising and the corporate website — as more applicants demand authenticity and crowd sourced “real” information, both the corporate career site and all forms of traditional recruitment advertising will continue to produce a lower ROI.
- Sourcing becomes easier — as almost everyone becomes “findable” on the Internet and social media, the formally critical role of sourcing will be reduced. The new focus will shift toward improving the various “selling components” of recruiting.
- Underperforming sources need to be deemphasized — the growing emphasis on using metrics to determine the quality of hire from each source will continue. And as a result, all heavily used channels like large job boards, Facebook, and job fairs that can produce low-quality hires will have to be deemphasized.
Trends That Won’t Peak Until 2015 and Beyond
This last section covers seven developing corporate recruiting practices that can’t accurately be classified as trends for at least another 18 months.
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- Competitive analysis is not yet a standard practice — although recruiting is clearly a competition and a “zero sum game,” most recruiting functions are almost 100 percent internally focused. Unfortunately, you can’t prove to executives that you provide a competitive advantage unless you do a side-by-side comparison of your recruiting approaches and results with your talent competitors. The recruiting function will also eventually have to develop plans to track and then counter each your competitor’s major recruiting and employer branding moves.
- Market research practices will eventually allow you to fully “know” your prospects and candidates — eventually recruiting leaders will learn that you can’t effectively find or sell top prospects until you fully understand how they search for a job, where they would see recruiting information, and what factors excite them about a company or a job. The sales and customer service functions have successfully used market research for years, and eventually these practices will be adopted within the recruiting function at all top firms for both experienced and college hires.
- Firms must eventually begin to “map” their future talent pipeline — great recruiting functions are forward looking, so they attempt to identify and assess future talent targets long before they are needed. These approaches require that you identify your future talent pipeline. Leading firms will eventually learn to supplement their standard filling-vacant-job approach with a more proactive talent pool for talent pipeline approach. This practice involves identifying and then “mapping” the top talent throughout your industry with the goal of eventually bringing the best onboard when they are ready to move on. More firms will also eventually learn to use professional learning communities as talent pools, while others will use pre-need employee referrals to develop this talent pipeline based on employee recommendations.
- Finding “their work” online will eventually become a key sourcing tool — as more and more individuals post examples, pictures, videos, or portfolios of their work on the Internet, finding talented individuals who might not be looking for a job will move into the mainstream. In addition, evaluating their actual work will prove to be an accurate assessment approach.
- Virtual reality simulations for assessment will gradually be introduced — although airlines and the military have successfully used them for years, the costs have slowed simulation usage for assessing candidates. As costs decrease, virtual reality simulations will eventually become a standard assessment practice.
- Hiring those without degrees or standard credentials will soon become more common — firms like Google, Facebook, and most startups have had notable success with hiring individuals regardless of their degree status. As a result, “credentialess” approach will eventually become a more common corporate practice as metrics demonstrate a similar high success rate in business that has been found in hiring non-college grads in the sports and entertainment fields.
- Personalized recruiting is on the horizon — although it is still currently rare, more organizations will attempt to personalize their recruiting and to target their recruiting pitch specifically to individual high value prospects.
There will be a marked increase in recruiting competition in high-growth industries like technology, the mobile platform, social media, construction, and healthcare. In addition, the next year will see an increased demand for high performers, technologists, and innovators in key jobs in every industry. In fact, a recent survey of CEOs revealed that 77 percent of firms are currently changing their talent strategy, which means that most CEOs agree with me that the need for change in the talent area is already present.
As a recruiting leader, realize that, just like in the product area, if you want to dominate your recruiting marketplace, you will have to move fast in order to stay ahead of the trends and the adopted practices of your competitors. If you delay taking action, it is almost impossible to “catch up” if you fall too far behind, because your talent competitors will be continually moving ahead of where they were when you originally benchmarked against them. In order to stay ahead and also to build a competitive talent advantage, don’t wait for your new year’s budget to kick in before you start developing your plan for addressing the upcoming problems and for taking advantage of imminent talent opportunities.
Professionals can honestly disagree about which trends will be the most prominent over the next year, but there can be little disagreement over the fact that dramatic changes are unavoidably right on the horizon.