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Recruiting: More critical than ever?

It’s hard to know how timeless anything will be when it comes to writing a blog these days I have just discovered! From hot topics in 2021 to now. The world of TA has seen significant change over many years. Then add in external factors, like the pandemic and societal unrest, and it becomes an even bigger challenge. So how can recruiting teams pivot and rise to these ever-altering conditions? The above article should help but I wanted to take a breath and look at the evolution of our Recruitment world and how we keep in step despite the distractions and obstacles along our way.


Back then when…

This is by no means a history lesson but it is interesting that the word ‘recruitment’ originates from the 17th century, and initially meant “to strengthen, reinforce, or repair by fresh supplies.” If you consider more recent definitions of recruitment, they focus more on Talent Acquisition or ‘new hires.’ 

Looking at the current landscape, and the sharp focus on enabling and cultivating internal mobility, maybe we should perhaps consider a title more like ‘Incredibly adaptable and resilient purveyors of talent wherever it may lie,’ or IARPTWML for short!?

What I am getting at is that recruitment has evolved from conscripting names on a sheet to a whole new level as a key business success differentiator. And it is still developing, particularly from the perspective of being critical in designing the skills required for the workplace of tomorrow. 

As the cliche goes; recruiters and TA are being invited to the table. We are getting closer to the decision-makers and our insights are being relied upon. But when details about the workforce of tomorrow are still so unknown, how can we rise to this challenge?

Love your legacy

Anyone who knows me will understand why I think legacy applicants will be a key differentiator for a TA function in tomorrow’s climate. Harking back to the fundamental skill of networking, legacy applicants are the bread and butter for recruiters hiring for niche skill-sets or levels, like the latest Tech roles, or Heads of particular functions. And what’s even more interesting is how volume hiring is adopting similar techniques as the supply of talent shrinks and demand grows.

Often overlooked, legacy applicants are already partially into their candidate journey as they have been attracted and engaged at some stage. For example, when you think of a junior engineer you identify while searching for a senior role, where will that junior engineer be in two years time? When identified (tagged and GDPR compliant of course!) properly in your ATS/CRM systems and declined constructively, they are extremely likely to re-engage and accept when another opportunity arises.

It is also no wonder that community hiring and employer branding have diversified in their approaches over the years as data and platforms grow, enabling recruiters to ‘keep in touch’ en masse. The bedrock of this marketing, however, is the engagement that passive candidates receive when they get that call 12+ months later from their trusty recruiter. The keen eyes and ears recruiters have for talent that light up your brain when you come across one of your top 10/20/30 names (fairplay if your brain can retain more than 30!).

It’s easier said than done of course and even easier now for candidates to apply, but with the advent of machine learning (not AI… that’s for another blog!) we should be able to decline candidates in a manner that still fuels employer branding.

Now this is a very basic point, but still it is rarely processed correctly it seems – please don’t automate everything! Candidates (active or passive) are also searching like everyone as consumers, and they are all too savvy to respect a templated decline. 

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Internal mobility capture

Legacy applicants also apply to internal mobility and our current staff. If we have a skills taxonomy of some accuracy, it’s a no brainer for retention, and the cyclic advantage that that has in turn for employer branding. 

There is a sweet step in the candidate journey where the recruiter hires for the company rather than the role. This conversation generally points to personal attributes, skills matches, and candidate aspirations before getting into the job specifics. Once the discussion narrows toward the role, we lose some of these aspirational points, and I’m  a firm believer that we should be capturing these for future internal career progression conversations. This information should carry over to internal systems from your ATS which then make internal searches (and poaching concerns) so much smoother. 

SocialTalent has launched a dedicated internal mobility solution that will enable organizations and TA teams to champion internal talent.

So, where does recruiting go from here?

The good news is that a recruiter’s resiliency and future-focused skill set are part of the rhythm of the role. We manage so much when it comes to 360 recruiting or specialists in parts of our workflow. From unearthing key talent in far-flung corners of the world, analysing what seems like petabytes of data to prove an investment choice, keeping abreast of industry trends and social norms (and abnormalities too!) to just wanting the best careers for all of our stakeholders and tackling whatever helps that to happen. 

TA are tough folk! Conditions aren’t ideal at the moment and a lot is being asked of the function. But we thrive in challenge. We’re innate problem solvers. And we can make a huge difference to the success of our organizations.


Owen Murray is a Customer Strategy Advisor with SocialTalent. After working over 15 years as a Tech Recruiter and Manager in Security, Gaming and eCommerce industries in various countries, he now enjoys working with our clients on some of their most pressing topics. He thrives on seeing teams develop and grow their skills and have real impact in their area. A Dublin native, his interests lie in music, travel, rugby, and family pursuits.


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