Big Challenges Ahead for Recruiting and Talent Sector

HR leaders and executive recruiters could be facing big changes in terms of how they attract and keep talent, according to a newly released Korn Ferry report. Look for artificial intelligence to play a bigger role in the hiring process, and more employees working remotely. Let’s take a closer look at the report’s findings.
Big Challenges Ahead for Recruiting and Talent Sector

March 26, 2018 – Across many parts of the globe, 2018 has started with a job market as robust as any in recent years. It’s been so strong that recruiters are being forced to get creative in order to fill all the position mandates coming their way. And they’re not the only ones. A new Korn Ferry report, in fact, says that HR departments may soon be facing a new world order for attracting and retaining talent.

Welcome to the age of Millennial bosses, selection by artificial intelligence and candidates who will just say no to moving.

The good news, says Byrne Mulrooney, CEO of the firm’s Futurestep division, is that technology will better link business strategy to talent strategy. “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,” he said. Most recruiters you talk to say all three have been lacking in recent years due to the big upswing in business.

According to the Korn Ferry survey, there are 10 hiring trends that talent acquisition professionals and executive recruiters ought to be on the lookout for as the year unfolds:

  1. The Reinvention of the Human Recruiter

Artificial intelligence is beginning to come into its own, especially with its ability to source candidates more quickly and efficiently. As Big Data and AI continue to proliferate, top recruitment partners will be able to streamline into one single sign-on platform virtually all aspects of recruiting, including sourcing, assessments, scheduling, creating accurate compensation models and following up with candidates for future opportunities. But that doesn’t mean the human recruiter will become obsolete, Korn Ferry experts said. With technology taking the brunt of the once-cumbersome work, recruiters will have more time to focus on creating an outstanding experience for candidates and to give impactful advice to hiring managers.

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“Along with speed, AI provides cognitive insight into a candidate’s ability to perform a job at a high level,” said Nachi Junankar, founder and CEO of Avrio AI, an artificial intelligence talent platform based in Boston. “This will ensure that recruiters are matching the right candidate to the right job, every time. In addition to analyzing and matching, AI will be able to increase candidate engagement, allowing recruiters to spend more time nurturing potential candidates. Overall, AI is going to allow recruiters to become more strategic and effective.”

  1. Sourcing Gets Personal

Using a combination of AI and social technology tools, recruiters can now set up a “fence” around qualified candidates in a specific geography. The Korn Ferry report said, for example, that recruiters can track candidates who visit a job fair solely with location data from mobile phones. In turn, the hiring company can send the prospects specific mobile messages and ads after the event.

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

“AI helps us dramatically enhance outcomes by finding patterns and relationships to better understand what a successful person looks in a particular position,” said Jacob Zabkowicz, Korn Ferry vice president and general manager, RPO, North America. “For example, in a search for a global automotive maker, we discovered that in one country there was a significant movement of executives from the luxury goods sector to the automotive sector – a relationship that wouldn’t have been obvious without AI.”

  1. Going Places by Staying Put

Even when the offer is impressive, more candidates are opting out of relocating for a job, according to the Korn Ferry report. In response, many employers are allowing new hires to remain where they are and work remotely. Enabled by video conferencing and ubiquitous internet access, workers in IT, marketing, sales and other professions can contribute from wherever they are. The downside: a lack of face-to-face interaction could inhibit creating a cohesive company culture.

Retaining New Hires Now Seen As a Critical Issue
Retaining new hires is on the minds of leaders at the vast majority of companies these days which provides advisory services and recruitment services for middle to upper-level management. Ninety percent of the executives surveyed said this is an issue for their companies. 

According to the WorkSphere survey from Spherion, just 40 percent of workers are interested in relocating for professional reasons, and the same is true for 62 percent of Millennials.

  1. Millennial Bosses

The wait is over for millions of Millennials – the eldest of whom are in their mid-30s – as many now are leaders within their organizations. That can be a good thing for many companies, said Korn Ferry, as studies have shown that Millennials show significant strength in areas like resiliency, learning agility and courage.

Related: Top Hurdles for Finding and Retaining Top Talent

That said, since many in this age group moved up quickly, they still have to learn how to “manage up” to colleagues who have more seniority than them. They also have to learn how to relate to their direct reports, some of whom could be as old as their parents … or grandparents.

  1. Internal Hiring on the Rise

With unemployment levels low in many parts of the globe, there will be more emphasis on finding ways to train and promote existing employees, according to the Korn Ferry report. Previous training on the company’s protocols and procedures, plus an understanding of company culture, can give internal candidates an edge toward learning a new role in a new division or geography. Internal postings of job openings that require the same qualifications as external hires removes the bias of hiring internally.

“There is no doubt internal candidates have an edge in tight talent markets,” said Jose Ruiz, chief executive officer of executive recruitment provider Alder Koten.

Related: Bridging the Skills Gap With Insiders

“Insiders have a leg up over outsiders in that they know the culture from being on the inside, and have probably forged valuable relationships with other key stakeholders,” said Rod McDermott, co-founder and managing partner of search firm McDermott & Bull.

  1. Grads Have Options Again

During the Great Recession and for several years afterward, new college graduates found it difficult to land their first professional job. But experts say the tide is turning, and companies are trying to beat their rivals to hire qualified young grads. A separate Korn Ferry survey found that nearly two-thirds of hiring managers believe the best time to recruit college students is at the beginning of their senior year.

“In our experience, students who know what they want to do and are driven to pursue their career goals while still in school make the strongest employees,” said Adam Blumberg, vice president, key accounts, Futurestep. “Solid recruiting programs start early and focus on securing the most qualified talent months before they actually graduate.”

  1. Instant Interaction 

Gone are the days when companies could expect candidates to sit through multiple interviews with no feedback, said the Korn Ferry report. Today’s candidates want a faster process and ways to communicate via social channels such as text, WhatsApp, Twitter or even Instagram.

How to Retain High Performing Employees
A strong focus on employee retention strategies is vital for any company that wants to keep high-performers engaged, motivated and loyal. This means taking time to understand people and their behaviors and identifying the engagement and reward strategies that will promote their happiness and loyalty.

Employers can offer candidates a simpler way to apply to jobs by allowing job seekers to populate their application with basic information from their LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook accounts,” said Josh Wright, chief economist at iCIMS. “Recognizing patterns of how today’s job seekers are searching and applying for jobs gives employers an edge over their competition.”

  1. Displaying a True Picture of Culture

For candidates, organizational culture and quality of life are key factors in determining where and for whom they want to work, and it’s nearly impossible to get a clear impression from traditional HR materials. Candidates want to hear from real employees discussing the pros and cons of the job, said Korn Ferry. This can take the form of written testimonials, videos or even AI that simulates the person, much like a video game. This helps candidates best determine if they’ll be a good fit for the organization before they get too far along in the recruiting process, which can result in reduced turnover and costs.

Related: Influencing Workplace Culture Through Employee Recognition

“Focusing on culture and how that brand is represented in the marketplace has a critical impact on attracting and retaining the talent that will drive business success,” said Neil Griffiths, Futurestep global practice leader – talent communications and employer brand. “The survey results indicate that employers need to think more broadly about what attracts top talent to their organization.”

  1. Candidates Treated as Customers 

Candidates want to be treated fairly and respectfully during the recruitment process. Treating them poorly could cost a company not only a potential employee but also a future customer. Another Korn Ferry study found that half of the professionals surveyed said they would be unlikely to remain a customer of a company with which they had a negative experience as a candidate.

“Companies risk alienating not only strong candidates, but loyal customers if they don’t make a concerted effort to create an efficient, welcoming and informative environment during the hiring process,” said Mr. Blumberg. “This equates to significant costs, both in terms of the time and money wasted during the hiring process, as well as loss of revenue from fleeing customers.”

  1. Combatting Job Hopping

A weak job market kept many employees from switching jobs, according to the Korn Ferry report. But that fear has diminished, and it’s now easy for recruiters to identify and connect with qualified job candidates. That will put more onus on employee retention efforts, said the report. Employers must give workers more development and advancement opportunities and more creative reward packages—or risk losing them.

“With low unemployment rates and increased need for specialized talent, keeping new hires is a critical issue,” said Bill Gilbert, president, North America, Futurestep. “It is incumbent upon recruiters and hiring managers to paint a clear picture of what will be expected of the candidate in his or her new role, and make sure promises of resources, job structure and reporting relationships are fulfilled.”

Related: Hiring for Potential or Experience?

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

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