Want the perfect candidate? Be psychic, says Korn Ferry

07 February 2019 Consulting.us 4 min. read

The rapidly shifting business landscape means talent acquisition professionals must "'look into their crystal ball' while hiring for both near-term and future need,” according to a new survey by global organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry. 

The growing trend shows that companies are more and more hiring on the basis of skill, with 57% of respondents stating that they have hired a candidate possessing a specific skill or skillset, even if there were no open positions for that candidate. Meanwhile, 77% are hiring for roles today that didn’t exist a year ago. 

These are rather unprecedented, but not wholly surprising, statistics. Technology’s natural exponential growth means business are becoming more and more tech-driven, creating not only new job openings but entirely new sectors. The speed with which technology grows and transforms businesses, however, also brings with it bad news – 67% of respondents said they have had to lay off people whose roles are no longer relevant to the organization’s direction. 

“While technological advances are creating new roles in areas such as data analytics and artificial intelligence, other trends, such as an enhanced focus on the customer experience journey, are putting a premium on different skillsets,” Jacob Zabkowicz, Korn Ferry global vice president and general manager of recruitment process outsourcing, said. “Businesses increasingly understand that the rapid pace of change means that, to thrive in the future, they will need access to skills and expertise that don’t necessarily fit within existing job descriptions.” 

Look forward, but within 

While there is no concrete action plan that can possibly be conceived – predictions can be made as to where technology will take businesses, but there are no certainties – many companies are relying on training programs for existing employees to source talent. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they are investing more in “upskilling” than external recruitment. “Nearly half (47%) say they have formal retraining programs for workers whose jobs have evolved,” the survey found.Want the perfect candidate? Be psychic, says Korn FerryRecruitment, too, exists mostly in-house, with only 39% of respondents having a recruitment process outsourcing solution – and 23% of those who answered “no” to the previous question considering putting one in place - to find the perfect candidate.

“With the labor market as tight as it has been in decades, it’s critical that employers look inside their own walls to find talented people who could be trained to meet the evolving needs of the organization, today and well into the future,” Zabkowicz said.

‘Smart’ is a certainty, employment is not

Whatever the technological future holds, it is undoubtedly “smart.” That is, focused on the development, sale, and widespread use of devices and processes that are automated, connected, and self-optimized, be it mobile phones, cars, refrigerators, televisions – even entire cities. Nearly all forms of technology are headed in that direction, meaning jobs in the artificial intelligence (AI) and automation industries will be in extraordinary demand. AI, for example, stands to save retail companies $300 billion if correctly leveraged and scaled. 

Because of their newness, their projected importance, and their purely technological bases, these sectors are especially subject to rapid, exponential change. This potentially leaves highly sought-after employees in a tricky position, as today’s revolutionary skillset could literally be yesterday’s news with even the slightest technological step forward.