Predictions for 2013: Honing In To Find Qualified Candidates Sooner

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Dec 13, 2012

The HR function is constantly evolving, and each year brings a batch of new developments, methods and technologies that promise to further enhance our jobs as HR professionals. While processes that may have seemed like science fiction 10 years ago – such as digital interviewing and mobile career sites – have become the norm, it is impossible to know what the next 10 years will bring. Still, based on some of the trends I’ve seen in the field, we can make a few guesses about where HR is headed in 2013.

Prediction #1: More Employers will Source 2013 Full Time Hires from their Seasonal Employees

As we are now in the thick of the holiday season, many employers have beefed up their ranks to meet the increased demand during this busy time of year. But while seasonal employees have been traditionally just that – brought in on a temporary basis to meet the spike in demand and then let go come January – 2013 is likely to bring some big changes in how employers view their seasonal workers.

With retailers expecting holiday spending to increase compared to last year, many have hired more seasonal workers than in recent years. However, research from Aon Hewitt suggests that those jobs might not go away in the new year. Of more than 500 U.S. retailer managers surveyed, 28 percent suggested that they anticipated offering permanent positions to half or more of their 2012 seasonal hires.

While that may depend ultimately on their companies’ sales performance, the survey shows that retail employers recognize the value in keeping their contingent labor on board long term. More than 80 of the survey’s respondents believe that seasonal hiring is the best way to find great full-time employees.  As seasonal hires have already been vetted, and worked at the company during a high-pressure period, this pool of already trained candidates makes a great source for filling full-time positions.

Prediction #2: Mainstream Acceptance of Emerging Technology

The new year will also see an uptick in the influence of technology in the hiring process. While there have been a number of advancements in talent acquisition technology in recent years, many of these concepts have yet to break into the mainstream and achieve widespread use. As the challenge of hiring top talent across all industries continues to increase, more companies will leverage more emerging HR technologies, like social and predictive sourcing tools, niche career sites, pre-employment job fit and skills assessment, and talent communities.

While companies have long relied on social media to find candidates where they are, they often must cut through a lot of noise to get their messages to those who are most likely to respond. To help solve this problem, more companies will leverage the use of targeted channels to connect with candidates, rather than plastering their content all over the social networks.

For instance, there are several niche sourcing sites that utilize the increasing use of gamification (another trend that will only expand in 2013) to not only engage candidates, but also evaluate their skills and abilities. Using such methods, employers can identify the best and brightest talent, while providing a fun and memorable candidate experience that will improve their employment brand.

In the new year, the role of social networking in the recruitment process will only continue to grow. Just consider Facebook’s recently unveiled job board, which allows users to search for jobs, share them with their networks and apply directly from the Facebook site. While the impact of this remains to be seen, it is clear that social networking see value in playing a more prominent role in the recruiting space in 2013.

Another trend expected to grow is the use of self-serve assessments, which let the candidates validate who they are and why they would be a good fit for the company. Gone are the days where a candidate has to meet with 12 different people before being hired. Instead, they can invest just 30 minutes of their time in a pre-employment assessment to self-qualify their skills and show recruiters why they are the right fit.

Prediction #3: Greater Focus on Relationship Building

Following Prediction #2, recruiters will be able to leverage those emerging sourcing and recruiting technologies to cut down on the time spent screening and qualifying candidates. As a result, they’ll be spending more time building relationships with and selling qualified talent. The companies that will have the most recruiting success in the new year will be those who can gain a better knowledge of candidates before they’ve even joined the pipeline and narrow their candidate pool to the very best earlier in the sourcing process.

One of the biggest changes we’ll see in 2013 could be the increased use of skill-based public scoring, in which the quality of a candidate is determined based on their social profiles. Through advanced social analytics, employers can learn more information about candidates than ever before and target their employment messages to the right candidates and build relationships more effectively. The talent acquisition function is likely focus more on managing those relationships, helping the right candidates understand the benefits of working at your company, and communicating more effectively – for an enhanced candidate experience – with all job seekers.

As the focus on predictive talent acquisition and candidate experience continues to intensify for the HR industry, the role of the HR professional needs to evolve with technology and communication trends as they develop. Those that are sourcing talent can make the most of their time – not to mention their teams’ and candidates’ – by using solutions that help them find, qualify and validate the right talent at the start of the process.  In doing so, they can work more strategically and refocus on relationship development on an individual basis and with the communities where they’re likely to find the right candidates – something that will ensure the success of their recruiting activities in 2013 and beyond.

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