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The 2014 Landscape for Staffing Pros

Even as the country continued on a slow recovery path, 2013 was a year that many businesses continued to reassess their spending habits. All departments, including talent management and recruiting, were scrutinized to find efficient ways to do more with less. Enter the need to hire staffing professionals in many cases to replace what businesses did internally. As a result, staffing agencies had to develop strategic solutions for their clients.

While 2013 was difficult for most businesses, it was also a time for staffing agencies to prepare for 2014 and beyond. By definition, strategic solutions require forward-looking planning to identify the threats, opportunities and trends that shape professional staffing services. Last year saw the focus shift to internal training to prepare for an aging workforce and globalization. Additionally, technology showed promise to take the staffing industry into the future.

As a whole, technology will continue to set the agenda in 2014 especially with social media and data analysis. Innovative solutions within recruitment will gain greater momentum as the year progresses. With an understanding of the recruiting landscape, staffing professionals will be in a stronger position to drive change. They will be able to leave a huge impact on the recruitment and talent management industry.

The following is an overview of some of the top trends that will continue to make a difference.

Businesses Will Begin Hiring for Tomorrow

Businesses with forward-thinking mindsets realize that the skill set of today's workforce can become outdated sooner than expected. Therefore, they understand that investments made in hiring should not only focus on current needs, but also prepare their businesses for the future. It becomes a normal practice to take stock in what the current talent offers while looking for hidden talent. They will either invest in developing current workers or look to hire new workers on their own or with the assistance of staffing professionals.

More often than not, most businesses will outsource talent recruitment to staffing agencies to build a dynamic workforce. Smart staffing agencies are keenly aware of client needs and will offer solutions to building a competency framework. These services will be of particular value for businesses challenged with finding specialized skills.

Mobile Recruitment Will Increase

Recruitment efforts through social networks and traditional advertising will continue as mobile recruitment also increases in popularity. Many businesses began to explore mobile recruiting options in 2013. In 2014, the recruiting industry will have more applications and functionality as mobile computing becomes a new way to source talent management.

Big Data Will Drive Big Decision-Making

Mobile recruitment is not the only tool that will drive hiring decisions. The advent of big data will also continue to reign as a key trend in decisions about company talent. Analyzing and sorting through mass data opens the opportunity for a revolutionary talent selection process. Such information offers key insight into workplace behaviors and skills of people with the highest potential of fitting into a specific company.

For 2014, big data not only presents challenges, but also paves the way for opportunities to make informed strategic decisions. Staffing professionals can demonstrate to clients the ROI of different recruitment activities.

Staffing Pros Will Use Smarter Sourcing Tools

The focus is shifting from active candidates who are looking for new career opportunities to passive candidates who might willingly change companies for the right offer. Staffing professionals can expect to receive more requests from clients who want top-tier candidates. Not only can they take advantage of online networks to find qualified passive candidates, but there are other sourcing tools to keep in their arsenal. Various sourcing channels exist such as: • Asking for referrals during the hiring process. Staffing professionals can challenge the industry knowledge of candidates for a list of outstanding colleagues. • Revisit high-quality candidates. Resources can be saved by simply revisiting a candidate who did not accept a previous offer. Perhaps the timing was not right, the job offer was not tempting enough or they were one of several on the shirt list. Recruiters should reach out to these candidates if another position becomes available. • Target former military personnel. A significant number of disciplined and well-trained military personnel leave the armed forces each year. With a high unemployment rate and incentives to hire more veterans, staffing professionals should seek to capitalize on recruiting these individuals through recruiting events or connecting with military assistance. • Rehire previous employees. The boomerang approach to recruiting is one of the best ways to make sure clients are presented with high-quality talent. Work performances of former employees come as no surprise when recruiters want to please a client with top-notch performers.

Developers Will Modernize Applicant Tracking Systems

A new breed of applicant tracking software will make a laborious process more valuable to recruiters. Most systems are programmed to handle the entire recruitment process. From monitoring how well – or poorly – advertising campaigns work, to matching candidates and clients, these tools are creating a better recruiting experience.

The Need for Global Talent Will Increase

Another change on the recruitment horizon is the rise in the search for global talent – with localized recruiting tools. In 2014, staffing pros will cross borders to look for the best and brightest to fill gaps.

Often times, there are skills that clients need versus skills that many job seekers in the country possess. If this skills gap continues to widen at its current pace, U.S. employers will face a five million shortfall in the labor force by 2020. Unless the skills gap is resolved, widening the talent pool internationally will be the only alternative for staffing agencies.

Just because local candidates may lack the skills that clients need does not mean that recruiters are without options. Widening the search may include looking for talent in another state or country. Recruiters are not limited to placing local advertisements; they can advertise in other states and countries for candidates in their clients' industries. Social media and video interviewing makes it easier to connect clients in the U.S. with prime candidates in Australia, for example.

For staffing professionals who recruit for highly competitive industries such as the technology sector, this is an excellent way to rise above the competition. Recruiting outside the talent pool box will improve prospects for finding the best person for the position. More businesses appreciate the benefits of having a global connection with local market knowledge.

Recruiting Efforts Must Stand Out

With more businesses competing for the same top talent, staffing professionals must find ways to make their recruiting efforts stand out. This is a challenge as businesses move toward outsourcing recruitment activities to staffing agencies. Nevertheless, a survey of CEOs shows that they expect the most changes in talent management programs in this year. Because of this, they want to see a higher level of performance that can be measured with a positive ROI.

To speak the language of CEOs in dollars and cents, leaders in the staffing industry should actively conduct a SWOT assessment. This will ensure that they identify unique challenges and prepare to fill client needs.

Ultimately, this will require a more strategic, proactive approach to talent management. It is predicted that recruitment and talent management will have an exciting year. The industry will become more focused with implementing streamlined processes to planning and acquiring fresh talent for clients.

The entire recruitment staff should adopt the mindset to plan game-changing events. Trends and opportunities abound for the staffing professional who is prepared.