Recently, we shared with you the first half of our Global Recruitment Trends Report. In that, we spoke with some of the industry leaders on how companies can stay ahead of the curve when it comes to recruiting. Now, in Part Two, we’re ready to share even more insights with you from:
To learn more about how the recruiting world is set to change, we asked these leading experts seven questions:
What are the biggest hiring challenges you see for companies in 2022?
What is something that people are currently overlooking?
What is the “next big thing” that isn’t actually that big of a deal?
Are things going to cool down in Talent Acquisition or get heated — why?
If you could remove one thing from the hiring process, what would it be?
Do you think the balance between candidates and companies is changing? Why is that?
If you were advising a startup, what would be your #1 piece of recruitment advice?
Their answers show us one thing: Your Candidate Experience is the most important part of your recruitment structure.
Talent shortages have meant that candidates have the pick of the litter, letting them choose the company that best fits their needs. It’s not just about salary anymore - your company culture, benefits, and candidate experience are integral to finding the right talent for your business. So now, let’s find out how you and your business can keep your pipeline filled with top-quality talent in 2022.
Candidate shortage - especially for experienced hires - isn't going to alleviate any time soon. Employers who are not making radical adjustments to their hiring policies, their organisational structure and even their business strategy in light of this situation are going to waste a lot of time and money on objectives they won't achieve. Let me give you an illustration: I received a message from an industry friend of mine yesterday -
“Soul crushing data to share. Super deflating…. So my org is 9500 team members. 13% are currently out because of COVID. 1235 heads. PLUS we currently have 800 open positions. Meaning we’re down 2035 employees”
It's up to recruiters to have honest conversations with the business - some of the recruitment, maybe a majority of it, is simply not going to get done.
Leyla El Assry:
We will continue to face many difficulties around remote work, as we did in 2021. The regulations in Germany don't really allow us this flexibility if you want to play by the rules and be compliant.
One of the challenges is how we will be able to offer remote work, especially for engineering and product-based roles. Bearing in mind that once you offer remote work, you're actually not necessarily offering all the benefits that are linked to employees where the main headquarters are - which can create a discrepancy. It's about finding the right balance between the flexibility to offer remote work but also to bring and to give the best employee experience as well.
I think having a star Talent Team and being able to keep them happy is the prime objective of any company.
What we're finding is that people that we want already have an offer from at least one large tech company already, which means you have to do something to try and compete with that. You have to sell the story of your company and why they should join you over that company. Also, compensation is a thing that has just gone through the roof.
One big thing that I see missing is internal education — continually educating the company from hiring managers to the people team to the executive team and so on.
Recruiters are going to need to be really good at having very open conversations about competence and about compensation.
For example, a candidate might throw out a stupid compensation number because they don't need to leave. What that does is send up the benchmark, which ends up with you overpaying.
Talent teams have got to be clever in thinking about what data they collect. Everyone that I'm talking to, based in London has an offer from some big tech company. The big challenge is going to be organising the data that you collect and understanding what you work from on what you don't, especially in terms of compensation, I think that's going to be a big thing this year.
Talent has moved from pretty agnostic in what industry they work in to very choosy. Now, good talent can take their pick of jobs, making it harder and harder to hire. Companies are going to have to really push their story and Employer Value Proposition forward if they're going to find top-quality talent.
Remote is different for people who already know each other in-person vs people we've never met at all.
We have been broadly pro-remote in 2020/2021 because the folks we are now remote colleagues with were the same people we knew when we sat together at a desk. Social capital had already been exchanged, trust relationships had already developed. In 2022 we will be hiring teammates we've never met and remote teams will become a mix of those who knew each other in the before times and those who only know each other now.
There are serious cultural challenges ahead in how we manage these mixed teams, but no one is yet talking about how to deal with them.
Leyla El Assry
Hiring for potential. I think that's getting more and more important. A lot of startups and a lot of tech companies are created with very, very particular industries or products or services on offer, which means the talent is not necessarily there.
Historically, we've always looked for experience, which leads to us overlooking the opportunity of hiring for potential. The problem is companies are not open to giving a chance to new talents. The other risk that we get from that is that we do not think enough about how we can develop people - we think very short term: what can a person bring to the business now.
Recruiting and building teams should be looked at mid-to-long-term goals instead of a ”quick wins” strategy. If we want to retain and if we want to build a stable base and foundations, we should be thinking more about how we grow the talents we're bringing in.
What the repercussions are of lots of recruitment - when you hire a bunch of people, that means things change internally, a lot.
I think that a lot of companies overlook what scaling means.
Let’s say we're hiring 300 people this year. That’s great. But, what does that mean for the company? What does it do? What does it change? I think a lot of people are really focused on a headcount and are not really focused on filling gaps.
If you hire 300 people, that means you need to hire 30 managers too. Then you need to think; if the managers are just starting too, how long until everyone’s up to speed?
I think that a lot of people glamorise scale. Of course, everyone wants to be scaling, but I think a lot of people actually overlook the ramifications. I always say, scaling needs scaffolding. Ask yourself; do you have the senior and mid-level managers to accommodate this? You need structure if you’re going to scale properly.
The need for nimble talent. Jobs are becoming more versatile and agile in their roles and responsibilities, especially in startups. A position today may have completely different needs a year from now. Recruiters need to find talent that is always upskilling and improving their knowledge.
I'm minded to think more of what is going to be a big deal:
We're in the middle of the type of societal transformation that comes along only once every few decades.
Everything we thought was settled may not be remade or reconfigured. In this circumstance, only a fool would discount the possibility of substantive change. I think we will be surprised - the seemingly trivial now might be revealed as decisive a few years down the line.
Leyla El Assry
Artificial intelligence and removing biases wherever we can, for instance in reviewing CVs.
I really think that unless we have a really well trained AI system, yes it removes biases, but it also removes common sense.
It can also be seriously detrimental to hiring for potential because it depends on how you programme your AI. I think AI will struggle a bit more, especially with all the compliance rules that we have with GDPR and so on.
I think we might use it a little bit more to remove this overwhelming feeling of stress that recruiters can experience. Because we have good ATS, but they're not necessarily 100% efficient against errors and mistakes.
AI in recruitment. If you are doing super high volume recruitment at Google, and you have 10,000 people applying? Yeah, you need some automation. But I think for smaller companies, it’s a bit overblown. I think those things get pumped up quite a bit, and I don't think they're super important.
You know, if I'm an engineering applicant, I don't want to do a blanket test on a platform that then tells the company if I'm good or not, because I know it won’t be fully correct.
You're dealing with people and, as always, you have no clue how people are going to react.
You have to take everything in context - maybe this person is a single parent and their child was up all night and they’ve only slept for an hour. Maybe you're their sixth company that they're just talking to because they really need a job. Maybe they act differently because they're really introverted, maybe they're really extroverted.
There are so many things to account for. As humans, we can understand that and we can see our own bias, and then try and form an unbiased opinion. AI can’t do that.
What I think will be quite a big deal is privacy. Already recruiters have to adhere to a wide range of guidelines, particularly in Europe, and this is only going to get stronger. Soon, thanks to developments around decentralization and unique signatures, people will have even more control over who has access to their information.
This may make things more difficult for recruiters, but it also strengthens the integrity of application processes, along with helping to remove certain aspects of bias.
Stay hot in Q1 and Q2, then cool down for the second half of the year.
Hiring for recruiters is extremely hard, but it isn't so hard to make recruiters.
For a person with the right traits and motivation, you can be an effective recruiter at the individual contributor level in a year or so. The high compensation currently being offered to recruiters will draw in talent from other careers and agencies will do a great job of filtering out early entry talent who don't suit the work. So I basically expect the overall number of recruiters to increase in 2022.”
Leyla El Assry
I don't think it's going to be as intense. I think that now we’re settling a little bit more and that we’ve learned some lessons but it will remain challenging. I think something that companies haven't seen coming is how the market can shift and how quickly it can turn around. It's not going to take a year to show you a new trend, it often only takes a few weeks.
I think that now a lot of companies and lots of leaders and our hiring managers also learned a lesson, mainly considering talent acquisition as a strategic function. We're here to bring knowledge to fill in this gap - let’s not forget that we’re the bridge between external and internal.
As long as we continue using data and the knowledge of recruiters (e.g involve them in retention conversations, succession planning, what is realistic to achieve as a hiring target etc.) we can have a better sense of what is coming and how to tackle it. Talent Acquisition is a strategic partner, include it in your conversations as such.
Heat Up. I think that we’re still in a phase where venture money is being thrown around in massive amounts.
The difficult thing is, if you look at public markets, it might look like venture funding is not as explosive as last year — you're not seeing as many 100 million dollar rounds every week, for sure. But, I think, ultimately, we work in an industry that is so overfunded.
What's happened in the past two years has knocked everything off of its axis. The market has to reset itself continuously and how long does that take to resettle? I would be very surprised if it's this year.
I think speed up and inflate.
My biggest fear is that the market will be filled with poorly-trained recruiters trying to fill the gap.
Companies are rushing to find anyone to hire new talent for them, and often they overlook their new hire’s shortcomings in a desperate attempt to get more people in the door. This can be really damaging to a company, especially if it’s still on a smaller scale.
Reference checks where the candidate submits the referees. I never understood this practice as making any kind of sense, and yet it persists, especially in the UK.
The outcome is that employers spend time chasing up stooges who are going to say great things about the candidate and have to 'read in between the lines’ for what that person 'really' means.
Reference checks should be conducted in advance of hire, and the people contacted should not be determined by the candidate.
Leyla El Assry
The first thing that comes to mind is having Hiring Managers consistently reviewing CVs as part of the process. Obviously, recruiting is a collaboration, but when hiring managers insist on looking at a CV even though a recruiter has already sifted the CV, it doesn't show a lot of trust towards the recruiter. That said, in case of a doubt, the recruiter should always involve the Hiring Manager in moving forward with a candidate.
Take-Home Tasks, all day long. Take-home tests, in general, they're just not set up for people to be successful. There are too many factors that play into it. if I was applying for a job, and someone asked me to take a test, I automatically wouldn't want to work there
But there is a struggle with that, there is a balance — How do you understand if somebody can do the job? At Rasa, we try to do more of a live exercise or use something they've done before and talk through it; something more collaborative. Don't get me wrong, we have take-home tasks in some of our processes, it's a process in itself to get rid of them all. But in general, they’re not a good idea.
Automate documentation as much as possible.
CVs, applications, and other forms of documentation can sometimes be a false flag when it comes to an applicant.
They might have everything on paper, but when it comes to the interview process you can see they’re not the right fit.
Step away from documentation as much as you can and instead focus on the human element.
It's pretty much consensus that candidates have the upper hand.
We are actually seeing this in rising compensation levels in almost every industry, along with significant concessions from employers on non-salary compensation - flexible work, extended leave, more holidays - and in the US - extended company mandated paternity and maternity leave.
This is simply a matter of supply/demand - candidate shortage is based not only on the condensation of effectively two years of hiring into one, but also on a much more demanding labour force.
We might actually be seeing an unofficial, decentralised general strike at the moment. The people want better, and they are withdrawing their labour until they get it.
Leyla El Assry
It is not changing, it has changed.
A few years back, a candidate always had to prove and go out of their way to prove why they wanted to join a company job. But now the balance has shifted, but it has to be a balance: we still want to hire passionate and motivated individuals.
It is up to the Talent Acquisition team to manage the hiring team expectations and support them with understanding how the market has changed, especially around Candidate Experience. Ten years ago, the Candidate Experience topic - at least in Europe - wasn't a priority topic; however, in the past few years, it has, fortunately, become one.
I have to say that I am really happy about it as it is a subject that has been brought up by many Recruiters and Experts in the industry, for quite some time before its development, but companies weren’t seeing the benefit to invest into it. Thankfully, the topic has grown together with the Talent Acquisition role expansion.
Candidate Experience should be number one on every single talent team’s list.
Collect as much data as you can about the Candidate Experience, and fix it, because every hiring experience is flawed. I’ve been pushing really hard for my team to shadow people. Now, they shadow one interview a week. At first, they were reluctant, but now they see so many problems that they never saw before.
You have to think about a low-ego candidate experience. However good you think your process is, there is something you can fix. Track everything, be supercritical, and above all, be honest.
The power is still growing greater on the candidates' side. Companies have to find a way of shifting the balance back before they get completely drowned out. Although a shortage in talent does certainly put the ball in the candidate’s court, companies can push back by creating stellar work culture, offering great perks, and selling their story effectively and to the right people.
Always the same, regardless of conditions. Understand what kind of business you are and understand what kind of hirer you are.
You can absorb best practices for the tactics and the quick wins, but if your intrinsic values are not aligned with your hiring approach, then all of those quick fixes will prove temporary. Know thyself and allow the strategy to emerge from who you are and what your company is.
Leyla El Assry
Take care of your team. Be empathetic, be flexible. Never forget that your team is managing key relationships with stakeholders and candidates that are not just a number on a spreadsheet, and neither is your team.
It is not about just capacity and resources and allocation. It is about people dealing with people; it is important to nurture and empower your team to make sure they are developing in a safe environment. You want your team to know, every time they come to work, no matter what happens that day, they feel and are supported.
Invest in your talent team early, and actually back them.
Don’t think of them as just people that make hires. They bring in your talent, so give them what they need. Truly back your talent function and see it as a strategic move for your company.
Understand that diversity hiring in leadership takes longer. If you want to find the right person for your high-level positions, be patient. You will need to pivot a number of times, and it will need a touch of skill in spotting potential, but the payoff is absolutely worth the investment.
Onwards and Upwards
The year ahead is sure to be filled with plenty of opportunities for innovation and development. As said by almost everyone above, now is the time to make the most of outside-the-box thinking.
Take the time to truly understand what your company needs, who your key hires are, and how you’re going to stand out from the crowd in this hyper-competitive market.