In 2018 we saw a tension develop. Today, the recruiting industry finds itself in the middle of a struggle between those who swear by traditional tried-and-tested hiring approaches and the early technology adopters who are weaving data, analytics, and AI into the hiring mix. 

In 2019, this disruption will continue. Recruiting leaders will need to think long and hard about how best to implement the latest solutions to unlock the greatest benefits. Some may need to reconsider their approach entirely. 

But where are we likely to see the greatest evolution in how companies approach recruitment over the next twelve months? These are our five key predictions for the industry.

1. Recruiting Leaders Get Savvy About Artificial Intelligence

In 2018, we saw ‘AI’ become a buzzword in every industry, and the number of vendors offering ‘AI’ solutions exploded.

However, in reality what we have found is that very few HR departments have enough quality data – or are using data that can be validated as predictive of job performance – to successfully leverage AI in their solutions.

This has already led to understandable skepticism from media, customers and candidates alike about its implementation, and will lead to far greater scrutiny of solutions marketed as being AI-driven.

In 2019, there is likely to be a real drive by HR professionals to differentiate between companies who claim to be using AI and machine learning in their recruitment process and those who are actually implementing it in both a professional and ethical way.

This ethical filter is key – and is only going to grow in importance. In much the same way that consumers today are interested in where their food came from, companies and candidates will soon want to know when AI is being used, and that the appropriate, scientifically validated approaches have been followed to ensure a fair and unbiased process.

As the ethics, processes and validation of AI technologies undergo more and more scrutiny, firms that can show such an approach will really start to pull away from the rest.

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2. Brands Rise to Meet Candidate Expectations

To cope with the tightening job market, brands will begin opening up to candidates. By offering more information on themselves and building in more points of engagement, the hope is to match rising candidate expectations.

For too long, recruitment has been a fairly one-way street, with candidates working through each stage, explaining why they would be the best fit for a role but not necessarily hearing much from the company – or at least not in the initial stages.

However, with candidates now more in the driving seat, we are starting to see this dynamic shift.

In the age of the conscious consumer, brand purpose is becoming an increasingly important factor to candidates when deciding to take a position. As a means to truly sell this purpose, the traditional job specification isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Instead with newer tech, such as video interviews, employers have the ability to customize how they present their business to the candidate pool and personalize their message to applicants.

Rather than posting a short job description on a recruitment page, companies can record snippets of everyday life at the company, or show a personalized message from the CEO to share the company vision or provide greater insight into the potential role.

3. The Candidate-Driven Job Market Shifts Recruiting Priorities

Attracting and retaining top talent is a challenge nearly every organization faces today.

With the ‘war for talent’ fiercer than ever, and a LinkedIn study revealing that 85% of candidates are passive, companies are fast realizing that it is a candidates’ market and they need to be doing more to attract the attention of those with high potential and stand out from the crowd.

This has put a huge emphasis on the candidate experience and, as a result, solutions that focus on this area will rise up the priority list in 2019.

As an example, we should start to see an increasing number of companies transitioning from their old applicant tracking systems (ATS), towards candidate relationship management (CRM) software in order to take a more candidate-centric and less transactional approach.

We can also expect companies to pay much more attention to how they are using data in the recruitment process – selecting tools that will help them sort through the noise (rather than just add to it) to make smarter hiring decisions.

4. Game-Based Assessments Enter the Mainstream

Previously, game-based assessments were seen as a exciting refresh of legacy assessment methods aimed at attracting younger candidates. In other words: a superficial facelift.

However, recruiters are starting to see how powerful a tool game-based assessment can be in talent identification and acquisition. It is the perfect data collection modality because it isn’t held back in the same way legacy tests are.

The number of data points a traditional assessment collects is fully dependent on how many questions are asked, which can result in low prediction accuracy due to insufficient performance data per candidate, or in incredibly long tests!

Due to their faster-paced, interactive and immersive characteristics, game-based assessments, on the other hand, collect a far greater number of high-quality data points within a fraction of the time and can measure multiple cognitive, personality and social traits in one single assessment.

From a candidate perspective, they are quicker and more engaging to take whilst also offering the reassurance of being scientifically validated, and give companies the ability to provide valuable feedback on key strengths and development areas.

In 2019, we are finally going to see game-based assessments reach maturity in the recruitment market and become an integral part of high-volume hiring and evaluation processes, alongside traditional and video assessments.

5. Conversations Around AI Center on the AI + Human Partnership

More companies than ever are considering incorporating AI into their recruiting strategies. We should expect to see more focus on using the technology as part of the solution versus the entirety.

Countering this year’s many scare-mongering stories, there is more work to be done on educating companies that AI is meant to be used as a means to augment the skills of the HR professional, rather than replace them.

Instead companies should be drawing on the different strengths of humans and machines – assessing where both will add the most value – to create a combined process where the two complement one another.

As the industry gains a better understanding of where AI should, and should not, play a role in hiring, we also predict more interdisciplinary use of AI and industrial-organizational (IO) psychology – a discipline that has been helping companies apply science to workplace issues for decades.

The role of AI as a prediction technology should be to inform hiring decisions, not make them independently.

Recruiting Technology in 2019

This year, technology and recruiting will continue to grow together to solve classic hiring challenges and unlock new talent pools. Many traditionalists in the industry may pretend they don’t need to worry about technology’s impact on recruitment because it will be a headache for the future, but in reality the future is now!

HR professionals need to educate themselves on these new solutions and find the ones that will really up-level their recruitment process. We are excited to see how this combination of HR practice and technology will continue to evolve throughout 2019.

This article was originally featured on HRZone.

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