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Ten hot recruiting trends

By Aaron Green, 3/19/2007

The recruiting landscape is changing again.

Recently I've heard employers talk about the variety of efforts they are using to recruit, attract and hire candidates in order to keep pace with the shifts in levels of qualified candidates and business demand. Some are old tactics with a new twist and some are strategic responses to industry and general business trends.

Here's a snapshot of ten current recruiting trends:

1. Corporate branding - The task of recruiting is substantially easier if potential candidates perceive your company is well run and a great place to work. Ad agencies and professional marketers can certainly have a big impact on your corporate image, but you will truly need to be a great place to work to get branded this way.

2. Focus on selling - Candidates have more job choices. How do you get a candidate to choose your job offer over your competitor's? During the recruiting stage, you should learn what is important to a particular candidate. Depending on the candidate, you should emphasize either your company's social responsibility, or culture, or investment in training and development, or environment where employees are truly empowered. Lastly, money always helps. Some companies are even bringing back sign-on bonuses for key positions.

3. Off-shoring of service jobs - While off-shore outsourcing (or off-shoring) is not a new trend, what is new is that smaller companies have begun outsourcing (sometimes only one position) and deriving the same benefits that used to be only available to large companies. The trend toward off-shoring was initially driven by the cost savings of up to 50% per position. Future inclinations toward off-shoring will be driven by quality of talent available through off-shore service companies.

4. Temporary staffing as a hiring source - According to the American Staffing Association, an average of three million temporary employees worked each day in 2006. The use of temporary staffing is projected to increase. It has become common practice for employers to use temporary employees as a source for internal hires and also to handle fluctuations in workload.

5. Proactive referral programs - Despite advances in recruiting technology and the availability of information on potential candidates, referrals remain the most effective source of new employees. Better employers have developed proactive referral programs that encourage top employees to recruit, screen and precondition candidates.

6. Targeting passive job seekers - The pool of qualified candidates looking for work will remain limited in the short term, which means that many companies are targeting passive job seekers. While the technology that recruiters use will get better in the years to come, the best way to access this pool of passive candidates remains your company's referral network.

7. Use of tactical and strategic metrics - Corporate recruiting managers are making an effort to learn the most effective sources of new hires, expanding their usage of these sources and discontinuing their use of low yield/high cost sources of candidates. Many organizations currently use tactical metrics (such as time-to-fill, cost-per-hire, number of interviews/hires, etc.) to assess their sources of candidates. In the future more organizations will develop strategic metrics (such as quality of hire, workforce productivity, and return on investment) to assess their sources of candidates.

8. Internal redeployment - Increasingly, employers are more willing to redistribute their existing employees in order to best match the strengths of their employees to the company's jobs. Many employers are utilizing their human resources department to do this in a structured fashion.

9. Renewed attention to retention - Top performers will be difficult to retain because they will be recruited by other companies. In order to reduce this phenomenon, better employers are learning to identify "at risk" employees and take proactive steps to keep these people. While wanting to retain good employees is not a new trend, what is new is that leading organizations really understand the connection between retention and recruiting and are becoming more proactive in involving their human resources teams in this effort.

10. Recruiting Process Outsourcing (RPO) - Simply defined, RPO means that a company chooses to outsource its recruiting function. Many companies have found it effective to outsource the recruiting for support staff while continuing in-house recruiting for managerial and core staff members. RPO offers companies speed, quality and economies of scale that they might not be able to achieve on their own. The Staffing Industry Report estimates RPO as a $1 to $1.5 billion market and projects that the market will experience heavy growth in the future.

I urge you to take a look at your own recruiting efforts. What works for your firm? Perhaps the methods mentioned above, all emerging trends in recruitment, will help you find, hire, and retain the talent your organization needs.

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