A Review of the Latest Top Talent Acquisition Trends 

Expect internal mobility programs to play a key role in talent acquisition strategies going forward, according to a new report from WilsonHCG. Among the changes already underway: entry-level talent programs, sign-on bonuses, and expedited hiring processes.

June 21, 2022 – The talent market has evolved rapidly over the past two and a half years. In fact, it has not only evolved, it has transformed irrevocably. Widening skills gaps, changing candidate expectations, and record job openings are all impacting talent acquisition. A recent report from WilsonHCG examines the latest trends. Internal mobility programs will play a pivotal role in talent acquisition strategies, according to the WilsonHCG report. They speed up time to hire, reduce recruitment costs and ensure culturally aligned candidates. And by giving employees the chance to move careers (rather than employers), retention levels will be boosted.

“Internal mobility programs also have a positive impact on employee referrals,” said report author Craig Sweeney. “The happier employees are, the more likely they are to recommend your company as an employer of choice among their networks. Today’s employees (and candidates) want to continually learn and progress in their careers.” In fact, 94 percent of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development, according to research from LinkedIn. So, if you want to boost loyalty, WilsonHCG notes that you must demonstrate loyalty yourself by investing in learning and development. “Don’t forget to promote the different career pathing opportunities available at your company within your recruitment marketing materials to show potential candidates what their future career paths could look like,” said Mr. Sweeney.

“One of the largest barriers to internal recruitment is managers who don’t want to let go of good talent,” said Mr. Sweeney. “It’s not surprising – I mean, how would you feel if your top-performing team member wanted to move to a different department? To combat this, make managers aware of the wider business benefits of internal mobility. Consider training and incentives to help persuade them to put forward employees they know would excel in other roles within the business.”

Companies Will be Prioritizing Entry-Level Talent Programs

More organizations are prioritizing entry-level talent programs. Aside from helping to counteract crippling skills shortages, the WilsonHCG report says that entry-level talent programs help to speed up time to hire and reduce recruitment costs. “Companies that invest in entry-level talent benefit from increased employee engagement, well-stocked talent pipelines, reduced costs and heightened employment brand awareness,” it said. So, what does an effective entry-level talent program look like? WilsonHCG says that they must be multifaceted and target students, graduates (internships), and apprentices. One of the most important aspects of an entry-level talent program the firm points to is learning and development. Because entry-level talent doesn’t have a raft of experience in the working world, it’s important you provide the tools and training they’ll need to succeed.

Craig Sweeney is the SVP of global strategic talent solutions at WilsonHCG. He leads new client development across the world — with projects spanning across the Americas, EMEA and APAC. Mr. Sweeney builds proactive talent solutions by consulting with clients and working with his team of regional experts to ensure customers have diverse, passionate people who support their business goals.

Hosting leadership summits at universities and colleges and getting into classrooms to provide introductory courses are examples of how you can tap into early talent pools, according to the WilsonHCG report. “Consider an ambassador program to generate referrals and grow your brand in universities and colleges,” said Mr. Sweeney. “A company ambassador could be a recent intern who now works for you full-time. Ask them to attend campus events, share employment branding materials, and illustrate first-hand their journey from student intern to full-time employee; it can help elevate your entry-level talent program.”

More Companies will Offer Sign-On Bonuses

There’s been a huge rise in roles that now include sign-on bonuses to tempt candidates. The number of positions offering this perk increased by 454 percent in the last year, research from GlobalData revealed. In the past, WilsonHCG notes that sign-on bonuses were typically used for high-skilled, niche roles but have become commonplace in almost all sectors and roles – because of the tight talent market. Amazon recently announced sign-on bonuses of up to $3,000 as part of its recruitment drive to fill 150,000 seasonal jobs in the U.S. “There are pros and cons to consider if you’re thinking about offering sign-on bonuses though. Because they are a one-off payment, it reduces the long-term financial burden on your company,” said Mr. Sweeney. “However, by year two, if employees no longer feel fairly compensated, they may be at a higher risk of leaving. A sign-on bonus may have the short-term effect of candidates choosing your job over other offers, but you need to commit to upholding an engaging culture for them to stay.”

Related: Post-COVID Recovery Sees the Rise of Revenge Hiring

The WilsonHCG report explains to be creative with your compensation packages and offer non-financial incentives too, such as hybrid or remote working opportunities and even unlimited paid time off policies. “Be sure you have robust well-being and employee engagement programs as this will help raise employee satisfaction and reduce the chances of employees feeling underappreciated,” it concluded. “It’s important to not only bring the right talent in the door but keep them for the long-term.”

Hiring Processes will be Expedited

A lengthy hiring process is a major mistake, especially in a candidate-driven market as it could put your business at risk, the WilsonHCG report notes. “Today’s candidates won’t hang around if they think your hiring process is too slow,” said Mr. Sweeney. “There are just too many opportunities out there.” Forty-nine percent of candidates have turned down a job offer due to a bad recruiting experience, research from PwC found. The report also revealed that 92 percent of candidates have experienced poor recruiting practices at some point in their careers, while 67 percent of job seekers have been involved in hiring processes that take longer than a month.

Best Practices for Working with Executive Recruiters

Recruiting is a nebulous industry with a lot of common misconceptions, according to report by Derek Gracey and Jacob Watkins of search firm Charles Aris. The recruiters provide a review of best practices they’ve found to be helpful when working with recruiters. Among them: be open, talk early and often, and be familiar with smart phone technology.

Be open, honest, and candid. “When we tell you about an opportunity, we want your genuine thoughts in response,” said Mr. Gracey. “If it’s a slam dunk, great! If it’s a huge miss, no problem. If a specific opportunity does not align with your career goals, simply tell us. The more open you are about your interests and objectives, the better aligned we can be in future outreach.”

“Use technology to speed up the hiring process, but don’t rely solely on it,” the WilsonHCG report said. “The human touch is still a critical part of the hiring process and is even more important as the candidate journey progresses. The hours saved using tech for time-consuming and transactional tasks, like scheduling, can then be used further down in the process to get to know candidates better.”

Companies will be Stepping up Their Learning and Development Programs

The desire candidates have to learn in their roles is not a new trend by any means, but it has become a key driver for many when considering new roles. Almost two-thirds (59) of respondents cited a lack of career growth and developmental opportunities when asked why they would leave their current organizations, according to a WilsonHCG report.

Learning and development programs further help your organization to develop skills in-house. And that’s key for businesses overcoming the skills shortage. In addition, 37 percent of candidates said they’d be willing to take a pay cut for a chance to learn new skills. That same percentage, according to the report from PwC, said they see upskilling opportunities as the most important factor when considering a new job, after salary and benefits.

“A comprehensive learning and development program should begin on each employee’s first day and should be built into your onboarding program,” the WilsonHCG report said. “Consider asking your employees to host training sessions as learners will often be more engaged by someone who is already in the role and sharing real-life experience. A virtual buddy system is also a way to provide informal development opportunities while giving employees the chance to network with people in the business that they might not otherwise interact with.”

Retention Programs will be of Growing Importance

We all know people are leaving workplaces in droves, but the Great Resignation will not be the topic of conversation next year, according to the WilsonHCG report: “It will be why employees are leaving. Companies that focus all their efforts on hiring replacements for those who’ve left are not solving the challenge appropriately. Instead, they need to work out why employees are resigning and then take action to remedy this. People have realigned their values and work should be satisfying and fit into employees’ desired lifestyles.”

During the pandemic, people re-evaluated their priorities and cared about restoring a healthy work-life balance. WilsonHCG says that you need to ask your employees what they want from their job, and more importantly, act on their responses. The opportunity to work remotely is a key driver for many candidates. “If you haven’t already, consider offering remote working opportunities or a hybrid model at the very least,” said Mr. Sweeney. “Expand your well-being program, make sure you include mental health and be transparent about what your environmental, social and corporate governance program.” Almost two-thirds (59 percent) of respondents under the age of 30 who currently work for organizations with more than 1,000 employees said they strongly agree that “the more socially and environmentally responsible my company becomes, the more motivated and loyal they become (as an employee),” a global study of more than 27,000 respondents by GlobeScan and BBMG revealed.

“Promote your well-being programs internally and externally so job seekers can see how seriously you take it,” said Mr. Sweeney. “Whether it’s virtual exercise sessions, money management webinars or healthy eating incentives, all can help reduce stress while improving health and well-being.”

Related: What Candidates are Really Looking for In New Jobs 

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

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