In the world of human resources management, talent acquisition refers to a range of processes and workflows that HR professionals utilize to fill open or upcoming roles within their business unit or organization.
The talent acquisition process includes many tasks, including writing and posting job descriptions, evaluating applicants, conducting interviews, organizing recruitment events, negotiating compensation packages, and onboarding new hires. With such a breadth of responsibilities, talent acquisition is considered one of the most impactful functions of the human resources department, affecting team quality, cohesion, and whether or not key business goals are met.
Though many talent acquisition duties have been carried out for years, the nature of these tasks and processes is continuously evolving. With the advent of digital HR, technology is playing an increasingly important role in the field of talent acquisition.
Below, we explore the top trends in recruitment technology that HR professionals need to know to stay at the forefront of the industry.
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Top Trends in Recruitment Technology
1. Job Aggregators
In the past decade, job aggregators (or job boards) like Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter, Monster, Glassdoor, CareerBuilder, Google for Jobs, and a slew of industry-specific job sites have disrupted how the average applicant searches for and applies to job openings. While in the past, applicants often sought opportunities directly from individual company websites, classifieds, or through word of mouth, today, nearly 41 percent of recent hires found their current role through an aggregator.
Acting essentially search engines for job hunters, these sites and services rely on artificial intelligence and proprietary algorithms to connect applicants with jobs that suit their skills and needs. Though they have already been in use for years, these sites are only becoming more popular as big data is enabling more relevant job matches for applicants.
2. “Gig” Apps
It is notoriously difficult to calculate the exact number of workers engaging in the so-called “gig economy.” However, several recent surveys (conducted by the Freelancers’ Union, McKinsey Global Institute, and MBO Partners) estimate that the number of workers engaging in freelance or gig work falls between 25 and 30 percent of all workers.
Echoing this sentiment, a report compiled by Intuit and Emergent Research estimates that the total number of Americans working on-demand jobs will grow from 3.6 million in 2016 to 9.21 million by 2021.
This growth has been fueled at least in part due to the proliferation of mobile apps and marketplaces (such as Upwork, Fiverr, Uber, TaskRabbit, and Thumbtack) that have made it simpler than ever for companies to find freelance and on-demand workers. For the right kind of businesses and the right kind of work, these apps and services can be a cost-effective and efficient way of finding workers.
3. Recruitment Marketing Software
According to a report by MRINetwork, more than 90 percent of the job market is candidate, not employer, driven. In today’s job market, applicants have more power and confidence to reject an offer that they see as undesirable—or to simply avoid applying to jobs that are not well marketed to them.
Increasingly, employers are deploying recruitment marketing software to improve the likelihood of qualified candidates finding and applying to desirable jobs. To do this, recruitment software applies marketing strategies and best practices to the recruitment process, automating the distribution of job postings and optimizing them for the modern ways in which job seekers find openings.
4. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are common for organizations that have embraced digital HR.
Simply put, an ATS is a type of human resources software that manages the application process digitally. It is a digital repository of all applications, allowing HR professionals to replace traditional pen-and-paper applications. Similarly, this software allows for the automation of many of the steps involved in the application workflow, freeing up HR professionals’ time to focus on more valuable tasks related to reviewing applicants
“By reducing friction at various stages of the application process, an ATS can make it easier for a potential candidate to apply to a job and accept an offer,” says Stephen Rando, lecturer and manager of talent acquisition at Northeastern. “It can also increase retention and streamline the onboarding process for new employees.”
5. Recruitment CRMs
Recruitment CRMs, or candidate relationship management systems, are another staple of the modern human resources department and are often discussed alongside applicant tracking systems.
Though similar in some ways, recruitment CRMs vary significantly from the typical ATS. While an applicant tracking system monitors and manages the application process, recruitment CRMs operate as a sort of ecosystem where information about applicants (past and present, active and passive) resides.
When a position needs to be filled, an HR professional can turn to the records within the recruitment CRM to proactively seek an individual who might be able to fit the role. The result enables HR to become less reactive, more proactive, and better able to act as a strategic partner alongside other departments within an organization.
6. HR Analytics
Just like other departments within an organization, human resources departments continually generate and collect data. HR analytics refers to the discipline of leveraging this data to find valuable insights into an organization’s HR processes. When it comes to the recruitment process, human resources analytics can enable HR professionals to tailor their hiring processes to attract higher-quality candidates.
Learn More: HR Analytics: What It Is and Why It’s Important
Data might, for example, help HR managers to better understand the kinds of candidates who tend to perform best within their organization—information they can then use when crafting job descriptions or establishing applicant requirements. Similarly, data might offer insights into which recruitment channels have performed best for your organization in the past, which can influence how you allocate resources and budget when filling positions in the future.
“LinkedIn Recruiter and LinkedIn Talent Insights are both great tools for candidate outreach, which exemplify the role of HR analytics in modern talent acquisition,” Rando says. “LinkedIn Talent Insights, for example, can help you understand where talent exists, what schools they come from, their attrition rates, etc.—which you can then take and use to tailor your recruitment strategies.”
Staying Up-To-Date on HR Trends
For HR professionals to remain effective in their roles, it is essential to stay abreast of the technological trends impacting the industry. The risk of falling behind is being left behind. Earning a master’s degree in human resources management can be an excellent method for identifying these trends and learning how to incorporate various technologies into the day-to-day tasks associated with HR management.
Learn More: 3 Trends Defining the Human Resources Industry
When considering programs, Rando specifically recommends that prospective students look for a program that follows the practitioner-scholar model of education. This model prioritizes teaching students the practical applications of academic information to build lasting skills. As such, hands-on, experiential learning in the form of co-ops and internships often form an essential part of the curriculum.
Similarly, prospective students should seek a program that includes courses or a concentration in digital HR, which focuses on the role of established and emerging technologies in the field.
The Master of Science in Human Resources Management program at Northeastern University meets all of these requirements to prepare students to advance in the field. Students are given multiple opportunities throughout their studies to put their education into practice in real-world environments and can choose from a range of concentrations, including:
- Artificial Intelligence for Human Resources
- Digital HR
- Global Talent Management
- Organizational Communication
- Project Management