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8 talent acquisition and recruitment trends in 2022

2021 was the year remote work and employee experience management came to the fore in HR, while HR also had to manage workforce absences and turnover caused by the pandemic.

With the COVID-19 pandemic at last beginning to recede, it's becoming clear what the "new normal" will look like. The effect of the pandemic on HR has been widespread. In particular, recruiting has faced many challenges caused by the Great Resignation and COVID quarantines. The year so far has seen continued turnover and staffing challenges.

Here are eight ongoing and emerging trends that should have a major effect on your recruiting strategy in 2022.

1. Remote interviewing

Work from home (WFH) emerged as a major trend in talent acquisition and recruitment in 2021. Remote interviewing became a necessity for hiring during the pandemic wherever WFH orders were in place and candidates were unable or unwilling to travel by air for long-distance interviews. WFH has remained – even if not every day of the week for every organization – and remote interviewing is a trend that looks to gain further traction in 2022 as businesses downsize office space and take advantage of the productivity gains from remote work.

With remote interviewing, job interviews taking place on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Cisco Webex, or specialized video interviewing tools, such as HireVue and Montage. The technology also facilitates collaborative hiring by making it easier for other departments to participate in the interview and selection process.

Although remote interviewing has become a prominent trend, it isn't without its challenges. Presenting oneself in a professional manner can be difficult if it isn't possible to interview from a tidy or professional location, while the presence of children or pets at home can create a noisy and distracting environment for both interviewer and interviewee. Unforeseen technical challenges -- even those that are out of a candidate's control -- can cause candidates to become flustered and embarrassed, which ultimately can lead to recruiters being put off a candidate. Luckily, many of the videoconferencing technologies have introduced custom and blurred background options and their reliability has improved.

Although the pandemic has eased with the arrival of vaccines and other treatments, the remote interviewing trend looks to be here to stay because of its convenience, ability to be used on short notice, and usefulness in collaborative hiring.

2. Candidate experience

The pandemic helped to make 2020 the year of the employee experience and the trend has continued. The pandemic accelerated the need for employee listening programs and developing an experience that maintains the health and well-being of employees, promotes positive work-life balance as well as giving them the positive experience that will encourage them to stay after the pandemic is over. This emphasis on providing a good experience also extends to candidates.

Talent acquisition trends for 2022
Emerging trends in diversity and remote hiring will join ongoing moves toward AI, analytics, experience management and skills as HR and recruiting priorities in 2022.

Organizations that focus on building a positive experience and company culture for employees are found to be more successful and profitable. The same effects apply to the candidate experience. Upgrading career sites and using surveys to get feedback from candidates are two ways employers have improved their candidate experiences. In addition, recruitment marketing and career site software can help personalize the hiring process and gather analytics to help improve the candidate experience.

Candidates want career sites that are easy to use and can help them quickly and easily set up a profile, search for jobs and apply. If these processes are not straightforward, job hunters will navigate to career sites that have been optimized in these ways. Candidates are also unlikely to recommend career sites they find to be awkward, slow and complicated.

But the candidate experience doesn't stop there. It continues after a candidate has been placed in the candidate pool for a job. How companies communicate with candidates, organize and conduct interviews and execute follow-up processes shows candidates how professional an organization is and whether they would want to work there. In an already competitive labor market that is now being disrupted by the Great Resignation, the overall experience is crucial to not only attracting the best talent available but winning over that talent from your competitors and building a strong employer brand.

3. Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion is another area of growing focus for HR leaders that directly affects talent acquisition and recruitment. Statistics show that businesses with a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace have better productivity and profitability. Many organizations are looking to boost the diversity of their workforces and recruiters are responsible for identifying and including a wider diversity of candidates in the talent pool.

These goals bring potential challenges, such as a racial or gender bias for or against certain candidates and neglecting highly qualified and experienced candidates.

Racial diversity statistics in the tech industry
Recruiters are now expected to make diversity in hiring a top priority. Many industries, including tech, have minority hiring rates that don't reflect the general population.

4. Contingent workers

Staffing the workforce is increasingly difficult as businesses face a prolonged period of disruption and uncertainty caused by ongoing COVID-19 infections and quarantine rules. Fluctuating business needs require flexibility, and contingent labor can help meet those demands.

Over the past few years, there has been an upward trend in using contingent workers and creating a hiring process expressly for them. Talent acquisition is different for contingent workers than it is for full-time employees, and organizations need to be set up to seek out, recruit and process these types of hires. A vendor management system can be a useful tool for managing procurement of contingent workers, but organizations should also be prepared to use their career site and social media marketing to appeal to contingent workers and set up different interview methods and vendor approval processes. Whatever you do, know that recruiting contingent workers remains a trend at many companies.

5. Analytics

While not strictly a recruiting trend -- HR in general is adopting analytics at a rapid rate -- analytics remains a hot trend that will affect how organizations define their talent acquisition strategies and recruit talent.

The use of analytics across talent acquisition processes helps deliver data-driven decision-making and insights to identify areas of strength and weakness, as well as reduce the cost of talent acquisition practices, identify problems and blockages in the process, and fill vacant roles more quickly. Additionally, talent analytics can prove the effectiveness and ROI of your recruiting software investments.

More specifically, analytics can help provide recruiters such metrics as the following:

  • source of hire
  • time to fill
  • time to hire
  • age of job (how long a job has been open)
  • offer acceptance rate
  • cost per hire
  • quality of hire
  • vacancy cost (how much it costs the organization while the position remains vacant)
  • diversity

With predictive analytics -- which is also trending up -- recruiters can project and predict future trends, such as estimated future candidate performance, predicted time to fill, interview acceptance probability and predicted tenure of a candidate.

Advances in technology mean that aggregation, trend identification, visualization and predictive analytics are now standard parts of most recruiting software.

6. Robotic process automation

Robotic process automation (RPA) is an increasingly popular technology that can automate manual, repetitive activities. RPA bots are capable of performing a vast array of recruiting tasks that normally take several hours. RPA performs operations on a bulk scale that doesn't require any level of human intervention. For example, verifying documents for a large number of candidates requires a lot of effort but doesn't need a person to be involved. A bot can simply process each document for verification and upload the results into an applicant tracking system. This can save recruiters significant time and effort.

RPA is trending because the technology can do a tremendous amount of heavy lifting at high speed, while simultaneously adding value and automation to the talent acquisition processes. The technology -- when combined with AI -- can source, screen, sort and rank candidates to create a pipeline of qualified candidates that are likely to succeed in vacant positions, based on the skills and potential gleaned from candidate profiles, resumes and social media. These steps involve highly repetitive manual tasks, but by using an RPA bot, recruiters can cut the effort from hours or days to minutes.

7. Artificial intelligence

One of the fastest growing areas of talent acquisition software today is the use of AI to improve ways to source, identify and engage talent. These range from smart talent platforms, such as Eightfold AI, to job-posting platforms, chatbots and natural language processing (NLP). AI is also used to minimize bias in candidate identification, selection and hiring.

Unlike RPA – which performs a large volume of manual, repetitive tasks – AI can perform intelligent activities, such as reviewing resumes for specific skills, characteristics or keywords. Combined with RPA, AI can add intelligence to high-volume tasks, helping recruiters review a large number of job boards, process documents and read and process data from those sources.

Recruitment chatbots can help engage candidates and provide details about jobs while they search. NLP helps organizations write job postings and offer letters more accurately and appealingly and free of unsuitable language that might discourage some candidates from applying. It also enables chatbots to be user-friendly and accurate when responding to people.

In addition, machine learning adds continuous improvement to AI, which means the software becomes more effective the longer it's used.

8. Skills and competencies

Assessing skills and competencies and using them to source, screen and match candidates to open vacancies is becoming a much hotter topic thanks to the power of AI. Although skills and competencies have been used in talent management for quite some time, particularly for identifying and matching successors to key positions or identifying career paths, they haven't always been used effectively in talent acquisition.

Particular skills and competencies can be critical for hiring the right employees. For example, a healthcare position requires specific skills compared to a psychiatrist, yet they may also overlap in one or two key areas. Nontechnical or soft skills, such as time management and critical thinking, as well as hard skills, such as engineering and software development, must all be considered. Having the right software to help you match the right candidates to the right jobs based on a set of skills and competencies will increase the success of your recruiting process.

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