Recruitment trends we should have paid attention to last year – and where to focus in 2016

by Alison Hill

The kids are back at school, the Australia Day party detritus has been swept away and the holidays are a dim and distant memory. It’s time to get serious about 2016.

What can we expect in the world of work? More specifically, what is the recruitment world going to look like in 2016? Will this be the year of the ‘Uber-like disruption’ of recruitment?

Last year we looked at The 7 Trends that Recruiters in Australia Should Pay Attention to as brought to you by LinkedIn Talent Solutions. How did the year shape up? And what does this year’s survey have to say about where the industry is going?

2015 Prediction: ‘With a continued requirement to do more with less, recruiters will be challenged to find faster and more cost-effective ways to source high-quality talent in 2015.’

What do they have to say about 2016? More of the same. LinkedIn thinks this gap between hiring volume and budget doesn’t help recruiters’ biggest challenge for the year: finding candidates in high-demand talent pools.

2015 Prediction:  ‘Over three-quarters of Australian recruiters say employer brand has a significant impact on their ability to hire great talent. It’s seen as even more important by SMBs, who are more likely to have employer brand as a top priority compared to larger companies.’

In 2016, it seems we need to work harder at employer branding. Lauren Karan, a senior talent acquisitions specialist, describes it as, ‘selling the essence of what your company stands for and what it means to the people who work there’. LinkedIn reports that while employer branding is top of mind for 65% of employers, even ‘organisations that have a proactive employer brand strategy haven’t made progress’. They suggest the key is having the talent acquisition and marketing teams work together:  ‘A strong relationship with marketing is the key to employer brand excellence’.

Prospective employees are more interested in the culture of a company than ever before, and consider what it means to be an employee of an organisation. Will 2016 be the year that organisations get serious about culture fit and values in their employer branding? This is what will appeal to the next generation of graduates, raised on the promise of a different work culture.

2015 Prediction: ‘Passive talent is clearly still a huge unrealised opportunity. Developing strategies to access this untapped source during 2015 will put Australian companies ahead of local competitors in the race to fill roles’. Apparently 45% of Australians considered themselves passive candidates.

For 2016, 37% of companies surveyed by LinkedIn saw finding better ways to source passive candidates as a long-lasting trend. Building networks, both in-person and online, seems to be where organisations can direct their efforts.

2015 Prediction: Mobile optimisation (it’s more discreet for candidates to job hunt on their mobiles while at work) and more attention to the power of data in recruitment. We have the technology but were still learning how to use it effectively to understand talent acquisition success and opportunities – well behind the global average.

Now, mobile optimisation seems to be the norm, and data doesn’t get a mention in the 2016 trends report. Did we learn to harness its power to make better decisions?

So what’s new in 2016? Employee retention emerged as a top priority, identified by 36% of the 3,894 decision-makers (either focused exclusively on recruiting, managing a recruiting team, or HR generalists) surveyed as the most important priority for their organisation.

The biggest concern seemed to be how to measure the quality of hire – still the most important performance metric. Employee retention and hiring manager satisfaction were the most commonly used metrics, followed by new hire performance evaluation.

The report concludes that, ‘the common thread among all these is the power of relationships – the relationships you have with your potential candidates, cross-functional partners, and employees will pave the path to talent acquisition success’.


What are your recruitment challenges in 2016? Do you see important trends emerging? Or is it likely to be a year of more of the same for your organisation? We’d love to read your comments.