2017 Recruiting Trends: Be Prepared for these Four Waves of Change Coming in the New Year

You thought this year was a watershed year for talent acquisition – and it’s only going to keep transforming. In the second of his 3-part series, Dr. John Sullivan predicts the major trends – and impacts – of the coming year.

With the growth of recruit-tech and data-based decisions, I’m clear that 2017 is going to be “The Year of The Algorithm.” We know rapid change is ahead – but what will that mean for the world of hiring and firing?

Here are four ways those trends will manifest in recruiting and HR:

1. Adopting A “Quality of Hire” Measure Will Have Huge Business Impacts

Every business function except HR and recruiting measures the quality of their outputs. Some even measure it up to the 6 Sigma level. Recruiting can no longer ignore quality-of-hire (i.e. the on-the-job performance of new hires) because it is the only way to determine whether recruiting steps or selection criteria are helping or hurting.

2017-elements2x-11Knowing which factors to predict allows you to continually improve new hire quality. When you know who your top-performing hires are, you can determine which factors they have in common. From this baseline data, you can determine which factors actually predict on-the-job success, and which don’t.

One of the primary causes of our nearly 50% new-hire failure rate is the use of inaccurate or outdated hiring criteria and protocols. Don’t be surprised when your executives step in and force recruiting to drop all processes that don’t accurately predict whether a candidate will become a top-performing new hire.

Incidentally, the best way to start measuring quality-of-hire is to focus only on jobs where an individual’s output is already measured in dollars. You can easily measure quality-of-hire by showing that new hires under an improved recruiting process produced percentage points more in dollars in quantified jobs like sales, collections, and other revenue generating jobs.

Every one of the current surveys of recruiters reveals that referrals produce the highest quality of hire of any source. So, when you are facing a shortage of recruits, referrals are powerful because your best employees know the best in their field and they have a superior ability to approach and to convince them to apply.

Numbers prove that speed is critical to get quality hires — and the data shows that every top applicant may be gone in as few as 10 days. However, nothing will change until recruiting convinces hiring managers of the tremendous cost of slow hiring when a top candidate is involved. Knowing which steps to take to cut that process down to just a week will save time and money, as well as catch the best people for the job.

2. Mobile Access Will Crush Web-Based Content

The western world and beyond carries and uses its mobile phone 24/7 – and as such, it 2017-elements2x-10has become the dominant mechanism for communicating with prospects and candidates. A new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau says in the first half of 2016, mobile represented 47% of all digital ad spending, as budgets continued to move away from desktop-centric ads.

Mobile has proven to be so effective that it will eliminate the need for most web-based options. Some of the powerful “mobile phone” trends that you can’t ignore include:

Allowing the mobile phone to be used from application to offer acceptance
The convenience of applying on a mobile phone means every corporation should allow individuals to apply completely from their mobile phone. 9 out of 10 Fortune 500 applicants are lost because of the normal complexity of the corporate application, so the application should be able to be fully completed within 5 minutes. In addition, all recruiting communications, videos, corporate web pages and even offer acceptance will need to be completely accessible by only using a mobile phone. The cost of requiring applicants and candidates to use any form of web-based recruiting content is simply too high to ignore.

Texting dominates
The global public preference for texting is impossible to deny. And as a result, recruiting will have no choice but to offer text communications and even text interview options to prospects and candidates. Rather than relying on communications methods that recruiters prefer, the model must shift to utilizing whatever approaches that the target recruits prefer.

Video wins out over words
Once again data has shown that rather than reading pages of narrative, most recruits prefer watching videos. Obviously, these videos need to be viewable on the mobile phone but they also have to be crafted so that they are authentic and cover the key areas your top prospects care about.


3. Robots Replacing Workers Will Lead to Major Changes in Recruiting

You can’t ignore the march of the robots. More and more managers will be asking the question “Should you hire an employee, a robot or an algorithm?” Obviously, there won’t be a need to recruit individuals into jobs that no longer exist: hardware developments (e.g. robots, scanners, driverless vehicles or drones) or software developments (AI, VR, chatbots, gamification or algorithms) will have replaced them. It’s time to wake up and realize that entire families of jobs will eventually be replaced, among them are cashiers, customer service people, warehouse/ production jobs, social media jobs and of course delivery jobs.

2017-elements2x-09Some of the powerful trends as a result of “technology replace workers” that are likely to surprise recruiters include:

Recruiting loads will be cut by 25%
In the next 5 years, because there will be fewer employees and more robots, there will be less of a need to recruit. Also, the recruiting workload will shift away from filling hourly, administrative and manual labor jobs and toward the need to recruit technologists as a large percentage of the workforce. That will mean that in order to survive, recruiters will have to become experts in difficult to land software and hardware technologists.

Hiring gig workers becomes critical
In a technology driven environment where most human work is project work, the number of needed gig (short-term) workers will increase dramatically. Unfortunately, the current troubled contingency hiring model won’t work because these gig workers will have to be exceptional performers that get every detail right the first time.


4. Be Prepared for an Economic Downturn during 2017

Technically, it has been 7 years since the recession ended in the US. However, there are many uncertainties that recruiters should be tracking. Slower growth in China, conflicts in Southeast Asia, international trade risks, continued EU instability and the possibility that tax laws will change with foreign held profits returned to the US will all impact the 2017 market. Taken together these factors may dramatically change economic futures and more importantly to recruiters, where work will be done.

In my view, it makes sense to prepare for the real probability of an economic downtur2017-elements2x-12n next year. For recruiting, that might mean a great deal of work that is currently done overseas could be shifted back to the US, or that overall US export trade levels could be reduced significantly. This, in turn, means the volume of workers needed for producing exports would be reduced significantly. The recruiting function must become more adaptable to scale up and down rapidly, as economic conditions dictate.

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What do you think about Dr. John Sullivan’s predictions? How are you guarding against potential pitfalls and adapting to technological developments? Join the conversation by adding your comments below.

  • Nice read. The mobile piece was very important– candidate/ recruiter conversations most definitely need to shift to mobile platforms as our mobile devices are the new dominant tools for communication, leisure, and research in our worlds today. The possibility of an economic downturn is also of interest in this budget driven industry. I don’t know that the scale back of outsourcing would be a negative for our industry– companies will be scrambling to find the best talent in competitive markets, making our skill as recruiters particularly invaluable in this case. A variety of factors could persuade me to argue the other way though, so seeing how things play out in 2017 will be quite entertaining.

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