The CandE Community Shares Its Top Recruiting Priorities for 2022

Talent acquisition leaders and their teams have endured a bonkers two-year recruiting and hiring roller coaster ride, complete with a couple of those gut-wrenching free falls that make you want to silent scream.

Rewind back to 2019 – recruiting had been on a nice, smooth track, climbing steadily into sunny skies thanks to several consecutive years of job growth and the lowest unemployment in decades. Then came free fall number one, a global pandemic. Recruiting teams white-knuckled it through hiring freezes, furloughs, and layoffs. It was brutal. Things finally leveled off earlier this year in 2021 and job growth sputtered and jumped, as did recruiting. Then free fall number two hit—the great resignation. People quit their jobs in record numbers. Talent pools dried up. Candidate resentment grew, especially in North America and EMEA according to our 2021 CandE Benchmark Research coming out by the end of the year.

And so here we are, today, staring at a surplus of jobs and a shortage of people to fill them. Plus, the pandemic is still with us, along with the social and political upheaval it wrought.

What in the world will 2022 bring?

Recruiting Priorities for 2022

If the past two years taught us anything it’s that predictions are useless in the TA universe. But planning is another matter. Plans make the future, not predictions, as the saying goes. That’s why every year around this time we poll our CandE community to learn their recruiting and hiring focuses are for the year ahead.

Nearly 200 companies of all sizes responded this year, representing a wide range of industries including Healthcare, Manufacturing, Technology, Finance & Insurance, Education, and Services, to name a few. They told us what their priorities will be, with candidate experience coming in at number 1. Here are the top 10:

  1. Candidate Experience
  2. Diversity and Inclusion
  3. Employee Referrals
  4. Screening and Interviewing
  5. Onboarding
  6. Employer Branding
  7. Recruitment Marketing
  8. Social Recruiting
  9. Targeted Sourcing
  10. Analytics and Data Management

If you think about everything we’ve come through, it’s not surprising that the top three priorities for 2022 will be the candidate experience, diversity and inclusion, and employee referrals.

  • Candidate Experience—The CandE community is acutely aware of how crucial it is to deliver a positive candidate experience, particularly in light of the fierce competition for qualified talent and widespread labor shortages. Deliver a subpar experience and you can kiss those candidates goodbye. To maintain their superior candidate experiences, this year’s top-ranked CandE Award winners are investing more in timely communication and candidate feedback loops. Communication and feedback aren’t just essential to a great candidate experience, they’re also key differentiators for top employment brands, something that has held true in our benchmark research year after year.
  • Diversity and Inclusion—Women and people of color rated their candidate experiences higher in 2021 than in previous years, according to our latest benchmark research. That’s great news. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are non-negotiable when it comes to recruiting Gen Z and younger Millennials. These generations are searching for employers who offer diverse and inclusive workplaces. Sadly, as Talent Board discovered during a recent joint survey with iCIMS, more than half of employers have not used diversity-related data or analytics beyond what is minimally required for EEOC compliance. Hopefully, more employers will follow in the CandE community’s footsteps by making DE&I a bigger priority.
  • Employee Referrals—As our annual benchmark research has shown again and again, referrals are one of employers’ most valued and trusted sources for new talent. Our 2021 research shows that more than 30% of all candidates said they’d be extremely likely to refer others based on their candidate experiences—and the vast majority of these people didn’t get the jobs they applied to. (That’s how powerful a good candidate experience is!)

Accomplishing Their Priorities

So, how do companies in the CandE community plan to accomplish their recruiting priorities in 2022? Here are their top five responses to this question, with improved processes and efficiencies at number 1:

  1. Improved processes and efficiencies
  2. New technologies
  3. Current staffing
  4. Current technologies
  5. More staffing

The top response—improved processes and efficiencies—is a challenge the CandE community focuses on relentlessly because it’s the foundation of a great candidate experience. A company can have an amazing TA team and a ton of powerful recruiting tech, but if their processes are disjointed and inefficient, their candidate experience will be too. Improving processes and efficiencies applies to every phase and touch point of the candidate journey, from the creation of job requisitions and ads to resume processing to interviews and assessments to candidate communications to onboarding – and everything in between.

Responses 2 and 4 are about recruiting technologies, new and current. Technology is an important driver of efficient recruiting and hiring these days, especially for companies with moderate to significant hiring volume. This year, most of the top-ranked CandE Award winners around the world are investing more in recruiting technologies, including AI-based tech that better empowers efficient recruiting and hiring. Sourcing, screening, interviewing and communication are just a few of the areas that can benefit from these smart technologies.

Leveraging the right recruiting technologies is also key to scaling consistently and giving recruiting teams the time to continuously improve the candidate experience. That’s super critical now that job requisition volume is growing for many recruiting teams. Nearly half of the teams in our CandE community told us they’re now carrying 30 to 100+ requisitions per recruiter, and nearly 40% said they’re hiring 1,000 to 75,000+ people next year. With the right technologies in place, that’s gonna require a ton of heavy lifting.

Responses 3 and 5 are both about staffing, current and new. Teams may have gotten leaner because of pandemic-driven cutbacks, but many are now again increasing their recruiting teams. Recruiters are in demand! This kind of investment isn’t just about handling the high job requisition numbers, it’s also an investment in the human interaction that makes the candidate experience better for all those job seekers who are qualified, screened, assessed, and interviewed.

I love roller coasters, but I hope this bonkers upside-down one rights itself somewhat in 2022 and we’ll see more blue sky.

No matter what, the world of work will never be the same. And it shouldn’t be.

HR and talent acquisition leaders, recruiters, hiring managers, and business leaders can make a positive difference overall by elevating and promoting a quality candidate experience – every chance they get. That should be priority #1.

Be safe and well.

Kevin W. Grossman, Talent Board President

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