More personal, more segmented, more strategic and more driven by an up-and-coming generation. Those are the key 2018 predictions for the future of the talent acquisition profession, based on insights from Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) Futurestep experts from across the globe. 

According to Futurestep CEO Byrne Mulrooney, the break-neck speed of technology advancements is at the center of the change, allowing recruiters the ability 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 Mulrooney.

Following are the 2018 Trends Predictions:

  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. And as big data and AI will continue to proliferate, top recruitment partners are 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.

So does that mean the human recruiter will become obsolete? Actually, it’s the exact opposite.

With technology taking the brunt of the once cumbersome work, recruiters now have more time to invest in high-value areas of delivering an outstanding candidate experience and impactful advice to hiring managers.

  1. 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. 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.

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

Even when the offer is amazing, more candidates are opting out of moving for a job. In response, many employers are allowing new hires to remain where they are and work remotely. Another option being increasingly used is to rely on members of the growing “Gig Economy,” wherever they may be located. Enabled by video conferencing and ubiquitous internet access, this allows workers such as IT, marketing and sales professionals to contribute from wherever they are. The downside, a lack of face-to-face interaction could inhibit creating a cohesive company culture.

  1. Millennials as Bosses: Shifting Dynamics in the Workplace

Since their debut in the professional workforce, members of the millennial generation have been known for being impatient when it comes to advancing within the workforce. Well, the wait is over for millions in this generation - many of whom are in their mid-30s - as they now are leaders within their organizations. Millennials as an archetype value flexibility in the workforce, not just for themselves, but now for their teams.

Living the company culture is core to how they lead. While these new leaders bring much to organizations, there however may be a few cautions. Since many did move up quickly, they have to learn how to “manage up” to colleagues that 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. Finally, millennials grew up in a digital-first environment, so they must resist the urge to lead from behind a screen instead of face-to-face communications.

  1. Home Grown: Internal Hiring on the Rise  

It’s no secret the market is changing rapidly and the use of technology is changing virtually every role in organizations, regardless of the industry. This means people with the skills that organizations are looking for are often hard to find. Looking ahead we’ll see more leaders finding ways to reskill and promote existing employees. 

Previous training on the company’s protocols and procedures, plus their understanding of company culture, puts internal candidates ahead of the game when coming up to speed learning a new role in a new division or geography. Internal postings of job openings, that require the same qualifications as external hires, takes out the bias of hiring internally.

  1. University Grads Have Options… Again

While just a few short years ago new college grads found it difficult to land that first professional career after graduation, we’re now seeing the tide turn. Companies are setting their sights earlier on new college hires, which is clear from an August 2017 Korn Ferry Futurestep survey that found due to intense competition, nearly two-thirds of hiring managers believe the best time to recruit college students is during the beginning of their senior year.

As an indication that grads are in the driver’s seat, companies are looking to make employment offers more attractive to young professionals with in-depth, multi-week training programs, often bringing the graduates to one centralized location to help introduce them not only to their new job, but to the culture that will surround them.

  1. Instant Interaction: A Growing Medium for Candidate Communications

Long gone are the days where companies can expect candidates to sit through multiple interviews and assessment days. Today’s candidates want a faster process and ways to communicate via social channels such as texts, WhatsApp, Twitter or even Instagram. Because this takes less time and the response is often much faster, candidates are actually getting more interaction with recruiters, including an expanded talent acquisition team who can help with various aspects of the process.

  1. Keep it Real – Display a True Picture of Your Business 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 this impression from traditional HR materials.

Candidates want to hear/see real employees discussing the pros and cons of the job. This can take the form of written testimonials, videos or even AI that simulate the person, much like today’s video games.

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.

  1. Candidates are also Customers – So Look After Them

Depending on the type of organization, candidates can often already be, or become future, 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 say it is unlikely they would remain a customer of a company if they had a bad experience as a candidate.

One trend is for the talent acquisition and marketing departments to work together to monetize the candidate conversation, by, for example, giving all candidates a percentage off coupon for applying, and progressive discounts the further the candidate goes through the funnel.

Bottom line, candidates are people who want to be treated fairly and respectfully during the recruitment process, just the same way customers want to be treated.

  1. Job Hopping No Longer Taboo

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

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