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The relationship between hiring and training is undergoing a massive shift. More than ever before, learning is becoming a priority for today's candidates—and they are looking to employers to meet their needs. More than 80 percent of millennials say it is important for employers to provide on-the-job training as well as continuous professional development, self-directed learning or self-paced learning to help them perform their best.

“The customer [job seeker] has changed," says William Tincup, President of RecruitingDaily and HR Tech Advisor. Job seekers today tend to ask three questions during the interview process, he explains. 'What's next for me?' [an internal mobility question], 'How are you going to train me?' and 'How are you going to recognize what I do?'

“10 years ago, these questions weren't asked," Tincup says. “20 years ago, they weren't even thought of—actually, they were probably thought of as disrespectful." These seemingly simple questions are shifting the ground beneath HR and recruiting leaders as candidates drive forward a new set of priorities. We spoke with Tincup to learn more about how changing candidate needs are transforming hiring, the employee experience and retention efforts.

Adapt to Candidate Needs

In order to attract top talent, organizations need to be able to answer the questions that are most important to candidates, Tincup says. Candidate priorities have changed and the interview process needs to change as well. Back when there was a surplus of talent, recruiters had the upper hand. Today's talent market, however, is competitive and as companies face a workforce skills gap, the needs of candidate and recruiter have reversed.

“It's almost like a power position has reversed where recruiters used to negotiate from a position of strength and ask questions from a position of strength," Tincup explains. Now, qualified candidates will simply move on if a company is unable to fulfill what they are looking for in a job. “The customer has changed and if you want to attract that customer, you have to adapt," he says.

Drive Change Around Learning

Because learning is such a priority for today's candidates, recruiters can expect to be asked about training, job mobility and internal development during the interview process. In order to better adapt to and understand these candidate needs, Tincup suggests that recruiters reverse new questions they encounter.

“We can be proactive instead of reactive," he says. Recruiters can gain valuable insight by asking questions like 'what would you like to learn? or, 'what is something you've always wanted to learn but have never had the opportunity?'

By understanding what candidates want to learn and how they want to learn it, organizations can transform their onboarding process and work environment to provide a positive, engaging work experience for their employees. This approach not only helps to create a better overall employee experience, but it also drives organizational change around learning by connecting employees with content they care about and allowing them to learn in a style that works for them.

Bring the Customer Experience to HR and Recruiting

Tincup says there are three experiences someone can have with a company: candidate, employee or alumni. It's essential for HR and recruiting leaders to be mindful of this journey from start to finish in order to attract, grow and retain talented workers.

“The concept of candidate experience and employee experience—what you feel, how you think, how you go about your day, what you see—those are all things that can be orchestrated," says Tincup. “We, as HR professionals, should be more thoughtful of that experience.

In order to create a positive experience from start to finish, HR professionals must understand candidate needs as they exist today. And, of course, it's not a learn it and leave it game. “This is a continuous, relentless pursuit of understanding their [candidate] needs," Tincup explains. “And their needs change."

By being mindful of the questions today's job seekers are asking and allowing candidate priorities to drive internal learning, organizations can create an engaging culture of learning that empowers employees to continually develop and pursue new skills. “It's time to be thoughtful," Tincup says." “In the things we do, the things we say, the way we behave, the way we treat people and the way we include people."

Convergence 2019—taking place June 3-5—will be jam-packed with over 50 sessions led by top-tier Cornerstone clients and partners. Check out the agenda and learn more here!

Photo: Creative Commons