In the evolving landscape of talent recruitment, 2024 casts a shadow of uncertainty for employers worldwide. Job market pressures are causing considerable stress for business leaders, and some executives are evaluating the potential of recruiting technology infused with artificial intelligence. Madeline Laurano of Aptitude Research Partners and Tim Sackett of HRUTech.com report that 63% of companies are currently investing or have plans to invest in AI solutions for talent acquisition problems.
Yet, buying new tech without a secure outlook on business conditions can result in an under-realized or failing investment. How can HR establish a solid foundation in such a dynamic landscape? A recent analysis by Gartner delved into the current state of recruitment and its potential implications for HR leaders in 2024.
Talent acquisition in 2023
Emi Chiba, a principal analyst in Gartner’s human resources practice, shared her perspective on the influences of the past year to help paint a picture of where talent acquisition is heading in 2024. During a session at her company’s ReimagineHR Conference, Chiba told the audience that throughout 2023, a fragmented market prone to consolidation has confused buyers. To put this into perspective, nearly 100 vendors at the 2023 HR Technology Conference were classified as platforms for recruitment or recruitment marketing.
There has also been attention to the talent acquisition funnel. She said that the 2023 job market caused the recruiting tech ecosystem to shift deeply into platforms aimed at attracting and engaging candidates rather than applicants or newly hired employees.
Yet, there also were efforts to utilize technology to streamline the employee lifecycle. Chiba says that employers strived for agile movement through phases—such as from onboarding to a new role or from offboarding to becoming a former employee—to improve business outcomes. This evolution created more activity in alumni management efforts and internal talent marketplaces.
Predictions for recruiting tech in 2024
Chiba says that 2023 will leave a fingerprint on the upcoming year in the shape of continuing economic headwinds, intense talent competition, the evolving role of work in wellbeing and increased scrutiny of bias in recruiting technology. This climate makes the future increasingly uncertain, necessitating vigilance and flexibility, according to the analyst. To provide clarity, Chiba laid out three recruiting macro trends for 2024.
AI in the recruiting process
Chiba said the hype around generative AI has served as a “tipping point” for vendor roadmaps, sparking attention to “regular AI” and how it can produce value for hiring teams. While generative AI can appear in the recruiting process as a tool to develop job descriptions, candidate communications and interview questions, regular AI continues to deliver in more areas.
Chiba pointed out matching assessments, virtual assistants and scheduling modeling as key features available to employers for some time, but the heightened awareness of all things AI could reinvigorate interest in these tools. She also brought up the unsung benefit of personalization marketing in the sourcing process, for which AI can help target the right candidates at the right time.
Attention to bias mitigation and responsible AI
Despite the prevalence of artificial intelligence tools that can support hiring efforts or augment vendor platforms, Chiba says, there will be an increase in organizations “saying no” to generative AI used in recruiting. She predicts that uncertainty will drive caution in 2024, at least until regulatory activity catches up with innovation.
Though President Biden recently signed the first executive order that speaks to the use of AI, there is still a lack of specific guidance for employers in the throes of making tech decisions. Nonetheless, Chiba doesn’t sense a state of total paralysis when it comes to recruiting tech decision-making, but she does expect that organizations will look to steering committees for insight on explainability, transparency and other compliance-related topics.
A ‘buyer beware’ mentality will prevail
Chiba expects that 2024 will be a year of extended buying cycles, with executives double-checking any tech investment decision. The vendor landscape will be focused on customer retention rather than expansion, says Chiba, so HR leaders should use this time to ensure they are getting the most out of any tools already implemented.
The talent acquisition and recruiting ecosystem has become multilayered, according to Chiba’s tech taxonomy analysis. There are tools and platforms for various stages of the hiring process, from attracting candidate interest to mobilizing new employees. Within each of these are multiple pain points that employers hope new tools can soothe.
But there’s often “pressure to get a solid business case” before HR teams can make a tech purchase. She says that now is the time to “grill” vendors to demonstrate that their clients have benefited from new features. “Ask, ‘What does it do for me?'” she advises.