Today’s great workplaces earn financial returns twice as strong as the general market. The supply of top talent is forecasted to become increasingly scarce and the gap between the performance of great workplaces and not-so-great workplaces will magnify as a result.
To keep their edge, great workplaces of the future will employ the following 5 recruiting practices:
1. Leaders will harness “Big Data” to forecast the talent gap between existing staffing and future requirements.
Great workplaces will have done their research! They’ll know how many people with what skills they need and when they’ll need them. Their analysis will consider retirements, growth, outsourcing, existing talent pipelines, internal training streams and success rates for external marketing campaigns. And they’ll be investing in multiple short- and long-term strategies to close those gaps, with back-up strategies in case any one part of the talent supply chain becomes constricted.  Great workplaces will creatively augment supply by using retirees part-time; telecommuters wherever people with the right skills are located; and specialized service providers, both off and on-shore, who will provide lower-cost infrastructure for creative leaders who can manage these remote teams cost-effectively.
2. Talent Attraction will be a Marketing function and utilize that discipline’s tools.
Great workplaces will value potential employees as highly as potential customers. The Talent Attraction function will be a Marketing responsibility in great workplaces, employing the data and metrics associated with today’s product marketing and communications. (Talent Forecasting, Assessment and Management will remain a Human Resources function.) Talent Attraction will run marketing campaigns on campus, social media and media sites in general, building talent pipelines and tracking response. Great workplaces will “mystery shop” their own application processes, ensuring that all candidates have positive experiences with the company and its communications at each step of the hiring process. It will be understood that it is not just the experiences of customers that form the foundation of the company’s brand, but the experiences of current employees and future job candidates as well. We can see this today in forward-thinking companies’ growing interest in the Candidate Experience Awards.
3. Identifying functional skills will be a commodity; great workplaces will invest in long-term relationship building to find the best candidates.
Matching job descriptions to resumes will be a thing of the past. With the rising availability of professional designations and skills-verification services (such as those seen on technical freelance sites like Upwork), testing for technical qualifications will be increasingly outsourced and commoditized. Social media will make it commonplace for recruiters to identify thought leaders, and LinkedIn’s current skills verification service is surely a sign of more services to come.
Great workplaces will put their attention toward the hard part: identifying active and passive candidates with behavioral, leadership and critical-thinking skills necessary to make their company most competitive. While technical and functional skills will be clear and readily visible in social media or through other outsourced services, long-term relationship building is the only thing that will expose the more hidden talents of initiative, work ethic, team and leadership skills critical for success.
4. Great workplaces will actively cultivate their talent supply chain through educational partnerships.
Great workplaces will invest in the talent needed for their long-term success by visiting schools to talk about their business and the skills necessary to succeed in their environment and by inspiring students to choose the courses suited to their industry. They’ll collaborate with universities and colleges to ensure their degrees and programs cover the full scope of their requirements. Competitions, internships, awards and other incentives offered to college students will give great workplaces opportunities to build relationships and identify creativity, resourcefulness, initiative, leadership skills and other aspects of top talent long before graduation. On and off-campus sessions with students will develop relationships and lead to job offers for students who like what the great workplace offers. And of course, ongoing training will be made available for current employees so that their skills remain sharp, since they’re a critical part of the talent supply chain.
5. Great workplaces will be proactively transparent about their cultures in an effort to compete for hard-to-reach passive talent.
Great workplaces understand that top talent can afford to “shop” for their ideal workplace. Culture fit for these highly desirable candidates is a critical part of their decision-making: passive talent is 120% more likely to want to make an impact, 53% more likely than active job seekers to want culture fit, and 33% more likely to look for challenging work. With many choices at their disposal, these candidates don’t want to waste time with companies that can’t help them achieve their goals.
Passive talent needs motivation to jump – and top talent especially will be looking for opportunities to make educated decisions amongst their many choices. Great workplaces will make sure they stand out by proactively outlining their culture based on their employees’ own perspectives and ensuring talent trusts them by having their claims validated by experts.
Recruiting for the great workplace of the future will be a combination of leading marketing and communication skills and tools combined with “old-world” relationship building skills. Think of it as a period of recalibration: the rise of computerized matching created a bit of a mess, as lots of great candidates with transferable skills and excellent critical thinking capacities were missed because they couldn’t be automatically matched.
Great workplaces of the future will allocate technology to where it is useful: creating long-term recruiting strategies, aiding marketing campaigns to employee prospects, and qualifying technical skills. They will surpass their competitors by making investments and developing relationships that give them first-choice access to top talent. And they will secure the return on these investments by proactively educating the public about the quality of their workplace to ensure that hard-to-reach passive candidates make the jump to their workplace – and not their competitors’. The tight labor market may actually work to their advantage – widening the margin by which they can outperform their peers.
 Russell Investment Group, Comparative Annualized Stock Market Returns 1997-2012 [Back to instance]
 Big Data, Bigger Deal, written by Michelle Rafter, Workforce Management, April 5, 2013 [Back to instance]