At the start of a new year, I find it’s always good to look at the trends that have emerged, or are emerging, in your industry. They might point to the need for a more reactive change or inform a proactive strategic shift.

In recruitment, there are three trends in particular that we’ve seen shaping the landscape.

Greater candidate transparency

The significant increase in transparency around candidates has been evolving for some time. This has been primarily driven by LinkedIn and people’s ability to put their resumes online, and in public, promote a stronger sense of their value (through features such as published posts), and ‘connect’ with others in a deliberately professional context.

Positives – Gaining insight into a candidate (or anyone on LinkedIn) before you meet is easier than ever, potentially supporting more focused discussions. It also allows you to contact people you may not necessarily have come across otherwise.

Negatives – The drive toward more people making contact via ‘inboxing’, rather than picking up the phone and talking, has led to an increase in lazy behaviours and insincerity when it comes to connecting with people. Not everyone on LinkedIn wants to be treated that way. Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, not everyone is on LinkedIn. Our own research shows that approximately 20% of search targets (potential candidates in the early stages of the process) are not on LinkedIn!

Fewer job opportunities

Vacancies, unemployment, and even people who are under-utilised in their roles, are rising. Several years ago as vacancies declined, unemployment increased. Now we are seeing both unemployment and vacancies increasing. A key cause is that the vacancies being created are not being easily filled by available candidates. The fit is simply not there – compounded by the fact that clients are demanding more skills than in years past for a candidate to be successful.

Positives – Clients are demanding more from the market, and are being quite discerning about the skills a potential candidate needs to bring to a role. In turn, candidates with a broad range of skills are increasingly in demand.

Negatives – There is greater frustration among those who don’t have a broad range of skills as they attempt to find employment. A generally depressed employment market also has short and even long-term social consequences. And, more vacancies and more companies not able to fill roles can impact everything from organisational efficiency and effectiveness to innovation to economic resilience and more.

More attention on leadership skills

‘Management’ skill was the buzz concept in recruitment for years. There is now a growing move to focus more on ‘leadership’ skill. Clients are realising the value of leadership capacity in their business as opposed to ‘just’ management – and this is reaching well beyond traditional leadership teams. It is being mentioned now in roles from production supervisors right through to the more expected roles like managing directors. In essence, this comes down to the ability to articulate the vision of a business and, importantly, the ‘why’, to truly engage the hearts and minds of people.

Positives – There is now greater awareness of leadership skill among candidates and clients including what the difference between managing and leading means for roles and role success. This is supporting greater likelihood of finding the right fit during recruitment for clients and achieving greater job satisfaction in a role for successful hires.

Negatives – We love our buzz words and ‘leadership’ may well become an overused term without people really understanding the behaviours necessary to be a good leader. There is also a risk that companies will so desire this ‘leadership’ capability that they inappropriately apply it to certain roles that really can, and should, be more technically-driven.

These are three of the broader trends I saw emerge during 2015 and believe will continue into 2016. What trends are you seeing that may impact the way you build your team? Or transition into a new role yourself? Or continue the development of your people and yourself?

More widely, in your industry, as you gear up for 2016, what are the shifts you’ve seen, and are seeing, that you need to adjust to, or get ready for? What aspects of your business will they impact? What capabilities will they require you to introduce or develop to stay competitive?

We would love to hear.

In the meantime, happy recruiting!