Organizations are adopting a variety of efforts to recruit, attract, hire and retain top candidates to keep pace with shifting business demands since employment is more volatile and the oncoming workforce crisis can be seen on the horizon.

There are many trends and tactics to consider when addressing the arduous task of hiring and recruiting. From Internet searches, to identifying the needs of different generations in the workforce today, several factors determine how companies approach the hiring process. 




The Internet, more than any other modern technology in recent years, has rapidly changed our lives in so many ways. It has not only added to our microwave society, but it has opened lines of communication globally where they did not before exist. Because of the more rapid dissemination of information, access to information through this medium is now an instrumental recruiting tool. Employers and human resource professionals not only have a wider audience to reach in their recruitment efforts, but they also have added options on how to use the information obtained in electronic format. 

Some of the more well-known sites and job search engines include CareerBoard,, HotJobs and CareerBuilder. This process yields an exponential number of applicants and information-it can sometimes become a daunting task to review the hundreds of resumes received from a single advertisement. Where an advertisement in the local newspaper may yield satisfactory to minimal results, the Internet has a broad, even global reach. 

Some organizations acquire software to assist them in reviewing applications submitted electronically. For example, by doing word searches for the specific competency requirements of a position being advertised, companies are better able to match a candidate to the right position in a more time-efficient way. Other companies may utilize resume sorting technology.

The age of the Internet has affected many things in our society, including the way companies recruit-both now and well into the future. As emerging new technologies are rolled out, they could play even more significant roles in recruiting efforts. An employer must develop a well thought-out process to successfully manage the information provided through very useful electronic hiring methods. 

Candidate Assessment

Assessment of candidates is becoming more widely used by organizations in recruitment. Areas of assessment to consider include online technical skill assessments, job competency indexes, the use of simulations, on-the-job shadowing, improved screening for diversity amongst candidates and even improved metrics to identify and validate those screening tools to determine which are the most effective. Other online pre-employment assessment tools are available to assist in matching the best and brightest candidates to the right position.


One such tool is the Profiles XTTM, which is a total person assessment, employment evaluation and human resource management assessment tool. It measures the job-related qualities that make a person successful for a company and a specific job-thinking and reasoning style, behavioral traits and occupational interests. These tools are employed in selection, promotion, coaching, training, managing, succession planning and more. 

Job Match Patterns are often highly effective, as they compare the qualities of job candidates to the profile of the expected successful person. The pattern tells whether candidates are alike or different from the organization's top performers. Job Match Patterns can accurately predict job success more often than sole reliance on other common factors such as education, experience or job training. Matching people to fit their work within the organization builds productivity and job satisfaction, and it diminishes stress, tension, conflict, miscommunication and costly employee turnover.


Employers are increasing the utilization of metrics used to identify the effectiveness of their recruiting efforts and evaluation of employee performance. More efforts are being made to learn what sources are most effective and to expand the use of such sources.

There are many companies that deploy the use of tactical metrics, which include the amount of time a position is open, cost-per-hire, number and type of interviews, etc. The trend will continue to be developing strategic metrics, such as sourcing avenues, quality of hire, productivity measurements, recruiting from competitors and return on investment. These tactics will be used to measure the quality of the sources for candidates, as well as the candidates themselves. 

Even though many new trends have emerged in recruitment and access to candidate information via the Internet and other sources, one of the most significant sources of candidate acquisition is referrals. Many organizations have established referral programs, some of which offer incentives for employees to assist in the company's recruiting efforts. In a way, existing employees help to pre-screen and pre-sell the potentially good candidates for employment.

Search Techniques


To remain competitive at the highest level, employers will focus more on the recruitment of top performers who are currently employed with other organizations. Firms that assist employers in this search provide comprehensive, customized research and recruiting services ranging from name generation and pre-employment screening to total contact recruitment and candidate development. An example of such a research and recruiting organization is RGF Solutions. An extensive network is used to collect accurate information and relevant corporate intelligence to make informed business decisions through state-of-the-art methodologies. The ultimate expressed goal of a quality research and recruitment firm should be to empower employers to make informed, proactive corporate business decisions.

However, top performers need to be convinced to make a change. Research shows that turnover rates will increase significantly among top performers as they become more willing to make employment changes and are recruited by other companies. This substantiates the need for organizations to renew their focus on recruitment and retention. The trend to reduce the use of less effective tools such as newspaper ads, jobsites, and job fairs will continue. The increased use of targeted employee referrals, professional referrals, Internet searches and focused research and recruitment efforts will be key for top performing employers. 


Many organizations continue to outsource non-essential activities such as payroll, background checks, substance abuse programming, training and development, etc. Some organizations have even looked at outsourcing some key recruiting activities. A new trend in outsourcing, due to the greater emphasis on hiring, will be on overall recruitment process sourcing. 

Sourcing globally can alleviate some of the forecasted labor shortage threat. Many U.S. businesses have employed outsourcing as a way of cutting operating costs by shifting jobs to countries with lower wages. Increasing demand for specific skills not being developed domestically in younger generations increases the need to outsource globally. Still, global outsourcing does not make sense for all employers, and often, stated goals are to expand work locally and nationally. With all options on the table, organizations are looking to evaluate the best interest of the company in a variety of areas-recruitment and selection being one of many.

Future Job Trends

Changing demographics indicate that by 2010, it is estimated that the United States will be facing a labor shortage of more than 10 million skilled workers. Companies whose existing critical skill pool is over the age of fifty are often reversing their early retirement programs and looking to redesign traditional job roles to accommodate the needs of the older worker.


With a large percentage of the workforce approaching retirement age, employers are concerned about the loss of productivity and intellectual property and their effects on the business. Companies are looking at ways to provide incentives to retain mature workers and slow the loss of valuable skills and knowledge. 

The technology and science sectors grew tremendously at the beginning of the millennium. New hot jobs would seem to focus in the same industries; however, the forecast for future job growth trends indicates that the top ten occupations through 2014 are in different sectors.

The most difficult to fill jobs are expected to be the "hot jobs" such as sales representatives, skilled trades, teachers, mechanics and machine operators, delivery drivers, accountants, management and executives, etc. It's easy to see that skilled individuals will be the sector that will experience significant growth. There will continue to be difficulties in recruiting in industries such as healthcare, retail, construction and high-technology.

To maintain a competitive advantage in recruiting and retention, employers must offer more flexibility, contemporary employment options, work/life balance and desirable benefits. Salary increases, improved training and career development opportunities and more flexible work environments are other options to be considered. While the trends today will eventually become the history of tomorrow, successful organizations must take time to evaluate their recruitment processes, consult with those who can offer assistance and not be afraid to try new methods and sources for hiring great new employees who match the organization's culture and the job competencies.


Construction Business Owner, July 2007