Ask the Expert: Recruitment & Talent Management – What Lies Ahead?

Welcome to another instalment of ATCHub’s very own “Ask the Expert”, where experts in recruitment and HR gather to answer your everyday employment/workforce-related queries. Let us know if you have any questions. Leave them in the comments or email them to us, and you might just see it in the next issue of ATCHub “Ask the Expert”!

2016 has been a year of unpredictability – we saw a hung parliament during the Australian Federal Elections that took ages to resolve, Brexit happened and then came Trump. In between we also saw the Western Bulldogs win their first Australia Football League title in 62 years.

In a nod to the theme for the 2016 Australasian Talent Conference, we are certainly living in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world right now, and Talent Managers are faced with more challenges than before.

In view of this, what can we expect to see happen in the talent management space moving forwards? In your opinion, what are the top 3 recruitment/talent management/HR tech trends that you are expecting in 2017?


Name – Shannon Pritchett 

Title – Editor

Company – SourceCon

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As I look into my crystal ball of recruitment I see a year of humanisation in human resources. This will not only be the year that we excel in behaviours and characteristics that define us humans, but it will BE the year that we need to distinguish our interpersonal skills. Robotics are knocking on door, and it isn’t a solicit attempt we need to ignore, but embrace.

Artificial Intelligence – Adopting artificial intelligence is my top prediction for 2017. There are many new recruitment companies venturing in the A.I. space. This isn’t a technology we necessarily need to dread or develop anxiety over. It shouldn’t be surprising that the majority of monotonous daily tasks can be automated. There are many qualities that define a good recruiter, such as personality, and many skills that we have fallen short on, like responsiveness. Implementing A.I. can help improve the speed and quality of our profession. It’s here and undoubtedly a game changer to recruitment.

Personalisation – Somewhere in the world of spray and pray, spam and a fear of the phone, we lost our ability to provide a superior candidate experience. Personalisation in the age of A.I. is imperative to continue the long-standing value to our candidates and hiring managers. A.I. will help in the cumbersome world of time management, which should allow for recruiters to rebuild and nurture their interpersonal skills.

Predictive Analytics – Big data has always been a challenge and opportunity for many companies to adopt. Why not get ahead and embrace predictive analytics?


Name – Stan Rolfe

Title – Managing Editor

Company – ATCHub

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Rise of the Machines. Whether it be machine learning, A.I., Watson, and chat bots, the noise around technology automation will continue to take centre stage. Quite a few companies are in beta, so it won’t be long until the products start launching in 2017. We are way off realising the value of these technologies, although talent engagement tools will likely get the most traction in 2017. You’ll hear more from Meet and Engage who recently won Best Innovation at the National Online Recruitment Awards in the UK.

HR Tech “piranhas” will continue to take market share from Tier 1 players whose technologies were built on yesteryear platforms. These “piranhas” are the small fishes in the big pond, but in numbers, can take big bites out of the largest of animals. Whether it be an ATS, CRM or On-boarding tool, the big end of town is taking notice and a few knees are getting wobbly. To remove competition, watch out for some potentially big acquisition announcements.

Recruiter capability will come to the fore. As organisations review their delivery models and look to increase capability and add value, professional development for recruiters will finally become a core focus for businesses. They are, after all, the people responsible for identifying talent for you.

Last but not least, watch out for the latest news surrounding Facebook’s and Google’s moves into the recruitment sector. These announcements will provide for some interesting perspectives.


Name – Gerry Crispin

Title – Principal & Co-Founder

Company –  CareerXroads

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Expectations for 2017 will mostly be one with no surprises – simply a continuation of the following:

  • More content, transactions and communication adapted to mobile;
  • More sensitivity to the treatment of candidates (those not hired) based on the cost/reward of research reports like the CandEs;
  • More integration of best of breed technology capabilities with enterprise platforms;
  • More content based on bad data, poor opinion and uncommon sense to sort through;
  • More tools/apps developed by programmers and (not) graduates of several well-known universities, who also had a life-changing bad hiring experience, claiming a unique silver bullet solution for recruiting- as long as everyone follows their ‘patented’ process.

In the long-run we will see:

  • The first efforts to build an international professional association around Talent Acquisition that, when successful, will add value to professionals making a career of, and taking pride in, recruiting;
  • Examples of collaboration beyond competition from more employers (i.e. HROS) to share benchmark quality data about their practices;
  • Early efforts to adopt and combine more ‘human-like’ chatbots with learning algorithms to remake applications, interviewing, requisitions, scheduling, feedback to candidates and literally automate most transactional repetitive recruiting activities. Recruiting functions will begin to staff more operational, planning, branding and strategy than sourcing and full life cycle recruiting. Only one or two exceptional examples will appear but it will be the bellwether for all.

Name – Alex Hagan

Title – Founder & CEO

Company – Kienco

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Human Resources is not immune from this VUCA environment and we need to look forward and outward if we’re to build tomorrow’s workforce. With that in mind, here are three opportunities to explore in 2017:

Distributed Workforce Sourcing

Forward-thinking HR professionals in 2017 will recognise that the communications technologies that have allowed us to work from anywhere present a wide array of opportunities, including the possibility for engaging the services of top talent from across all geographical locations. Communications technologies and cloud-based software such as Slack, Dropbox, and Facebook at Work are making a distributed workforce more feasible than ever before, and multi-user Virtual Reality will, in time, fill some social needs in this space. We can definitely expect to see more of such distributed development in the coming year.

Changing Responsibilities of the Worker and the Employer

Impermanence is a feature of today’s society. 84 percent of Australians have moved homes in the last five years, up from 43 percent a decade ago, and the average person’s digital attention span is now eight seconds – that’s one second less than that of a goldfish.

Nowhere is this trend more apparent than in today’s workplace. Not only are most people not offered a job for life, in fact, few want one – 87 percent of people are actively or passively looking for a new opportunity. In this context, employees are taking more responsibility for their own career development, whilst employers are spending more time identifying external talent to fulfill their succession plans and managing the risks of existing employees leaving the organisation.

The new year is a good time to re-assess whether your current workforce initiatives are fit for the future.

Increasing Focus on Employer Branding

Employer transparency took a step-change in 2016 with Seek adopting Glassdoor-style company review functionality. Since Seek is one (if not the only) channel that most employers use when advertising jobs, this feature will have a direct impact on an organisation’s ability to attract top talent. Expect a lot more employers to invest heavily in their talent brand – and perhaps coerce their employees into giving them positive Seek reviews – as a response.


Name – Dan Nuroo

Title – Recruitment Director

Company – IMA Management and Technology 

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I find that the aged old adage “the more things change the more they stay the same” continues to ring true in the recruitment/talent management space and the challenges I see coming up are exactly the same ones I see in my rear vision mirror.

HR tech companies will continue to try to get their products beyond the “it seems like a really cool idea” stage, hoping to attract angels (or big time investors) and make a real business out of it. These companies will also keep striving to think before the market, whether it be A.I., Augmented Reality, the next social media craze or predicting the death of resumes, interviews or Recruiters, with only a small number making a tangible difference to the industry.

As for Recruiters, they will continue to find the process of identifying talent a little easier than before. However the struggle to bridge the gap from identification to engagement remains. “Do I tweet, Facebook DM, text or call?”

The final challenge I want to raise is the challenge of keeping your talent interested and consistently engaged. The landscape is always changing and other Recruiters representing your competitors will constantly be contacting your talent with new and “better opportunities”. Keeping your talent focused on a shared goal will become increasingly difficult.


Name – Cathy Riach

Title – National Recruitment & Resourcing Manager

Company – BAE Systems Australia

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The first is Candidate Experience. The way a modern candidate thinks and behaves is vastly different from before and not only do they want to be told if their applications were unsuccessful (really!??!!), they want you to connect with them. Treating candidates like consumers is on the agenda for forward thinking organisations.

Next is diversity. Not a newbie in the Talent space and it doesn’t make good business sense to continue ignoring it further. The workforce of the future will resource itself with people of varying backgrounds and abilities who are able to work efficiently in a variety of ways. A diverse workforce will be essential to success!

Finally, I’m also expecting a further shakeup to models of work. Flatter structures, less formal performance reviews (if any!) and outcomes vs. timed work. I also expect a further rise in the number of flexible working arrangements and resourcing models. All of which will necessitate the evolution of HR processes and the improvement of line managers’ EQ and skills.

Suffice to say, HR needs to focus forward in 2017 to keep up! A favourite quote to finish:

“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”
– Jack Welch, Chairman and CEO of General Electric

Couldn’t have said that better myself!


Name – Chris South

Title – Director

Company – Prominence

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I see a continuation of the blurring of lines between recruitment agencies, software providers and job boards. In 2016, Indeed entered the recruitment space and Randstad and Facebook entered the job board market. These are only three of the most publicised changes, but what they show is that for those in the recruitment and talent sector it’s going to become increasingly challenging to stay relevant and current. This may mean some of the industry suppliers have to pivot their business model or those involved in talent acquisition have to adjust their tactics in order to continue attracting the best talent.

Cover image: Shutterstock

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