LinkedIn’s Head of Recruiting Gives His Take on the Top Hiring Trends for 2018

January 18, 2018

Over 9,000 talent leaders and hiring managers across the globe shared their opinions about the top trends that will impact hiring this year. The top 4, as featured in our Global Recruiting Trends report, are: diversity, new interviewing tools, data, and artificial intelligence.

Here’s a look at the break down along with how well adopted each trend is:

Of course, what is a trend list without the commentary of a seasoned pro who lives and breathes this on a daily basis. That’s why we invited Brendan Browne, the Head of Recruiting at LinkedIn, to share his perspective and walk us through what’s so special about these trends.

Here is what he had to say on the latest episode of his talk show Talent on Tap:

1. Knowing where to source candidates, mitigating unconscious bias in hiring, and being authentic are key for increasing diversity

It’s no surprise that diversity is a huge talking point this year. “Pretty much universally, this topic seems to be critical for most organizations,” Brendan says.

Women and people of color are still underrepresented in countless organizations, particularly in the C-suite. And while many companies have rolled out initiatives to encourage greater diversity of gender and ethnicity, Brendan points out that this isn’t where diversity ends.

To meet the demands of the future, companies need to ensure they’re offering the same opportunities to everyone, including people with disabilities and veterans.

Plus, diversity isn’t just good for people—it’s good for the bottom line. The majority of talent acquisition professionals surveyed said it would improve company culture and performance. It’s also a way for organizations to better understand the needs of their customers.

For LinkedIn’s recruiting team, hiring for diversity is a priority. But Brendan emphasizes that a thoughtful and strategic approach is required to make initiatives stick.

“Here are some of the big things on our mind,” he says. “Understanding how big some of these talent pools are that we want to attract and pursue. Making sure that the organization’s hiring managers and interviewers really understand their own unconscious biases that they bring to the assessment process. And then making sure that we’re being as authentic as we can about the culture that we have here at the company.”

While all these steps are important, avoiding unconscious bias is crucial—companies have to look at their hiring process and see if it is having an affect. For example, Airbnb realized that unconscious bias was negatively affecting they recruiting process and gave their process a makeover in order to fix it. Read more here for the steps they took to mitigate bias.

2. New interviewing tools can save your company time and help you better assess candidate’s skills  

While the traditional interview (behavioral and structured interviews, phone screens, etc.) isn’t going anywhere just yet, it’s been proven that they aren’t the most effective way to assess candidates. Here’s where they fall short:

For Brendan, the lack of efficiency is a huge drawback for both companies and candidates. “It’s kind of a disaster when you spend 20 hours of company time interviewing someone,” he says. “Do candidates really need to meet with 10 or 12 people? If you’ve ever been on an interview and had to come back three or four or five times and meet more and more and more people, it’s exhausting.”

An excessively long interview process isn’t just draining for candidates. It also wastes valuable time that existing employees could be putting to better use.

Luckily, there are a number of new innovative tools out there now that have been designed to combat these issues.

Read more here for more on these tools and how Unilever, Citadel, KPMG Australia, and more and using them.

3. Data is critical for making strategic hiring decisions, and can elevate you as a talent professional

“At this point, data is almost sounding cliché,” Brendan says. “But let’s be clear—data is absolutely critical.” And the volume of data available and the speed with which it can be analyzed will only continue to increase, helping predict hiring outcomes, not just track them.

Here’s how companies are using data in hiring today:

And, it’s not just about helping your company become more strategic—data can help elevate your role in recruiting. Brendan recommends recruiters use data to drive every decision and discussion.

“Bring data to every single meeting you go to,” he says. “Whether it’s one bullet point or a whole bunch of data, whether it’s your first year recruiting or you’ve been doing this 20 years, [bring] data and insights to your hiring managers, your partners in the business, interviews, etc.”

At LinkedIn, we use data to improve outreach. With data everywhere—like on a candidate’s profile—it’s easy to quickly craft a personalized message that speaks directly to them, rather than sending a generic template they’ll see right through. Better yet, use data to find a connection you already have to a candidate.

“Our theory is, never cold contact anyone,” Brendan shares. “Do you like being cold called? I surely don’t! The number one piece of data that’s overlooked is finding a warm connection to a candidate you want to recruit.”

LinkedIn discovered that by finding that warm connection, response rates jumped from 28% to 85%.

4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation help you efficiently narrow down applicants to the best of the best

AI is here to stay—but it won’t eliminate the human touch. Brendan stresses that skills like storytelling will become increasingly important as more and more companies embrace this tech.

“My take is, if you are incredibly strong at storytelling, if you can build a great candidate experience, create human connection, negotiate, close, your future is very bright,” he assures. Here are the top skills that won’t be replaced:

One part of recruiting that AI might replace is the more process-driven, administrative side. This is especially true at the top of the funnel. Using machines to help narrow down candidates to the cream of the crop will save recruiters a lot of time, and has the potential to reduce bias and ensure no one exceptional slips through the cracks.

“Here at LinkedIn, one of the big things we’re trying to solve is [that] we get hundreds of thousands of applicants,” Brendan says. “How can we use artificial intelligence and automation to have machines take a hundred thousand candidates down to the best two thousand?”

To help you prep for the rise of the AI, here’s a handy guide.

Final thoughts

“The world of talent acquisition is changing,” Brendan summarises. “And it is probably the biggest call to leadership that you as a recruiter will ever have in your career.”

To stay one step ahead, use these trends as a guide to navigate the changes ahead. Smart recruiters are empowering themselves with more data, greater insight into the diverse candidate pool, and better interview practices. And with more tech to help you out, your days can be more efficient than ever. 

For more insights into the trends shaping recruiting, download the full 2018 Global Recruiting Trends report today.

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