Nearly three months into 2016, there is every reason to believe this will be a critical year for the executive recruitment industry. The industry is rapidly adjusting to new realities in the world’s evolving economic realities and leveraging emerging opportunities in technology and social media. At least seven trends are driving change in executive recruiting:
1. Placing the candidate first.
While the global economy continues to confront major surpluses in labor, this largely is not the case among top candidates. As such, the recruitment process remains highly competitive in attracting top talent. Addressing this means better understanding and meeting the expectations of these high quality candidates. This starts with selling candidates on the merits of the new opportunity.
2. Looking beyond the resume.
In 2016, executive search is coming to grips with the fact that many quality candidates do not have resumes that are of equal quality. And many passive candidates do not even have up to date resume or LinkedIn profile. This means recruiters must be able to evaluate candidates by other means, such as evaluations of their online work, their company organization or their peer recognitions. It is a procedural change that is impacting the way the industry functions operationally.
3. Hiring former employees.
New hires, even those who turn out to be exceptional, always come with a bit of a risk. Culture fits, work styles, and adaptability are tricky potential traps for even the best candidates. But with former employees, companies know what they are getting, and quite a large number of highly qualified former employees are unemployed, underemployed or working at jobs at which they are unsatisfied. The former employee also is alluring in the sense that their recruitment is vastly less costly that the traditional open recruitment process.
4. Growing options in the science of assessment.
The Myers-Briggs assessment, commonly used by many large companies in the late 20th century, originated during World War II—and both psychology and technology have made many leaps forward since. A broad range of new companies are now offering refined and more specifically tailored assessments of how a prospective employee is likely to perform on the job. These new assessment modalities almost certainly will grow in availability and use in the year and years to come thanks to research and data analytics.
5. It’s now a social media industry.
The trend has been underway for several years now, but social media is now at the forefront of candidate and executive searches. A Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn presence used to be a “nice to have.” But they are now essential—and candidates will expect companies to be accessible through them. They also are increasingly crucial networks for both corporate culture brand identity and candidate recruitment. This has placed social media expertise and data analytics at the center of the recruiting process.
6. The mobile marketplace.
Large companies are increasingly recognizing that recruiting is a mobile marketplace. Candidates search for jobs on their phones—and they often apply for jobs on their phones. This means ensuring candidates have a mobile-friendly experience in their application and job search process. It may sound like a not terribly significant development, but the reality is that it should quickly overhauling both the technology and processes associated with executive search.
7. Continued industry growth.
The executive recruitment industry is now $12 billion in size—and it’s going to continue to grow. As The Official Board survey released last month found, the executive recruitment industry continues to remain in good favor with large companies, especially because these companies find them better suited to find quality candidates and because they often lack the internal resources to conduct thorough, high quality searches. Because of this, the year to come is likely to see the emergence of new search firms, the expansion of existing ones and almost certainly the development of new technologies and processes useful to the industry.