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Last week, some of our team members flew out to San Diego to attend the annual ERE Recruiting Conference & Expo. While there, we soaked up all the latest news and trends in the HR and recruiting space—not to mention hosted a pretty snazzy wine-and-cheese reception for attendees. But just in case you weren’t able to make it (or weren’t following their hashtag), we’ve pulled together the five biggest themes that dominated this year’s conference.

1. Your recruitment strategy needs to embrace the “nowism” of our time.

In this volatile market, your company’s hiring needs can change at the drop of a hat—and when they do, everything will have to be recorded in real time online. As a result, recruiting is going social in a way we haven't previously experienced. From your employees’ Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to whatever you have written about your work environment on Glass Door or your @ mentions on Twitter, the hiring process is no longer a shot in the dark for candidates. Any candidate in your pipeline can reach out to a former employee on LinkedIn and within 5 minutes learn all the gritty details of why they left. Rather than ignore or deny this inevitability, embrace it. In Ron Mester’s keynote address, he encouraged recruiters to “turn the lights on” by showing candidates where you are and what you do. Make transparency part of your hiring strategy so your recruiters carry your company’s message to your candidates—be it good, bad, or something in between.

2. The role of a recruiter is changing.

Long gone are the days of simple, “transactional recruiting”—especially when it comes to hiring programmers and developers. In an era of social and community-based sourcing, “relationship recruiting” is quickly becoming the new norm. As a result of this added personal investment, recruiters need to assume an increasing amount of accountability for the basic company culture and other environmental factors of the workplace. It’s not enough to sell what’s there; recruiters need to take part in sculpting what that all means. But this shift must first occur from within the organization itself—a Corporate Executive Board report found only 35% of hiring managers currently believe that recruiting effectively influences business decisions. Our advice? Step up to the plate and lean in.

3. Recruiting is going mobile.

With more than 1 billion smartphones in use, it’s little surprise that more and more candidates are turning to their mobile phones as part of their job search. In fact, the number of people who search for jobs on their smartphones has more than doubled in the past year—more than 6 million people in the U.S. conducted mobile job searches this February. This “mobile message” poked out its head in numerous ways at ERE—through a presentation on mobile recruiting led by Walmart’s Director of Recruiting Operations and Strategy to event sponsors like Jibe and CareerBuilder who broadcasted figures on the state of mobile recruiting. The moral of this story: Even if you don’t have a separate mobile app for your company yet, at least make sure your company’s site is optimized for mobile.

4. If you’re still wondering how technology will have a place in recruiting, you’re too late.

If there was one can’t-miss takeaway at the ERE Expo this year, it’s that new technologies are overtaking the recruiting space. From the talk on recruiting robotics to the prevalence of vendors who offered video-interviewing products to employers, even those so-called larger “dinosaur” companies are adopting new technologies to their recruitment strategies. So if you’re still hanging out in left field wondering if you should create a Twitter account for your company, kick the online game into high gear. At the very least, don’t take anything for granted. If mass job boards aren’t working for you, check out niche boards by specialty. If you don’t like your ATS, check out newer models—or better yet, make your own. Oh, and give your developers a chance to update your systems from those “legacy languages” to something a bit fresher.

5. You have to do something different to get attention.     

At one point during the conference, a couple of t-shirts were thrown into the crowd to wake up the audience a bit and break up the monotony. Sure, this may have been just a clever marketing trick from one of the sponsors looking to get a little extra attention, but the same goes for recruiting. Recruiting is selling, so do something to make your company truly stand out. Whether that’s a recruitment-based YouTube series, a mobile app that lets you apply to any job with just a few clicks or an interview process that’s actually fun, find some way to set yourself apart. (Though we don’t necessarily suggesting throwing t-shirts at candidates…)

P.S. Here's a bonus tip that we really liked: Any time you’re on the phone with a candidate, before you let them hang up, ask them for a referral for another employee in a non-competitive role. 

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