Five trends that are shaping how large organizations find and hire talent.
By Christa Elliott
RPO has become an old friend to many enterprises, helping organizations prepare for staffing growth and implement much-needed innovation in order to hire the best talent. And through the years, recruiting has never stagnated. On the contrary, every market change brings a new crop of RPO trends that can help companies better attract candidates, manage onboarding, and perform a whole host of enhanced recruiting functions.
Today, organizations face a candidate-driven market—one that puts pressure on employers to double down on efforts to improve the candidate experience and champion the employer brand. In the midst of this competitive atmosphere, organizations that pay close attention to SEO traffic and analytics will also likely experience success, as will those that prepare for the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution and the advent of Google for Jobs. RPO partnerships will play a large role in ensuring that organizations understand how they can benefit from these trends and achieve their hiring goals.
Trend #1: Preparing for Google for Jobs
Business analysts from Forbes and other notable outlets are already speculating about Google’s upcoming Google for Jobs feature and its potential to send shock waves through the $200 billion recruiting industry. The feature allows users to type “jobs near me” into the Google search bar and returns a curated list of relevant jobs based on data collected from other career sites, such as Indeed and Monster. Its power to upend traditional recruiting, however, will depend on its functionality and how much time Google puts into marketing and perfecting it.
“Google for Jobs may soon be able to offer organizations valuable analytics to help address their particular hiring needs. But in many ways, the human approach and expertise are just as critical as the available technology in translating data into actionable intelligence,” says Jason Roberts, global head of technology and analytics for Randstad Sourceright. “The combination of expertise in statistical analysis, application programming, recruiting and business strategy is not likely to be supported by Google for Jobs or even an in-house talent function.”
For well-established RPO providers, Google for Jobs should not cause a huge shift. “It’s bad news for a number of publishers, but since most RPO providers were working with most or all of the publishers anyway, it’s not a significant change,” says Cielo’s Vice President of Technology Solutions Adam Godson. “In essence, Google simply declared themselves the winner of the SEO game that Indeed was winning before.”
Godson does recommend that organizations ensure that their vacancies appear directly on Google for Jobs via SEO strategy. They should also continue to partner broadly with a variety of sources in order to stimulate web traffic and offline traffic from the right audiences and craft thoughtful job descriptions that resonate with applicants.
Trend #2: SEO Traffic and Analytics
Along with being an intelligent strategy in the face of Google for Jobs, SEO traffic and analytics continue to gain traction as ways to discover what candidates want from career sites and how well those sites are attracting applicants. There was a time when building and marketing an attractive career site was an afterthought for enterprise organizations, but that is no longer the case.
According to Randstad Sourceright’s most recent Talent Trends Survey, 76 percent of the human capital leaders surveyed said analytics play a critical role in engaging talent, and 48 percent are investing in analytics dashboards to better manage and predict talent needs to keep them aligned with business growth and objectives.
“Large organizations are realizing that to attract and engage candidates they need to not only address SEO, and expand their application of analytics, but also enable flexible and relevant technologies,” says Pontoon Vice President Global Emerging Technology and Projects Annie Hammer. “Many organizations are looking to external partners to assist them with this as the market is complex and talent acquisition cannot be an expert in all things technology and analytics.“
These external partners include technology platforms, job boards, and service providers—all of which are critical to a multi-faceted recruitment plan. Ideally, the data provided by SEO traffic and analytics will also inform decisions about how and where advertising dollars are spent. For example, if the data reveals that a keyword is no longer grabbing candidates, an ad can be adjusted to make it more attractive.
Likewise, analytics are evaluated more frequently today than they were in the past and are now looked at daily or even hourly. Their level of accuracy has also improved.
“The depth of the data has changed significantly as well where organizations can tell you, with a strong degree of accuracy, the clicks, applies, interviews and hires cut by media channel, job family, or many other ways. Understanding how to fill the top of the funnel has improved the efficiency for RPO teams,” Godson says.
Trend #3: AI
The continued rise of analytics, and specifically predictive analytics, goes hand in hand with the industry’s increased reliance on AI for functions such as candidate screening and interview scheduling. Predictive analytics allow organizations to anticipate their future needs and then program an AI platform to fulfill them. For example, using predictive analytics, a company could learn how many candidates they will need to recruit in order to find one qualified candidate, and from there, program an AI platform to pinpoint the best candidates from the applicant pool based on keywords.
Thanks to this technology, Korn Ferry Vice President of Delivery and Operations Franz Gilbert says, enterprise recruiters now have more time to strategize than ever before. AI has freed up organizations to think bigger and devote more resources to building employer reputation instead of shuffling through resumes and cover letters.
“AI is a tremendous opportunity to use machine learning to automate some tasks that historically required a person. This in turn allows our recruiters to focus on higher-value work that historically may not have been practical from a timing perspective,” Gilbert explains.
Trend #4: Employer Brand and Candidate Experience
Amidst all of the technological changes affecting the recruitment industry, employer brand and candidate experience remain paramount. HR teams are learning that vague mission statements and stock photos won’t cut it with job seekers anymore, and in order to stay competitive in today’s job marketplace, organizations must set themselves apart at every opportunity.
Fortunately, analytics and AI provide clues as to how to enhance branding, onboarding, and more, but the burden is still on talent acquisition teams to put that data to work and create a compelling employer value proposition (EVP).
“There are many touchpoints that a candidate might have with an organization through the recruitment process, and it’s important that the candidate experience is consistent and engaging throughout,” Hammer says. “There’s no point spending time and effort on developing a clear EVP, engaging advertising, and an impressive careers website but then have an inconsistent and disappointing interview experience for example.”
Hammer stresses that when it comes to developing a solid EVP, consistency is critical. Keeping message consistent ensures organizations can maintain the right image on every level, she says, especially in a world where social media has made it increasingly difficult for organizations to control their external image. A clear set of core values will also help organizations identify candidates whose values match the corporate mission.
Trend #5: The Rise of Total Workforce Solutions
Organizations are looking for their RPO provider’s expertise to expand to their contingent workforces and manage talent across all types. In fact, Randstad Sourceright’s 2017 Talent Trends Report finds that nearly two-thirds of human capital leaders are likely to start using more contingent workers. About one-third of respondents of the same survey also said they are preparing to use more temporary, contract, consultant, or freelance workers, who will account for as much as 30 percent of their workforce.
As a result of this shift, RPO partners are experiencing a greater demand for total workforce solutions that allow organizations to manage the workflows of permanent employees, temporary staff, freelancers, contractors, and even robotics.
“By managing talent holistically, organizations can increase workforce agility and access the right talent, no matter the type of worker they need,” says Randstadt Sourceright’s Roberts. “We have found that this approach enables greater visibility of total workforce needs and better utilization of contingent talent.”
With this total talent view, organizations are expanding their talent pool for the permanent workforce as well by successfully converting high-performing contingent employees into full-time employees.
SIDEBAR: The Power of Analytics
According to Randstadt Sourceright’s Jason Roberts, talent acquisition departments are using a variety of analytics to better assess business outcomes and inform recruitment strategies. Here are the categories of analytics that large organizations use frequently today:
• Operational analytics. These measure discreet activities in the recruiting process and answer questions such as “How many candidates did it take to fill a type of requisition last month?
• Predictive analytics. These build on operational data to determine future outcomes such as the number of candidates needed to recruit to fill a certain number of positions in the next month.
• Business outcome indicators. These provides strategic intelligence based on operational and predictive data to answer questions such as “What will it take to ensure we have the roles to support our new product launch in the third quarter?”