5 Talent Acquisition Trends You Really Need to Watch

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Ultimate Software (They’re No. 20 on this year’s Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for list) just released a whitepaper that looks at Top 5 Talent Acquisition Trends in today’s market.

As much data as we might see on talent acquisition, it’s a perpetually interesting topic to look at because (and Ultimate Software puts it well), “A company can have the right technology, the right infrastructure, the right products and services – yet still fall short of expectations without the right people.”

People are the heart and soul of an organization, and attracting, hiring, and engaging the right people for an organization is vital to its growth and success. The whitepaper highlights that over the past five years we’ve seen a huge change in the landscape of talent acquisition.

We’re still in the midst of an ongoing economic recovery and Millennials, who are the largest generation in history, (95 million compared with 78 million Baby Boomers) are currently filling one out of every three positions in the United States.

By 2025, they are projected to make up 75 percent of employees in the global marketplace. Add this to the incredibly competitive, fast-paced, technologically advanced, and increasingly inter-connected world that we live in and hiring the “right” person becomes “both more difficult and more important than ever.”

Trend No. 1: User Experience

Out of the 5 Top Talent Acquisition trends that Ultimate Software details, “User Experience” comes up at No. 1.

Over the last five years, companies have increasingly focused on the “candidate experience” in talent acquisition (see the ground breaking research done by Gerry Crispin’s and Elaine Orler’s Talent Board), putting themselves in the job seekers’ shoes with a focus on treating them like a unique individual or “the customer.”

When the whitepaper discusses “User Experience” as a talent acquisition trend though, they’re talking about a more recent trend than focusing on candidate experience, one that emphasizes user experience in terms of designing or selecting a recruiting solution.

In the same way that people expect exceptional user-experience from consumer-level technology like their smartphones, employees now expect the same level of ease-of use with recruiting solutions technology in the workplace. Candidates themselves also expect an easy (and mobile) user-experience when searching for and applying to positions. Not being able to do this on a smartphone, for example, has become a huge barrier to entry.

Personalization and Social Connections

Trends No. 2 and No. 3 are “Personalization” and “Social Connections and Collaborations.”

Personalization, in the context of talent acquisition, is described as “the fusion of a positive user experience with an emphasis on the individual.” Essentially, organizations that treat candidates as individuals and potentially valuable employees from the beginning of the recruiting process have a number of advantages.

Using a more personal, behaviorally based interviewing approach can lead to better information for the recruiter (they may for example find a candidates fits well for another role) and a more engaged candidate. It may also help candidates leave with a better impression of the organization overall, and prevent what Ultimate Software calls the “candidate black hole” (referring to the statistic that nearly 50 percent of job applicants never get any response after submitting an application).

“Social Connections and Collaborations” refers to talent acquisition solutions integrating with social media platforms (think LinkedIn and Facebook) to leverage more effectively the vast amount of useful information on candidates that these platforms provide. Note that 89 percent of all job seekers report using social media sites and almost 50 percent report using these sites every day.

Recruiting Millennials and Global Recruiting

“Global Recruiting” and “Recruiting Millennials” make up trends No. 4 and No. 5 in the whitepaper.

Successful organizations have embraced the advantages of creating a more global workforce, leveling technology like video interviewing and telecommuting to find the right candidate for the job, no matter where in the world the might be. Ultimate Software cites data from a recent KPMG survey, which reports that 71 percent of HR executives feel that collaborating across international borders is more prevalent today than just five years ago, and more than 50 percent are considering or have added new international offices.

The “Global Workforce” is here to stay.

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Last but not least, successful talent acquisition programs have been specifically addressing Millennial candidates applying for positions – a smart move when we consider that they’re projected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025!

This attention on Millennials does not necessarily comprise a total remaking of the talent acquisition process, but a purposeful implementation of changes to the recruiting process – like keeping in mind that 83 percent of Millennials own a smart phone, or that Millennials place a high value on an organization’s mission, purpose, and culture.

Big opportunities for smart organizations

Together these five trends point to new realities for organizations as they plan to add new talent to their ranks.

It’s not just demographics that are changing. Social technologies are changing our ability to engage and retain the right people – where and when we need them. And that spells big opportunity for organizations who believe that people are at the heart of the cultures and their successes.

This originally appeared on China Gorman’s blog at ChinaGorman.com.