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How recruiters are adapting to an evolving job market

Sharon Florentine | Oct. 7, 2016
Thought recruiting for tech talent was competitive before? You ain't seen nothing yet, according to Jobvite's latest research.

Recruiting's a competitive business, and it's getting even hotter. Jobvite's 2016 Recruiter Nation Report surveyed 1,600 recruiters and HR professionals in July 2016 and found that 95 percent expect hiring to be just as competitive or even more so than in 2015, and 69 percent say their companies' hiring has increased in the last year.

That's a problem in an increasingly tight talent market; 65 percent of respondents say a lack of skilled candidates is their largest obstacle to hiring, even as 33 percent say they anticipate filling more than one hundred positions this year, up from 26 percent in 2015.

Recruiters evolve

But recruiters are nothing if not persistent, adaptable and innovative. They're using a number of strategies and incentives to land talent, including raising salary offers (68 percent), awarding monetary bonuses to incentivize referrals (64 percent), allowing for flexible work hours (44 percent), and implementing a casual dress code (44 percent). The way recruiters define successful hiring has also evolved -- now, 61 percent say they care more about post-hire metrics like performance and retention rate of new hires than they do about the hiring process itself, such as cost- and time-to-hire, according to the survey.

"We were really surprised that the intensity here has not let up -- if anything, it's ratcheted up. It's great for job seekers that recruiters recognize they have to 'pay to play' and that salaries are getting higher, but another trend we're seeing from clients is they're spending that money on fewer, higher-quality talent, thinking if they hire three rockstars they'll be able to match the productivity of, say, five average hires," says Rachel Bitte, Jobvite's chief people officer.

What sways recruiters

recruiters changing tactics 
Credit: Thinkstock

What are recruiters looking for? Enthusiasm sways 78 percent of respondents, followed closely by command of requirements (76 percent) and conversational skills as the factors most likely to impact a hiring decision, according to the survey. And when asked what matters most in evaluating applicants, 67 percent say previous job experience and 60 percent say cultural fit are the factors that spur them to move candidates to the next level.

"So much of a candidate's success on the job comes down to that cultural fit aspect. Big companies with loads of perks, resources, benefits; small, scrappy start-ups and everything in between -- everyone's working on how to define and identify that cultural fit so they're getting better matches at all stages of the recruiting pipeline," Bitte says.

And while recruiters' strategies are evolving, there are still some things that haven't changed. A job-seeker's appearance still has the potential to influence their performance in an interview, and social media behavior is still used to pre-screen an applicant's background, according to the research.


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