Talent Trends: The Year Ahead

Along with AI and automation, what other talent trends may talent acquisition professionals and recruiters encounter in 2018?
By: | December 14, 2017 • 2 min read

What’s in store for recruiters and talent acquisition leaders in 2018? Well, artificial intelligence and automation, for one thing. But if further talk of that makes your eyes glaze over, fear not—there’s more. For example, Korn Ferry Futurestep’s 2018 Talent Trend Predictions includes a lot of focus on the importance of “home,” as in looking for fresh talent in the home office rather than at competitors’ locations. It also means letting new hires work from their homes rather than making them go through a burdensome relocation process.

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The KFF report, based on insights from experts from the search and consulting firm’s network of global offices, finds that—thanks to the scarcity of tech professionals—more companies will be “reskilling” and promoting existing employees into new positions rather than searching for outside candidates. After all, the experts note, current employees are known quantities who already understand the firm’s processes and culture. Meanwhile, more candidates are “opting out of moving for a job,” the KFF experts note, with employers responding by letting new hires remain where they are and work remotely. More companies are also relying on the gig economy to fill certain roles, obviating the need for expensive relocation packages.

Companies are also responding to an emerging need among candidates to “keep it real”—that is, give a realistic preview of what it’s really like to work at the organization. Doing this, the KFF folks say, helps candidates best determine whether they’re a good fit before they get too far along in the process, potentially avoiding early turnover and other unnecessary costs.

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Another trend that will stay hot in 2018 will be treating candidates like customers, mindful that word spreads fast about bad experiences. The KFF experts say one strategy is for talent acquisition and marketing departments to work closely together to “monetize the candidate conversation.” This can include giving all candidates a percentage-off coupon for applying and giving them progressive discounts the further they make it through the hiring funnel.

And then, of course, there’s AI and automation (what exactly distinguishes AI from automation is an ongoing source of debate within the talent acquisition community). AI and social technology tools, for example, let recruiters “communicate in a hyper-personal way” with candidates while freeing them from mundane tasks, says KFF. Recruiters can use these tools to, for example, set up a “wireless fence” around key locations so they can identify and segment qualified candidates in specific geographies and target them with mobile messages or advertising. This can be especially helpful when entering a specific market with hiring events, as the systems automatically collect data from users’ mobile phones so they can continue reaching them with advertising after they’ve left the geo-fenced area.

As in previous years, talent acquisition and recruiting will no doubt remain the hottest area for innovation and breakthroughs within the HR space in 2018, and we’ll continue bringing you in-depth coverage of what it means for your organization.

Andrew R. McIlvaine is senior editor for talent acquisition at Human Resource Executive. He oversees coverage of talent acquisition and recruiting and also edits the weekly Recruiting Trends Bulletin e-newsletter and its associated website, RecruitingTrends.com. A Penn State graduate, Andy also spent two years in the U.S. Army prior to attending college and attained the rank of sergeant while serving in the Army Reserves. He can be reached at [email protected]