4 Recruiting Trends to Watch in 2012

(Editor’s Note: This is the next in a series of guest blog posts about contract staffing, courtesy of Top Echelon Contracting, the recruiter’s back-office solution.  Similar posts will appear in future issues of The Pinnacle Newsletter Blog.)

Debbie Fledderjohann

It’s a new year, and the usual predictions abound about what will be hot in 2012.  Based on what we’ve been reading and hearing, here are the recruiting trends we think recruiters should keep an eye on:

1. Social Media Recruiting Wars—The race is on to see which social network, if any, will unseat LinkedIn as the recruiter’s social network of choice.  When it was released last year, a lot of people had their money on Google+ due to it’s ability to separate contacts into “Circles,” allowing users to be selective about which contacts saw which updates.  But there is now talk that good old Facebook could emerge as a useful recruiting tool, especially with professional networking apps like BranchOut and BeKnown that help users find jobs through their Facebook friends.  As BranchOut GM of Enterprise told Fistful of Talent, 18.4 million Americans say they found their current job through Facebook, so it definitely seems like the potential is there.

2. Mobile Recruiting—MSNBC recently reported that 25 percent of people use their smartphones rather than their computers for most of their Web surfing, so you can bet a lot of job hunting is taking place on mobile devices.  This will most certainly only increase in 2012, so you might want to look at how your Web site looks from various smartphones and how mobile-friendly your application process is.  One possible way to make job ads more user-friendly is by using QR codes, which are those small, square, maze-like images that you might see in magazines or on billboards.  When someone scans one of these codes with their smartphone in one of your job ads, it could take them to additional information online.  For more ideas on how to use these codes, check out the www.ere.net article “QR Codes: The Next Big Thing in Recruiting Technology?”

3. Continued crackdown on independent contractors—This is not a new trend, but we expect it to be a big one, nevertheless.  Near the end of 2011, the IRS offered a forgiveness program for employers who voluntarily reclassified 1099 independent contractors as W-2 employees while at the same time vowing to be even more diligent about investigating worker misclassification.  Meanwhile, Congress reintroduced The Employee Misclassification Prevention Act.  It’s clear that this is an issue that’s not going away.  So if you have clients who are doing it wrong, you may want to urge them to make proper worker classification one of their New Year’s resolutions and offer to help them by converting their independent contractors to W-2 employees employed by a contract staffing back-office, such as Top Echelon Contracting.

4. Continued growth of contract staffing—The growth contract staffing experienced last year is no surprise.  Companies typically hire more contractors following a recession to test the hiring waters before they start hiring direct again.  But what we’re hearing is that there is more of a permanent shift where companies are maintaining a core of direct employees and supplementing it with a larger, more flexible outer ring of contractors.  We explored this trend in more detail in our Fourth Quarter 2011 Contracting Corner newsletter and expect to see this trend continue in 2012 and beyond.


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