Tim Sackett Peers into the Future: Talent Acquisition Trends and Predictions for 2018

By Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP December 28, 2017
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Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP

​There's a difference between trends and predictions: A trend is something we believe will continue based on the information we have. A prediction is something we think might happen based on the information we have, combined with our experience. In HR and talent acquisition we have a ton of information and a ton of experience, so predicting what will happen in our future becomes a pretty good strategic game to play.

[SHRM members-only online discussion platform: SHRM Connect]

As I look into my crystal ball of the future I see lots of change and innovation about to take place in our industry. Take a look at the list below and see which of these trends and predictions you agree with:

The word "Millennials" will start to be used less and less, and it will be replaced with "Generation Z." OK, this is an easy one! Generation Z, the generation entering the workforce, started graduating from college last year. 2017 was the first year for Generation Z to be in the workplace, and, for the next decade, we will get to hear from "Generation Z experts." All those "Millennial experts" who are now out of job will get to rebrand themselves as Generation Z experts.

Texting candidates will become mainstream. We know most people hate talking on the phone, even though they don't put their phone down for more than 12 seconds a day. The problem is most of our applicant tracking systems (ATSs) don't do texting well. There are a handful of really good texting platforms on the market for communicating and screening, and more and more ATSs are adding this functionality. It's still not widely used within most hiring processes. If it is used, most recruiters are using their personal cell or work cell to send text messages, and all of the data is then lost to the employer. What we know is response rates of text messages are astronomical compared to phone and e-mail. A modern-day recruiting function needs to be using text messaging to communicate with candidates.

Sourcing, as a function performed by people, is slowly dying. What! Why? Sourcing technology, combined with artificial intelligence, is currently better than about 90 percent of people working as sourcers in organizations. That isn't a knock on sourcers. It's just the reality of how far sourcing automation has come as a technology. It will not be long before almost all sourcing is done via technology and the only sourcing that will be left is old-school cold calling.

Employee referral automation will finally come of age. Jobvite launched it almost a decade ago. It was a technology ahead of its time. Today, there are many employee referral automation companies on the market, and we are probably at employee referral automation 2.0. Here's what we know: Employee referrals are one of your top three sources of hire. Employee referrals usually are your top quality-of-hire source. If you combine those two facts, most intelligent people would say, "Hey! We need more employee referrals!" The easy and most economical way to do that is by using employee referral automation.

Hiring candidates who don't have a degree will become fashionable. "We really 'value' education." That's what we say when unemployment is around 7 percent to 9 percent. When unemployment falls under 5 percent, all of a sudden we believe "no education is fine." The reality for many positions, across most organizations, is that education has no influence on actual performance, but we're lazy. We use filters, like education, to help us whittle down large pools of talent, and we say it helps give us better-quality candidates. It doesn't.

In 2018, you'll hire people that you never would have hired in 2008. I have a feeling that, this time around, we'll get smarter and understand this concept, but don't hold your breath if unemployment rises quickly.

What do you think? Which predictions and trends do you see happening over the next year or so? Join us on SHRM Connect and let us know!

Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, is a talent acquisition thought leader and the president of HRU Technical Resources, a leading IT and engineering staffing firm headquartered in Lansing, Mich.

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