Top Recruiting Trends to Watch for in 2016

It’s hard to believe that 2015 is coming to a close. It seems like yesterday that we were making our recommendations for this year and encouraging startups to adopt these new hiring philosophies.

As we reflect back on another passing year in talent acquisition, it begs the question of what’s to come. What unexpected trends will emerge in the coming year? How will the startup hiring game change? How will talent acquisition keep pace with the ever-changing needs and desires of their candidates?

Many predictions come to mind when looking ahead to the near year. Here are the top 5 talent acquisition trends to keep watch for in 2016:

1. Recruitment Marketing

Recruitment marketing is by far going to be the biggest trend you will see in talent acquisition. If your startup does not have recruitment marketing as part of your talent strategy, then you’re really missing out on top candidates. The need to craft a unique, compelling talent brand will pay dividends in the long run for your recruitment efforts. Candidates want to know more than just who you are and what positions you’re hiring for. They also want to know what’s in it for them and what makes your company the best place to work. Just ask the team at SmashFly. Recruitment is no longer just sourcing candidates and combing through job applications — it’s a combination of sourcing and applications combined with mobile marketing, networking and a host of multimedia. In 2016, startups should put more marketing power behind their talent function to better showcase open requisitions and generate the attention of the passive candidate.

2. Pipeline Recruitment

Anyone in talent acquisition knows how difficult it is to suddenly spark interest in a passive candidate for a “needed-to-be-filled-yesterday” position. While it can be done, it is far easier to start recruiting prior to those positions opening up. You’re going to see an increase in pipeline recruiting across the board – posting fake positions to generate inbound flow, keeping recently rejected candidates warm, and starting to do more event-based recruitment. Recruiting events are going to become much more prevalent. Open houses, networking events, panel discussions, and other similar types of forums will be commonplace in the competition for top candidates. Fortunately,  an ATS allows talent acquisition teams to easily track these pipeline candidates and keep them engaged.

3. Increased Competition

I hate to break it to you, but hiring is NOT going to get easier in 2016. Competition for candidates is only increasing. As such, it’s extremely important to sell the candidate throughout the interview process rather than putting that candidate through the ringer. Most candidates are coming to your onsite interview with at least 1 or 2 other opportunities in question. Focusing on your candidate experience strategy will set you apart from other startups. Checking in with candidates every step of the way, opening lines of communication and keeping a consistent hiring process will go a long way for creating an impactful impression on your potential new team members.

4. Referral Programs

A good referral can be the difference between filling a role in 3 weeks and filling it in 3 months. You’re going to see a lot of buzz around building a strong referral program at your startup in 2016. This will encompass everything from how to engage your employees to refer candidates to how to shape the referral bonus to how to manage candidates coming in through the referral program. In the end, it will only make talent acquisition easier because, as they say, good people know good people. Incentivizing employees to refer versus instilling a culture of referring will be the most discussed challenge around building a successful referral program. Tools like ZALP, GooodJob, Referagig and many others will help talent acquisition get their referral programs off the ground.

5. Video

Last but certainly not least, video is going to be everywhere in 2016. Career pages will be filled with insightful, stimulating content that candidates actually want to see. The less reading a candidate has to do about your company or an open position the better off you’ll be. Video is going to go a long way in leveraging your talent brand and enabling your recruiters to share a sneak peek into your startup. Additionally, video is also going to be more and more used in the interview process for both remote and local candidates. We will start to see the hiring manager phone screen transition to a video call to get a feel for the candidate that much earlier in the process. Spark Hire and Recruitby.net are just two of the growing number of platforms that will enable your teams to hire over video.

2016 is sure to be a year of innovation for talent acquisition. What trends do you see emerging in the year to come?

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Rose O'Connell
Rose O'Connell
Technical Recruiter

Rose O'Connell is a technical recruiter at AthenaHealth. She was previously a Talent Specialist with OpenView.
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