2014 Recruiting Trends: A Look Back And A Look Ahead

As we continue into the last half of 2014, what trends are driving the workforce to this point this year and what can businesses and job seekers expect to see in the months ahead?

Top topics revolved around technology advancements, extended workforce and generational shifts. With baby boomers nearing retirement, an increasingly diverse workforce and employee turnover at a five year high, these topics were hot items to watch heading into this year and throughout the remainder of the year, according to research conducted by Robert Half International (RHI.com):

  • The Generational Shift: 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach 65 every day for the next two decades. As the baby boomers near closer to retirement age, companies will need to re-evaluate their strategies for recruitment and training in order to replace the loss of knowledge and experience that is to be expected.
  • The Extended Workforce: By 2020, more than 40% of the American workforce or 60 million people, are projected to be freelancers, contractors or temporary workers. In 2014, companies will more readily embrace the extended workforce, adapting to a ‘just in time’ model for staffing – staffing up and down as demand and growth warrants.
  • Preparing for the Talent Exodus: According to a recent study by the Hay Group, 161.7 million workers are expected to take flight in 2014, up 12.9% from 2012. Companies are re-evaluating engagement and retention strategies to help mitigate employee turnover risks.

Bill Peppler, managing partner of Kavaliro, a national award-winning staffing firm, says these items have impacted recruiting and hiring decisions so far in 2014:

Social media as a recruiting source: There has been a significant increase in the adoption of social media as a means of a recruiting source. For example at Kavaliro, more than 25% of hires include candidate searching on social media. Social platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are helpful resources to recruit more efficiently and find viable candidates to fill positions, says Peppler.

Business Intelligence and data warehouse programs: What’s trending? The adoption of business intelligence initiatives or data warehouse programs that allow you to access your candidates, faster and more accurately, says Peppler. Also, there has been introduction of unique recruiting items such as wearable technologies with the interview process, and employee strength testing.

“By testing a candidates strengths and weaknesses, you are able to focus on what they can bring to your business,” says Peppler.

Impact of cloud based portals: What are recruiters implementing in 2014 that differs from years past? Cloud based portals are now being used more than ever as collaboration for teams evolves with sharing of resources and documents, says Peppler. Also, multi-screen recruiting is becoming more popular. This trend allows a more complete experience. For example, a potential candidate  uses a computer in tandem with a mobile device to apply for jobs and the recruiter is streaming an interview from their iPad while also viewing the jobs seekers applications and scoring them on their mobile device.

Skype interviews and pre-interview screening on the rise: Peppler is seeing an increase in prescreening of candidates via a phone call or Skype than in past years. This is helping eliminate those not equipped for the job and reducing the time recruiters and hiring managers spend interviewing candidates who do not fit.

All of this is going to lead to an exciting second half of 2014, says Lisa Frame-Jacobson, President of Feature Talent Builders (www.featuretalentbuilders.com )a human resources outsourcing, consulting, talent delivery, search, training, placement and professional coaching firm.

“The last half of 2014 is an exciting time as employers have opened up many new and exciting positions as we climb out of the recession and they prioritize what positions are key to driving their businesses forward,” says Frame-Jacobson, whose company also provides HR support to small and medium-sized businesses that do not have their own HR department.

In order to gain the competitive advantage and attract the best available talent, both small and large businesses are going to need to act faster than ever to be responsive to candidates and keep candidates of interest moving quickly in the process, says Frame-Jacobson.

“We are finding more and more candidates entertaining multiple job offers simultaneously,” says Frame-Jacobson. “Candidates are coming on and off the market, sometimes in the same week or two, and ensuring a highly effective sourcing, recruiting and selection process will be a must, or companies will find themselves behind in executing on their sales, development, and delivery strategies.”

How can companies stay on top of the hiring and recruiting trends of 2014? Consider these strategies, says Frame-Jacobson

Use current staff to recruit talent: It is a known fact that when organizations put rigor and dollars into their employee referral bonus programs, their own employees are great ambassadors and “recruiters at large” to attract their connections. These brand ambassadors will likely have keen insight to whether or not they are a strong cultural match. If you don’t offer this in your company, you need to do it now.

“Marketing and HR make great partners in developing quarterly campaigns to drive referral programs,” says Frame-Jacobson. “Simply having a standard bonus is not enough. Competition, energy, and creativity are needed to fuel the referral engine and get your employee population to stand up and take notice.”

Embracing the Need to Train for Skill Gaps: The talent landscape is tightening up. Now is the time to give your training and development function a facelift. Employers should be prepared to ignite their training and development programs to allow them to hire for the attitude and potential, and fill some skill gaps with custom training. The market is getting much tighter and revising position descriptions that reflect what really is a requirement versus just a “plus” is critical. Business leaders need to be encouraged to open their mind to the art of possibility, and think about the current workforce and what knowledge, skills, abilities and traits are present in the best performers.

“Perhaps your existing talent champions can mentor new individuals to address any gaps too,” says Frame-Jacobson. Her company deploys experts to design programs (technical and/or soft skills-based) to ensure newly-hired talent can meet and exceed the performance expectations for the role.

“You have 90 days on average before new employees decide if they will stay and deeply engage, or pursue other options,” says Frame-Jacobson.

Is  technology getting in your way? Is your talent acquisition technology/applicant tracking system/ATS a friend or foe? Large to small organizations have invested significant spend on robust talent acquisition systems to manage applicant pools for current and future talent needs, but often times smaller businesses do not have the budget to invest in such systems. In addition, organizations still need to have people review resumes, determine who to advance to the next step, and who to pass on for specific roles. Don’t damage your employment brand by failing to respond to applicants.

“They took the time to apply and show interest in your company and it’s a huge brand builder for your company to be known as a responsive organization,” says Frame-Jacobson. “Don’t forget that many of your applicants are current or future customers, after all.”

As the talent pool shrinks, companies will need to take another look at their current systems and processes to determine how much time it takes for a candidate to find and apply for positions at their organization.  Company career pages should be easy to navigate and the online application process should be as short as possible, as it is proven that when a job applicant needs to spend more than 10 minutes applying for a position, the drop off rate is huge. Don’t fall in to the trap of requiring too much up front time of an applicant. Get them “in the door” with user-friendly technology and then if you and they are both interested in moving forward, you can add additional steps to the back end of the process.

How long has it been since you tried applying on your company’s website? Imagine the possibilities if you gathered a cross functional team of marketing, communications, IT, HR and Recruiting experts in your organization, and asked them to apply for a role and then offer up process improvement to the online application experience. Even if each area offered up only two improvements that were viable and affordable and drove greater application completion rates, you will experience a net savings. And this project does not require months of work either.

What else lies ahead? Many companies have downsized their recruiting function to save money, resulting in internal recruiters being stretched too thin, says Frame-Jacobson.

“This can often times result in poor quality and low productivity outcomes, along with vocal and dissatisfied hiring managers sitting with unfilled roles and missed deadlines, often resulting in loss of revenue,” she adds.

Recruiting and hiring is always changing. Look for these trends to drive key initiatives through 2014. Is your company ready?

Written by

Matt Krumrie is a career columnist and professional resume writer who has been providing helpful information and resources for job seekers and employers for 15+ years. Learn more about Krumrie via resumesbymatt.com, connect with him on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/mattkrumrie/) and follow him on Twitter via @MattKrumrie.

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