Inbound Recruiting: 6 Ways the Internet Will Impact Talent Acquisition in 2016

Inbound Recruiting: 6 Ways the Internet Will Impact Talent Acquisition in 2016

Mike Roberts

The internet has completely transformed the way job seekers discover and apply to jobs. Research shows that more than seven in ten candidates now start their search on Google, rather than going directly to a job board. Additionally, social media and other internet-driven technologies are playing a more crucial role in their search than ever before.

While the list of internet-related impacts to the candidate side of the process is vast, it’s important to point out what this all means for recruiters and the talent acquisition function as we settle into 2016. If a more significant part of the job search process is, in fact, taking place online, then recruiters need both the skills and competencies and overarching IT support to meet candidates there.

In this post, we will inspect this transformation by focusing on a number of trends and predictions around what will happen in 2016. In particular, we will discuss connections between the world of internet marketing and recruitment marketing—mashed up into the idea of inbound recruiting.

1. Career sites will continue to dominate as a source of hire

In 2015, Bersin by Deloitte and a number of other firms highlighted a changing of the guard in source of hire. There was a time when job boards dominated as the top source of hire, but a combination of a better economy, evolving internet-user expectations and preferences, the increasing power of employer branding, and many other factors has made the career site the centerpiece for recruitment efforts.

As we’ve discussed in the past, a hub-and-spoke model is emerging, where the career site is the hub and sources like Google, job boards, social media, employer branding content, and recruitment marketing emails are the spokes. Each spoke—or source—in this model drives inbound interest and traffic.

consumer quality candidate experience

We feel this trend will only pick up steam, particularly as more companies continue to focus on both the strength of their career site and optimizing various channels attracting candidates to it. TA teams will continue to adopt more digital marketing strategies—especially at the top of the funnel. Social recruiting, career site SEO, and more all gained ground in the list of priorities in 2015 and will play a central role in the future.

2. Recruiters will play less of a role in early phases of the job search process

Similar to the way consumers now do most of their research online and even buy things without ever going into a store or talking to a salesperson, the process of searching for a job and submitting an application is following this path. Research from the Talent Board showed in 2014 78.6% of job seekers became aware of a career opportunity from their own job search, not a recruiter.

As the job search only becomes more internet-focused, this trend is likely to continue. New attention to top-of-the-funnel recruiting strategies will offset the role of recruiters in the early phase of the job search process.

Although this may seem like bad news for recruiters, it’s not. In sales processes involving complex products or services, which are similar to the process of hiring a skilled worker, digital marketing has not made salespeople obsolete. Rather, their job has evolved, as we’ll discuss in the next point.

3. Distermediation will allow recruiters to focus on engagement

This whole movement toward a self-service, find-jobs-on-your-own model means recruiters can focus less on menial sourcing strategies and more on working to engage and build relationships with quality candidates.

Inbound marketing helps to shift the burden of sourcing off salespeople, because consumers and buyers are being pulled into sites via content, SEO, social, and so on. The same thing is starting to happen in talent acquisition, and we expect see to more focus on inbound recruiting to result in improved candidate experience as well as better candidates and recruiter productivity in 2016.

Two areas in particular, social recruiting and employer branding content, will likely get the most attention as resources are shuffled around. Awareness of the impact these strategies, coupled with freed up resources will drive new types of benefits for companies in 2016.

4. New partnerships between marketing and recruiting will be forged

Research from LinkedIn shows 47% of recruiting teams partner with marketing to build their employer brand. Considering marketing has vast experience in building brands on the internet, in addition to attracting, nurturing, and converting buyers, it only makes sense for relationships between the two departments to deepen.

We expect more collaboration and knowledge transfer to take place between marketing and recruiting in 2016. Companies that can enable this cross-functional interaction will see the impact in their inbound recruiting performance.

Transfer of knowledge will go both ways, as both functions have unique experiences trying to attract and convert strangers into buyers/candidates.

5. Replacement/covering up of candidate-facing ATS will accelerate

One of the biggest opportunities for improvement, and yet the most often overlooked (or ignored) aspect of inbound recruiting, is the candidate-facing UX and UI of the legacy ATS. For candidates, there is nothing more off-putting and conversion-rate-killing than the back-office look and feel of applicant tracking system apply flows.

At a time where consumer brands are competing based on user experience, job seekers’ patience for poor career site candidate experiences is fading rapidly. As awareness continues to raise around this topic, it is expected that the laggards still presenting a legacy ATS experience to candidates will do something about it this year—whether that’s via ATS integration or entirely ripping and replacing the system.

Some companies still don’t even offer the option to apply via mobile. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Those guilty of this are more than likely simply putting too much faith in their ATS, when in reality the vendors behind those ATS’ aren’t moving as fast as today’s dynamic candidate expectations.

6. “Data-driven recruiting” will become more than a topic of conversation

Used effectively, data can support and guide decision-making and help talent acquisition teams understand where to allocate their resources. As recruiters start to think more like internet marketers, it’s only natural that they will use data in more strategic ways. 2015 will be remembered as the year a majority of recruiting leaders became aware of the power of data. 2016 will be the year many will make it part of their strategy.

recruiting analytics best practices

We also expect more recruiting teams than ever to go above and beyond ad-hoc performance management, deploying next-generation recruiting analytics solutions. Adoption will be driven largely by awareness, but also by the simplicity of SaaS delivery and subscription models, as well as the recent and ongoing consumerization of analytics.

Those are our thoughts on how the internet will impact talent acquisition in 2016. Let us know what you think on Twitter at @Jibe.

Check out our new eBook, “The Talent Acquisition Leader’s Guide to the New Candidate Journey.” From employer branding to recruitment marketing and conversion optimization, this eBook dives into what modern leaders should be thinking about.

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