Last year we highlighted ten talent acquisition trends for 2022, and we have seen them playing out so far. For 2023, we bring to attention the trends that will continue to matter a lot to employers who want to survive The Great Attrition and avoid revenue loss and an overload of unfilled vacancies. These are:
- Be data-informed, not data-driven
- Personalized recruiting experience
- Internal mobility
- Consistent but authentic employer branding
- Embrace hybrid teams and temporary hires
1. Data-Informed Talent Acquisition
To be data-informed is different from to be data-driven. Saurav at Towards Data Science explains the distinctions between these two buzzwords. In short, to be data-driven means we make all decisions based on data even when our common sense does not agree.
On the other hand, to be data-informed means we make decisions based on data AND our common sense, intuitive insights, industry experience, or unquantifiable wisdom. Data is not our single point of reference.
To be data-informed is particularly salient for talent acquisition, because even when we have the aid of big data, we are dealing with people and their unpredictabilities. Data does help us overcome biases, but we should be well aware of the biases in the data itself, as a result of how the data is gathered and processed.
To be data-informed in talent acquisition, we have to question two things:
– how good is the data in representing the people behind it?
– how to interpret the data in a particular context?
The answers to these questions require critical thinking and intuition borne out of experience. The stake is we misjudge a candidate’s fit, especially for the increasing number of people who want to switch career, or those with unconventional career paths. Data-informed value judgments are equally on par with data-driven insights.
2. Personalized Recruiting Experience
With a data-informed approach to talent acquisition, you can start using the data to put together personalized profiles of potential candidates and the right way to approach them. Instead of waiting for whoever applies, proactively profile your ideal candidate based on employment records and employee feedback on the department in question. What qualities, competencies, and personality that an ideal candidate should have to do well in this job and get along with the team?
Think beyond formal education and industry experience because more and more people want to switch careers and are willing to upskill or reskill for their new career. They are bringing with them a trove of novel experiences that will enrich your team’s diversity and creative thinking. To build scientifically informed candidate profiles, you may want to consider career aptitude tests to discover the gaps in competencies and personality in your team.
Next, research where your ideal candidates would look for jobs. Apart from the traditional job boards, also consider social media, online forums, interest-based group chats, personal blogs. If your prospective candidates are active on them, then you are in luck. How a person interacts with an online group says a lot about how they would work in a team, how engaged and passionate they are in their subject matter, and how willing they are in helping others. After all, an online forum is an informal, more honest version of workplace discussions.
A small tip: make sure your recruiting channels are mobile-friendly. This includes:
– a career page with a responsive mobile interface
– forms with checkboxes, pre-filled blanks with essential info, and seamless document uploading or attachment
– prompt responses on social media channels with follow-up phone calls when requested.
Many people are looking for jobs on their mobile devices, especially those thinking of changing jobs and have little privacy to do so at their current workplace. Mobile-friendly recruiting experience tends to attract those who are outgoing, decisive and confident about their fit, who just want to get to the interviews as soon as possible. The easy interactivity on social media allows you to send tailored messages to entice a candidate’s interests and gauge their intention.
Your employees’ social media activities are also a source of an authentic and trustworthy reputation. Employee advocacy works particularly well when you take pride in providing a great workplace for your employees, because the company culture shines through their social media and attracts potential candidates with the same values.
Essentially, a personalized recruiting experience means treating your candidates like you treat your customers. Reach them where they are, evaluate their competencies with various tools, and explicitly demonstrate how they could be a good fit for your team.
3. Internal Mobility
Your employees are not static workers – they are constantly evolving talents. Many undertake extra study, gain new skills, or try their hands at a different role because they are getting bored with their current one. Do not let these people leave for a presumably greener pasture elsewhere. When recruiting for a new role, have an internal mobility program in place, and prioritize old blood when they have stellar track records.
Internal mobility is a win-win situation because it costs much less to move an employee to a new position than to hire a new employee. The old employee at a new role would likely be grateful for the new opportunity and/or pay grade, because they do not have to go through the uncertainties and inconveniences of switching jobs. They also have institutional knowledge, require less training, and you get to enjoy their loyalty and transformation.
4. Consistent And Authentic Employer Branding
The Great Attrition is happening partly because employees are becoming sensitive to branding that sounds nice but undistinctive. Experienced candidates have been through the ups and downs of the pandemic and self-employment. They are quick to discern and even suspect employers who do not deliver their promises. You need to offer the real deal, no-nonsense Employee Value Proposition, instead of throwing around nice-sounding words in an ad.
To stand up to their scrutiny and keep them working for you, employer branding is more than just consistent images and messages across all channels. It starts with the commitment to making your employees happy. This means good talent management practices, appropriate benefits and compensation, inspirational career paths, and exemplary leadership. The branding should reflect only what it is really like working for your company. Then, your reputation as a good employer will spread.
With the aid of the hyper-connected internet, candidates have many ways to find out the best places to work for. Authenticity is especially important for the socially aware Gen Z workers who are filling up the young workforce. It also works great for your employee referral program – a time-honored, tried and tested way to attract compatible employees.
5. Embrace Hybrid Teams And Temporary Hires
Despite the move back to the office, many employees have gotten used to remote work. The pandemic shook up our lives, and in its wake, people have built a new life around working from home. Most employers have faced some pushback among their employees in moving everyone back to the office, and it is important to carefully consider this in your company’s context.
The crucial consideration here is your priorities as an organization. For some roles requiring a level of security, in which face-to-face interactions are essential, then it makes sense to go back to the office. For other roles that can be done remotely, then remote or hybrid work arrangements should be approved. Find ways to build a culture for a hybrid team, and use regular surveys to monitor their satisfaction and make timely adjustments.
Moreover, do not just nurture your official staff and ignore your temporary hires. Although they do not work for you full time, they are taking up a larger share of the workforce. Outsourcing and hiring temporary staff are part and parcel of the agile workplace nowadays, as this employment model keeps your overheads low and improves your responsiveness to crises. Temporary hires are part of your team, too. Have in place a proper benefit program for them, because you may need to hire them again and again whenever the needs arise without burdening your budget.
How to attract the right people at the right time is a difficult question, and the answers lie in testing out to see if these talent acquisition trends will work for 2023. Many words have been said about the challenges a recruiting team faces in a job market where there are more quitting employees than there are applicants. Even if some of these trends are beyond your capacity, at the end of the day, a company that attracts and retains talents is a company that cares for their employees with clear actions, policies, and AI-enabled tools. That effort is the best ‘trend’ that will pay off.