‘Tis the season to reflect on what happened this past year and ponder what lies ahead for Talent Acquisition in 2017. Every year we think about what we did right those 365 days the lives we affected, the clients or candidates we helped, and how we can plan to perform even better the following year.

I can bet that as you sit and ponder this past year, there’s one key takeaway lingering from 2016’s year of recruiting – times are a changin’. In the words of Yogi Berra, “the future ain’t what it used to be.” Talent Acquisition has entered an entirely new realm and its launch has begun with recruiters.

In an effort to help you make this next year even better than the last, here are five things we learned about talent acquisition in 2016 and what they mean for recruiters in 2017:

5 min read


“As the hiring volume rises, recruiters need to get creative and automate their workforce.”

 Allison SchnidmanSenior Marketing Research Manager at LinkedIn

1. The Gig economy will grow tremendously

The blended workforce has slowly crept up on us over the years and, now, more than 30% of our workforce is made up of freelancers, independent contractors, temps, and consultants. Intuit predicts that by 2020, 4 out of 10 American workers will earn a living claiming one of these titles.

The movement is real.

Obviously, the poster example of gig employment is Uber which we all know isn’t going anywhere.

Employment in the gig economy is growing far faster than traditional payroll employment, creating a huge realignment in the very nature of employment as a whole fundamentally reshaping the recruiting landscape.

Many companies are hiring on-demand to solve key problems and cut costs by removing health care coverage and other employee benefits. HR and recruiting must be prepared to beat out the competition and attract top freelance talent, as well as explore new dynamics of ‘employee versus a contractor’ in the hiring process.

2. Automation will become a necessity

Recruiters are expecting to hire more with the same budget in 2017. Recruiting budgets will stay flat in 2017 compared with the previous year, despite the expectation that hiring volume will increase for many companies. What does that mean for recruiters? It means that finding quality talent, fast, will be essential to their success.

Allison Schnidman, senior market research manager at LinkedIn, says, “As the hiring volume rises, recruiters need to get creative and automate their workforce.”

Humans and machines will work together.

“Automation will increase the speed of screening candidates, minimize human bias and help assess soft skills more precisely”, says Schnidman.

Here’s the deal – big data and automation will drive effectiveness. Machines will tackle mundane tasks like resume sifting and sourcing which they can do more efficiently, quickly and accurately than most humans – allowing real people to focus on uniquely ‘human’ skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and candidate communication.

Not only will automation increase recruitment efficiency, but it will elevate the profession. The collaboration between machines and humans has the potential to create roles that are more creative and, ultimately, more rewarding.

As there isn’t enough time in the day for recruiters to do all the work that needs to be done, automation will help match candidates with the right jobs and the right employers – dramatically reducing turnover – measuring skills, cultural compatibility, and personality fit enabling recruitment to make a greater impact.  

Hear it from Milton Keynes, the principal consultant with Bateman Fox, “Big data truly is altering the recruitment method in a way that not only makes it more efficient but affords recruiters and hiring companies far greater insight into the recruitment market as a whole”.

3. Quality-of-hire will dictate a recruiter’s success

It’s clear that the number one goal of companies across the world is to attract and retain quality talent. Without the best talent, how would they stay relevant? Quality is everything.

As quality-of-hire is a coveted recruiting metric, it’s often a hard one to measure. As RPOs, staffing agencies, and corporations hire thousands of candidates a month, they all have one goal in common  to hire quality talent. As more and more technologies come on the scene that measure quality-of-hire and provide resources to assess a candidate’s potential, metrics such as time-to-fill, turnover, and cost-per-hire will all see a massive decline. These technologies will capitalize on this gap and quickly fill it with dependable, time-saving resources.

4. Culture fit will be the number 1 goal for talent acquisition strategies

Most hiring managers cut corners when it comes to culture fit. Most of the time, they just want a candidate to fill the position fast. Harvard Business Review estimates that 80 perfect of turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. Companies don’t first analyze the effects of a bad hire which almost always stems from the wrong culture fit.

Culture fit doesn’t mean only hiring individuals cut from the same cloth and simply multiplying the status quo. The goal is to put together a team that fits the organizational DNA of a business a group of individuals that share the same values and professional ethics, leading them to grow with one another and bring out each other’s full potential.

Without surrounding individuals with those that will inspire, support, and work effectively with them, the success of your team will be short-lived.

When the decision of culture fit is left up to humans, it can encourage bias and exclusiveness, but when technology is in charge, it brings an aspect of diversity to the process.

Most technologies will shortlist the best candidates that fit the culture, while humans then assess and make the final call.

5. All companies will invest in employer branding

After researching a company and finding no compelling reason to apply, candidates look elsewhere for work.

According to LinkedIn’s 2016 Global Talent Trends report, 62% of global recruiting leaders cite employer branding as a top priority. Without it, you lose quality candidates that might be the perfect fit for your organization.

Effective employer branding starts with your employees. Authentic stories from people actually involved in the day-to-day of the organization make an impression on candidates – influencing their decision to pursue your company.

Give your audience a backstage pass to the process, the people, and the hard work of your company.

Every company has a brand, whether they choose to shape it or not. Not shaping it gives your competitors all the power to attract the best talent. It’s time to start investing in making your brand appeal to the candidates you want on your team.

Final thoughts

Don’t get me wrong  reviewing your best moments of 2016 is good for the soul, but more importantly, preparing for 2017 and all the critical changes it’s bringing, needs to be in the driver’s seat.

The entire hiring process from the way job seekers find listings to the way recruiters reach out to prospects – has evolved quite a bit in the last few years. It’s not going to stop.

2016 has been a bit of a roller coaster, and we’ve learned a lot along the ride. Prepare for these trends in your 2017 recruiting strategy, and you’ll stay ahead of the curve.

Have your mind made up on a New Year’s Resolution? How about tackling these new changes and gearing up for a year where you can impact more lives than ever before with the new resources that are flooding talent acquisition.

Happy Holidays and Happy Recruiting! 

Abby Desmonds

Content Marketing Specialist

More about me.

My greatest joy comes from helping people be the very best they can be. My GSD, “The Office”, and southern bbq make me happy.