Q&A: The Future of Recruiting in the Digital Age

By Ernest Paskey, Partner, Assessment Solutions North American Regional Director; 

By Dan Weber, Director of Market Trends, Rewards Solutions

What are the biggest challenges facing HR leaders today as far as recruiting is concerned?

The biggest challenge HR leaders face today is figuring out what types of talent their companies will need in the future. Today’s business environment is changing at an incredibly rapid pace and recruiters are often hard-pressed to find people who can transform themselves as fast as the market. In some settings, the skills and traits a recruiter hires for today could be obsolete within six to 12 months. Previously, the lifecycle of skills was measured in years or decades – the current pace of change is unprecedented.

Recruiters who can anticipate future business needs and find highly adaptable candidates will quickly separate themselves from the pack. However, companies can also do more to empower recruiters by sharing information about business strategy and insights on how to identify flexible talent with the capacity to learn new skills. It's not only about identifying what the business currently needs but also who are the people that are going to disrupt and drive growth.

Where do you expect to see HR and recruiting leaders focusing their attention in the coming months as they attempt to address those challenges?

HR and recruiting leaders need to focus on building workforces that can drive sustained business performance in a time of continuous digital transformation. If you pause for a moment and think about that, it’s an incredibly daunting challenge. Essentially, you need to find people who can keep the business growing while everything else behind the scenes changes in fundamental ways. For recruiters, this means finding people who understand how things work today, but also aren’t afraid to embrace, envision and drive change.

Therefore, as companies seek to become more innovative and digital-ready, they need to arm recruiters with tools and training that can help them identify candidates who have overarching capabilities like an openness to learning, coachability, curiosity, agility and flexibility. These are the traits that will stand the test of time. In client meetings, it’s not uncommon to hear leaders say things like, “We don’t need people who are just going to be machines; we have machines. We need people with creativity and the ability to assess and take risks differently.”

At the same time, HR leaders also need to review their career paths and rewards programs to ensure they align with the reality described above. Driving business results in the digital age requires performance-based compensation models that reward workers who contribute to an organization’s growth. You’ll likely find that a complete overhaul of your total rewards strategy isn’t needed, but at a minimum, you should analyze existing programs to ensure they still support your future priorities.

What areas of employee recruiting are especially ripe for innovation?

We all have more data within our businesses than ever before. Harnessing it can be a challenge, but if you can get over that hurdle, then there are big opportunities to create smarter metrics for recruiting. For example, if a company spends $10,000 to hire someone, are there ways to assess or predict if that effort will generate a good return on investment? The answer is yes, but companies still struggle to turn concept into reality.

In our experience, clients are too quick to rely on tools to drive recruiting analytics. First, they should invest in building stronger in-house analytics capabilities so they can assess what data they actually need, think about how best to digest and govern that data, and build roadmaps for moving from descriptive to predictive measures. Otherwise, you run the risk of analysis paralysis because it becomes too difficult to filter out the noise. Then you can onboard tools to make reporting more turnkey.

To learn more about how your organization’s talent strategy can navigate risk and drive performance, visit humancapital.aon.com or contact us now for more information.

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