These Six 2016 Hiring Trends Will Affect Your Future

Trend One: The time is now to implement a career growth strategy.

I went on LinkedIn the other day looking for a few jobs to see how easy it was to find something new. The positions viewed ranged from UX developers to account executives and a controller. The company listings included names of people I knew either by a first or second degree connection who could connect me to the hiring manager. Rather than applying, the path of least resistance is always to network to arrange an exploratory conversation. LinkedIn (the $30/month premium account) makes this easy to do. Here’s a book and an audiotape for specific tactics on how to convert a phone call into a job but the career strategy involves building a deep network of contacts at companies in your area. Start now. Next year might be too late.

Trend Two: The Uberization of the hiring process will accelerate.

We’re starting to get more hiring managers attending our recruiting training courses. As one told me a few weeks ago, “With LinkedIn Recruiter Lite, it’s easier for me to do it myself.” With access to the same people and a basic CRM system, hiring managers can narrow their focus and fill jobs more quickly with better people than a recruiter who’s just box-checking skills. While there will be a role for recruiters in the future (see Trend Six) it will be different than it is today.

Trend Three: Voluntary turnover of the best people will increase.

While the increase in open jobs has slowed down (see latest U.S. Department of Labor JOLTS report), the demand for talent continues to outstrip the supply for critical positions. Things will get worse in 2016 as recruiters and hiring managers get more aggressive seeking out more passive candidates to fill these positions. The big losers will be those companies and hiring managers who believe hiring the best talent can be delegated or outsourced and who haven’t forecasted the increase in turnover.

Trend Four: The contingent workforce will become more significant.

I visited with a LA-based staffing firm last month that has more than 200 recruiters in the U.S. placing people in creative design roles that last from a few days to a few months. They were planning on hiring a lot more recruiters in 2016. According to the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) the contingent workforce represents 15-35% of the total U.S. workforce and it’s expanding. The higher figure includes professionals and contract employees on temporary projects. While the benefits of a variable workforce allows companies to have more control over their labor expenses, it does come with a big risk: Having a big enough pool of internal people to promote into future leadership positions. Regardless, this trend provides job seekers more opportunities to demonstrate their ability without having the full list of prerequisites.

Trend Five: The role of the recruiter will change faster than they can adapt.

At LinkedIn’s annual Talent Connect in October (2015) Jeff Weiner (CEO) introduced a number of new tools that allow recruiters and hiring managers to find top candidates more easily. Some recruiters in attendance wondered if their jobs were at stake. The answer: Yes and no. I contend that if a recruiter isn’t deeply networked in his/her field and closely embedded in the hiring department it will be easier for hiring managers to find candidates on their own (see Trend Two). The other side of this high-touch specialist-partner role is the high-volume, high-tech transactional recruiter handling more jobs filling them with the best person who applies. The trend is clear – the role of the recruiter is moving to the extremes with the middle becoming a self-service model that aggressive job seekers and proactive hiring managers are filling.

Trend Six: Job postings are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

There's no science behind job postings and nothing seems ready to replace them. In their place the mashup of these other five trends offers increased opportunities for savvy job seekers, proactive hiring managers and the specialist recruiter. So if you’re a hiring manager or job seeker, bypass the middleman and the job posting. There are more jobs in the hidden market and more people who might be induced to discuss one of these openings without first applying.  If you’re a recruiter, either become a specialist or create a market for the contingent worker. To me the least effective way to find a job or hire someone is via an online job posting.

None of these trends are new, but with a strengthening labor market they’re all becoming more important as companies develop their hiring strategies for 2016. If you’re a hiring manager or a job seeker, don’t wait to take advantage of them.

10 Proactive Ideas to Hire Stronger People in 2016

Predicting quality of hire before the person starts on the job requires three conditions to be true. Most managers ignore them all and wonder why the person underperformed.Hiring great people starts long before you need to hire them. If you're always reacting to some critical hiring need, it's unlikely either you or the person being hired will make the right decision.

As long as your plan ahead and know the types of people you’ll be hiring in early 2016, there is no mystery to hiring the best of them.

Here are 10 proactive things you can do now to get ready for next year. Try them out if you want to hire stronger people than you did this year or you just want to duplicate what you accomplished without as much pain.

Avoid the Hiring Catch-22. You can't assume there's a surplus of talent in a talent scarcity situation. Most companies have hiring processes based on weeding out the weak rather than attracting the best. Designing your hiring processes around the assumption that there's a scarcity of top people is the first step in hiring more top people.

Plan ahead. You need a workforce plan in place today (3-4 months ahead) addressing 80% of your hiring needs for Q1 2016. If not, you won't be seeing enough good people when you need to start interviewing them.

Define outcomes, not inputs. Top people, whether active or passive, want to know what they'll be doing before they'll even discuss the possibility of changing jobs. That's why performance profiles need to be created before the requisition is opened.

Use marketing 101 to attract career-oriented people. There is no law that requires a company to post its internal job descriptions. Job branding and creative advertising is replacing employer branding as a means to attract the best people. This shift will attract people with a career focus rather than an economic need.

Use the 2-Step to prevent unqualified applicants from clogging your system. Rather than driving people to the apply button right away, ask them to submit a short write-up of a major accomplishment related to the job. The challenge of the job will attract people who are up for the challenge. The least qualified will self-select out.

Offer a 30% non-monetary increase. The basis for any career move needs to be the sum of the increase in job stretch (i.e., bigger job), job growth and job satisfaction. If this is at least 30%, compensation will be far less important.

Predict quality of hire before making an offer. Three things need to exist to accurately predict quality of hire: 1) the job must be clearly defined as a series of performance objectives, 2) the person must have done comparable and exceptional work in comparable environments, and 3) the job needs to represent a 30% non-monetary increase for the candidate. If these conditions don't exist, the quality of hire will be problematic.

Use an exploratory phone screen to minimize hiring manager bias. Most hiring errors can be attributed to the hiring manager taking a shortcut to make the assessment. The biggest shortcuts are judging the candidate on first impressions, intuition or the depth of the person's technical skills. A 30-minute exploratory phone screen eliminates 50% of these self-induced errors.

Eliminate the vicious cycle of disengagement during the negotiating phase. Too many companies and candidates alike overvalue what they give and get on the start date: the company, the job title, the location and the compensation. This leads to thevicious cycle of underperformance, dissatisfaction and turnover. It's avoided when the decision to hire and accept is based on what the person will learn, do and could become if successful.

Train your recruiters in consultative selling techniques. Recruiting the best people involves a consultative sales process. It's rarely about the money. Most recruiters are too transactional and don't understand the difference. With LinkedIn Recruiter it's easy to find exceptional people at the top of the funnel. Getting them hired requires exceptional recruiters to guide them through it.

These are not rocket science ideas. They're just 10 commonsense approaches that have been shown to work in all situations in all types of economies. The bigger and more difficult idea, though, is doing all of them all of the time with all managers for all hires. Collectively, this is what a scalable business process for hiring top talent needs to look like. But it needs to start one hire at a time.