As 2016 comes to a close, here is a look back at some of the biggest recruiting trends of the year that are sure to continue into 2017:

The Candidate to Consumer Shift

The current job market is a candidate’s market, and that is particularly true for top talent. This means it has become more and more difficult for employers to attract the talent they need.

“Attracting and retaining talent will remain a challenge as top candidates experience an increase of competitive job offers, along with better salaries and opportunities,” Joanie Courtney, former senior vice president of global market insights at Monster and current COO of EmployBridge, told SHRM earlier this year.

In the same article, Korn Ferry Futurestep CEO Byrne Mulrooney told SHRM, “Recruiters will be expected to deliver the white-glove treatment for candidates.”

Because many companies are willing to offer generous compensation and benefits packages to in order to entice the best of the best, those things are no longer sufficient to set an employer apart from the competition. If you want to hire successful, desirable candidates, you have to actively sell your company to them.

Candidates have come to expect an improved experience in all aspects of the recruiting process. Smart hiring managers and recruiters know that candidates have begun to “job shop” like consumers, and they know that they must market opportunities to talent and follow up throughout the process accordingly.

An Increased Use of Data in Recruiting

With more recruiting software options than ever before, recruiters are increasingly using data to set themselves apart from the pack. Hiring managers have also learned to rely more heavily on data to inform their recruiting strategies.

This increased use of data has led to new strategies, like looking internally to fill job openings. Additionally, instead of only looking for ready candidates, companies are developing hard-working candidates with potential in order to create their own top talent in a fierce market.

floor“Companies are hiring people with the right traits and motivations who can be trained on the job for professions from software coding to customer service,” Mulrooney told SHRM. “More often than in the past, these employers are becoming less adamant about hiring only college graduates and are evaluating people on their ability to perform in the future.”

The Rise of the AI Recruiter

Why hire a human to do what a machine can do faster? In 2016, many of us learned just how powerful an asset artificial intelligence can be to recruiters.

“If we really boil it all down, the role of the recruiter is to identify, attract, and assess talent,” writes Rob McIntosh, chief analyst at ERE Media. “If history [has] taught us anything, companies that are in a middle-person business that doesn’t add value or disruptive technologies come along, then they are banished to the history books.”

Not only can algorithms fill some positions as well as a human could, but they can sometimes do it better. A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research looked at the employment records of 300,000 low-skill service sector workers across 15 companies and found that employees stayed in their jobs 15 percent longer when an algorithm was used to judge their employability.

AI can also promote fairness in hiring, according to Meghan M. Biro, founder and CEO of TalentCulture: “AI can be used to take bias out of the screening equation when looking for candidates who are the most qualified. It’s vital that we have a way to systematically ignore the factors that trigger human bias.”

That said, recruiters don’t have to fear that AI will make humans completely redundant in recruiting.

“There will always be a role for the good recruiters proactively finding and attracting talent, but that number is going to get smaller and smaller in the future,” McIntosh writes.

In the end, it will be about finding the right combination of high-quality algorithms and human subject-matter experts.

Danai Kadzere is a content marketer at Happie, a candidate sourcing and engagement software.

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