2014The end of the year – when the blogosphere is flush with predictions for the coming year – is always an exciting time for an analyst. As various bloggers and thought leaders opine on which priorities, processes, and practices will change, common threads emerge. And as I take my own look into 2014, I try to find some sort of connection between these threads and examine how they relate to greater trends in human capital management and enterprise technology.

It is, after all, my job to ask why (and how, and when, and in what way) things are changing in talent acquisition. These are the questions that help leaders in talent acquisition and human resources understand the predicted path of evolution – and plan accordingly.

This year, I can’t help but note the number of predictions that have to do with trends we’ve been discussing for years now: “big data” and recruiting analytics, social and mobile talent acquisition, as well as candidate relationship management and recruitment marketing automation. Perhaps it’s naïve of me, but considering the rate of innovation in talent acquisition technology, I was hoping to hear more calls for the end of some very dated practices (Boolean search, resume databases, etc.).

However, as my friend Stacey Donovan Zapar, CEO and Founder of Tenfold Social Training (who you may know as “The most connected woman on LinkedIn”) pointed out, recruiters can’t effectively search for candidates on LinkedIn without Boolean operators. And although Bridget Webb, VP of Marketing at WePow, believes the old way of garnering employee referrals (wherein recruiters solicit employees directly is no longer used today, the reality is that this is still standard practice for many organizations.

While we all offer lofty predictions of change, we’re still a long way off from talent acquisition processes maturing to the level predicted five years ago. So here are a few not-to-lofty wishes that I would love to see happen in 2014, but probably won’t.

  • The End of Boolean – I can’t count the number of sourcing tools I’ve seen in the last three years, each offering powerful keyword-based search engines. And yet, the thought that recruiters are still forced to use long-tail Boolean search operators to find the candidates just blows my mind. With sourcing technology advancing rapidly, I would love to say this time next year that running manual Boolean searches is a thing of the past. But I won’t hold my breath.
  • The End of Resume Databases – Are recruiters still spending hours scouring resume databases looking for candidates? Even Facebook offers more up-to-date professional information, and most people in my network do little more than update job title and company name. While active candidates take care to keep things polished and accurate, passive candidates are more focused on doing their jobs (as they should be). Will 2014 see a rise in the number of solution providers who crawl the web to keep resumes updated with fresh content? We’ll see.
  • The End of Referral Solicitations – You can barely take two steps on the expo floor at the HR Technology Conference without bumping into a solution provider who offers some form of employee referral automation. And yet, the number of organizations that have jumped on this opportunity is relatively low. The value of these products cannot be understated and ranges from time saved for recruiters, to improved tracking, to increased referrals and increased hires. All in all, this is one practice I can’t believe hasn’t changed much since the ‘90s.

I’ve made some of my own lofty, pie-in-the-sky predictions for 2014, which will be published later this month. For now, however, I’m looking forward to seeing who else thinks this will finally be the year when social talent acquisition becomes standard practice, and when candidate experience at last gets the attention it deserves.

What are you looking forward to in 2014? What plans do you have for improvement of your talent acquisition strategy and/or processes? As always, feel free to contact me with questions or comments: kyle.lagunas@brandonhall.com

Kyle Lagunas

As the Talent Acquisition Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, Kyle heads up research in key practices in sourcing, assessing, hiring, and onboarding - as well recruitment marketing, candidate experience, and social recruiting. Through primary research and deep analysis, he keeps today's business leaders in touch with important conversations and emerging trends in the rapidly changing world of talent. Kyle has spent the last several years offering a fresh take on the role of technology as part of an integrated talent strategy, and focuses on providing actionable insights to keep leading organizations a step ahead. Previously the HR Analyst at Software Advice, he is regular contributor on SHRM's We Know Next and TLNT, and his work has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Business Insider, Information Weekly, and HRO Today.

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