2018 Predictions for Talent Acquisition Professionals

Technology is already a game changer for the search industry. But it will continue to have great impact going forward in everything from improving the candidate experience to advising clients. Korn Ferry Futurestep explores some trends that will shape – and reshape – the industry as we head into the New Year.

January 2, 2018 – The future of talent acquisition will be more personal, more segmented, more strategic and more driven by an up-and-coming generation, according to Korn Ferry Futurestep experts from across the globe. Driving change in 2018 and beyond, said Byrne Mulrooney, Futurestep’s CEO, will be the rapid pace of technological advancement, which will allow recruiters to focus on what matters most: people and strategy.

“Linking business strategy to talent strategy has always been critical to the success of talent acquisition professionals, and today, technology frees up experts in our profession to do what they do best – offer sound advice to their business partners, create a warm and welcoming candidate experience and get results,” said Mr. Mulrooney.

Futurestep offered the following predictions for 2018:


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1. AI and Tech – The Reinvention of the Human Recruiter

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has finally come into its own, especially with its ability to quickly and effectively source candidates, said Futurestep’s experts. And as big data and AI continue to proliferate, top recruitment partners will increasingly be able to streamline into one single sign-on platform accessing virtually all aspects of recruiting, including sourcing, assessments, scheduling, creating accurate compensation models and following up with candidates for future opportunities.

Does that spell the end for the human recruiter? Actually, it’s the opposite, said Futurestep. With technology taking the brunt of the more cumbersome work, recruiters will have more time to invest in high-value areas, like giving candidates a high-quality experience and hiring managers impactful advice.

Related: How Companies are Preparing for the Future of Work

2. Sourcing Gets Personal

New AI and social technology tools are allowing for segmentation of candidate pools and the ability to communicate in a hyper-personalized way. One key example of this comes from today’s virtual world, which enables recruiters to set up a wireless “fence” around key locations. This helps recruiters identify and segment qualified candidates in specific geographies, allowing them to target candidates with mobile messages and/or advertising, according to Futurestep. This is especially helpful when entering a specific market with hiring events, as the systems also automatically collects data from the user’s mobile phone so it can continue to advertise to them, even after they leave the geo-fenced area.

3. Going Places by Staying Put: Is Relocation Necessary?

Even when the offer is amazing, more candidates are declining to relocate for a job. Many employers, in response, are allowing new hires to remain where they are and work remotely. Another option increasingly being used is to rely on members of the growing gig economy, wherever they may be located, said Futurestep. Enabled by video conferencing and ubiquitous internet access, workers in areas like IT, marketing and sales can often contribute from wherever they are. The downside is a lack of face-to-face interaction, which could inhibit a cohesive company culture.


Hiring to Ramp Up Quickly Heading Into 2018
U.S. employers expect hiring to pick up in the first quarter of this year, with 21 percent planning to add staff between January and March, according to the latest “Employment Outlook Survey,” released by ManpowerGroup. Employers in all U.S. regions and industry sectors expect headcount to grow.


4. Millennials as Bosses: Shifting Dynamics in the Workplace

Since their debut in the professional workforce, Millennials have been known for a lack of patience when it comes to advancing within the workforce. For millions in this generation, many of whom are in their mid-30s, the wait is over: They are increasingly becoming leaders within their organizations.

Living the company culture is central to how Millennials lead, said Futurestep. Having come up quickly, however, many must learn how to “manage up” to colleagues with more seniority than them. They also have to master how to relate to their direct reports, some of whom could be the same age as their parents. Finally, having grown up in a digital environment, Millennials must resist the urge to lead from behind a screen instead of with face-to-face communication.

Related: Millennials Choose Career Over ‘Being Boss’

5. Home Grown: Internal Hiring on the Rise

Obviously, the market is changing rapidly and the use of technology is changing virtually every role in organizations, regardless of the industry. This means that those with the skills that organizations seek can often be hard to identify. Looking ahead, said Futurestep, businesses will find new ways to reskill and promote existing employees.

Internal candidates, who already have training on their company’s protocols and procedures, plus an understanding of its culture, have a step up on the competition when it comes to quickly learning a new role in a new division or location. Internal postings of job openings that require the same qualifications as external hires take the bias out of hiring internally.

Related: Bridging the Skills Gap With Insiders

6. University Grads Have Options . . . Again

Just a few years ago, new college graduates found it difficult to land that first professional job, but that picture is changing. Companies are targeting new college hires much earlier. Citing intense competition, nearly two-thirds of hiring managers believe the best time to recruit college students is at the beginning of their senior year, according to a Korn Ferry Futurestep survey from last summer.

Companies are looking to make employment offers more attractive to young professionals with in-depth, multi-week training programs, said Futurestep, often bringing graduates to one centralized location to introduce them not only to their new job, but to the culture that will surround them.

Related: Failure to Develop, Engage and Retain Talent Is Growing

7. Instant Interaction: A Growing Medium for Candidate Communications

Gone are the days where companies could expect candidates to sit through multiple interviews and assessment days, said Futurestep. Today’s candidates want a faster process and to communicate via social channels such as texts, WhatsApp, Twitter or even Instagram. Because the response of such an approach is often much faster, candidates are having more interaction with recruiters, including an expanded talent acquisition team to help with various aspects of the process.

Related: Social Media Continues to Play Big Role in Recruiting


Hiring In Full Throttle Heading Into 2018
It’s common knowledge that the U.S. unemployment rate is at its lowest level in over a decade. That’s good news, of course. But companies also know that this is the kind of good news that can make the jobs of human resource leaders that extra bit tougher. It’s not just that competition for talent is fierce. 


8. Keep it Real – Display a True Picture of Your Business Culture

For candidates, organizational culture and quality of life are key elements in determining where and for whom they want to work, but it’s nearly impossible for them to get a clear picture from traditional HR materials.

Candidates want to hear/see real employees discussing the pros and cons of the job, according to Futurestep. This can take the form of written testimonials, videos or even AI that simulate the person, much like a video games. Ultimately, this helps candidates determine if they’ll be a good fit for the organization before they get too far along in the recruiting process, saving everybody time and money.

Related: Heads Up on Recruitment

9. Candidates are Also Customers – So Look after Them

Depending on the type of organization, candidates can often already be, or become, customers, clients or partners. It’s important to remember this during the recruiting process, as a new Korn Ferry Futurestep survey of professionals found that more than half said it was unlikely they would remain a customer of a company if they had a bad experience as a candidate.

Related: How Companies Can Build Up Their Defenses Against Talent Raids

One trend is for the talent acquisition and marketing departments to work together to monetize the candidate conversation. The company, for example, might, give discounts the further the candidate goes through the process. Ultimately, candidates simply want to be treated fairly and respectfully during the recruitment process, just as customers want to be treated, said Futurestep.

10. Job Hopping No Longer Taboo

Finding qualified candidates used to be the hardest part of a recruiter’s job. Now, Big Data, AI and social media make that process much easier. As a result, recruiters are calling upon more qualified candidates, and more candidates are listening and taking new opportunities at a faster rate. This especially holds true in high-demand fields, including technology and engineering. Employers should take note, said Futurestep, and work to retain existing employees by giving them development and advancement opportunities, along with creative reward packages.

Related: 5 Questions to Ask Before You Agree to Serve on a Board

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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