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With advances in technology, increased use of social media and the growth of numerous job-matching platforms, recruiting has evolved significantly over the past few years. But these changes don't necessarily mean it's easier to find the right candidate. According to labor market data provider DHI Group, the time it takes to fill positions is on the rise across many industries, putting pressure on organizations seeking top talent.

These challenges are changing the way HR professionals approach their work and are continuing to transform the industry. We spoke with Gerry Crispin, principal and co-founder of talent acquisition community CareerXroads, to learn about the three trends he says are shaping recruiting and what they mean for HR leaders.

1. HR Leaders Dictate the Direction of Technology (Not the Other Way Around)

Talent acquisition leaders now have access to revolutionary technology such as automated performance management software, apps that provide worker insight and marketplaces that offer access to a large pool of talent solutions that didn't exist a decade ago.

This technology will have a big effect not only on how recruiters do their job, but also on how HR leaders make decisions. In fact, 15 percent of global HR leaders say artificial intelligence and automation are already impacting their workforce plans and another 40 percent say they expect to see an impact from these technologies within the next two to five years, according to the Harvey Nash Human Resources 2017 Survey.

In the past, talent acquisition leaders would try to align their method of recruiting with available products from vendors. Now, the tables have turned. “The change that I'm seeing is talent acquisition leaders are beginning to take back their vision," Crispin says. “They're now able to develop their own vision rather than having to mimic or accept the vision of the vendors themselves."

By taking a step back and rethinking what recruiting looks like for their company, HR leaders can now actively push for products that will help them achieve their goals.

2. Recruiting Is Becoming More About Relationships

Historically, referrals have been a critical component of recruiting. In 2016, employee referrals resulted in 45 percent of internal hires. Crispin says that the impact of what he calls “relationship recruiting" activities—referral programs, recommendations and candidate-initiated networking—is not well-tracked and is probably more impactful than organizations know.

HR professionals are increasingly using professional social networks to source top-quality hires and Crispin suspects that this increased use of social media will help boost the relationship-building component of hiring.

“Over the next few years, particularly as social media becomes much more embedded in everyday life, we will see almost all positions being filled through relationship building initiated by us as employers, or by the candidates themselves, and we'll be better able to understand its impact," he explains.

3. Great Candidate Experiences Attract Top Talent

More than ever before, recruiters are focusing on creating a better candidate experience. Low job tenure is one factor contributing to this trend. In 2016, the median tenure of employees ages 25 to 34 was 2.1 years—nearly three times less that of the 10.1-year tenure of those workers between 55 and 64 years old. With Millennials poised to comprise 50 percent of the workforce by 2020, it's becoming increasingly important for companies to make the right match.

Crispin says this means that candidates must become partners in the decision-making process. “It's not just the employer's decision—it's also up to individuals to decide if this is the right job for them," he explains.

When recruiters are able to provide a candidate experience that is personalized, delivers or exceeds expectations and truly focuses on what the candidate needs, companies can make better hires.

“Being able to help the candidate make a better decision, and doing it in a way that's transparent and fair creates an environment that is extraordinarily powerful in driving better candidates to the company, increasing reapply rates, boosting referral rates by candidates and actually improving the performance of the company itself, long-term," he says.

Photo: Creative Commons