Recruiting Trends 2007

Several weeks ago, many ERE readers along with other recruiting and HR practitioners completed our annual survey on the trends and issues they are facing. The entire report is available at

We asked respondents to rate the importance of 14 different issues that could impact them in the coming year. The issue rated most important was that of broadening the sources of hire. The issue rated least important was moving all or part of their recruiting to a third party. They rated 11 of the 14 as “important” or “very important,” clearly underlining the many critical issues facing the recruiting community.

As one might expect, the results illuminate the talent shortage in a dramatic way. Almost every person who responded to the survey indicated they are broadening the number and types of channels they use to find potential candidates.

When this many people are in sync, it is clear that finding the right people is getting tougher and tougher. As shown in the graph below, recruiters are trying to use more channels to find candidates.

While I counsel my clients to focus on a few channels that have proven successful and deepen and improve their access to those channels, it is tempting to feel that the grass is greener in some other place.

Many ERE writers have been encouraging recruiters to develop better communication with candidates. Gen Y, those folks approximately 27 and younger, expect authentic, personalized communication. They expect a clear indication of whether they are qualified for a job. They expect to be able to connect with someone, either by phone or email. Unfortunately, most recruiters feel this is a burden and not a core part of their job.

The survey, however, indicates that this may be changing. At least it’s on the radar screen and more respondents than ever indicate it is something they are concerned about.

Recruiters are seeking the right type of messages for candidates and are slowly building processes and technology that allows them to more efficiently communicate with candidates. With the clear emphasis on sourcing, recruiters must find new ways not only to identify, but also to communicate and build relationships with target candidates. Recruiters are searching for the right motivating messages, sent at just the right time, with just enough personal touch.

This ability to communicate and track candidates using technology was also a key finding in our survey. Recruiting professionals were most passionate in their response to this question. The issue actually received more, “Very important,” responses from respondents than any of the other 13 issues queried and over 88% of respondents rated, “Improve candidate communications,” either, “Very important” or “Important” for them in the coming 12 months.

Developing talent communities was also seen as important to success, rating “Develop talent community” the fourth most-important issue for their organizations this year.

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On the other hand, I was surprised by the responses to our question on the importance of Recruitment Process Outsourcing, the practice of having a third party do all or a significant segment of your recruiting. This practice has expanded rapidly over the past decade and is healthy, solid, and growing.

Yet the survey results indicate that RPO is not considered very important by the majority of respondents. Even staffing leadership told us that it is not important, more emphatically, in fact, than the overall survey sample of 440.

I am a bit stumped as to why this is the case, but perhaps it is because we perceive recruiting as strategic and because we feel it should be kept in house.

More and more organizations seem to be focusing on moving part of their operations to some global location such as India or China and global issues seem to pervade the popular literature. Yet as the graph below shows, there was a wide variation in perception on the importance of spreading the brand globally as well as on the need to include global candidates in the sourcing pool.

This most likely reflects the fact that many respondents were from domestic organizations with no global operations or that respondents were not aware of the value of casting a global recruiting net.

Overall, this year’s survey reflects the issues we read about on ERE all the time. Sourcing is the challenge and everyone is focused on improving how they find candidates. For global organizations, global branding is important, but for domestic firms it obviously is not.

For the first time, we are seeing significant awareness of the need to better communicate with candidates and to build more robust talent pools. Maybe CRM is finally gaining the visibility it deserves.

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at


1 Comment on “Recruiting Trends 2007

  1. Kevin-

    [to all my friends working with RPO firms, relax, this isn’t directed at you…see comment at end]

    re:RPO ‘I am a bit stumped as to why this is the case, but perhaps it is because we perceive recruiting as strategic and because we feel it should be kept in house.’

    Or could it be that recruiting leaders don’t want to see their jobs disappear?

    Sure RPO can be COST-effective but are the relationships between company and population as strong as when recruiting is in-house (yes, I’ve made a few assumptions here)?

    How many of our readers are satisfied with Dell’s outsourcing of customer service to Asia, etc.? Has anyone ever hung up on a Dell customer service agent (politely, of course) because of the turgid pace of assistance or for other reasons?

    Perhaps some recruiting leaders recognize that RPO can diminish one’s employment brand?

    […for all the angst accorded outsourcing of any kind, you realize it’s done for reasons other than purely monetary? Like the particular function not being especially proficient at the role being outsourced?]

    Kevin, see you in DC.

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