2022 Trends: The New World of Work Demands More of Recruiters

February 1, 2022 John Rossheim

This is the third post deep diving into the 5  trends that will transform the way we work in 2022 and beyond. 

for hire signFor recruiters and their clients and candidates, 2022 promises a choppy ride.

Candidates are demanding work-from-home flexibility and turning down in-person interviews. Recruiters can’t source candidates fast enough even to replace just those employees lost in the Big Quit. Companies are raring to go and grow, even as COVID-19 has continued to plant land mines in the talent field, which, with the explosion of remote knowledge work, is now global.

Through all this chaos and change, seasoned recruiters should be well-positioned to help sort through the confusion and make profitable matches of people and employers in the emerging new world of work. “Nobody is better suited to offer insights to candidates and clients than a recruiter who’s talking with their peers all day,” says Karen Schmidt, president of Sanford Rose Associates.

What will differentiate the most successful recruiters in the coming years? Let’s take a closer look.

Recruiters need to keep educating clients on labor market dynamics.

Many employers, especially outside the tech sector, need to be ushered into the world of remote recruiting. “We very rarely meet with people in person,” says James Wright, CEO at Bridge Technical Talent. “We did video calls with candidates before a lot of other people were doing it.”

Low unemployment, even before the pandemic’s end, will translate to an even tighter market for talent. More and more employers seem to understand this.

“Our clients have shown a refreshing acceptance of how hard it is to hire good people,” says Wright. When the COVID-19 pandemic finally loses its grip, recruiters may need to reargue the case for keeping many positions all-remote or hybrid. Widespread reports of the success of these arrangements and the generally high productivity of remote employees should help.

The super tight talent market, and all the news headlines that the labor market had generated, have begun to persuade more employers that they must make offers very quickly. Those who don’t will continue to lose ground in the battle for talent.

Jobs, not just pitches, must be customized to the candidate.

In 2022, candidates are seeking more control over what they do on the job and where and when they work. Two of five candidates expect to help design their jobs, says a report from research and advisory firm Gartner.

To win over talent that has this new mindset, recruiters and their clients need to adopt a wholly new approach. “When you evolve from asking ‘Why should we hire you?’ to ‘If we hire you, what can we do to create an opportunity which you would never leave?’ the dynamic is changed completely,” says Schmidt.

The recruiter needs to team up with the client to answer these questions that candidates will have, whether or not they ask them out loud, she says:

  • Why is this candidate open to your opportunity?
  • What does it allow them to do or have, that they don’t currently?
  • How does working with your organization help them grow into who they have yet to become?

Candidates are serious about finding flexible jobs with real potential.

Having experienced the often life-changing benefits of working from home, many of the top people you’d like to hire are not about to go back to five days in the office. “Multiple candidates per day tell us that work from home (WFH) – especially flexible WFH – is very important to them,” says Wright.

But that’s just the beginning. “Both knowledge workers and hourly employees are looking for flexibility in workspace and place, and career growth and opportunity with the organization,” says Betsy Summers, a principal analyst for Future of Work at research and advisory firm Forrester.

Autonomy, agency, and flexibility are the most important factors in employee experience, she says. Even something as simple as enabling hourly workers to swap shifts within a scheduling app is very important to them. Managers’ recognition of employees’ good work is also crucial.

Nontraditional talent pools are the new black.

Summers says employers need to ensure their recruiting process doesn’t leave talent on the table. That means giving full consideration to promising people who may lack the university degrees or industry experience that traditionally are required.

Conventional requirements also tend to reduce the diversity of finalists. “The nontraditional talent market [for software developers] has increased gender and racial diversity, with 11% more women and 7% more minorities than the traditional talent pool,” says the Gartner report.

Old-school application tracking systems (ATSs) have excluded people in nontraditional talent pools by overemphasizing job titles. But state-of-the-art ATSs use skills ontologies that look deeper into resumes to identify capable people who are ready to move into new roles.

What’s next? Skills-first recruiting.

Universities aren’t the only place, and sometimes they’re not the best place, to gain the complex skills that businesses need. Coding boot camps, online certification programs, and real-world experience often produce superior talent. Some 43% of candidates say they are self-taught in at least one skill required for the job, according to the Gartner report. “I want to see as many organizations as possible move toward skills-first recruiting,” says Summers. “This strategy builds a more diverse talent pool, a more creative workforce, and a bigger pipeline. And in workplace planning, skills-first recruiting helps employers set the stage for future upskilling and reskilling.”

About the Author

John Rossheim

John Rossheim writes about healthcare, diversity, recruiting and human resources.

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