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Experts Weigh in on What’s to Come in 2019

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If you talk to just about anyone who works in talent acquisition, they’ll say that recruiting in today’s market is harder and more challenging than ever before. Between the shifting expectations of job seekers and the increased competition for top talent, companies have been forced to improve and modernize their recruiting strategies.

So how will things evolve (for better or worse) in 2019? We asked some recognized industry experts what they think.

William Tincup, SPHR / SHRM-SCP, President, RecruitingDaily

Outside of the predictable discussions of how AI will take over all sourcing and recruitment positions, I think the biggest issue we face is that our audience is changing in noticeable ways. The ground beneath us is shifting: Millennials (ages 24 to 38) on average have a 12-second attention span. Gen Zers (ages 8 to 23) are even worse – with an 8-second attention span. Let that sink in. Between the two generations, we’ve lost 4 seconds of attention span. This changes the game for all of us. And let’s remember that Gen Z is who we’re recruiting from college and for entry-level positions. So are we going to be blindsided by how these audiences want communications, content, scheduling, interviewing, etc.? Personally, I’d worry more about how the audience is changing and/or how we can leverage said change and less about Alexa and Siri.


Meghan M. Biro, CEO, TalentCulture

We’re going to be seeing more organizations relying on bots for recruiting and hiring. Chatbots will not only play the role of information-giver and question-answerer, but also talent-spotter. Bots and machine learning will capitalize on the power of AI to be able to perceive great talent when it shows up. How? By asking the right questions and detecting the skills, qualifications and personalities that match the job opening – as well as the organization. I keep having this discussion, but I see Gen Z talent responding really well to chatbots when it comes to being recruited and engaged in the application process. I think this is a great shift, so long as we make sure the organizational culture is reflected in the chatbot tools. We also can’t tip too far the other way: it’s great to take the burden off of our recruiters and hiring teams so they can get back to being human instead of being completely overwhelmed. But we can’t just process people through a mill. High-touch, frequent contact and authenticity still need to drive every aspect of talent acquisition.


Russell Miyaki, SVP, Creative Services, TMP Worldwide

Talent marketing is changing. Not because of technology, but because the workforce is changing. New types of candidate experiences are being driven by the alternative workforce: flex time, gig economy, co-working, swarms, and virtual teams. This all brings new candidate behaviors, motivational needs and viewpoints about work – with multiple generations all having to work together. So new candidate experiences will all have to resonate with the human motivational differences between multiple generations in the workforce.


Tim Sackett, President, HRU Technical Resources

One thing we see changing in the near future is the level of hyper-personalization being used in recruitment marketing. Candidates don’t want to apply to your “engineer” job. They want you to find them desirable for a job you believe is a perfect fit for them. “I’m not an ‘Engineer’! I’m Mary Smith, an Engineer! Do you want me, or do you just want another engineer?” Candidates, especially in high-demand fields, expect that you are hyper-personalizing the job and the message to them and only them.


Matt Alder, Recruiting Future Podcast

With the talent market tightening ever further, talent acquisition teams will need to up their game in 2019. Identifying and targeting the right talent won’t be enough. The employers who will be the most successful will be the ones that get attention, engage and persuade through effective employer brand storytelling.


Jennifer Vaughan, VP Digital Strategy, North America, TMP Worldwide

As the competition for talent continues to escalate, we are going to see an increase in companies offering sign-on bonuses and wild perks to woo candidates. Too often, focusing on an incredible sign-on offer and perks tends to mask the employer’s true value proposition, which creates a disconnect in the reality of the employment experience for the new hire. Unfortunately, this is likely to lead to an increase in turnover and employee dissatisfaction.


Todd Raphael, Editor, ERE

Ageism will be the most talked-about form of workplace/recruitment discrimination. Companies will begin to think about how the language they use in job ads, job descriptions and career sites – as well as their policies and offerings – will attract and repel people over 40. 


Debbie McGrath, CEO & Chief Instigator, HR.com

As long as the unemployment rate remains low, the investment in talent acquisition will only continue to increase. I see this coming from three main sources:

  1. Roll-up of point solutions to offer a more complete solution
  2. ERP investing in newer technology and buying Best of Breed Suppliers 
  3. New innovative players will be predominantly funding AI, machine learning and the start of blockchain

Nathan Perrot, VP, Digital Marketing Solutions, AIA Worldwide

For me, data is going to be one thing that will need to change in 2019. First of all, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) helped hit the reset button for most, in terms of how we manage and use data. This is ultimately a good thing for everyone concerned in marketing – especially the candidate. 2019 should be about how we collect more meaningful data and insights (while respecting the end user), and then leveraging that data to inform talent acquisition strategies. I like to think of the “5 Vs of data” when talking to clients (adapted from IBM’s “3 Vs of big data” a few years back) to articulate the challenge TA professionals face:

  • Velocity – The speed at which data comes to us nowadays. How can we process it quickly enough to interpret it and then use it to make decisions in a suitable timeframe?
  • Volume – The sheer amount of data that can be collected. Not all of it is useful, so how do we store and sift through the numbers to tell a story?
  • Variety – The different types of data we can collect. But are we measuring comparable data? Is it collected in the same method?  
  • Veracity – The integrity of the data we’re collecting. Is it trustworthy? As they say, rubbish in, rubbish out.
  • Visibility – Do we have access to all the data? Are we seeing the whole picture?  

I think data in TA still has a long way to go to become useful. And while there’s a lot of promise out there, the reality is that those who have solid data infrastructures to collect, store, understand and leverage the data to inform their approach will be the organizations that really stride forward   


Kevin W. Grossman, President and Board Member, Talent Board

Per our global Talent Board Candidate Experience Awards benchmark research, candidate experiences, employer branding and recruitment marketing will be the top three recruiting initiatives for 2019. Talent acquisition leaders and their teams will accomplish these initiatives by improving their internal processes and efficiencies, followed by implementing new technologies and keeping current staffing. Technology will also continue to be a powerful ally when it comes to communicating and engaging with candidates. Texting is one form of communication that will continue to increase in the talent acquisition space, as well as career site chat bots and candidate recommendation algorithms.


Todd Maycunich, VP Product Innovation, TMP Worldwide & TMP Labs

The capital markets were again highly active in 2018 after a relatively down year in 2017. Of note was not just the number of deals, but also the average deal size – which was up from just over $5M in 2017 to just over $15M last year. The biggest change, though, may be the improvement in the average deal size for early-stage startups (seed + series A), which was at $5.9M in 2018. What this means for talent acquisition is a new crop of well-funded startups with an eye on helping solve their problems, and undoubtedly leveraging AI in doing so. Increasingly important in delivering “problem-solving AI” and not “problem-accelerating AI” will be understanding and supervising what is increasingly a becoming black box addition to how employers source, recruit and manage talent. The one thing I see changing this year is that adding ways of supervising AI and automation and gathering incremental feedback to improve AI and automation will make humanity emerge as the killer feature.

About Neta Yoffe

Neta is the Director of Marketing for TMP Worldwide. By day, she oversees and executes strategic global marketing and communications efforts; social media, content development and marketing, public relations, digital marketing, influencer relations and thought leadership, and global brand strategy. However, by night, Neta shares her social media and marketing wisdom as a contributor to various publications, along with her delicious recipes that she whips up in the kitchen.

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