6 Challenges Facing UR Teams in 2024 | March 20th at 1PM EST

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February 08, 2024

The Shifting Landscape of Today’s Employment Discrimination Claims


At our most recent Annual Members Meeting, United States EEOC Commissioner, Keith Sonderling, joined Veris Insights Co-Founder & CEO, Carter Bradley, for a fireside chat to speak about some of the trends he’s seeing within the recruiting ecosystem. This is a summary of their conversation on the mental health and remote work trends Talent Acquisition teams are facing in 2024.


 

In the complex realm of Talent Acquisition, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest trends that are actively shaping the workforce landscape. One key aspect for TA professionals to keep in mind is the dynamic evolution of employment discrimination claims, shedding light on the nuance of workplace interactions.

The Unfolding Dynamics of Employment Discrimination Claims

Commissioner Sonderling shared with the group that, against the backdrop of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there were around 760,000 inquiries made, with approximately 73,000 charges leading to federal investigations. Although showing an increase from the year prior, these numbers remain significantly lower than in the post-recession era, suggesting potential positive shifts in workplace dynamics.

The Dominance of Retaliation Claims

Retaliation claims continue to dominate employment discrimination cases, often accompanying other allegations. A noteworthy trend emerges with disability discrimination as the primary underlying claim, showcasing a consistent upward trajectory, particularly in the context of Talent Acquisition.

 

Unpacking the Impact of COVID-19 on Workplace Dynamics

Religious Discrimination in the Wake of COVID-19

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a notable spike in religious discrimination claims, largely attributed to vaccine mandates. The unique challenges faced by TA and HR professionals in managing vaccination policies underscore the complexity of navigating religious exemptions.

Lingering Challenges Post-COVID-19

As vaccine mandates become a thing of the past, two intertwined issues persist—remote work/return-to-office mandates and the growing significance of mental health, especially among Gen Z talent. These challenges pose intricate questions for TA teams, requiring a delicate balance between organizational needs and individual well-being.

 

The Return-to-Office Dilemma and Escalating Mental Health Challenges

Legal Ramifications of Return-to-Office Mandates

Return-to-office mandates have become a central point of contention, leading to a surge in legal cases. TA and HR teams find themselves at the forefront of managing expectations and legal implications arising from these mandates.

Mental Health Claims on the Rise

Mental health claims, encompassing PTSD, depression, and anxiety, are on the rise. Employees are increasingly leveraging mental health considerations as grounds for accommodation requests, challenging TA and HR to navigate this sensitive terrain effectively.

 

Addressing Challenges in Talent Acquisition

Recruiting Amidst Remote Work Challenges

Recruiters face challenges in managing expectations, especially when promises of remote work are reconsidered. Striking a balance between business needs and employee expectations becomes crucial in maintaining a positive Talent Acquisition experience.

Accommodating Mental Health in Recruitment

The emergence of Gen Z talent, more open about mental health discussions, introduces a new dimension to recruitment. Crafting job descriptions that accommodate mental health needs for both applicants and employees becomes imperative, aligning with evolving legal considerations.

 

Navigating 2024: Mental Health and Remote Work as Top Priorities

As we step into 2024, the intertwined challenges of mental health and remote work are set to dominate the Talent Acquisition landscape. HR professionals and recruiters will need to adapt their strategies to address these issues, fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment.

Commissioner Sonderling emphasized that staying attuned to these evolving trends will position Talent Acquisition teams to proactively navigate the dynamic landscape of recruiting and retention in the years to come.

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January 11, 2024

Navigating Talent Acquisition in 2024


To attract, engage, win, and retain top talent in 2024, it’s imperative that Talent Acquisition teams can anchor to solid, sustainable internal processes and resources. These are just some of the strategies Talent Acquisition leaders are prioritizing that offer long-term impact.

(1) Evolving Recruiters

We’re hearing from most Talent Acquisition teams that they’re focused on transitioning their recruiters into talent advisors in 2024. For recruiters to serve as highly consultative and advise, there will be a focus on upskilling in areas such as consulting skills, strategic use of data, DEI best practices, effective sourcing, and business strategy.

(2) Investing in Technology 

Adapting to new technologies is a cornerstone of 2024. Many Talent Acquisition leaders plan to audit and optimize their tech stack, including the replacing of current systems and introduction of new software. The focus should be on building smart tech stacks that balance new technologies and minimize redundancies, as well as ensuring their team is trained adequately on how to best utilize these resources.

(3) Fostering Internal Mobility

More than half of Talent Acquisition professionals expect their focus on internal mobility to increase this year. To retain talent, strengthen professional development, and improve employee engagement, Talent Acquisition teams must streamline the internal application process and integrate internal mobility with key strategic priorities.

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December 21, 2023

Recruiting in 2023 was challenging – in many ways unprecedented.


Talent and recruiting took center stage this year – and not always for good reason.

Headlines signaled a recession and mass layoffs, which left candidates panicked and companies scrambling to signal stability. Generative AI introduced the possibility of serious change to the fundamental ways recruiting operates. The fluctuation of requisitions – up dramatically then down precipitously – has left recruiting leaders re-negotiating the rooms they are in, their roles in the company. If that weren’t enough, the SCOTUS decision on Affirmative Action left many teams – especially those focused on recruiting early talent – wondering the best way to approach DEI moving forward. And, throughout it all, companies faced internal challenges related to renegesreturn-to-office trendsinternal mobility, retention, upskilling recruiters to be talent advisors, and more.

Our job is to serve recruiting leaders in all their hardest work. To that end, 2023 saw the mobilization of substantial resources. We deployed quarterly employer benchmarking, candidate pulses, strategic studies, macro tools, advisory services, and more to study and serve on the issues critical to our recruiting leaders: economic uncertainty, labor market competition, internal mobility, retention, GenAI in recruiting, and more.

The outputs from that work were substantial:

• 26,000+ Students and Candidates Surveyed 

• 850+ Employers Studied 

• 600+ Custom Inquiries Answered 

• 100+ Service Deliveries to Members 

We’re looking forward to 2024. But, before jumping forward, we thought it worth reflecting once again on just how privileged we feel to serve Talent Acquisition leaders in their hardest work.

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November 09, 2023

DEI Programs in a Post-Affirmative Action Era


I was at a breakfast with Heads of University Recruiting and Talent Acquisition a few weeks ago. One of the main topics discussed was the Affirmative Action decision. Or, more specifically, how recruiting leaders should be thinking about their DEI programs in light of the decision.

The largest consensus: The SCOTUS decision does not prevent recruiting leaders from operationalizing DEI strategies, working to diversify their workforces, and building more inclusive systems.

The more interesting question discussed was how should leaders change their programs (if at all) in light of the decision. Though not a comprehensive or definitive list, I thought I’d share the three actions largely agreed upon by present leaders.

(1) Reconsider Program Naming

The most structural intervention considered by many was to reconsider including identity markers in the official name of any program they run. That does not preclude program tailoring. But, it builds additional openness into the categorical framing.

(2) “Not Limited To”

Second, explicit inclusion of language to make clear the program may be tailored to a specific group, but is not limited to that group, can hedge risk.

(3) Legal Consultation

Finally, a clear and obvious step, leaders are universally consulting their legal teams on program naming, format, advertising…etc.

 

It is worth noting that no one present had plans to draw back on their DEI efforts. Rather, they were focused on thoughtful reconsideration of certain program nuances in light of the recent decision.

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Guide to University Recruiting Workforce Planning
October 12, 2023

Workforce Planning ‘Tiger Teams’


Recently, Heads of Talent Acquisition have been telling me their organizations are launching internal tiger teams focused on overhauling their approaches to workforce planning – from early careers to executive hiring. And, in most cases, they are in charge of the group. 

These initiatives follow a typical “tiger team” formula: Bring together a cross-functional group of experts to solve a specific problem and disrupt a fundamental way the business operates.

Most of these teams, it seems, have been formed in response to the requisition turmoil of the last few years. There’s real hunger for a better way to predict and map business talent needs for years to come. 

I spent some time going through my notes about these teams to synthesize the main objectives they seem to be pursuing. I thought I’d share the three most common here.

Key Objectives of Workforce Planning Tiger Teams

(1) Years-Out Skills Mapping 

First among the objectives is working with business lines to get a clear sense of the skills the business will need in the years to come. Along with this goal comes the sub-goal of designing skills-based assessments to accurately vet for those abilities.

(2) Long-Term Process Ownership

Many Heads of TA running these teams have as a primary objective owning larger parts of the workforce planning process in the future. This is both so that they can have more advanced notice of trends in business need but also so they can pressure test the strategies put forward by business leaders – and how talent could (or could not) fit into them.

(3) Explore Alternative Sources

With additional clarity on the skills necessary for the future and a seat at the WFP table, Heads of TA seem to be interested in exploring alternative ways to fill the skills necessities of the business. Chief among those are internal development programs and increased reliance on early careers work.

 

If there is one trend connecting all leaders, however, it is their dissatisfaction with current WFP processes. Not a single leader I’ve spoken with believes theirs to be strong. Market-wide, there seems to be interest in change.

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Guide to University Recruiting Workforce Planning
September 27, 2023

Candidate Impersonations in Recruiting


The conversation around how candidates could use ChatGPT to misrepresent themselves is ongoing, but this could go beyond generative AI.

Recently, a number of the heads of TA we work with have flagged candidate impersonations as a burgeoning problem. Though not incredibly widespread and pervasive, the issue has the potential to grow exponentially – and, there are few existing countermeasures at recruiting leaders’ disposals.

Here’s what we’re hearing about candidate impersonations and how we’re seeing organizations respond.

What do we mean by candidate impersonations?

Simply put, companies are seeing isolated instances of candidates getting others to interview in their stead. Then, weeks or months later, a different person shows up for day 1 of the job.

The challenge here is how easy the practice is for candidates. It is trivial for a candidate to send the interview link to someone else. And, very feasible to get away with, as few companies have systematic ways to verify that the candidate interviewing is who they say they are – and that the person who shows up on day 1 is the person who interviewed.

How widespread are candidate impersonations?

Short answer: Not very. Many companies have experienced single-digit instances. But, that low occurrence rate belies three very real challenges:

(1) Detection Rate

Many heads of TA assume that the volume of candidate impersonations they detect is far smaller than the truth. Many could simply be making it through.

(2) Potential for Growth

Further, heads of TA note that there is very little stopping more candidates from using small or large fraudulent tactics to gain an edge.

(3) Detection Mechanisms

Though some prevention strategies do occur, no clean and universally-effective detection mechanism has yet emerged.

 

Candidate impersonations are merely one manifestation of the fraud made easier by the digitization of the recruiting process – the proliferation of generative AI in recruiting produces dozens more.

See how your recruiting function can leverage ChatGPT

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August 17, 2023

ChatGPT in Recruiting: Responding to Candidate Use


Interest in and adoption of generative AI is growing – both amongst recruiters and candidates. But, for a recruiting leader particularly interested in exploring utilization of ChatGPT in their efforts, what are the first steps to take? Very literally, where do we start?

While each recruiting team will take a different approach to integrating (or not integrating) ChatGPT into recruiting efforts, one thing is imperative: Responding to candidate use of ChatGPT. Even if your organization has banned use of ChatGPT internally, upwards of a third of candidates are using the technology in their recruiting efforts. And, that number will only grow.

How are candidates using ChatGPT in recruiting?

Candidates are using ChatGPT to help them with resume creation, resume customization, preparing for interviews, company research, and many, many other tasks.

And, how should you respond? Recruiting leaders are considering a few key actions.

(1) ChatGPT-Proof Your Application

Candidates now have the ability to answer written questions and build resumes using ChatGPT. Make sure your screening strategies account for that fact. 

(2) Ask ChatGPT About Your Company

Candidates are using generative AI tools to research potential employers. Some recruiting leaders are doing the same – so that they can see what candidates see, and respond accordingly.

(3) Make Sure Recruiters are Available

You cannot control what shows up for candidates when researching your company using ChatGPT. However, you can ensure people are available to answer questions as well – to serve as a trusted, living source of expertise.

 

Use of ChatGPT – in recruiting and in business more broadly – is expanding and evolving rapidly. The tactics above are small first steps. We will continue to track candidate use and update you accordingly.

Though organizations are slower to integrate the technology than individual candidates, we are seeing movement there as well.

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June 20, 2023

ChatGPT in Recruiting: Early adopter or fast follower?


ChatGPT is edging its way into recruiting. Candidates are using it to speed up their recruiting processes, draft effective emails, research and learn about companies, etc. Recruiters are using it to craft language for career websites, create and edit social posts, create boolean search terms, and much more. 

It’s clear that deployment of ChatGPT in recruiting will only grow. And, thus, Talent Acquisition leaders and recruiters alike face a central question: Should we  be early adopters – or, should we wait for others to learn from mistakes and position ourselves as fast followers?

As of now, utilization of ChatGPT in recruiting is still nascent.

38% of candidates have used AI technology in a recruiting process, and only 36% of recruiters have used it for a job-related task.

When it comes to students, 57% report using ChatGPT, but only 11% using it for the job or internship application process.

Being in this early adopter group has its virtues – and drawbacks.

On the positive side, certain efficiencies of using generative AI in recruiting are already clear. Recruiters who use the technology will be better able to adapt to candidate use of the tech, and they will be at the cutting edge

On the other hand, those at the frontier of experimentation are charting their own course – which, by definition, will be time-consuming and non-linear. Those who wait for others to fail and learn won’t have to endure the growing pains of breaking in a new technology. There is an argument for waiting for codified best practices.

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May 19, 2023

Internships create future leaders – when done right.


A strong internship program can open doors in workforce planning and build future leaders from the ground up. As internship season comes once again, it is worth remembering strategic value internships generate… when they’re done right, that is.

Interns generally are more likely to stay at an organization longer.

But companies can further inflect those numbers. Interns who feel like they belong at a company are twice as likely to report seeing themselves staying at their first employers for 5+ years, as opposed to interns who felt they did not belong.

Engaging in meaningful, enjoyable projects is a top predictor of intern satisfaction.

For an internship to be successful, all interns should be able to complete at least one meaningful, enjoyable project. Ideally, this is a project they can feel proud to share in their portfolio and discuss in future professional interviews. Ask leadership to attend or be involved with final intern presentations if possible. This goes a long way.

Securing the buy-in that leads to a strategic internship program may require a reset on how leaders view University Recruiting.

It is an investment with strong ROI if resources are prioritized to provide positive, fulfilling experiences that encourage intern conversion and retention. It can be a cost center if done wrong.

“University Recruiting is a staple, and it will always be a constant. It is the lifeline to our firm. The talent who we bring into the entry-level space, the ability to train, develop, and cultivate talent is what makes us successful.” – University Recruiting Leader, URC Member

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May 19, 2023

How to Optimize the Recruitment Funnel


One of the top two current priorities consistently talked about by the recruiting leaders in our memberships is “Optimizing the Recruitment Funnel.”

Though the spike in current attention is notable, the threshold focus on the topic is not; recruiting leaders often act like expert watch-makers, tinkering and tweaking aspects of their process from a perch to ensure it runs optimally.

More interesting than the fact of the focus, however, is how leaders are going about optimizing their recruitment funnels. In particular, two categories of tactics prove most common.

1. Proactive, Focused Audits

When a problem – or opportunity for improvement – is clear, leaders run focused, proactive interventions. These interventions are typically narrow in scope – focusing, for example, on updating the post-offer follow-up process, or the DEI careers site.

2. Reactive Idea Generation

Many leaders also rely on a steady stream of inbound information to spark adjacent ideas. By tracking, for example, the small, detailed tactics of their competitors, recruiting leaders are able to consistently question parts of their processes with a tangible, credible alternative in mind.

Some leaders focus more on one input – reactive or proactive – over the other. But, the recruiting leaders who most maintain forward progress often deploy the two in tandem – evolving their processes with intentionality while simultaneously staying open to inbound inspiration.

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