The world of recruitment is changing, fast. We’ve seen more highs and lows in the past few years than ever before, and it’s hard for many to stay the course and continue hiring to their best ability. Last week, we released our interview with Michael Varley on his predictions for the year to come. While creating that article, we realised that there is a lot in this industry that has become considerably uncertain.
With the past year bringing plenty of learning experiences, we decided to create an in-depth guide for the year ahead - what should recruiters look out for? What will change in the world of recruitment? How can we adjust to a remote-hybrid hiring world?
We reached out to some of the industry’s best to find out what recruiters (and candidates) should keep in mind for the year ahead. We got a wealth of information and sage knowledge from these experts. In fact, there was so much high-quality advice, we decided to release the report in two parts, giving every tip the platform it deserves.
We presented seven questions to these experts, all focused on finding out the direction and velocity of the hiring world in the next 12 months and beyond. These questions are:
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?
Without further ado, let’s get into the answers.
The main one is finding the perfect candidate for that role you urgently need to fill. This ultimately means attracting the right candidates for your open roles.
But current developments have thrown a wrench into that for many employers. Workers are ‘done with the current system’ and they’re dropping out en masse.
Candidates are no longer applying for any job that’s available. This means this question needs to be asked:
“What do you have to offer your employees that can make them want to work for you?”
Unless people want to work for you, you’ll continue to have challenges in attraction, retention, and most of all, engagement and productivity. Employers need to reevaluate their candidate attraction strategy going into 2022, especially in terms of their employee value proposition.
Another challenge is tech adoption. If you can ‘outsource’ your more mundane recruitment tasks, this gives you more opportunity to focus on those deeper challenges of hiring in 2022.
You’d like to think that the vast majority of companies have a high-quality applicant tracking system in their tech stack – but the actual number is surprisingly low.
A third challenge is resolving return-to-office (RTO), work-from-home (WFH), and hybrid/flexible setups. Different people expect different things, and different people want different things. What’s the solution here? We’re all still debating it, even two years after the pandemic hit.
Martin Janse van Rensburg:
So the big, big change is the entrance of more American-style companies into the European Framework. They're going to drive up salaries significantly, and also warp a lot of people's understanding of the market - especially with relation to stock option grants. I think that's going to be good for candidates and it's going to be bad for European VCs. They will need to learn how to fork out Silicon Valley level money.
I'll give you an example. A US-Based Developer Tools company opened a satellite office in Berlin, they pay a mid-level engineer €180,000 a year. Another American firm bought a company, they bumped all of the engineering salaries by €20,000 on the same day.
Quite plainly, the market is overheated. Companies are going to need to learn how to hire outside of their classic avenues and avatars and how to secure talent more quickly and more effectively than ever before.
I think a lot of recruitment firms will need to get very creative in their hiring practices.
I think it’s a very obvious one but there's not enough talent on the market - but there is a solution. Companies really tend to say, “We're hiring, we're hiring!” and screaming around everywhere and it’s a bit similar to a salesperson just screaming around “We’re selling, we’re selling!”
You’re going to see more and more companies investing in employer branding, truly putting their story out there through the eyes of their employees by putting their people forward. I see on my LinkedIn a lot of companies saying “This is a great place to work”, and using other approaches, which is much better. I think recruitment has a lot to learn from product, marketing and sales.
The competition in recruitment is getting so tough and companies are in a position where they almost have to meet candidates’ demands or start looking outside of their traditional modes. I think it's something that companies need to really start thinking about. I know that companies are getting really frustrated, it's starting to get unreasonable.
Our candidates now are demanding so much more because the competition is so high.
Which is a really interesting thing. Even in sales and development, you have early career professionals who are demanding higher and higher salaries that are really now far outside their level.
If we’re talking about employers, I think they’re overlooking the fact that there is indeed something they can do to overcome their current hiring challenges. We are in the midst of what some are calling a talent revolution.Pointing fingers at the millennials or blaming it all on the current economy/COVID situation isn’t going to work. The rules of talent engagement have changed. If you don’t adapt, you may fall behind.
Diversity metrics as they pertain to ethnicity and gender are now widely adopted, but there is still plenty to be done around neurodiversity, ageism, and even people returning from parental leave.
It’s going to be an interesting post-pandemic year for this, because remote work has brought a whole new dimension to accessibility
Martin Janse van Rensburg:
People are still looking at experience over potential.
They want to hire people because they know a certain language or because they have a certain experience, but they won’t look at the ability of that person to learn new skills. I have a friend, who decided they wanted to become the best in the world at PHP. Now, after a few years, they are probably the best in the world at PHP - but that doesn’t mean anything because it’s already outdated. Engineers that are too invested in a particular language or framework pose a business risk when technology changes and they struggle to adapt.
Recruiters should be looking at candidates that have the potential to learn more than just their current skill set, not just use their current experience.
I think this links up a lot with the idea of the Big Resignation, but people need to look at younger generations and that they get bored quickly and switch jobs.
This is not a character trait but it's through the connectedness of the world that we are close to the next big opportunity. We should not see it as a weakness, but as a superpower - how can we utilise highly talented, impatient employees in the best way for our business?
We are figuring this out at ACELR8, by building an infrastructure to grow talent from within. If you have a strong onboarding and training programme that is always there and can be easily repeated, then people can onboard really quickly and launch into their career. You’ll allow them to make a quick impact and can grow the business. Then, if the employees learn something and grow then they might stay a bit longer, but then also jump off, which is fine. A new person comes in and they can just do the same loop.
I think that word of mouth drives more activity than anything.
Most recruiting teams, their motive is based off of one thing, which is; ‘how do we find better ways to go reach out to candidates?’
From a recruiting aspect, on a day to day basis, most recruiters spend their days in LinkedIn Recruiter, trying to figure out how to get into somebody's inbox. The ability to get a result with that motive now is getting harder and harder because it's just about needing time. But the stuff that goes on in the background that we don't have any control over is where the magic happens. This idea of becoming the word-of-mouth solution is a really powerful way to think about your approach.
If you think of that as your North Star, it drives the right behaviour that will lead you to it. If you continually focus on that being the main objective of all of your behaviours, you will ultimately get there and that dramatic change.
Martin Janse van Rensburg:
VR and Video Interviews. Nobody has time for them and nobody has the resources.
It’s a fad made up by recruiters to make it seem like they’re doing something new or innovative.
Also, it’s restrictive too. A kid from a developing country isn’t going to be able to spend $500 on an Oculus Rift just in the hope that they might get a job.
Secondly, it wastes the recruiters time. I can sift through CVs and conventional applications considerably faster than I can in a video interview. It also includes a lot of unfair judgement, because not everyone is good in front of a camera. Traditional applications won’t be going anywhere.
The metaverse and Web3 are exciting, there’s certainly plenty of game-changing technology within that, but most of it is overblown and a bit gimmicky.
The core elements like blockchain tech in relation to business, NFTs in relation to art, and other projects will keep growing, but the rest will pretty quickly be seen as a phase.
AI and technology in recruitment has been touted as the ‘next big thing’ for a long time now – but fears that robots are taking over the hiring process are absolutely unfounded. It’s not as big a deal as people say it is.
In fact, the opposite is happening. Hiring itself has evolved from simple backfills and payroll. It’s now tied directly to core company objectives and strategy. Marketing has found its way into recruitment because you’re marketing to candidates, who are your future ‘customers’. A strong employer brand is a must, because people do talk about you.
This all falls on the shoulders of HR – meaning HR is growing as a key function within a company, requiring knowledge work as opposed to task management and implementation.
It’s a huge opportunity for HR that technology can’t adequately tackle. The right combination of human minds and AI-assisted processes can be a marriage made in heaven.
I think CV and cover letters are drastically outdated.
We have Linkedin that states your CV, and designers and developers show their portfolio. This holistic showcase of your work is something that is becoming accessible for every role in tech.
You now see so many new ways of candidates expressing themselves online and through the web. I do think recruiters should look at the entire profile of the person more than just a few words written in the CV.
I think recruitment is behind in what they could actually do with finding people and sourcing new talent. We should get creative, look beyond people years of experience and hire for trajectory, energy and potential
If I look at technology in this space, the technology is more or less about how to make the current recruiting model more efficient.
I don't think recruiting, in general, has changed much; kind of ever.
It's still based on resumes and job descriptions and it's still based off of recruiters picking up the phone or sending a message to candidates. I think the technology that continues to come out is all based on this current model. I don't think there's enough people who know the industry thinking about what the future of this space could look like building for that.
We see things like AI and it's all about efficiency. The thought is that if we could just get recruiters actually recruiting and spending less time on sourcing or having to find candidates within the industry to improve and it’s great in a way, I agree with that in general. But there isn't really much right now that comes out that I get excited about. It’s often just a better way of helping an inefficient model.
Martin Janse van Rensburg
I’ve been in the recruiting industry for a decade and every year people say the industry is “hot” - it never cools down. People will always be looking to hire more people, and it won’t get easier or harder.
I think there’ll be a correction. The market just can’t continue at the same level as it has been for the last 12 months, it’s unsustainable. You will see a dip in the market, but this isn’t a cooling down, more of just a steadying of the ship.
Heated, for sure. Talent turnover is high, but that doesn’t mean that people are not open to new jobs and opportunities. They’re just looking for the jobs best suited to their needs. This means competition is fierce among employers for top candidates – so yes, TA is going to be even more heated in 2022. I may even suggest that the Great Resignation is just the first of the two shoes to drop.
I think it will cool down in the sense that recruiting will settle in more, this means getting more attention and focus in every company because there's just so much craziness around recruitment at the moment. Companies are reactive to the market and the potential that companies have in this climate. There are not enough recruiters, there's not enough talent. Everybody's freaking out and just buying any recruitment tool that you can buy just to get one or two more candidates in the process.
I think we'll see companies realise that hiring is so important and that slowing down and focusing on quality and sustainable growth when you’re hiring is the way to go.
In a way, cool down. I think one of the biggest problems with recruiting has to do with the massive amounts of VC funding flooding the system.
Because of that funding, hiring skyrockets, but you still have under-resourced departments. This is what makes the market hyper-competitive and floods the system and it's a repetitive cycle. Yeah, it is very based on funding and how much money is put in the system.
But I think that funding is going to slow down, because it has gotten out of control. I've heard investors talking recently about the cautions that they're going to start taking and how they’re planning on becoming more wary. So it will cool down a little.
Martin Janse van Rensburg
Cultural fit interviews. They n’t make any sense, for the candidate at least. A company should be able to figure out if a candidate is a good cultural fit or add through the other interviews by embedding the right questions at other stages.
You can see this in numbers: if you take a look at data on interview pass-through rates at companies who engage in culture-related interviews, there will be close to zero people not making it through the cultural fit round. It just doesn’t make any sense for there to be a dedicated time for that interview.
The only reason they are there is to make the company feel better about their own hiring process and that they are nurturing culture.
Unclear rejection reasons. If you reject candidates and you don't take the time to tell them why, it's such a missed opportunity. For the candidate as they have an opportunity to grow and possibly redirect their job search, but also for yourself, as you are one step closer to knowing what you are looking for in a candidate.
A lot of the reason is you're legally bound to not share that much, but it’s also because recruiters just don't have enough time to call every candidate.
The lengthy job descriptions and time-consuming evaluation process. Both need to be shorter. Don’t overanalyze your candidates and don’t ask so much of them before they even start to apply for your roles – it’s a huge turnoff for them, and in a candidate-driven market, that’s a mistake for employers.
In many cases, an individual with great potential and the right attitude can actually do more than someone with the right background and experience. Find good people who want to work for you, develop them to their full abilities (consider L&D and a career plan as value props, for instance), and you’ll see the results.
I’d actually like to keep one thing in: Clients should insist on face-to-face interaction for candidates.
Nothing can replace the energy and feel of someone sharing the same room as the team.
It’s happened multiple times now that I’ve seen teams spend 20+ hours on a remote hiring process, just for the sparks to not fly when it comes to the face to face meeting in the office. I know a lot of remote-first companies might not agree but I am a bit of an in-person purist.
In a perfect world? Canned screen calls. I'm a big believer in “lower volume, higher quality”. Whether you're selling a job or you're selling a product, it doesn’t matter.
If recruiters talked to fewer people but who are more qualified and more educated, those calls are going to be really productive conversations. I think recruiters spend too much time running through the same checklist to screen a candidate in or out because they have to.
In a perfect world, I would like to see that first conversation be a highly productive conversation for both parties involved. If you have the right person, who's way more deep down the funnel, they're going to be way more bought in.
It’s already changed. y do you think people are quitting left, right, and centre? They’re expecting different things now – they’re not just choosing to work or choosing not to work. They’re choosing a third route altogether, be that in the gig economy or pursuing a passion project. Employers are not only competing with other employers for candidates – they’re also competing with candidates’ life priorities.
The market is completely candidate-driven at the moment, but as I said above that will slow down when there’s a correction later on this year.
Martin Janse van Rensburg
Yes — if you’re good. It’s absolutely true that at the higher levels there is a massive demand for engineers. For example, if a really experienced candidate posts something on Twitter saying they’re looking for a new job, there’s no point in me even reaching out to them, because I know many, many recruiters will reach out to them. The probability of hiring them is fairly low.
Yes, absolutely. It’s quite simple really - there’s plenty of jobs and not enough talent - this comes from the huge amount of capital available. It’s a candidate’s market for the first time in a long time, and that’s interesting. Companies need to adapt.”
Yes, I think certain candidates have gotten a little too cocky. Like Software Engineers. Some people within that space think “I don’t need anything, I don't need any platform, I don't need a tool. I have so many job opportunities.”
That's really nice for them, but at the same time, there's a huge population of people who really need a job, and they're out there looking. They're getting overlooked because the biggest companies really go after a very small sample of talent. I don't think that power dynamic, so long as companies are unwilling to hire outside the box and look outside of job description, is going to change.
This small group of candidates who are already being gainfully employed, who have most of the opportunities are going to continue to get those and they can continue to have more and more power in the market.
Martin Janse van Rensburg
First thing you should do is hire a Head of Talent.
It may sound biased coming from me but speaking with a number of founders, they have all said they were shocked at how much time they spend searching, sourcing, and interviewing. Get someone really experienced who knows the market and let them find all the top talent for you. That way, you can actually focus on doing what you want to do, instead of being stuck in interviews all day every day.
Also, don’t get fancy. Stick with the basics and get your business stable before anything else.
Hire slowly and with care.
The first hires are the base of who you're going to hire after, and they’ll build the foundation for your entire business.
I think how you can do that is actually to hire conversationally, in essence. Have conversations with people you hire, really get to know them. Take it slowly and make sure you all share the same vision and they bring a new perspective.
Keep your ear to the ground.
You don’t know what’s best for candidates and employees unless you listen to them, and pay attention to the overall needs and expectations of the talent market. There’s a lot going on right now, a lot is changing, and it can be intimidating. But if you hire with an open mind and empathetic ear, and you build an employee value proposition that appeals directly to candidates, you may find that candidate attraction isn’t as much a challenge for you as it is for others.
Plan your process meticulously.
Really take the time to fully understand what you want and where you want to go. Don’t get fancy, be really slow and quite boring actually. A lot of founders really want to move fast and break things but with hiring, you should be as methodical and unsexy as possible to give yourself the best chance. It’s the best way to increase your chances of hiring success.
Really consider contract workers.
This is the one thing that I'm kind of bullish on, especially for startups. I think gig work, project-based work is really the future of the labour market as it applies to knowledge workers. I think younger generations see that if they have a skill that is a high demand skill, they can work in that more free-form format.
This works for companies too - if they just hire a core group of people and then have contractors for the rest it really saves them time and resources. Even for things like culture, it’s just such a time saver. There are lots of pros and cons, but if you have contract-based workers, they’re not fully invested in the company, and the feeling is reciprocal.
Of course, this approach can only really work for startups. I have a friend, he’s really high up in a corporate position, and he explained that many large companies have no idea how to deal with this. I think they’re really going to struggle with the new gig culture that is emerging. Now, startups have the opportunity to get some really really smart people before the big guys notice what’s going on.
Part Two Coming Soon
There you have it - the first half of our Global Recruitment Report. Already we’ve had plenty of contradicting opinions, hot takes, and expert insights. Recruitment is a minefield, with plenty of paths to the same solution.
Looking for more expert opinions? Stay tuned to hear more from us next week with advice from: