The future of recruiting will include automation, strategic planning, and better integration with company objectives. But not everything in the future will be tech-focused.

Recruiting is about more than just hiring for the next position, the next quarter, or the next year. You must consider the evolving recruitment trends that haven’t yet impacted your organization. A successful recruitment strategy should encompass current needs but also be flexible enough for tomorrow’s.

Is there a way to hire for the future—even for roles and responsibilities that may not exist yet? How do you prepare for the ups and downs of the economy? How do you even determine the needs of your company five or 10 years from now?

Your next advantage may not be in your next hiring strategy, but rather in the framework you build now that will shape your talent acquisition and recruiting strategy going forward.

So, take a step back and consider what is on the recruiting horizon:

1) Emphasis on Diversity

More than ever, companies are focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion—whether that means bringing in a team member dedicated to diversity or making it a hiring emphasis in general.

“That’s a big item that everybody is addressing right now,” says Cecelia Harris, Senior Human Resources Consultant with HR consulting firm Arc Human Capital. “If you go to any kind of job board, everybody is trying to hire a diversity, equity, and inclusion person,” or they are at least mentioning those words in job descriptions.

It’s a key issue for job seekers as well: Half of candidates say they would consider asking (or have asked) about a company’s commitment to diversity in a job interview, according to research from talent acquisition software company Yello. And 52% say they’d be reluctant to accept an offer if they got through the recruiting process without meeting any diverse employees.

The more you can meet (and exceed) job-seeker expectations, the more likely you are to attract the best people.

2) Modernized Processes

Traditional recruiting has vastly changed since the workplace went virtual, and face-to-face interactions are no longer an integral part of the process. Companies will continue to streamline and update their practices to take current circumstances into account—and to prepare for a future when in-person events may not be as plentiful.

Software-as-a-service firm ZoomInfo implemented a number of changes to make their hiring process more efficient and effective.

“You have to change the way that you interview candidates when you interface with them,” says Lauren Day, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition for ZoomInfo.

The changes that ZoomInfo incorporated include:

  • Leveraging their applicant tracking system (ATS) to schedule interviews and solicit hiring managers’ feedback on candidates
  • Introducing talent assessment software from The Predictive Index to offer additional visibility into candidates’ behavioral styles and their ability to adapt and learn quickly
  • Moving all interviews to video conferencing

Even though ZoomInfo hires a significant number of sales employees—arguably a tough thing to do without meeting people face to face—they’ve gotten great results from their changes, such as:

  • Increased insights into candidates’ behavioral styles, enabling better fit
  • Ability to compare job seekers to benchmarked top performers in the company
  • Increased efficiency after automating parts of the recruiting process
  • More-objective hiring after soliciting feedback via their ATS to formalize the review process

By rethinking their recruiting process, ZoomInfo was able to adapt and continue to hire great performers, even during a pandemic. “ZoomInfo is a fast, incredibly agile company, and people need to be able to come up to speed quickly,” Day says.

3) Career Boards and Referrals

You can only expand your network so much, and you can only send so many InMail messages.

Just like with every form of marketing, one type of outreach will rarely do the trick. It takes multiple contact attempts and postings. Your team must use a variety of channels and approaches to engage the best candidates with your open opportunities. Career and network boards are one productive way to reach job seekers.

“I’d say that 75% of the candidates I’ve hired this year have come from career boards,” Harris says.

This includes platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and CareerBuilder, among others. “LinkedIn sweeps our site, and we source from it,” Day says.

One reason this may be so effective is that the unemployment situation in the U.S. has experienced an unexpected reversal—whereas the job market was once tight on talent, the COVID-19 crisis spurred millions of layoffs. Unemployed job seekers are again searching for positions through traditional channels.

With a robust pool of candidates waiting to apply for positions, recruiters will have to be especially accurate with skills listings and job requirements. “You’ve got to put the right questions in the jobs, and maybe some additional testing to narrow down the search,” says Matthew Burr, a Human Resources Consultant in Elmira, NY. “You could get overwhelmed if you’re not setting up your search and information correctly.”

Employee referrals are also highly effective at finding great talent. Utilizing employees who are motivated and established at the company should be a part of your plan. Whereas many companies offer cash bonuses varying from $1,000 to $5,000 for employee referrals, others offer paid time off, a donation to charity, or an all-expense-paid trip.

“We are pushing employers to offer those bonuses to employees, because they’re already inside; they know the culture of the company and what people would best fit there,” Harris says.

4) Machine Learning to Fight Bias

About 60% of managers make a decision on a candidate within 15 minutes; more-experienced managers take even less time.

Each manager is probably more biased than they anticipate. Multiple interviewers can help balance out any unconscious discrimination, but including more objective means—such as machine learning—improves results.

Much like artificial intelligence assessments, machine learning finds people with profiles and skills you may normally overlook. It more easily skips over biases and focuses on the skills that really matter.

Machine learning can help fight bias in other ways as well. Textio, a company that offers what it calls an augmented writing platform, helps companies write more inclusively in their hiring and employer brand content. For instance, its recruiting software might scan a job advertisement and suggest swapping out a phrase that attracts more candidates who identify as male—such as “rock star” or “ninja”—for a phrase deemed more neutral.

“Words such as ‘exhaustive,’ ‘enforcement,’ and ‘fearless’ are statistically likely to attract more men when included in job posts or recruiting emails,” says Andrew Violante, Communications Manager for Textio. “Words and phrases like ‘transparent,’ ‘catalyst,’ and ‘in touch with’ are more likely to attract women. We recommend people adopt neutral language and balance the overall gender tone of their job posts.”

While human recruiters can try to catch and replace these words, Textio’s technology makes recommendations based on the latest language data from almost a billion documents, hiring outcomes, and current academic research. “For our job post and recruiting model specifically, we match language patterns with document performance and outcomes in order to help businesses create effective and inclusive documents that appeal to a diverse set of candidates,” Violante says. “This includes eliminating gender bias, ageism, ableism … as well as corporate cliches and fixed mindset language known to alienate some potential applicants.”

All that said, it is important to continually evaluate your AI systems to make sure the algorithms are not introducing biases of their own. (Remember: Amazon had to scrap a recruiting tool when they discovered it was biased against women.) Asking the following questions can help:

  • Are recruiters privy to decisions the AI tool is making and why?
  • Are there systems in place to report biased decisions?
  • How is data collected that shapes the AI algorithms, and is it updated as the company evolves?
  • Is the system audited regularly?

5) Global Recruiting

The skills gap in the U.S. is a billion-dollar problem. A study from Deloitte noted that between 2018 and 2028 there will be a huge skills gap, which may leave more than 2 million jobs unfilled.

But now that so many workers have gone remote, companies are realizing that they are not limited to local talent—they can hire from anywhere, which greatly increases the ability of sourcing the skills you need.

“We are able to globally recruit, attract, and hire talent like never before,” Harris says. “Even the traditional folks who don’t think remote working is going to work—they have discovered that it does work and can work. I can tell you that a lot of HR professionals are saying that their employer is not going 100% back to brick and mortar.”

Widening your recruiting reach means being able to pull from a vast pool of candidates to find exactly the right fit. It also means putting some thought into whether geographic location will affect your pay scale.

“If I’m paying someone in Washington, D.C. to be some sort of health advocate engagement counselor, do I now have to pay that person who’s sitting in Tennessee the same salary?” Harris says. “You need to take a look at your compensation policies.”

What Is Your Recruiting Future?

Recruiting efforts will have substantive effects on your company in the near future, and the list of responsibilities is growing.

Your senior leadership will be expecting high-level analysis on all functions, including recruiting and HR. Not only will you need to account for your next phone call, but also the rate of retention, success, and the candidate experience. Your future recruiting efforts must integrate your company’s business objectives and be locked into its broader mission, especially as employer branding takes on a greater focus for candidates.

And what about your recruiting tech stack? The tools you need will be more sophisticated. But the benefits should be enormous—imagine simplified screening, candidate relationship management platforms, and other AI tools to surface the top candidates.

The best recruiting teams are agile and adaptive.

  • How can your team engage these changes now?
  • Is your team agile?
  • How can you experiment with your processes and methodologies to anticipate future changes?

Additional reporting by Kate Ashford, contributing writer