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Feature: The 7 Transformations of Recruitment in 2016

What will the recruiting profession look like a decade from now? Will there be a War for Talent or will there be a War for Work? Will technological advances play an even bigger role in the way we source and recruit new hires? Or, will our work be accomplished a little faster and more efficiently, but otherwise, very much as it is today? Will our organizational role in 2016 be the same as our role in 2006, or will recruiters find themselves taking on new requirements and responsibilities?

Answering such questions is undeniably difficult at any time, but especially in the hurly burly of meeting day-to-day recruiting requirements. Just as ignoring the past can doom us to repeat it, however, ignoring the future can cause us to constrict or even misshape it. It’s important, therefore, to cast an eye forward from time-to-time, even as we concentrate on accomplishing the business at hand.

To that end, I’ve identified seven changes that could alter our profession over the next ten years. Now, admittedly, my crystal ball is no better than anyone else’s, but I think these developments-more than any others-have the potential to impact significantly on our profession. If that’s so, then now is the time to make sure we understand what they portend and how we should adjust to them, on both an individual and organizational level.

The 7 Transformations of Recruitment in 2016

Transformation #1: Communicating employment opportunities. The use of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) and podcasting to access content will grow dramatically among all cohorts of the workforce. As a result, job boards, employers and staffing firms will extend the reach of their online advertising by transmitting specified job postings to individual candidates via their personal digital assistant (e.g., MP3 player, iPod). This enhanced portability will take recruitment advertising beyond just-in-time to all-of-the-time. It will make the right recruitment messages available to talent wherever and whenever they want to see them.

Transformation #2: Redefining the best hire. The increased price of gas will make commuting cost prohibitive for a large segment of the workforce (assuming employers are unwilling or unable to pay higher salaries). Rather than limiting the pool of applicants for open positions, however, this development will cause companies to “defacilitize” their operations by allowing more employees to telecommute from home. As a consequence, recruiters will be able to source candidates without geographic limitation, in effect redefining the best hire. They will no longer seek to find the best qualified person within a specified geographic area, but instead, look for the best qualified person there is.

Transformation #3: Upgrading the ability of ATS to identify candidate sources. The pressure to maximize the return on an organization’s investment in online recruiting (financial and labor) will force applicant tracking system (ATS) vendors to upgrade their ability to accurately identify the sources of candidates entering their systems. Their current, rudimentary approach that relies on the memory of the job seeker (to determine where they first learned of an opportunity) and simplistic drop down windows will be replaced with virtual tags and continuously updated taxonomies of candidate sources. That information, in turn, will enable employers and staffing firms to evaluate alternative investment strategies and optimize the yield they generate from their online spend.

Transformation #4: Treating candidates just like boxes. In an effort to improve their PRM (prospect relationship management-the employment version of customer relationship management), employers will finally eliminate the resume black hole and the sounds of silence that greet applicants online. Mimicking the longstanding box tracking capabilities of Fedex and UPS, employers will provide a way for applicants to track their progress through an employer’s recruitment process. Individuals will be continuously and instantaneously informed of changes in their status. In some cases, they will be required to visit the employer’s Web-site to obtain this information, and in others, they will be able to receive it via their personal digital assistant (see Shift #1).

Transformation #5: Implementing the interview remotely. The increase in the price of gas and growing use of home-based employees (see Shift #2) will cause employers to rely on “virtual interviews” for many of their openings. These sessions will be as rigorous as traditional face-to-face interviews, but will be conducted over the Internet, using computer-mounted cameras provided (as necessary) by the employer. In addition to assessing individual qualifications and person-job/person-team fit, however, these interviews will also be used to determine a candidate’s ability to communicate and interact in a virtual environment. To that end, the interview will involve both conventional questions and answers and such behavioral techniques as role playing and problem solving exercises.

Transformation #6: Elongating the employment relationship. Employers will continue to eschew any responsibility for managing an individual worker’s career. However, they will also recognize that a worker’s employment in the 21st Century is likely to be episodic-encompassing several different periods of time and/or jobs-rather than continuous-involving a single job and/or work experience. To make sure that they encourage departing workers to return, employers will augment the career areas on their Web-sites with tailored alumni centers. These centers will provide information and links to resources that facilitate career advancement by former employees, regardless of where they are working. By supporting career self-management, employers will elongate their relationship with workers to the full life cycle of a person’s participation in the world of work.

Transformation #7: Re-imagining the role of recruitment. Institutional investors will (finally) realize that they cannot meet their fiduciary responsibilities by investing in organizations with HR strategies and programs that optimize quarterly earnings at the expense of longer term talent capacity and performance. As a consequence, they will avoid organizations that “pump and dump” their workforce to meet short term financial targets and support those that make sound strategic investments in strengthening talent acquisition and retention. How will investors make such distinctions among employers? They will look for those with above average commitments to the budget and staff of their recruiting functions and/or those that relocate that function from the Human Resource Department (with its administrative focus) to the Sales Department (with its customer focus).

There are, of course, two truisms about this list:

  • Not all of the transformations will actually occur.
  • But, some of them definitely will.
  • How can you prepare yourself and your organization in the face of such uncertainty? Invest your time and energy looking forward, not back. Don’t squander them on resisting change, but rather on sharpening your awareness and understanding of it. That’s the best way to ensure you’re the master and not the victim of whatever transformations occur in our profession.

    Thanks for reading,


    P.S. Don’t keep WEDDLE’s to yourself. If you like our newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues about it. They’ll appreciate your thinking of them. And, we will too!

    This Issue’s Sponsor:

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of

    Diversity is an important component of any online recruiting campaign. Achieving a diverse workplace is not merely a destination, but an ongoing process. offers a variety of diversity job posting, resume database and branding packages to meet your online diversity recruitment needs. For more information please contact or call us today at (973) 992 7311.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Accenture conducted another of those sober surveys of what’s worrying global executives and as always, the “inability to attract and retain the best talent” was high on their list. In fact, the talent issue earned the votes of 60% of the respondents and came in at #3 on their list. To put it another way, recruiting trailed only dealing with the competition (72%) and “the health of the global economy” (67%) among the perceived threats to company success. And as further proof of their concern, 78% of the respondents said they will be hiring to fill key positions and/or replace departing employees in the next six months. All of which is very nice, but begs the question: Will they put their money where their surveys are? Will CEOs invest in attracting and retaining the best talent or will they continue to reduce the budgets and staffs of their recruiting teams (or outsource them altogether) and then whine about their performance? If recent history is any guide, it’s likely to be yet another example of “Monkey say, Monkey don’t do.”

    Mens Health published an interview with John Breyault of the Telecommunications Research and Action Center. He answered a question all of us ask from time-to-time. How can we avoid the frustration of hearing that most unpleasant of telephone messages: For customer service, please hold … and hold …. and hold? His advice is to call on Wednesdays after lunch, because apparently most of us don’t. If you have to call a vendor or store on a weekend, then time the call to coincide with a major sports event. And, when you do finally get through and actually speak with a human, ask them when it’s best to call. They, better than anyone else, know the secrets to getting service quickly.

    The Wall Street Technology Association launched a Career Center on its site. The association focuses on technology professionals in the financial industry. Both members and non-members can use the Center to reach candidates. Its services include a job board, resume database, resume agent and posting metrics.

    WEDDLE’s introduced its Spring-Summer Training Series in Best Practices for recruiters and employers.

    Here’s what The Wall Street Journal had to say about a previous WEDDLE’s training program:

    “The WEDDLE’s Seminar has been held in cities around the country to rave reviews; in fact, more than 95% have said they found the seminars to be both very informative and very helpful.”

    Delivered by audio conference (with accompanying course materials), the remaining topics and dates are as follows:

  • May 25th: The Sum & Substance of a Great Employment Brand
  • June 13th: Building a Corporate Career Site for Top Talent
  • June 21st: Staffing Metrics for All the Right Reasons
  • July 11th: HR Leadership-The Antidote to Management By-the-Numbers
  • All programs begin at 11:00 a.m. EST, 8:00 a.m. PST and last for one hour.

    You can take the courses individually or invite as many colleagues as you would like to listen in. Even better, the enrollment fee is priced for every budget. Just $129 per program!

    That’s hundreds of dollars less than comparable programs elsewhere.

    In addition, if you:

  • sign up for two programs, the fee drops to just $119 per program.
  • sign up for all four programs, the fee drops to an unbelievable $99 per program.
  • Registration is limited, so reserve your seats now. To sign up, please call WEDDLE’s at 203.964.1888.

    Wetfeet released its Internship Programs Report for 2006. The study found that there was a significant difference in outcome between those programs that implemented internship Best Practices and those that did not. The best programs converted a far higher number of their interns to full-time employees subsequent to the internship experience. As of November 2005, 63% of undergraduate interns and 80% of MBAs planned to accept offers from the companies where they had interned the previous summer and were exposed to Best Practices. In contrast, just 27% of the undergrads and 29% of the MBAs planned to accept offers from companies where the internship program was less well managed. What are the Best Practices? Among those listed by the report:

  • Interns’ work assignments were challenging and mission critical.
  • Interns had exceptional managers overseeing their work.
  • Interns were mentored throughout their internship and received formal feedback on their performance.
  • Interns received their offers of full time employment shortly after the completion of their internship.

  • Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?

    1. Your oil and gas company is experiencing record growth, and you need refinery workers fast. Which of the following sites would yield an abundance of riches in good candidates?

  • 2. Recent trials involving corporate officers and politicians are taxing the capacity of your penal system. Where could you go online to lock up some good prospects for additional guards?

  • 3. The Federal Government’s decision to stop granting new security clearances has made it difficult for your defense contracting company to find new talent. Which of the following sites would help you investigate the backgrounds of prospective candidates?

  • (answers below)

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – Part time

    Distribution of jobs: National-USA

    Fee to post a job: $36/posting

    Posting period: 60 days

    Can posting be linked to your site: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    Number of resumes: 300+

    Source of resumes: Direct from candidates

    Top occupations among visitors: Customer service

    Other services for employers: Banner advertising, Status reports: Banners/postings

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: No

    Answers to Site Insite

    1. Only and is the site of a band, and is the site of a job board for anesthesiologists.

    2. None of them. is the site of a band, is the site of a company selling background checks and legal services, links to a company that makes protective shields for building walls, and is the site of a group that seeks to keep repeat offenders locked up.

    3. All but, the site of a talent agency.

    Support Our Sponsor:

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of

    Diversity is an important component of any online recruiting campaign. Achieving a diverse workplace is not merely a destination, but an ongoing process. offers a variety of diversity job posting, resume database and branding packages to meet your online diversity recruitment needs. For more information please contact or call us today at (973) 992 7311.