Emerging Trends In Recruitment & Talent Acquisition

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on October 21, 2012

Employees are the most important asset and no organization has been successful without them. When it comes to maintaining growth and ensuring sustainability, organizations have three choices: build and promote in house talent, purchase it from the market or borrow it from other similar corporations. The latter two options come under the realms of talent acquisition. Talent acquisition includes finding, attracting and subsequently engaging talented individuals into the organization. Simply put, the objective is to fill each open position with the best talent possible and to develop a continuous and strategic campaign to fill similar positions in the future.

In business, as in sports, if you are responsible for bringing in top performers, innovators and game changers, your impact can and should be clearly demonstrated. The real importance of talent acquisition is the recognition of the fact that businesses can’t grow without the right talent.


Organizations were not accustomed to chasing talent. Traditionally, a recruitment need occurred when an individual either left the organization or was promoted to another designation. In the past, a “Now hiring” sign was enough to attract thousands of job seekers. With passage of time, as businesses continued to grow, corporate houses started adopting definite procedures for acquiring talent. Formal recruitment practices (newspaper advertisements, written job applications, short listing criteria, job fairs etc.) were followed to help save time, money and to ensure regulatory compliance.

As the industry started shifting from asset-based to knowledge-based business models, a direct link was evident between the ability to acquire talent and the financial performance of the organization. It became imperative for organizations to create and access a pool of competitive talent. In order to have the right people at the right time to do the right job, organizations started devising an elaborate set of talent acquisition benchmarking metrics across four main categories- spending, staffing, productivity and quality.

Figure: Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Metrics

These benchmarking factors enabled forward thinking organizations to embrace new tools and technologies in order to ensure worthwhile return on their talent acquisition investments. Consequently, the industry started witnessing a shift from ‘passive’ to ‘results oriented’ talent acquisition strategies.


In the present environment, talent acquisition is no longer confined to the functional areas of recruitment and retention. Increasing competition and the paucity of skilled professionals have broadened the scope of talent acquisition. Some of the emerging trends in talent acquisition are:

(A) Job Boards-On the decline

A job board is a website that facilitates job hunting. A prospective employee can fill out a job application form or submit his/her resume for the advertised position. Job boards are very popular and remain the number one source for candidates. Over the years, job boards have been most successful in attracting candidates who ‘actively’ seek jobs. Some of the most popular job boards in India include Naukri, Monster, Freshersworld, etc.

Of late, an interesting trend is being witnessed with regards to the usage of job boards. Organizations have started complaining that they are being flooded with job offers from applicants who don’t have the experience, credentials or background for the offered position and are thus left with the cumbersome task of streamlining the applications. Therefore, progressive organizations are reducing their spending on job boards. Instead, new cost effective tools are being preferred which have the potential to tap suitable candidates at lower costs.

(B)Employee Referral Programs-Effective utilization of existing resources

Recognizing the costs associated with external talent acquisition and the subsequent difficulty in finding suitable candidates, organizations are adopting novel methods for talent acquisition. One such approach is to identify potential candidates from the existing employees’ social contacts. This internal recruitment method is otherwise known as employee referral scheme. In layman’s terms it’s tantamount to “spreading the word”. With an objective of making the method more effective, organizations have started doling out generous benefits, cash awards and referral bonuses to the referring employees.

The method is working well-employees are responding favourably to the incentives offered, and organizations are saving time and money. Employee participation is constructive with past results indicating that employees won’t refer potentially unsuitable candidates even if the rewards are astoundingly high. Employee referral programs are producing the highest volume of high quality hires.

(C)Social Media and Talent Acquisition-An interesting blend

The way individuals communicate with each other has evolved rapidly with the passage of time. A new and powerful medium of connecting talent with opportunity has emerged in the form of social media. Social media has redefined how people and businesses interact with each other. More than 75% of working class individuals are connected to one or more social networking sites and a significant time of web browsing is spent on these sites. The sheer volume of active users on sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter makes it imperative for organizations to have a dedicated social media strategy. The social media frenzy is being predicted as the next big thing in talent acquisition.

However, talent acquisition through social media and professional networking sites is at a nascent stage with businesses striving to figure out optimal ways to harness the reach of social media and translate its popularity into productive results.

(D)Recruitment Process Outsourcing-No longer confined to large organizations

Talent acquisition encompasses recruitment and retention. Of late, many organizations are beginning to outsource the recruitment process to external vendors. This enables the organizations to focus on their core competencies, while leaving the allied functions of recruitment to professionally qualified, third party vendors. Enterprises are able to save costs by getting the required qualified workforce without setting up an acquisition team of their own. Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), therefore, eases the burden on the middle and top management.

RPO, having surpassed the experimental stage, has achieved a stable position and is showing signs of bullish growth. The current size of the RPO market is estimated at US$1.5 billion with a growth rate of over 25%. More complex forms of RPO such as multi-country RPO and blended RPO have evolved over the years and have amassed tremendous popularity. In the present era, even medium-sized businesses are looking to outsource some, if not all, of their talent acquisition functions.

(E)Simulations and Virtual World-Promising technologies

Simulations imitate actual job tasks to allow employers to assess a candidate’s skills. The phenomenal growth in technology has taken simulations to a new level wherein a variety of work environments are replicated and the person’s competencies are evaluated in an automated manner. Most organizations are of the opinion that simulations are more engaging than traditional, non interactive assessments and offer realistic job previews by reducing biasness and subjectivity in the hiring process. Simulations are extremely popular in settings such as call centres (data entry and customer servicing skills) and manufacturing (optimization skills).

Virtual worlds are used to host virtual career fairs wherein job seekers and recruiters use avatars to enter a virtual world. Prospective job seekers use chatting services and visit networking lounges to interact with employers and other job seekers. Employers reach out to a pool of candidates from across the globe without any extra cost. The rapid growth in technology has opened new and exciting venues for talent acquisition.

(F)Behavioural Prediction-An emerging trend

Some years ago, Yahoo! HotJobs started analyzing the profile activity of its members and their Yahoo! search behaviour to come up with a composite score indicating the ‘seriousness ‘of the job seeker. The approach adopted in this case is known as behavioural prediction. Behavioural modelling attempts to rank applicants on their ‘seriousness’ and intends to weed out resume spammers. It’s based on the assumption that serious job applicants are likely to spend more time on the website while applying for open positions. The quantum of time an individual spends in shaping up his/her resume and posting content seems to indicate the level of ‘seriousness’.

The technology is still in its infancy and is being adopted by select few enterprises. Nevertheless, this technique has the potential of cutting down the time recruiters spend in reviewing resumes.


Talent acquisition is one of the most dynamic areas. Change is here to stay and most progressive organizations have understood that the talent acquisition practices which are working today may not necessarily work tomorrow. Job seeker expectations, advancements in technology, market changes and strategic business decisions will continue to initiate new trends in the talent acquisition process. Hence, to remain successful, organizations should be able to leverage the most effective processes and technologies for talent identification and acquisition.

This article has been authored by Debasis Rath from XIMB.

Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Views expressed in the article are personal. The articles are for educational & academic purpose only, and have been uploaded by the MBA Skool Team.

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