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Is ‘No Job Required’ the New Norm in Hiring?

Korn Ferry research finds employers are recruiting based on skills, not open positions.
By: | February 8, 2019 • 2 min read
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In today’s competitive talent marketplace, the actual job requisition is increasingly becoming irrelevant.

That’s what a recent global survey by Korn Ferry seems to be suggesting. When 600 talent-acquisition professionals were asked whether they had ever hired a candidate with a specific skill set even if a defined role for that position didn’t exist, 57 percent said yes. At the same time, roughly three-quarters (77 percent) of them said they are hiring for roles today that didn’t exist a year ago.

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Jacob Zabkowicz, vice president and general manager of RPO for Los Angeles-based Korn Ferry, says the 57 percent figure echoes the uptick in talent-scouting activity he’s personally seeing these days.

“A lot of our partners are doing more talent scouting,” Zabkowicz says. “Instead of having a recruiter manage a requisition, companies are [using] talent scouts to … find who is the best talent out there for a strategic business initiative that is down the road.”

Many companies, he says, seem to be willing to pull the trigger on a new hire for someone who has the right skill set, even if a position doesn’t exist yet.

This strategy is being deployed in sectors such as life sciences and pharma, Zabkowicz says, adding that it’s also finding traction among clients undergoing digital transformation in a broad range of fields. Many are seeking to hire talent from technology behemoths like Google and Amazon.

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Korn Ferry’s clients, Zabkowicz says, aren’t having a problem finding a home in their organizations for such talent, often putting them in roles that enable them to get to know the business better.

The Korn Ferry survey also included data around the investment companies are making in their current workforce. More than six in 10 (61 percent) of the respondents indicated they were upskilling their teams more these days, compared to 39 percent who said they were now recruiting externally more.

Just over two-thirds (67 percent) of the respondents said they had laid off people because their roles are no longer relevant to their organization’s direction.

David Shadovitz is editor emeritus and former editor and co-publisher for HRE.

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