Diversity, new interviewing tools, data, and artificial intelligence are the four trends set to have the biggest impact on recruiting in the coming year, according to LinkedIn’s latest Global Recruiting Trends report. Based on a survey of over 9,000 talent leaders and hiring managers worldwide, along with a series of expert interviews, the report underscores the growing role of technology in shaping how companies meet their hiring goals, of which diversity is increasingly paramount. Nonetheless, while many HR leaders see these trends as important, the number of organizations fully acting on them lags far behind.
Diversity was the top trend by far, with 78 percent of respondents saying it was very or extremely important, though only 53 percent said their organizations had mostly or completely adopted diversity-oriented recruiting. In recent years, diversity has evolved from a compliance issue to a major driver of culture and performance, as more and more organizations recognize its bottom-line value. This shift was reflected in the LinkedIn report, with 62 percent of the companies surveyed saying they believed boosting diversity would have a positive impact on financial performance and 78 percent saying they were pursuing it to improve their culture. Additionally, 49 percent are looking to ensure that their workforce better reflects the diversity of their customer base.
Diversity was the only top trend identified in LinkedIn’s survey that wasn’t directly related to technology, but technology is definitely influencing how organizations are pursuing it. In the past year, we have seen the emergence of new software and tools to support diversity and inclusion. The aim of these tools is to remove the human error of unconscious bias from the recruiting process, but it’s important to be aware that automated processes can also develop built-in biases and end up replicating the very problem they are meant to solve. This is an issue we’ve been following in our research at CEB, now Gartner; CEB Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council members can read more of our insights on algorithmic bias here.
The development of new interview tools and techniques was identified as the second most important trend, with 56 percent saying it was important. The LinkedIn survey found that the most common areas where traditional interviews fail are assessing candidates’ soft skills (63 percent), understanding candidates’ weaknesses (57 percent), the biases of interviewers (42 percent), and the process taking too long (36 percent). The report highlights five new interviewing techniques, all enabled by technology, that aim to address these problems:
- Online soft skills assessments measure traits like teamwork and curiosity and give a more holistic picture of candidates earlier in the process. Citi, for example, has implemented such assessments for its campus recruiting program, leading to more diverse candidates and a better understanding of their talents.
- In job auditions, companies pay candidates to do real work so that they can observe skills in action. Citadel designed day-long job auditions in which about 100 students compete for cash by solving real business problems with data.
- Casual interviews typically take place over a meal and can offer a unique look into a candidate’s character. A famous example is the CEO of Charles Schwab who takes candidates to lunch and asks for the restaurant to mess up their orders on purpose. There are plenty of other examples of companies creatively adapting this concept.
- With virtual reality (VR), companies immerse candidates in simulated 3-D environments to test their skills in a standardized way. Lloyds Banking Group has been a front-runner in this aspect and has seen great results when it comes to reducing bias and engaging candidates.
- Video interviews can be recorded or live and help by tapping a broader talent pool in far less time. KPMG Australia is a great example of a company who has implemented them for its entry-level hires and seen increased efficiency.
Data came in third, with 50 percent calling it a top trend. The top uses respondents identified for data in talent acquisition were increasing retention, evaluating skills gaps, building better offers, understanding candidate preferences, workforce planning, and predicting candidate success. Among talent professionals, 69 percent believed data could elevate their careers.
While data and analytics are certainly going to become an ever-greater part of how organizations manage talent, some major obstacles stand in the way of making talent acquisition and management more data-driven: To begin with, the data most companies are collecting isn’t high quality, and HR leaders have also expressed concern about aligning talent analytics to critical business questions and securing the cross-functional participation needed to make their programs effective. Only 18 percent of LinkedIn’s respondents said their organization was fully applying data in their recruiting processes.
Artificial intelligence, LinkedIn’s fourth top trend, was identified as important by 35 percent of respondents, while just 8 percent said they had already adopted it. The HR leaders surveyed said that AI was most useful in sourcing and screening candidates, but least helpful when it comes to engaging, interviewing, and building relationships with candidates. While this technology is still in its infancy, so far, we’ve seen AI being used primarily at the front end of the recruiting process, helping recruiters sort through resumes, identify qualified candidates, and keep candidates informed on the status of their applications. While automation of certain job functions may cause recruiters to fear for their jobs, AI should ultimately allow them to be more strategic, focusing on building relationships with candidates and better understanding their organization’s needs.
With technology enabling rapid evolution in how the HR function operates, it’s no surprise to see technological advancements heavily influencing the biggest trends in the recruiting function. As HR continues to evolve from an operational function into a strategic driver of business outcomes, the impact of these innovations is likely to grow even further.