What’s Next for the Recruiting & Staffing Industry?

by | Oct 26, 2022

What’s the biggest difference between a thriving agency, and one that’s dying?

Simply put, it’s the ability to adapt to changing times & candidate expectations. 

At least, that’s what we’ve heard from agencies like Aplin, Triumph Services, recruitAbility, Painted Porch Strategies, and others. 

You can’t control the winds of change. No one can. But what you can do is make your agency nimble and agile enough to be ready when they come.

But what changes are coming in the next year and beyond? And how can you prepare for them? That’s exactly what we’ll walk through in this article. 

Why is the recruiting sector evolving so rapidly?

Whether it’s new technologies, shifting candidate expectations, or tightening labor markets, there are a number of factors that have prompted the recruiting sector to evolve seemingly nonstop.  

Some of them are unique to recruiting, while others are broader in nature. And recently, there are some changes that we don’t know a whole lot about, but we for sure know are coming. 

We can sort these factors into three major buckets. Let’s walk through each of them in detail. 

Pre-COVID factors

Everyone likes to talk about COVID as the Big Bad Wolf that wrecked the entire industry. And while there’s no denying that COVID made waves, some changes were already well underway before the pandemic hit.

Some of these include: 

While the pandemic certainly helped speed things along, many of these changes were already happening pre-COVID.

COVID-specific changes

But COVID was much more than a catalyst for already emerging trends in recruiting. It brought its own unique challenges and changes, many of which we’re still feeling today:

Recession & a tightening economy

As we look down the barrel of a recession (or, at least, something suspiciously similar to a recession), there are even more changes that the recruiting sector will need to address. 

While we don’t know exactly what these will be, previous experiences show us that there are some options available: 

  • A slowdown in hiring as budgets become tighter
  • Increased demand for contract or remote workers, as companies change their workforces to reduce costs
  • Growing popularity of self-service platforms to reduce recruiting and placement costs
  • More reliance on RPOs and global recruiting forces

These are just some well-educated guesses. What we know for sure, however, is that the recruiting industry will continue to change and evolve for many years to come.

Only the agencies that adapt and respond to these changes—rather than burying their heads in the sand—will find success in this sector. 

How will the recruiting sector continue to evolve going forward? 

Based on what we’ve seen over the past few years in conversation with top performing staffing firms, here are some of the major trends that you should keep your eye on. 

Employee wellbeing will remain center stage

COVID was a wake up call for so many people: You only live once, so why work for a job that doesn’t take your health and wellbeing seriously? 

This question is driving one of the biggest trends in the sector: the need for companies to prioritize mental and emotional health, not just performance and productivity.

As recruiters, it’s important to not only highlight these benefits to candidates when selling roles, but also to coach employers on what the current demands look like. Also, it’s a good thing to offer these services within your own agency, otherwise you’ll start losing people as well

Continuing growth of freelancing and career control

People want to control their own destiny—especially after so many employers proved that they don’t have their people’s best interests in mind. 

As a result, many highly skilled and capable people have decided to adjust how they work:

  • Starting their own businesses
  • Consulting or freelancing
  • Creating online content to educate their audiences

With multiple opportunities to bring in an income, candidates can afford to be pickier about who they work with. That means that salary and benefits aren’t a selling point anymore—they’re the entry fee.

If you really want to make your open position attractive, you need to talk about the above-and-beyond benefits it will offer the candidate. Otherwise, you likely won’t get any engagement past the first phone screening. 

Candidate experience is the differentiator

Candidates are prioritizing themselves, which means they’ll only work with people they trust. Recruiters are no exception.

The ones that provide above-and-beyond experiences are going to rise to the top. Recruiters who treat candidates like numbers in a spreadsheet, however, are going to have a hard time succeeding.

This is especially true in an age where real-time reviews and brand reputation are a core part of recruitment marketing. For people to take your recruiters seriously, they need to see external validation. 

Technology is important, but won’t replace the recruiter

Emerging recruiting technologies—like application tracking systems, experience management platforms, and more—have changed the game for recruiters. It’s made people more efficient, and delivered real-time insight into organizational performance and efficiency. 

However, it will never replace the human experience. 

Recruiting is a human profession. It requires direct connections, a trustworthy advocate, and someone to guide and reassure the candidate. Most importantly, it’s built on a foundation of trust, something that no technology will ever replace. 
Only by balancing technology with the human touch will recruiters be able to get the best of both worlds—dramatically improving candidate and client experiences.

Final thoughts on the evolution of recruiting & staffing

The recruiting and staffing landscape has changed significantly in the last decade, and it’s only going to continue to change—especially as we work through the effects of the upcoming recession.

Recruiting agencies that adapt to these changes will be successful. Those who do not will fall behind. It’s as simple as that.

Fortunately, Great Recruiters is proud to work with the top rated staffing firms across all sectors. By enabling real-time feedback, we help these agencies make decisions and course-corrections at the most critical moments. 

To see for yourself how it all works, sign up for a free Great Recruiters starter account here.

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