As analysts, thought leaders and general movers and shakers within TA Tech, we often laud technology for the constant state of metamorphosis within the HR and Talent Acquisition space. However, I think there’s another factor at work. This is a people-focused industry. It’s people who supply the industry’s need, people who propel it forward and people who continuously call for and illicit change. Understanding this propels the development of our team and mission at Talent Tech Labs. We spend our days watching shifts in the human interactions in and around the world of work, anticipating how technology will respond, all while facilitating the development of those tools.


In my work as an entrepreneur and investor, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from passionate startup owners and tech producers. In fact, it’s now my full-time gig. Each day, our organization speaks with early to late stage Talent Acquisition tech companies. We connect founders to tech experts and users, all to ensure the newest innovations are best serving the market. The time we spend with all these great minds gives us a front row seat to HR and TA tech trends. Though I don’t want to give too much away (I’ll be hosting a session called, Top Trends in Talent Acquisition), I do want to share some of the observations that might inspire your time, and facilitate conversations at HR Tech World.


Leaning on Skills, Not Degrees


In researching and collating our latest Trends Report, I learned an interesting statistic: nearly 60% of 2015’s software engineering, programming or computer scientist titles didn’t hold a computer science degree, and 36% of IT workers don’t have a college degree at all. What this says to us is the claim that it’s hard to find tech talent is more about where we’re looking for talent than actual available skills. There are a great deal of self-taught, experienced professionals working in STEM fields, which means it might actually be time to reconsider what are necessary qualifications and what are desired traits. Helping us see beyond the traditional reqs is assessment technology, which relies on ability and aptitude over institutional reputation and study. Skills assessments, coding camps, technical schools, work and military experience are part of what is fueling this trend. We know it’s a strong trend because large companies like Ernst and Young and Accenture are dropping the degree requirement for many of their positions. While champions of degree-dropping have been writing and talking about this for some time, it’s only when notable and highly visible companies start joining the wave that executives will agree to try it. This is great news for recruiters and talent acquisition professionals everywhere.


Engaging Aptitude Assessments


While it varies from industry and country, in the US, the average time to fill is 43 days. As the position requirements increase, so does the time it takes to find an adequate hire. It takes time to find the right candidate, recruit and negotiate, and frankly, candidates aren’t too keen on waiting for an offer. If any point of the process becomes too arduous, there’s a good chance they won’t be putting in the time. This is especially true for top talent, who has their pick of interested employers, some of which have a nice benefits and salary offering too.


Technology has answer organizations who need to take their time, or are too small to compete with big budgets. Now, sourcing and recruiting can include engaging aptitude assessments that utilize online or app-based games. These assessments allow candidates to create profiles, test skills and provide real world follow up to their resume claims in a way organizations can use to make hiring decisions. Skills are still important but discovering less tangible and measurable skills like resilience, grit and adaptability are making their way into the assessment world. Here at TTL, we’ve dubbed 2017 the year of the assessment. This was recently confirmed by an article in Fast Company, so we’re doubling down on that claim. Assessments are popping up in the sourcing arena, the rise of chatbots that utilize NLP and of course, the proliferation of traditional assessments and gamification. From skills and aptitude to EQ and situational assessments, we’re learning more about the ability for candidates to do the job within the environment they’re applying for than ever before. Watch this space.


VR and AR is RN (Right Now)


The future is visual. Candidates are dependent on employer brand and reputation to make career decisions. Today’s employers know that while some parts of this are out of their control, a lot can be done to propel an organization in the right direction. Social media has long been the go-to tool for this, but advancements in mobile technology are allowing us to take branding interactions further. This is especially true in regards to the physical environment and leadership introductions.


Virtual and augmented reality capabilities are now right at our fingertips, and finding the right way to introduce them to recruitment strategies can mean big things for your hiring game. The most obvious application is introducing candidates to high-stress job simulations via virtual reality—and gauging their ability to handle it. Other uses though are more mundane, although no less useful. General Mills uses AR to show-off cereal mascots to recruits touring its offices in Minneapolis, MN, while Jet uses VR to give candidates a peek at their headquarters in NYC. Financial institutions are adopting AR/VR technologies to provide applicants to economic and customer service challenges, while train and aviation companies are using VR to expose a younger workforce to the realities of flying a plane or being a train engineer.


It’s an exciting time to be working in the recruitment space, which is exactly why I’m excited by opportunities like HR Tech World San Francisco. The conference epitomizes the transformation of the HR and recruitment industry in more than one way. Not only has it seen exponential growth, scaling to meet more audiences—HR Tech World is all about innovation, idea sharing and inspiring positive change in the global workforce. I can’t wait to attend.

Will you be among the forward thinkers in San Francisco on June 14-15?


*If you haven’t already made plans to attend HR Tech World in San Francisco this June, you should consider attending, we have special limited offers to give away to practitioners!


About the Author


Jonathan Kestenbaum is an entrepreneur and investor and embodied an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, having started and run two successful businesses before the age of twenty-one. A lawyer by education and entrepreneur by trade, Jonathan is passionate about being on the cutting edge of innovation and capitalizing on industry trends. You can follow him on Twitter @JKestenbaum.