Bersin: Most Companies Suck at Recruiting

New findings from research conducted by The Josh Bersin Company, a research and advisory company focused on HR and workforce trends, raises serious doubts about traditional recruiting practices and provides insight into innovative, effective alternatives.

The research, based on dozens of interviews and following over 600 responses from HR professionals around the world, found that over-reliance on old-style job posting, advertising, and traditional interviewing are among the least impactful recruitment practices in today’s competitive labor market. The study shows that high-performing companies are finding much better Talent Acquisition (TA) results by a pivot to a total employment value proposition based on support for better internal mobility, training and supporting recruiters, and use of the most modern HR technology to hire and grow.

This research shows that traditional “post and pray” recruitment simply no longer works.

The study, The Definitive Guide to Recruiting: Human-Centered Talent Acquisition, surfaces that competition for talent has never been more fierce, with 1 in 5 corporations surveyed having an average of over a thousand open job requisitions right now.

Yet, despite the urgency, the research shows that:

  • only 1 in 4 employers design jobs with clear opportunities for skill development and variety, to attract and retain talent
  • only 11% of companies promote a culture of internal mobility
  • and only 8% actively recruit from under-represented groups.

The report proposes practical solutions to these issues via five recommended strategies for achieving TA success:

1 A holistic, appealing, and authentic employer brand

A complete and integrated EVP (Employee Value Proposition) should be the number one area of focus for TA success. When the company’s employment brand is strong, candidates feel a sense of purpose, and the organization listens to its workforce, companies are: 5.4x more likely to exceed financial targets, 6.1x more likely to delight customers, and 7.4x more likely to innovate effectively.

2 Focus on the expertise of recruiters.

The second secret of effective TA today is to focus on recruiters. Companies must find and support expert recruiters, train the recruiting team, and connect the recruiters to the entire HR strategy. Companies that invest in their recruiting team are 3.9x more likely to be leaders in innovation, and 4.5x more likely to achieve high levels of customer retention. Recruiters are now among the most valued roles in business.

3 Recruit internally as well as externally

The research shows that hiring should always include a look at internal candidates. Internal mobility strategies, including temporary roles, project work, rotational assignments, and mentoring should all be included within the recruitment process. When companies encourage a culture of movement and growth, they are 3.7x more likely to see innovation rise, and nearly 5x more likely to be recognized as a great place to work.

4 Focus on a wide range of capabilities, not just technical skills

The data shows that companies need to put skills and capabilities at the absolute center of their talent acquisition strategy. Technical skills are not enough. The study shows that when companies hire for behavioral skills in addition to technical expertise, there’s a notable performance improvement. Companies bringing these capabilities into their workforce are 5.7x more likely to be innovation leaders.

5 Invest in modern recruiting technology

Technology is key to recruiting success. Companies that employ AI throughout their recruitment processes are 4x more likely to boast a strong candidate pipeline. Those who leverage a variety of digital-hiring solutions, such as online assessments, virtual interview platforms, and pre-hire chatbots, are twice as likely to ‌attract and recruit the right talent.

Josh Bersin, global industry analyst, said: “This research shows that traditional ‘post and pray’ recruitment simply no longer works. Job seekers are very discriminating, forcing employers to totally rethink their game. And in industries like healthcare, retail, hospitality, and distribution, hiring has almost become a source of operational crisis.”

“The good news is that companies who rethink talent acquisition can thrive. Organizations that get this right today will be well-positioned to outperform their peers in the year ahead.”

Janet Mertens, Director of Research, said “When connecting with leaders to discuss their opportunities around recruiting, a few questions really gave us insight into where problems could arise: How does your Talent Acquisition strategy look today? Are you stuck in transactional patterns, reactive, and siloed, with little long-term vision for success? Are you overburdened with standards and processes and inflexible to innovation? Do you have an unwieldy TA tech stack with disconnected messaging?

“If these questions resonate with your organization’s current process, that’s a problem. Talent Acquisition is probably the most important task of any business right now. It’s time for CEOs and CHROs to transform the function.

The Definitive Guide to Recruiting: Human-Centered Talent Acquisition is available exclusively to corporate members of The Josh Bersin Company. Learn more about the corporate member access to this report and gain access to related publicly available resources here.


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