The talent acquisition (TA) realm has seen significant changes over the past year. In the face of new technologies and the constantly evolving demands of employees, the TA industry has had to be innovative to stay abreast of the latest trends.

Below, I take a look at how some of the hottest developments of 2019 have shaped TA best practices and streamlined processes leading into the new year.

TA Teams Adopt New Strategies to Combat Talent Shortages

Thanks to a tight labor market and the skills gap, 83 percent of HR professionals are having difficulty finding the right candidates. Recruiting now has to begin before an open job is even posted.

Candidates are shopping for jobs before they know they want a new one. They’re looking for brands and companies they can align themselves with, and they’re thinking about what a company brings to the table from a mission standpoint, whether it’s social impact, an innovative technical challenge, or an industry disruption. In fact, 90 percent of candidates are willing to take a pay cut in exchange for more meaningful, fulfilling work.

Candidates are drawn to companies with meaningful value propositions, and TA has to position open opportunities to speak to these concerns. The message can no longer be, “We have a job available.” Rather, it must be, “Can you see yourself with this company?”

Instead of simply posting an open position online and waiting for resumes to pour in, recruiters have to take the offensive. They have to act as both a recruiter and a marketer by consistently elevating their brand and creating brand champions within the organization, all while completing their day-to-day recruiting tasks. By speaking out on hot-button topics — like taking a supportive stance on high-skilled immigration — creating awareness content, and meeting potential candidates where they are, TA teams can find greater recruiting success in an exceptionally tight market.

The Gig Economy and Talent Mobility Demand Greater Employer Flexibility

More and more, companies are looking to remote workers and gig talent to fill a variety of roles, even beyond technical or temporary positions. The gig economy has expanded the talent pool, granting access to talent sources recruiters could not have pursued in the past. At the same time, however, greater collaboration between TA, HR, and hiring managers is required if organizations are to utilize and manage gig talent effectively.

Companies are also evaluating their options when it comes to hiring overseas talent or positioning employees abroad. Rather than simply saying it’s too hard, US employers in particular are having more open conversations about how to hire inbound talent. The cost per hire may be higher, but companies are finding that international recruiting is necessary in order to fill roles with quality hires.

In general, companies that are more flexible are proving much more successful in hiring the right talent in this new landscape.

For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Magazine:

Employers Offer Personalized Perks to Win International Talent

According to Envoy’s 2019 “Immigration Trends Report,” among employers recruiting foreign talent, 38 percent provide housing perks, 34 percent cover relocation expenses, and 66 percent sponsor foreign nationals for green cards. However, the most important trend in immigration-related perks has been a shift toward more personalization.

In a tight talent market — and especially when recruiting internationally — the candidate experience matters. Employers are realizing that one-size-fits-all processes simply don’t deliver great candidate experiences.

Rather than offering standardized relocation and compensation packages, companies are willing to work with candidates to reach agreements in their mutual best interest. Relocation perks now spark ongoing conversations between the TA team, HR, and the candidate, and these discussions often start earlier in the process and can extend into the candidate’s first few months — or even first year — of employment.

Powerful AI Still Needs the Human Touch

Artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics can be particularly valuable in the more time-consuming facets of TA and HR, such as compliance. However, AI still needs to be complemented with a human touch.

Technology can help sort resumes or conduct assessments, but recruiters should identify areas in their processes where they and their colleagues can reach out to build real, human connections with candidates. For example, leveraging technology at the beginning of the recruiting process to relieve recruiters of burdensome tasks like resume sorting and interviewing scheduling allows the TA team to refocus its time and energy on fostering genuine relationships with candidates during face-to-face interviews and other critical touch points.

Overall, 2019 was a year of shifting toward purposeful work, made possible in part by emerging technology. As we head into 2020, we’ll continue to see an emphasis on personalization and the implementation of new technology in all aspects of the recruiting process. TA teams can look forward to a year of continued streamlining and process improvement — as long as they start taking steps now to adapt to the new realities of recruiting and hiring.

Lindsay Dagiantis is the vice president of human resources at Envoy.

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