As we enter 2019, it is only fitting that we all start to look forward – and take a look at what the next year is going to bring.
Nowhere is this truer than in the world of talent acquisition; if 2018 taught us anything it’s that recruitment is changing rapidly, and we all need to stay ahead of the curve if we want to succeed in sourcing and engaging the top technical talent.
With that in mind, we’ve drawn on insights from leaders in the industry – courtesy of our #TalentQA series – and taken a look at six of the top talent acquisition trends predicted for 2019.
- Employer Branding
Employer branding – which refers to an organisation’s reputation and popularity as an employer – was on everyone’s radar in 2018. Indeed, as the competition for technical talent increases, ensuring a strong employer branding has shot to the top of the ‘must do’ list for almost every talent acquisition professional out there, because it’s the one thing
As Yasar Ahmed, Head of Strategic Recruitment at Wipro, put it: “the branding of an organisation is becoming increasingly key as the competition increases”.
And candidates truly are relying on employer branding to cut through the noise and determine what opportunities are worth responding to; with research by LinkedIn showing that more than 75% of job seekers carry out research about a company’s reputation and employer brand before applying.
The continued focus on employer branding is a sentiment that is echoed by Denis Dinkevich, Sourcing Recruiter at Preply, who succinctly maintained that: “employer branding has now become a crucial part of engagement; so much so that you now cannot operate a successful business if you don’t incorporate a social media presence and marketing into your candidate funnel”.
So, clearly, if organisations want to stand out in 2019, they are going to have to make a concerted effort to boost their employer branding.
2. Candidate Experience
Inherently connected to employer branding is the candidate experience, so it’s no surprise that this also makes the list of 2019 trends. Whilst the emphasis on the candidate experience itself is “still relatively new to the world of recruitment, the focus has become more and more important” according to tech sourcer Sjamilla van der Tooren. But, why is this? The simple fact is that when a candidate has a positive experience with your brand, they are more likely to accept your job offer, reapply in the future, and refer others to your company. On the flip side, if a candidate has a negative experience, it can cost you more than a few candidates. And, in an already skills short market, businesses simply cannot afford to lose out on more potential tech talent.
The issue is summarised perfectly by Head of Talent and Engagement at Irdeto, Ingeborg van Harten, who maintained that “the candidate experience will have an increased focus; simply put, it needs to be outstanding to attract tech savvy people. A great candidate experience can be the reason a candidate will or won’t join a company – especially when you’re dealing with hard to engage technical talent”. For this reason, candidate experience simply has to remain at the top of the priority list for 2019.
And whilst some talent acquisition professionals might bemoan the need to give even more attention to the candidate experience in the coming year, the Global Head of Recruitment at Net A Porter candidly reminds us that “we got here in the first place by being complacent; the candidate journey is and always has been important, and it was due for an overhaul along with attitudes towards candidates”
Whilst employer branding and the candidate experience are going to be key for 2019, there is also going to be an increased focus on how technology and digital innovations can change how talent professionals actually do their job. And a huge part of this is automation; software that can automate parts of the recruiting process in order to assist professionals in finding, attracting, nurturing and converting candidates and – in general – making the process faster and more efficient.
However, this trend should be taken with a caveat. Whilst improving the efficiency of recruitment will continue to remain a top priority in 2019, and whilst automation is – according to ZeShaan Shamsi of Onfido – “a great starting point for harnessing emerging technology”, talent acquisition professionals should be wary of relying solely on the likes of automation in 2019. Indeed, despite this definitive move towards automation, Steve Jacobs maintains that “it is important to remember not to lose the human element in what we do”.
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4. Artificial Intelligence
Continuing with the theme of technologies in 2019, another unsurprising addition to our list – considering the hype it’s had over the last 12 months – is artificial intelligence. The technology has incredible potential when it comes to talent acquisition if businesses are ambitious enough. From smart systems, able to adapt assessments and make decisions without bias, to programmes that can locate potential candidates without the manual searching, the possibilities of how artificial intelligence will be harnessed in 2019 are definitely enticing.
However, there has been some debate as to exactly how artificial intelligence will fit into recruitment in the reality; as with automation, the concern is that businesses will go too far and remove the critical human element of the process that could actually have a detrimental effect on candidate engagement – something that we have previously discussed. As Daniel McEvoy of ClearScore put it: “the value of technology is going to be in things like machine learning and artificial intelligence automating the mundane and less people-focused side of the job”. Clearly, the power of artificial intelligence lies in augmenting the capabilities of a recruiter, rather than replacing what they do and how they interact with potential candidates.
Sophie Power summarises the issue pretty succinctly with her example: “I once tried to use a big AI sourcing platform to try and recruit data analysts, but it didn’t return relevant candidates, or ones who could hit the mark at interview, and that’s because recruiting is inherently social….candidates want to feel like they’re being approached personally and relying on technology to do that goes against that principle”
5. Data Analytics
One of the focuses in the coming year is almost certainly going to be on how businesses, and talent acquisition professionals, can harness the power of data analytics to gain the insights necessary to improve hiring strategies. Taking advantage of the potential data-driven recruiting could see businesses improve some of their most important hiring metrics, such as time to hire, cost to hire and quality of hire.
The importance of this trend for 2019 is exemplified by Kadidja Sow, who drew on her experience as current Head of Talent at
6. Learning and Development
The final trend we can expect to see come into focus in 2019 isn’t one that concerns candidates or businesses, but one that is centred on talent acquisition professionals themselves. Indeed, everyone that we have spoken to in our #TalentQA series thus far have all focused on one important aspect of talent acquisition today – the need for continued learning.
It’s hardly surprising, considering how quickly the industry is changing that professionals want to double down on learning and evolving with the times, and this isn’t something that’s going to end in the new year. More likely, the focus is going to increase as recruiters rely even more on one another to stay ahead of the curve. And if you want to hear it from the horse’s mouth, here’s a few insights from our talent leaders on the importance of working with fellow talent acquisition professionals to better your own trade:
- James Gillard @ Travelex: “I’m a massive fan of networking; it’s crucial because it’s easy to become a silo in your own company and just rely on things like LinkedIn groups. It’s important to broaden your network and be part of a group so you can hear what others are doing and you can bounce ideas around”
- Yasar Ahmad @ Wipro: “I recommend that recruiters adopt a validated learning approach to recruitment and be open to trialling new ideas to manage candidates and requirements. You should very much adopt the try fast and fail fast mentality”
- Denis Dinkevich @ Preply: “Don’t get too comfortable in what you’re doing; always try and find new ways of improving your sourcing and what your sourcing looks like”
As with 2018, I’m sure 2019 is going to hold a lot of exciting things for the world of talent acquisition. We’ll see tools, technologies and methods rise and fall, and we’ll see businesses become increasingly innovative as they strive to catch the attention of niche talent.
If you’re a business looking to work with an agency that’s ahead of the game, get in touch here.
Or, if you’re a talent acquisition professional with some thoughts on the industry, we’d love to feature you in our #TalentQA series. Drop me an email at Francesca.firstname.lastname@example.org to have a chat!