Lack of Skilled Candidates Plaguing In-House Recruiters

October 3, 2016 – Nearly all respondents — a full 95 percent — expect recruiting to be as or more challenging in 2017 as this year, according to the latest ‘Recruiter Nation Survey’ conducted by Jobvite. Corporate recruiters cited a lack of skilled candidates (65 percent) and dealing with hiring managers moving candidates through the hiring process (48 percent) as their biggest challenges.

The report gathered responses from over 1,600 in-house recruiting and human resources professionals and reveals a highly competitive landscape which is pushing corporate recruiters to become more strategic and innovative than ever to source, hire, and onboard new hires.

“The pressure has been on for quite some time now for external recruiters to find ways to add value and move away from the identification game,” said Scott A. Scanlon, founding chairman and CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media in Greenwich, Conn. The result has been a plethora of new service offerings, with some trail blazing platforms and tools ready to come to market in the closing days of this year, he said. “Not to be outdone, in-house recruiters, taking their cue from these moves, are now looking to go head-to-head once again with their external counterparts on every conceivable front.”

Job creation has been “steadily increasing” ever since the recession, “forcing corporate recruiters to double up their efforts to fill positions with quality candidates,” said Dan Finnigan, chief executive officer of Jobvite. “But there simply aren’t enough educated, talented and qualified candidates to keep up with the demand.” As a result, he says, these recruiters must now go above and beyond by helping to create compelling employer brands and an exceptional candidate experience” to keep their clients happy.”

All Eyes Now On Post-Hire Metrics

Sixty-nine percent of hiring executives reporting that their company’s hiring has increased in the past year. One third (35 percent) of in-house recruiters anticipate filling 100 or more positions in 2017, up from 26 percent last year. Recruiters expect competition for talent to be in the most demand within hospitality (87 percent), manufacturing (79 percent) and healthcare (78 percent).

To keep up, in-house recruiters are offering both traditional and non-traditional incentives to lure candidates, like raising salary offers (68 percent), awarding monetary bonuses to incentivize referrals (64 percent), allowing for flexible work hours (44 percent), and implementing a casual dress code (44 percent). The way recruiters define successful hiring has also evolved — now, 61 percent of them care more about post-hire metrics (like performance and retention rate of new hires) than they do about the hiring process itself (such as cost- and time-to-hire).

Soft Skills Quickly Gaining Traction 

Although candidates are largely benefitting from this job seeker-focused market, it’s critical for them to continue putting their best foot forward. In addition to concrete qualifications, recruiters also expect a host of soft skills, including enthusiasm (78 percent), conversational skills (73 percent), and, most importantly, cultural fit (83 percent).

Nearly 40 percent of corporate recruiters believe that seeing a picture of a candidate before meeting him or her influences their first impression. In-person looks matter too — 46 percent of recruiters said that appearance influences hiring decisions during the interview.

Notably in this election year, 10 percent of respondents said a candidate’s political affiliations on social media would affect their decision to move forward. But recruiters are 64 percent more likely to be biased against a supporter of Donald Trump than a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

While recruiters have proven adept at adjusting their strategy amidst a consistent talent shortage, there are still several opportunities that are not fully being taken advantage of.

For example, in-house recruiters lag behind job seekers when it comes to social recruiting on Facebook and their adoption of mobile-optimized career sites — only 45 percent of recruiters said their company’s career site supports mobile, and just 43 percent leverage Facebook in the recruiting process. And if the prediction of increased competition for talent in 2017 holds true, finding every opportunity to stand out to job seekers will become even more crucial.

Other notable findings from the survey are summarized below:

Despite Fear of a Downturn, the Job Market Is Thriving

  • Fully one third of corporate recruiters anticipate filling 100 or more positions in the next year, up from 26 percent last year;
  • Your job is safe — 86 percent of in-house recruiters do not believe their companies will make layoffs within the next 12 months;
  • Will robots replace us? Not anytime soon — only 10 percent of in-house recruiters say they expect their companies to replace jobs with tech in the next two to three years.

Diversity’s Gaining Momentum

  • Forty three percent of recruiters polled say that diversity is either somewhat or very important when making a hiring decision;
  • Political diversity counts, too — 10 percent of corporate recruiters judge candidates based on their political affiliations on social media and said it would affect their decision to move forward with a candidate;
  • However, diverse doesn’t always mean equal — 23 percent of male in-house recruiters and 44 percent of female recruiters believe that female candidates earn less than men.

Heads Up, Job Seekers, Little Things Matter

  • Think twice before wearing your lucky jeans to an interview — 62 percent of corporate recruiters say casual dress is a red flag;
  • One of the worst social media sins? Oversharing — it’s a guaranteed way to turn off 60 percent of in-house recruiters;
  • Break out the spell check. 72 percent of corporate recruiters negatively view typos in candidates’ social media profiles — even more so than references to alcohol or marijuana.

Modest U.S. Hiring Plans

CEOs expect roughly unchanged plans for hiring and nearly flat plans for capital spending in the final quarter of 2016, according to the recently released Business Roundtable ‘CEO Economic Outlook Survey.’ The report found that 27 percent of CEOs expect their company’s U.S. employment to increase in the next six months. Thirty seven percent said they expect no changes in their staff levels while another 36 percent plan to decrease staffs.

“For the past year, the Business Roundtable ‘CEO Economic Outlook’ has consistently remained below its long term average,” said Doug Oberhelman, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar and chairman of Business Roundtable. “This reflects the unfortunate new normal — where the U.S. economy is pretty much stuck in neutral rather than moving forward.

Twenty two percent of U.S. employers anticipate increasing staff levels during the fourth quarter, according to the latest Manpower ‘Employment Outlook Survey.’ This is a one percent decrease from the third quarter and a one percent increase from Q4 of 2015. Six percent of employers expect workforce reductions and 69 percent expect no change in hiring plans. The final three percent of employers are undecided about their hiring intentions.

Employers Cautiously Hesitant

“Employers are optimistic, though hesitant, with their hiring intentions and we’re pleased to see levels we were seeing before the recession,” said Kip Wright, senior vice president of Manpower North America. “While employers are looking to grow their workforces, many are challenged to find candidates with the right skills. As the hiring outlook continues to improve, attracting and retaining skilled talent will become even more difficult. That’s why we’re hearing more about companies like AT&T and Marriott that are adopting strategies to develop their employees’ skill sets and competing to attract those with the most in-demand skills – especially in industries like IT and engineering.”

A More Upbeat Outlook

A recent CareerBuilder study found an even brighter outlook with 50 percent of employers planning to hire full time, permanent workers. Another 29 percent of employers plan to hire part-time employees, on par with 28 percent last year; and 32 percent of employers plan to hire temporary or contract workers, down slightly from 34 percent last year.

“Based on our study, the U.S. job market is not likely to experience any major dips or spikes in hiring over the next six months compared to last year,” said Matt Ferguson, chief executive officer of CareerBuilder. “While certain industries or locations may produce more job growth, hiring overall will hold steady throughout the election season and through the end of the year.”

“The economy continues to power forward despite the uncertainty and geopolitical risks out there in the world,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank. “The economy is moving forwards, not backwards.”

Later this week, Hunt Scanlon Media will report on the September unemployment numbers.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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