Where is the Talent Profession Going?

Langdon was tired – really tired of his profession. He had been a recruiter for more than a decade. He had enjoyed it for the first few years. He felt he was helping his organization find the best people and helping people find jobs where they could excel. But lately, he had been having doubts.

His company didn’t seem to know what kind of people it wanted, and when a hiring manager did describe what she wanted, Langdon had more and more difficulty finding the right person. According to the hiring managers, even the people he hired who had the “right” skills were not successful. Many of these hires were also frustrated because the job they found themselves in wasn’t what they were hired to do.

Langdon is not alone. Recruiting and work are at a turning point. Thousands of recruiters have been laid off, and there is fear that AI will replace many of them permanently. No one seems to know what skills recruiters will need to be successful. There is concern that hiring managers do not understand that the skills they seek either don’t exist or exist in more than one person. There is a lot of talk about internal mobility, but the reality is that not much movement is happening. Workloads are heavy, and budgets and headcounts are not expanding.

Work is changing as well. More people are working remotely, even though CEOs encourage workers to return to the office. Hybrid work is common. Some firms are shortening the work week while others offer more work to part-timers and contract workers. This has changed who recruiters are looking for and complicated sourcing.

Over the next few years, recruiters will have to not only deal with these challenges but also with these.

#1. Who are we?
We are confused about who we are and what we should do. The demands hiring managers are making on us are either not enough for our skills and experience or way too much. There are many paradoxes we are living with. One manager says, “Just recruit – post jobs and bring in candidates. I’ll decide.” Another says, “What’s your advice? After all, you’re supposedly the people expert. What competencies should I be looking for?”

We have no consensus on what skills we should have or be getting to survive and thrive in the emerging workplace. We have to find answers to these questions.

Who are we? What is a recruiter’s role? How do we add value when automation and AI may take over large parts of what we now do?

#2. What skills will candidates need to have?
Moreover, just when we have the technology and some reasonably good tools to define the competencies our employees will need on the job, we aren’t sure if those are the competencies that will matter or that are pivotal to the success of our organization. Even though we know that diversity is critical to innovation, we are urged to hire people who are as similar to each other as they can be.

We are facing hiring managers who don’t know what they want or which way to turn, so they reach into the past. They ask us to get people with the skills that used to be essential but may not be tomorrow.

How do we know what competencies to hire? What strategies could you recommend to the hiring managers? Is the past the best predictor of the future? How do we talk to and convince senior management?

#3. Dealing with Complex Candidates
Candidates are not what they used to be. A few years ago, a candidate was generally looking for a long-term position and was focused on one primary area, such as engineering, human resources, or accounting. Signs of organizational stability attracted many candidates.

Today’s candidates are a mixed bag. Many want very flexible work times or to work virtually. Some seek part-time work, and others want a schedule arranged just for them.

Many candidates are interested in holding different positions, rotating, and gaining experience in many functions over time.

Skills may be spread across disciplines, and putting some candidates into any category is getting more complex. Many are also demanding more personal recruiting and work experience than are available.

How do you deal with this potpourri of people? What relationships rule? Who does what in your company, and who decides?

#4. Sourcing and RPO
We don’t know who to work with or how to work with all the current talent suppliers. Historically, the supply chain was quite simple. Candidates mostly came from referrals or job boards. Hard-to-find candidates were often sourced by your internal sourcing team or by headhunters.

Today, RPO has gained credibility and popularity. A good RPO can often find candidates faster and cheaper than you can. Many firms are using RPO to replace most of their internal recruiting functions.

Should you use an RPO? When and for what positions? How do you choose the right one? What happens to your internal recruiters?

#5. Artificial Intelligence and Our Future
And last of all, we are in technology hell. We are bombarded with ATS systems, CRM tools, assessment products, e-marketing concepts, and tools for analyzing everything from competencies to how well our career site works.

We all know that technology will drive our recruiting strategies and be at the center of everything we do. And, to stay in the mainstream and be a player, we must make decisions about the software and the technology we acquire.

Artificial intelligence and tools like ChatGPT promise to take on much of the administrative burden. Chatbots can communicate with candidates and answer their questions. They can screen them and assess competency, skill, and attitude. Over the next few years, this technology will transform recruiting and change the skills needed to stay relevant.

What will A.I. be able to do for us? Will it replace us? How can we add value? What will our new role be? What skills will we need?

Want more insights about the future of work for Talent Professionals? Join us at ATC2023 at Sydney’s Luna Park on 22nd & 23rd November to hear Kevin Wheeler’s Fearless Forecast.

This article originally appeared in the Future of Talent Weekly Newsletter and has been republished here with permission.

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