These 5 Recruiting Trends Are Flying Under the Radar

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer April 17, 2018
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LAS VEGAS—At one end of the spectrum, recruiters have now amassed solid experience in major talent acquisition practices such as improving candidate experience and managing employer brand. On the other end, the buzz around predictive analytics and artificial intelligence has, at times, outpaced the actual technology.

Somewhere in the middle, a few practical trends to grow workforces have been quietly gaining momentum.

An all-star panel of talent leaders talked about all of these trends, practices and technologies and how they are implementing them at the Society for Human Resource Management 2018 Talent Conference & Exposition. Here are five trends with great potential, but mostly flying under the radar.

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

Alternative Work Arrangements

Candidates expect flexibility, including working remotely, job sharing and project-based work. "It's not just Millennials that want this," said Jeff Luttrell, SHRM-SCP, senior director of talent acquisition at Alorica, a business process outsourcing firm in Irvine, Calif. "It's all of us. I work remotely. I love it and don't think I could go back to a situation where I was in an office."

Remote work has been a lifesaver at Alorica, where thousands of customer service representatives work from home, Luttrell said. "As we grow, there are many markets where we can't hire enough people to work in our facilities, so being able to offer that flexibility to a stay-at-home parent, or a caregiver, is critical. If the economy continues the way it has been, I think more employers will be forced to consider flexible arrangements."

Flexible work options are harder to manage in a manufacturing environment, but the Boeing aerospace company and commercial airliner builder has tried to learn from other organizations and structure roles in a more flexible way, said Michael Cox, global head of talent at Boeing. "We look at how flexibility can help meet an employee's need for development, whether that's a job-share program, or a part-time schedule so they can continue their education, or even being able to work another job, all in order to grow and evolve their skills."

Nontraditional Interviews

Some employers are moving beyond traditional interviews and trying out job auditions, simulations, assessments and other tools, especially for technical hires.

"I'm not a fan of face-to-face interviews," said Danielle Monaghan, the director of talent acquisition for Amazon's consumer division. "They can confirm our biases. Research shows that very little of a person's potential performance can be predicted by unstructured or structured interviews. This is where I'm excited about the possibility of AI helping us assess people."

She added that organizations will have to be careful about the bias in AI as well, but it is a big improvement over relying on an interviewer's gut feeling.

Amazon is experimenting with the concept of allowing all applicants—anyone who feels they are qualified for a role—to take an assessment that would determine if they move ahead in the process. Someday this concept would be taken all the way to the applicant receiving an offer sight unseen by any human. "It will open up the candidate pool vastly, and produce a far more diverse candidate pool," Monaghan said. 

Boomerang Hires

The best hires can be former employees. They know the culture, they're a known quantity, and they'll hit the ground running. Companies are creating alumni networks to maintain communication with quality talent who have moved on.

About 13 percent of the hires at health care company DaVita are rehires. "As much as we'd love to take credit for all of that in recruiting, we attribute our re-hire success to company culture," said Kristen DesPalmes, senior director of employment strategy. "If people leave and make a little bit more money somewhere else, but the culture is not as good, they often want to come back." She said her team connects with recently departed employees to let them know they are always welcome to return.

Alorica uses Facebook to keep actively engaged with former employees. "It's part of our recruitment strategy," Luttrell said. "We have a database of people that we want back, and another of people we don't want back. We touch base with the ones we want periodically with updates about the company. Things may have changed in their lives, or they may have referrals for us." Alorica also actively recruits former employees and encourages them to reapply, especially in challenging markets.

Diversity Redefined

Diversity recruiting has expanded beyond the traditional categories of diversity applicants, to include people such as retirees, people with disabilities, people with criminal records and people on the autism spectrum. One piece of advice is not to rely too strongly on referrals. "Most of the people in your employees' networks probably are just like them, with the same thoughts and values," Luttrell said. "Diversity of thought will be really important going forward. I like to surround myself with people who challenge me, and think differently than I do, because that makes me a better leader and makes my team better." Alorica partners with organizations that support some of the communities referenced above.

Monaghan said employers still have more work to do in making their recruiting teams more diverse, which ultimately should have a positive impact on diversity recruitment efforts.

Internal Movement

The panel recommended employers develop processes that make it easy for current employees to explore opportunities and expand skills across the organization either by promotion or lateral move.

There are two truths, Monaghan said: It's easier to find a job outside the company than from within; and it's easier to leave the company, take another job somewhere else, and then return to a higher level, than be promoted in the first place.

"The days of telling employees that you have to be in a certain job for a year or two years before being allowed to transfer are over," she said. "We're moving to employees in good standing being able to transfer anytime for any reason. We have found great employees who just don't match with a manager and who thrive in another role."

Only allowing lateral moves also needs to be re-evaluated, she said. "If the employee can demonstrate that they can work at a higher level, they should have the opportunity to be promoted upon transfer."

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