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4 Challenges Facing Executive Recruiters in 2020

December 19, 2019

Recruiters are facing a number of challenges as of late — from the shortage of talent to the rise of artificial intelligence. Here’s how search firms are coping.

The recruitment industry is faced with a multitude of challenges — from the wave of Baby Boomer retirements to the growing skills gap and the tight job market. Savvy recruiters have had to develop innovative strategies to deal with this turbulence.

Recruitment Marketing

With the national unemployment rate at near-historic lows, it’s a candidates’ market. The result is that employers must make themselves appealing — that is, market themselves — to prospects.

Rather than taking the traditional “outbound” approach of searching for and contacting candidates on an as-needed basis, recruiters now employ an inbound recruiting process. They use digital and other marketing strategies to develop ongoing relationships with active and passive job seekers.

For example, many recruiters actively engage on social media channels on behalf of their clients, strengthening the employers’ brands and selling candidates on why they should want to join those firms. Recruiters also are personalizing the interview process for individual applicants to send the message that they’re not just a part of a crowd of resumes.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is affecting almost every industry that recruiters work with. So, it’s no surprise that these groundbreaking technologies are having an impact on their own field. After some initial resistance, perhaps out of fear of being replaced, recruiters are embracing AI. It can free up their time for vital human-based tasks, such as conducting face-to-face interviews and checking candidates’ references.

AI can streamline tasks like candidate filtering and prescreening, resume analysis and background checks. Chatbots can handle many prospect inquiries and provide them status updates, expediting response time and enhancing a candidate’s experience.

AI software can go even further, such as evaluating an interviewee’s nervousness. Recruiters should conduct due diligence when selecting vendors, though, as they won’t all survive.

Beyond Hard Skills

It’s nearly impossible to find the perfect candidate in today’s job market. Some employers have no choice but to look outside their industry for employees who can quickly learn and adapt. After all, hard skills can be taught.

That’s why recruiters are placing less of a priority on previous experience and degrees and more emphasis on a candidate’s transferable skills and potential. Problem-solving, communication, teamwork, creativity, digital literacy, critical thinking, listening and the like have moved to the forefront.

These skills are considered to be “future-proof,” because they can’t easily be reproduced by a machine. But they also can be difficult to assess, leading to problem-solving case studies, group exercises and conflict resolution scenarios where candidates can demonstrate, for example, collaboration, leadership and communication abilities. AI-powered assessments also are spreading.

Data Analytics and Security

Recruitment efforts can be more effective and efficient with the use of data analytics. For example, many recruiters now compile a database of active and passive job seekers and sort the data using various selection criteria, such as key words on the candidate’s resume, years of experience, geographic location, salary requirements and education level. This can quickly and effectively match employers with qualified job candidates — avoiding needing to start from scratch for every job search. In addition, predictive analytics can help recruiters determine the best channels for reaching candidates and help employers improve their brand.

As recruiters collect and retain massive amounts of personal data, cybersecurityis essential. In recent years, there have been several widely publicized breaches. For example, a breach of popular job recruiting site Ladders occurred in 2019 after the firm left an Amazon-hosted database exposed without password control. The perpetrator gained access to more than 13 million user records, including email and street addresses, phone numbers and other personal information.

A breach could cause substantial damage to a recruiter. The costs of remediation can be hefty. But the reputational damage could sink a company whose business model requires the collection of sensitive personal data.

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The world of recruiting moves fast. Don’t be caught off-guard. Our executive search professionals can help your organization keep abreast of the latest developments to help secure your bottom line now and into the future.

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