10 reasons why we now live in the ‘Golden Age’ of recruitment

Working in recruitment and selection has never been as exciting as it is now, according to Dr. John Sullivan. He provides us with 10 reasons – even though Sullivan, commonly seen as the recruitment guru, admits there is still room for improvement in certain areas.

Jasper Spanjaart on January 03, 2020 Average reading time: 5 min
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10 reasons why we now live in the ‘Golden Age’ of recruitment

Though the term ‘Golden Age’ has sparked some controversy in recent times, it is the very term Dr. John Sullivan uses to describe the present state of recruitment. Beyond what Sullivan cites as “record-low unemployment and skills shortages”, he reckons that the capabilities of a recruiter are “at an all-time high.”

‘The capabilities of a recruiter are at an all-time high.’

Sullivan urges recruiters to take a step back, and really think about the tremendous progress that the recruiting profession has made over the last few years. “We are now experiencing The Golden Age of Recruiting. […] In my research, I determined that there have been only two notable high-points in recruiting the last 100 years. Those were the 1946 postwar hiring boom and the 1999 War for Talent. But, those previous high-points pale in comparison to the zenith that we have currently reached.”

Credibility at a record-high

Never before was recruitment and selection as important to the leaders in organisations as now, Sullivan says. A tight labour market is part of the reason, but the American professor of recruitment reckons there is more going on. “Our credibility with executives is at a record-high, because we are finally shifting to a more businesslike data and metric-driven objective approach.”

‘We are finally shifting to a more businesslike data and metric-driven objective approach.’

Sullivan attributes part of the success in recruitment to the technically advanced day-and-age we now live in. “Nearly every prospect can be found somewhere on the Internet. There are now a plethora of new recruiting tools that can do things that were unheard of even a decade ago.” It is something recruiters should be proud of, Sullivan declares. “But at the same time, use this zenith as a launch-point for even bigger and better things.”

10 arguments for the Golden Age

 If we sum them all up, Sullivan sees 10 arguments as to why we now live in the ‘Golden Age of Recruitment’.

#1. Highest impact yet

When we take all roles within an organisation, HR has the most added-value. Zooming in on those roles within HR, research states that recruitment is the most important one. In addition, data now exists that further proves the enormous impact recruitment has on organisations.

#2. Top of the agenda 

In the history of recruitment, it has never ranked as high among executives as it has now. Research shows that CEO’s view talent acquisition as the biggest priority. The fact that it continues to rank so high, has subsequently led to higher budgets for recruitment and selection; those are also at an all-time high for many companies.

#3. A record demand for talent

In Europe, the unemployment rate is at a record-low. Furthermore, fewer young people are working, and that trend isn’t expected to change anytime soon. That means that recruiters will be even more important in the future, as organisations search for ways to continue a certain steady influx of talent as they look for ways to grow.

#4. More data-driven than ever before

After a long history where recruitment was primarily driven by intuition, it is now steadily shifting towards a more data-driven approach, according to Sullivan. ‘Quality-of-hire’ was defined in a variety of ways ten or so years ago, but now businesses are on the look-out for real data in their recruitment. Sullivan: “Recruiting dashboards are finally becoming common.”

#5. An employer brand is finally viewed as important

 For decades it had been tough sledding for those who preached the importance of a strong employer brand, as they struggled to justify its economic value. Now though, employer branding is finally widely recognised as an essential element in both business and recruitment success. Even more so now, after both Glassdoor and Indeed decided to allow reviews by employees to give a glimpse into the strengths and weaknesses of the company.

#6. More global recruiting than ever before

Recruitment is mostly still a local and regional activity. However, our globalisation and the possibilities surrounding remote work have resulted in more global recruiting than ever before. Even medium-sized firms can now recruit for candidates literally around the world.

#7. An excess of new and emerging tools

When referring to The Golden Age, it certainly applies to the current decade of innovative recruiting tools, Sullivansays. Whether it’s via social media, video, chatbots, cv-checks or truly global job boards – the traditional recruitment process has been turned on its head, allowing for tools to automate or enhance most elements within our recruiting process.

#8. More professional

Though a certificate for professionals within recruitment and selection still does not exist in any country, we do have our own dedicated professional association to guide the future of the talent-acquisition profession: ATAP. Founded in 2016, the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals, attempts to “develop a body of unified educational, ethical and measurement standards, advocate on issues that impact those in our profession, and build a global community of inspired and informed professionals.”

#9. More information

 From blogs to specialised platforms, from webinars to the incredible amount of books and events –  we now have an abundance of mostly free information sources dedicated to talent acquisition, Sullivan says.

#10. More visionaries

The final proof for the Golden Age of Recruitment, according to Sullivan, lies in the fact that we have more and more visionaries coming up within the world of recruitment. He looks at the likes of John Vlastelica, Jason Warner, Shally Steckerl, Tim Sackett, Jim D’Amico, Arie Ball, Kevin Wheeler, Gerry Crispin, Lou Adler, Michael McNeal and Chris Forman. All extremely inspiring in their own way.

So what’s next?

So if we were to live in the Golden Age of Recruiting, the big looming question is: what happens next? According to Sullivan, recruiting is still ‘painfully weak’ in two areas. The quality-of-hire is one. How do we really connect the dots between who we hire and select on one hand, and how well that person performs on the other? He sees the measurement of new hires as a simple process. Sullivan: “Sometimes the ‘Would you rehire?’ question is the least painful way to judge new hire performance.”

‘Unfortunately, few in recruiting go beyond the very basic one-year-out headcount planning.’

Workforce planning is another area that requires an upgrade, according to Sullivan. “Unfortunately, few in recruiting go beyond the very basic one-year-out headcount planning”, he says. “But the world is changing so rapidly, it is critical that they expand their hiring horizons.” Sullivan also pleads for adding minimum qualifications for corporate hiring in recruiting, to minimising rookie mistakes. “perhaps that includes a certification in TA (Talent Acquisition, red) and a degree in business. Until that time arrives, we should now just be proud. “I find that we are now all fortunate to be professionals during the Golden Age of Recruiting”, Sullivan concludes.

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Jasper Spanjaart

Jasper Spanjaart

Editor-in-Chief and Writer at ToTalent.eu
Editor-in-Chief and writer for European Total Talent Acquisition platform ToTalent.eu.
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