Top Talent Acquisition and HR Trends From Empower 2017

Deanna Hartley

Senior talent acquisition and HR leaders from around the country converged in Chicago this week for Empower 2017, CareerBuilder’s exclusive annual event, to discuss the latest trends, innovations and best practices in talent acquisition, employment screening and human capital management.

Themes that emerged included technology-led automation, the link between employment screening and candidate experience, the importance of designing an employee experience, and AI’s impact on recruitment — all to help you win in today’s competitive talent marketplace.

Below are some of the key trends from #CBEmpower you need to know about.

1. Too much friction is ruining your recruitment process. Job seekers are used to intuitive, simple transactions — from shopping on Amazon to ordering an Uber. These services offer a smooth (aka friction-free) process.

CareerBuilder’s VP of Product Development Leigh-Margaret Stull and VP of Recruitment Technology Development Jennifer Seith recommend your recruitment process to be just as smooth because job seekers are not afraid to walk away from your job posting once they hit a hurdle.

After all, the average job seeker applies to 24 jobs in a single session. Within the first 24 hours of posting public resume they will be contacted 12 times. They’re in demand and they’re not going to take time to answer screener questions or lengthy applications. And they’re not going to apply if your posting doesn’t have the information they’re looking for: salary, benefits, employee ratings and contact information for the hiring manager. That’s why everything from your approach to recruitment to the technology you’re using need to be candidate-friendly.

Don't get left behind - find out more about the recruiting transformation.

2. How today’s workforce trends are driving changes in recruitment technology. The decades-old recruitment model of ‘post and pray’ is dead. Today’s workforce is changing, with candidates in more control than ever of how they choose to work. As a result, technology is changing as well. As talent acquisition professionals, we must evolve, too.

“Job boards have evolved; so must we," said says Tim Sackett, HR thought leader and founder of The Tim Sackett Project. Sackett says the backbone of our recruiting future is artificial intelligence. “AI [artificial intelligence] will speed up your recruiting and eliminate more than admin work – it’ll increase your quality of hire and your diversity hiring, as well.” Sackett says it won’t be long until we are able to source candidates the same way we order products or services from Amazon Echo or Google Home. “As machine learning and AI capacity increase, we can envision a time where recruiting as we know it no longer exists."

See how today's new recruitment needs are driving technology advances.

3. Innovations in AI will transform recruitment in the future. The world is evolving faster than we think, ushering in an era of the latest advancements in sourcing, search, AI and more. So what are the implications for you and your business? Kevin Wheeler — founder and chairman, Future of Talent Institute — says not to fear the common myth that recruiters will be mostly replaced by computers because there is still plenty for recruiters to do. They may just need to shift their focus from conducting transactional tasks to undertaking more strategic endeavors, which will set them up for success in the long term.

"Don't live in trembling fear your job is going away any time soon - we still need people to make decisions," he said. "I'm a fan of AI, but we need to use it with caution and with human judgment. We need to put the human element in what we do."

He explained that you need to let automation do the transactional aspects of your job — screening, interviewing, scheduling, onboarding, etc. Instead, he points to some essential “survival skills” for the recruiters of the future. “[You should] embrace human skills — conversation, networking and community building," he added. "Become a coach for candidates and hiring managers. Build skills in influencing, negotiation and relationship development."

Learn more about how innovations in AI will intersect with recruitment in the future.

4. The best companies to work for design their employee experience. Employee experience is crucial to your organization’s success – experience creates engagement, and engagement impacts performance, retention and advocacy. Employee engagement expert Jason Lauritsen says organizations that want to gain a competitive advantage – and be a best place to work – need to design a work experience built on the pillars of clarity, connection and love.

“Sustainable employee engagement starts with creating a work experience that is engaging to employees,” Lauritsen said. “The way we experience work is determined by how we feel about work. That’s what drives engagement – and that’s what fuels our performance.”

Learn more about how post-hire technology can make or break your employee experience.

5. Background checks can make or break your candidate experience. According to CareerBuilder research, 48 percent of candidates say the background check experience impacts how favorably they view an employer. Yet, having a positive employment screening process starts with understanding industry trends and staying up-to-date on current legal and regulatory activity. By arming yourself with the right information and working with the right employment screening partner, you can maintain compliance while also providing the best possible experience for candidates.

Keep in mind that 72 percent of candidates are frustrated by not understanding what takes so long during the background screening process. “If the background check process takes too long, candidates will assume something is wrong, and it will increase their activity of looking for a position elsewhere,” said Mary Poquette, CEO, Poquette Screening Services, LLC. “That’s why it’s important to handle the screening experience as best as you can with the assistance of your screening partner. One of the best strategies for doing so is simple: no surprises. Communicate with the candidate before, during and after the employment screening process. Keep them informed as to what’s going on, and be as transparent as possible.”

Read more about employment screening trends and how employment screening can elevate your candidate experience.

6. Incorporating technology into your HCM strategy can unlock a competitive advantage. Wondering where your peers fall in the scope of utilizing technology in their HCM processes? As of today, barely 1 in 3 employers leverage technology automation for post-hire activities — but that means there are key areas of opportunity for innovation and growth to consider as you build and expand your human capital management strategy.

Kris Dunn, chief human resources officer at Kinetix and founder of “HR Capitalist” and “Fistful of Talent," discussed the importance of transitioning from manual to automated human capital management processes, but stressed the need to change the composition of your HR team and make sure their skill sets are evolving so they're no longer duplicating what technology can do. “When you move from manual to tech-driven, train people on your team who do transactional work to do more consultative work,” he said.

Find out how manual vs. tech-driven your HCM strategy is and how to take yours to the next level.

7. Improve your process while maintaining a human touch. When implementing any new recruitment tool, it’s imperative to ensure that your process is integrated and efficient — while not losing the human touch that's needed when it comes to change management, setting expectations with the recruitment team, getting executive buy-in, etc. Liza Voticky — group director talent acquisition North America at The Coca-Cola Company — shared learnings from her company’s implementation of a technology-based recruitment platform that improved end-to-end recruitment services across the U.S. and Canada. “We're always trying to evolve the technology, [but] we've got to evolve how we process the work," she said. While technology can serve as an enabler to achieve improved business outcomes, Voticky advocates for a more laser-like focus on providing a seamless candidate experience. After all, more than 3 in 4 job seekers (78 percent) say the candidate experience is an indicator of how a company values its people.

Find out more about what to do when implementing a new recruitment tool.

Ready to create a winning recruitment strategy? Get the recruiting tools, tips and tricks you need to set you up for future success.



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