The nature of work has undergone profound changes in the last few years — and the future of talent acquisition is sure to follow suit.
Thanks to investments in digital transformation, a rise in freelance work, and the onset of a global pandemic, businesses today are becoming increasingly borderless, remote, and digitally-driven.
Companies have found themselves facing entirely new talent needs, skills gaps, and business challenges compared with just a few years ago.
As a result, the way they seek talent — as well as the types of talent they pursue — needs to change.
In this post, we’ll cover four major trends that all recruiters, hiring managers, and business strategists need to prepare for.
1. Remote and globally dispersed workforces are here to stay
Before Covid-19 arrived and upended our lives, companies were already becoming more globally dispersed, with many already operating offices across different countries and time zones. But since the pandemic started, many businesses have redefined the definition of a global workforce.
Today, companies are increasingly hiring individual employees and freelance talent from all corners of the world with the intention of being completely remote.
With a growing share of remote workers, certain soft skills will become crucial to maintaining quality and synchronization within teams in the future. For example, assessing candidates for skills like communication, accountability, motivation, teamwork, flexibility, and collaboration will be more important than ever.
In the future of talent acquisition, enlisting freelance talent will be even more strategic for businesses striving for speed and agility. Freelancers are used to working independently in a remote setting, and require much less onboarding than full-time workers. Furthermore, they understand the importance of being self-driven and motivated, as their ability to find work depends on it.
As more and more people enter the freelance economy, businesses will have even more choice when selecting the best non-payroll talent. Already, there are more than 59 million freelancers in the US today.
2. Digital-first businesses will require new skill sets
As more aspects of business become digitally transformed, companies will need access to talent with a high digital aptitude, experience working on various workplace technologies, and the ability to imagine new digital capabilities.
Specifically, you will need workers who can do:
- Data science and analytics
- Digital marketing
- Digital project management
- Product management
- Social media
When planning for the future of talent acquisition, it’s crucial to note that the pool of qualified talent has shrunk — technology is developing faster than the general workforce is learning new skills.
As skills gaps widen, high-tech talents will be the most in-demand. The challenge for recruiters is that these talents tend to be more passive than proactive when finding new jobs. Usually, they rely on their own personal networks or word-of-mouth referrals to land new gigs, which means you may not even find them on once-popular networks like LinkedIn.
In the future of talent acquisition, it will be equally important to seek freelancers and independent contractors as it is to pursue full-time staff. With more and more elite talents electing for the flexibility of freelancing, some of the best workers out there will be in the freelance market.
3. Strategic workforce planning is more important than ever
The role of the recruiter is evolving rapidly. In the future of talent acquisition, recruiters will need to act less like sales reps who are there to promote their company and more like business strategists.
Therefore, HR and business decision-makers must work closely together to align on company strategy and subsequent talent needs.
Strategic workforce planning is crucial to overall success. Recruiters must have systems in place to:
- Accurately assess current talent and forecast future needs
- Identify skills gaps
- Determine essential skills for business growth and success
- Have a system in place for determining whether to hire full-time staff, develop new skills among current staff, or enlist freelance talent
- Monitor supply and demand in the labor market
Different talent needs call for different talent solutions. In some cases, you will need to bring in a new full-time employee, such as when they perform a role or possess a skill that is in constant need and critical to business operations. But in many other cases, freelancers are offer the most benefits.
Building up a strong rank of freelance talent is invaluable to fast-paced businesses that are trying to increase their agility and adaptability. As global markets become even more volatile and unpredictable, having the ability to quickly pivot business strategy and access flexible talent will give companies a leg up over their competition.
4. Technology will play an even larger role in finding and vetting talent
Most recruiters already depend on an array of digital tools to find and interview workers, but the current tech stack often falls short. Nearly three-quarters of recruiters (68%) say better recruiting tools and technology would enable them to be more successful at the jobs.
According to LinkedIn’s The Future of Recruiting Report, the tools that would make the biggest impact on the recruitment process include:
- Tools to find and engage candidates – 68%
- Soft skills assessments – 60%
- Tools to analyze talent market – 54%
- Video interviewing – 53%
- CRMs / candidate database – 51%
When evaluating new technologies, one of the most essential benefits to keep in mind is efficiency. Will the given tool save recruiters time, help them weed on irrelevant candidates, and direct them to the ideal workers? Whether you are searching for platforms to guide your talent search or video tools that speed up interviews, the tool’s potential to improve efficiency is paramount to its value proposition.
The future of talent acquisition is strategic, remote, and digitally adept
Succeeding in an increasingly remote and digital business landscape will require businesses to anticipate skills gaps and acquire workers with advanced digital and interpersonal skills, who are well-suited to work in remote and digital companies.
To achieve this, recruiters are becoming agents of business strategy. They are not only responsible for building up the company ranks, but for also helping develop the HR tech stack to increase efficiency and access the most in-demand talent. Finally, working together with company executives and decision makers will be central to positioning the company to fulfill its goals and stay competitive in uncertain times.