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Winning the c-suite’s ear.


Meredith Stack


It’s a tough time to be a recruiter. Unemployment is at historic lows, and there are about 1 million more open jobs than unemployed workers, making it feel impossible to fill key roles.

The only silver lining is that executives are finally paying attention. Chief executives recognize that their big dreams for the future rest on their ability to find, keep and develop good people.

Fully 73 percent of executives predict significant disruption in their industries in the next three years, according to Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report. That’s nearly three times the number who anticipated a disruption in 2018 (26%), suggesting an epic shift is taking place in the business world. Mercer also found that 80 percent of them believe they can be leaders of that disruption – if they can find the talent to make it happen.

That’s a big if. Conference Board’s C-Suite Challenge 2019 survey found that CEOs in every country rank attracting and retaining top talent as their top internal concern. “As global competition increases while the pool of available workers decreases, it comes as no surprise that executives cited talent as a top issue in 2019 that’s keeping them up at night,” said Rebecca Ray, Ph.D., a report author and the Executive Vice President of Human Capital at The Conference Board. “Moreover, they think talent shortages will only intensify beyond 2019, which underscores why organizations should constantly reexamine how they’re attracting and retaining their best and brightest.”

This is good news for recruiters, who can use the c-suite’s concerns as an opportunity to advise them on strategies that could help build a better, stronger, and more productive workforce (and make the recruiting process a little easier).

To make the most of this auspicious moment, recruiters should craft a solid business plan outlining strategies and tools that will help the company streamline hiring, increase retention, and build a positive talent brand. Here are a few data points to include:

  • Why they should consider gig workers: By 2020, 42 million people in the US alone will be self-employed, and 64% of millennials say they want to take on side hustles to earn extra income. Companies can’t afford to ignore this massive demographic. If business leaders are willing to rethink how, where and when work gets done, they will find amazing talent that they can leverage on an as-needed basis, with lower overhead and risk than hiring full-time people. Mercer found that 79 percent of executives expect contingent/freelance workers to “substantially replace full-time employees” in the coming years.
  • How assessments will lead to better, faster hiring. Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital Trends report found that 75% of companies plan to increase their use of technology-based assessments as a way to combat the recruiting challenges they face. This trend reflects their interest in using quantifiable data to find and compare candidates more efficiently from more sources.

    Pre-employment assessments have been shown to eliminate bias and uncover candidate’s actual skills and traits versus what they say they can do on their resume, which gives recruiters more power to select the most talented people regardless of their pedigree. Deloitte says the adoption of assessments “is one of the recruiting function’s biggest opportunities.”
  • Why they should hire for attitude, not experience. By 2030, roughly 14 percent of the global workforce will need to change their roles as digitization, automation, and advances in artificial intelligence disrupt the world of work, according to a new report from McKinsey. That means even if you hire someone with the exact skill set you need today, chances are they will still need retraining in the next few years to remain relevant and productive.

    Instead of spending months looking for perfectly prepared candidates, many companies (and staffing agencies) are shifted their search parameters to look for ambitious candidates who are willing to learn, then providing them with the training they need to thrive today and in the future. Assessments can be a useful tool in finding these motivated candidates by assessing core traits like optimism, problem-solving abilities, leadership skills, and integrity. McKinsey found 82 percent of executives believe reskilling must be at least half of the answer to addressing their skills gap, with 27 percent calling it a top-five priority.

These are just a few of the way that companies are shifting their recruiting strategies to build a more resilient and agile workforce.

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