Without a doubt, the job market--and therefore, the hiring landscape--has changed drastically over the past few years. The global economy is growing, technology is continuously expanding our capabilities, and companies are racing to keep key positions filled so they can compete successfully. In fact, in one recent survey , more than a quarter of respondents said they plan to hire at least 100 people over the next 12 months. That's a lot of opportunity for job seekers...but a potential dilemma for recruiters. Can they really find and hire that many high-quality candidates that quickly?
I think they can--but only if they take note of how the definition of a "quality" candidate has shifted in recent years, and how that affects the way we source and hire top talent. Here are three important new distinctions to recognize:
1. Sometimes a ramp-up in hiring doesn't mean job growth--it means a shorter tenure.
These days, in fact, many employees only stay with a company around three years. So when recruiters say they are on a hiring frenzy, it might just mean they are consistently filling (and re-filling) the same critical positions.
What does this have to do with our definition of quality? Plenty. The more recruiters hire for the same positions, the more data they amass about who works well in a certain capacity, what type of candidate is most productive, what qualities are truly best for the job, and so on. Each candidate that runs through the recruiting funnel provides significant amounts of data that hiring departments are now beginning to capture and explore, thanks to advances in analytics and reporting technology. As a result,, over the next few years, sourcers and recruiters will be able to find and hire the highest-performing applicants--faster and more efficiently.
2. Skills and experience still matter--but not in the way you're used to.
Here's the thing: Over half of recruiters today fully believe there aren't enough skilled candidates to go around, and 87% of them think previous job experience is critical to ensuring quality of hire. But while I fully agree that skills and experience are important, today's competitive reality--combined with shorter job tenures--makes it clear that we can't hang our hats on the promise of finding candidates whose resumes are overflowing with these attributes. (That's not to say you can't find skilled people. With the right tools, you absolutely can. But skills of certain types are in extremely high demand, and you'd be setting yourself up for disappointment if all you sought were unicorns.)
When it comes to seeking quality, therefore, companies need to appreciate that there are new ways candidates can deliver value. For example, as employee tenure shrinks and people begin holding many jobs at many companies, they build new skills related to adaptability and on-the-job learning--which is crucial in a world tied to technology that changes almost daily. In addition, though they might not stick around at your company for as long as you'd like, their "job shopping" habits help create extremely powerful referral networks that can still populate your pipeline when you engage and nurture effectively. After all, 78% of recruiters still say referrals are the best source of quality hires.
3. Today's candidates have different needs that demand new recruiting technology tactics.
One of the most important byproducts of the redefinition of the quality hire is that it tasks companies with understanding how best to find and attract this new type of candidate. It's not like it used to be, even just a few years ago.
When you are courting highly educated, job-shopping millennials, you must speak their language. You need to understand where to reach these candidates, on the platforms and networks where they already participate--like social media and mobile. You need career sites that clearly identify, through rich media and compelling content, why your company meets their needs for opportunity and growth better than your competitor can. And you need to provide the kind of employee experience, from onboarding to training and beyond, that encourages people to evangelize your employer brand positively on sites like Glassdoor.
Bottom line: When you consider what constitutes a high-quality hire, remember that priorities change. Where you used to seek pre-skilled workers with vast experience, realize that what you really want is a smart employee with the ability to become productive quickly. And while you used to want someone who would fill a job for at least a decade, understand that any candidate with the ability to cultivate long-term relationships over time is equally valuable--if not moreso. Finally, never underestimate the role your company plays in ensuring the ability to acquire quality talent. If you don't keep up with the changes, you risk missing out on the best workforce available--not just today, but far into the future.