Managing the changing face of recruitment in 2018

Increased competition, technological developments, new social values and a changing workforce created big shifts in recruitment and HR in 2017. And they’ll continue to do so in 2018.

‘Employee engagement’, ‘workplace culture’, ‘talent management’: it can be difficult to keep up, even harder to resist jumping on the bandwagon of each new recruitment trend. And while the potential they promise may be vast, your resources are likely to be anything but.    

To help you prioritise, here’s our take on how to best manage seven of the fastest growing recruitment trends – and we promise ‘workplace culture’ or ‘candidate experience’ won’t get a mention!

Prioritising passive candidates

Skills shortages aren’t expected to dissipate any time soon, which means organisations seeking to plug skills gaps or recruit someone with highly specialised skills will need to reach a wider group of candidates – most importantly, passive candidates. Candidates who are extremely qualified, already employed and not actively job seeking.

However, reaching these candidates requires time, resource and skill in itself, which is one of the reasons many organisations are outsourcing recruitment to firms who offer a hybrid recruitment approach.

Navigating the social media minefield

Over 9 in 10 businesses are now estimated to be using social media to recruit candidates, with 60% using it as a research tool to verify candidates’ suitability. With the emergence of Google 4 Jobs and Facebook Jobs, it’s unlikely to become a downward trend either.

As Rosemary Haefner, Chief Human Resources Officer of CareerBuilder says: “Tools such as Facebook and Twitter enable employers to get a glimpse of who candidates are outside the confines of a resume or cover letter…”. But ‘glimpse’ is the key word here; social media doesn’t allow a thorough exploration of a candidate’s skills or personalities, and it leaves employers at risk of discriminating and discounting great people.

With so much competition in social recruitment, it can be a time-consuming activity. So, while you shouldn’t ignore it, you shouldn’t rely on it either.

Working with workforce analytics

If you’re like one of the 84% of organisations ‘likely’ to invest in workforce or HR analytics this year, you may be able to take advantage of its strategic decision-making potential in your hiring process.

Using analytics to understand which candidates appear less engaged and thus likely to jump ship can help you intervene early. It could also help you identify employees who might be suitable for in-house promotion, saving you the unnecessary cost of a recruitment campaign. But you can also use it to identify where your most pressing skills gaps are, as well as the employee satisfaction factors to promote when attracting future candidates.

What you can’t do with it, is physically interact with and truly understand your employees and candidates. So, while it has huge potential, it’s not a replacement for the critical human element of screening.

Treating employees like customers

As employers increasingly recognise that people are their organisation’s most valuable asset, employee experience and marketing will become as important as customer experience. It’s no big leap, when you consider happier employees deliver better customer service. The two should be inextricably linked.

Looking for ways to improve conversion and retention rates, reviewing your ‘welcome’ process, taking care of your team, and building your brand, are just some of the ways you can build a pipeline of good talent in-house. And as with customers, every touchpoint in the initial attraction process counts – working with a specialist recruitment partner can ensure you get the top of the funnel right.

Being open to continuous learning

Talent management was another big topic in 2017, but with career length on the rise, the focus has shifted to continuous learning. This is an exciting development for employers, because the notion that candidates never come ‘complete’ opens new doors.

Refreshing and enhancing skillsets is good practice in any case, but the volume of information and technological development has made it essential for even the most qualified of candidates. The key is to be able to accurately assess candidates’ soft skills to ensure they have the capacity for ongoing learning. This is best done face-to-face and early on in the recruitment process, and it’s another area where a recruitment partner can be vital.

Accommodating flexible working

Technology is making remote working and flexi-hours contracts infinitely more feasible. A survey by Flexjobs found that 66% of people believe they’d be more productive in a home office; only 2% thought they’d be more productive in an office.

Interruptions, distractions and commuting were the main reasons why – and one reason why ping-pong tables and open plan offices aren’t universally welcome additions, but that’s another story.

Overall, a compelling 97% said they wanted more flexible working options, with 72% citing the reason as a better work-life balance. Work-life balance has recently been found to be even more important than money.

Not only can flexible working improve productivity, working relations and overheads of current staff, it can also help attract in-demand talent. Being open to flexible practices that support a range of working styles will give you competitive appeal – but you should also bear in mind that they won’t suit everyone.

Recognising technology’s limitations

You’d have to have been hiding under a rock to miss the hype about artificial intelligence and digital automation over the last 12 months. Yes, AI is on the rise and it has a number of benefits: reducing bias in the selection process, speeding up CV screening and reducing the administrative burden on HR. But if you’re doing recruitment right, it won’t be replacing your job.

While ‘blind hire’ capabilities are expected to rise, the crucial human element of search and selection must not be left behind. To truly understand candidates and find the right match, make sure you’re balancing data-driven decisions with ‘old-school’ recruitment techniques.

Sitka offer a specialist recruitment service that blends traditional and trending techniques. Our experience has proven that a more comprehensive approach to leadership and management recruitment is essential for organisations to manage the changing face of recruitment.

If you need help navigating the challenges and making the most of the opportunities in 2018, please get in touch.


To find out how we can work with you, please drop us a line