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The Future of Recruitment in 2016

Recruitment is an extremely fast paced industry, and one that impacts almost all other elements of business – after all, a company is only as strong as the people in it.

LinkedIn, a professional social network that has had a major impact in online recruitment, recently released their annual recruitment trends study for 2016. With reports for numerous individual countries, as well as a global report and information tailored to SMEs, these studies give a fascinating indication into what will be important to employers and recruiters during the next 12 months.

From the data LinkedIn provides, we can see some priorities shifting and some remaining top of the list, and a running theme through the findings is the emphasis on relationships and how they are becoming an increasingly critical factor in talent acquisition.

Let’s explore the key recruitment trends for 2016:


Building a better ‘employer brand’

An ‘employer brand’ is a term used to describe a company’s reputation as an employer – which is different to their brand reputation in general. First used in the early 90s, it represents how candidates have to buy into a company and want to work there, just as much as the company wants to hire them.

More and more of those responsible for talent acquisition are seeing the importance of building a strong ‘employer brand’ and 59% of companies globally are increasing their investment in it compared to last year.

Partnering with marketing teams is essential to enhancing your ‘employer brand’; marketing and communications are responsible for how the public feels about your company, and so using their approach and processes is key for aligning this with how potential recruits feel about you.

Results from the LinkedIn study suggest that ‘organisations are creating more proactive strategies and using more outbound channels, like online professional networks and social media’ to improve their ‘employer brand’, with a total of 62% of recruiters saying it’s their top priority, and 47% saying that they share or contribute to employer branding with marketing.

Adam Sunman, the Employer Branding & Social Media Lead at Vodafone, has said that:

“So when we overhauled our employer brand, we had to work very closely with human resources, brand marketing and communication teams to ensure that we were all aligned. For nearly a year, we met regularly to create an employer brand framework and a launch plan to the markets.”

In the UK, when asked what was considered the most effective employer branding tools, 76% said their company website, 62% said online professional networks like LinkedIn, and 46% said word of mouth. This shows a diverse approach to employer branding that embraces digital channels.

Employer branding isn’t just important for big enterprises either; 72% of small and medium businesses across the world said that employer branding has a significant impact on hiring, but 26% named it as a big recruitment challenge for them – meaning there’s a lot of room for development.


Quality of hire as key performance metric for recruiters

Hiring quality candidates should always be a priority – but the urgency to fill roles in recent times has meant that ‘time to fill’ has become increasingly important. Despite this, ‘quality of hire’ still tops the chart in terms of recruiter performance, with 39% agreeing so.

However, ‘quality of hire’ is a tricky metric to put a number on, and it’s understanding what makes a good quality hire that will be key to improving recruitment practises. LinkedIn’s findings report that only 33% of respondents globally feel like they are measuring quality of hire effectively. The most common ways to measure ‘quality of hire’ include a long term methodology like employee turnover (making retention more important), or feedback methodologies such as new hire evaluations, or hiring manager satisfaction.

Tiffany Ballve, Global Recruiting Manager for business process management company Appian, says that:

“I’m not sure there is a secret sauce that can be applied across industries or even from company to company, but how we measure quality of hire is tenure and speed of career trajectory – meaning promotions.

We take hire dates, roles, source of hire, and all promotion data into consideration. Using that, we are able to ‘quantify’ who the rock stars are, and can draw commonalities or trends across those top performers. This helps our recruiters and sourcers hone in on those candidate profiles, and bring them into the company.”


Employee retention and hiring from within

With employee retention being used as a measure for ‘quality of hire’, improving retention rates and reducing employee turnover is vital – so much so, that 32% of global respondents stated that employee retention is their top priority for the next 12 months.

The gap between hiring volume and budget is also a contributing factor to the importance of improving employee retention; with the need for recruitment and budget available being significantly imbalanced since 2011, it’s more crucial than ever that hiring budget is spent wisely, and that new recruits are going to last.

One of the keys to improving employee retention rates could lie in internal candidate mobility and promoting from within; not only does this drive motivation and performance within team members, but it requires far less budget than attracting completely new candidates.

However, though employee retention is top of the list for talent acquisition leaders, internal hiring is significantly lower, with only 12% ranking it as a top recruitment priority. Furthermore, any internal hiring that is taking place is extremely disorganised; only a quarter of LinkedIn’s respondents claim they have a well-defined program for advancement opportunities, and 12% said they have no internal hiring program at all.

Now is the time to align internal hiring and employee retention as a priority, as both will have a lasting positive impact on businesses across the globe.

Overall, 2016 appears to be about quality rather than quantity, in all aspects of the recruitment process. With employers striving to be better and to hire better too, it’s sure to be an exciting year.

What recruitment priorities are you focusing on for 2016?

Gradvert work with companies across the UK to attract, recruit and retain top talent, specialising in the transport and logistics sector. To find out more about the graduate recruitment services we provide, call us on 0203 693 7380 or email

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