Eight Trends That Will Transform Small Business Recruiting

8 Trends That Will Transform Small Business Recruiting in 2016

By Ira S Wolfe

As 2016 revs up, many companies are facing the same challenges that were in place when last year began: recruiters are pressed for time, desperate for qualified candidates, and using every tool they can to unearth difficult to find qualified workers. So what does that mean for small business recruiting in 2016?  Here are 8 trends that will likely impact your company’s ability to recruit good workers.

Recruiting takes longer Trend No. 1: Longer Time To Fill Positions

For starters, get ready for talent acquisition to take longer. The average duration of a job vacancy reached an all-time high of 29 days this year, according to DHI Hiring Indicators’ metrics. That’s a fairly conservative number compared to the 68 days reported by CEB.  STEM positions could take twice as long; advanced employees with a specific set of credentials could take up to six months to be placed into higher level jobs.  With an increase in the number of skilled jobs available and more Baby Boomer exits, competition will become even more fierce and the search, much more difficult.

Trend No. 2: Pay to Play

A combination of escalating recruiting costs, longer search times, and pressure to increase wages will require bigger investment in sourcing, recruiting, compensation and benefits. Expect the cost to fill an open position to jump seven percent. Wages are projected to increase over three percent. CEB estimates the average vacancy cost equates to $500 a day per open position.  Companies will have to pay to play.

Trend No. 3:  Faster Adoption of Technology Tools

Until recently applicant tracking software (ATS) was available only to large organizations with a  big budget and designed to help store, track, and manage resumes. But today one might call an ATS a “recruitment success platform.” Costs have plummeted and ease of use simplified. To lighten the burden of increased workloads and staffing cutbacks, an ATS relieves recruiters and HR of tedious and repetitive administrative tasks (posting jobs and screening out applicants who don’t meet even the most basic qualifications) and frees them up to identify new sourcing channels and interview high potential candidates quickly.

Trend No. 4: Go mobile.

Among Americans who have looked for work in the last 2 years, 79% utilized online resources in their job search. Twenty-six percent of all adults (and 53% of 18-29 year-olds) used a smartphone to begin the search and half of these “smartphone job seekers” used their phone to fill out a job application. And yet nearly half of these job seekers have had problems accessing job-related content reading or entering the text because it wasn’t displaying or working properly.

Trend No. 5:  Recruiting Function Goes In-House

With employment branding and candidate experience impacting success or failure in talent acquisition, many businesses will bring recruiting back in-house. Staffing agencies just can’t represent your company unless the agency agrees to enter into an exclusive agreement (which is often cost-prohibitive.) Otherwise, the agency is recruiting for you and your competitors simultaneously. Building an in-house recruiting process and system allows your company to maximize its brand and focus on building a steady pipeline of good talent.

Trend No. 6:  Extensive Social Media Outreach

Sixty-five percent of American job seekers use social media platforms.  One in three jobseekers uses social media to look for a job or inform friends of an available job. As the number of popular social media platforms grows, so too will the number of social pages that companies turn to for wider exposure. The utilization of social media to reach, attract, and engage a younger and more diverse labor market will continue to grow.

Trend No. 7:  Extraordinary Candidate Experience

Attracting applicants is one thing. Getting top talent to come onboard is another. Businesses will need to improve the candidate experience significantly. The application process must be friendly, engaging and highly responsive (see Trend #4). It’s essential to clearly communicate company perks, describe what it’s like to work at your company and offer a glimpse into the corporate culture.

Trend No. 8: Millennials Are Game-Changers

Millennials are a force to be reckoned with. They have vastly different views on the workplace and now make up the largest single working age demographic at 35 percent of the workforce. They want exciting and purposeful work, a valuable mentor, and to work with people they like. While the recruiting world continues to learn as much as they can about this group, managers too will need to appeal to their need for transparency, regular feedback, and fairness if they expect to retain them.

The year 2016 is just one step closer to a world of work that is changing dramatically at an accelerating pace. These trends are just destinations on a long journey.  People management must adapt accordingly. How prepared is your company?

Different versions of this article published on Cornerstone Blog and Lehigh Valley Business Journal.


Ira S Wolfe