Talent Trends

An organization’s ability to recruit and attract great talent is shaped in part by external economic and workforce trends. These external trends inform HR leaders on how many candidates are available, what candidates expect from potential employers and where the labor market is headed in the future. Understanding the ebb and flow of talent and what’s driving change is an essential piece of successful talent acquisition programs.


Talking Talent Leadership Profile

A Q&A with JEN TORRES of PeopleScout
Client Portfolio Leader, MSP

Trend Writer

If you ask Jen Torres what sets her apart as a workforce management partner, she’ll be clear with you. She’s transparent. Having started in the industry as an IT recruiter and growing her career alongside the development of Managed Service Provider (MSP) programs, she knows what makes a successful working relationship and program – honesty and openness.

Jen joined PeopleScout in 2018, and she’s bringing new ideas as our client portfolio leader for MSP. Throughout her career, Jen has crafted her own unique solutions to solve difficult problems, but she’s also practical – not afraid to say when an idea won’t work and then find a better solution. Now, as advances in technology and the growing popularity of total workforce solutions programs are poised to transform the industry, we sat down with Jen to get her candid take on the state of MSP.

What are Some of the Biggest Drivers You See from Clients Who are Seeking MSP Right Now, and What are Some of the Biggest Challenges for Establishing an MSP Program?

We are in a world today where there is a war for talent, and no matter how our clients engage with talent, each person matters. Clients need to be able attract the best workers, so they are putting a more intentional focus toward attracting and engaging the best talent in the market regardless of labor type. For example, 78% of candidates in the contingent and SOW workforce have at least three or four offers to choose from at any given time. While this is a great environment for workers, clients are struggling with high voluntary turnover rates – upwards of 42% in some labor categories. To solve for this, organizations need to have an employer brand and offer that stands out from the crowd. This can be a confusing road to navigate without the right internal buy-in and the right partner to advise you.

If an Organization is Looking at an MSP Program for the First Time, What Should Leaders Be Considering?

One of the key benefits of an MSP program – cost savings – can be realized quickly by creating standardization in your worker procurement process. A detailed and well-managed implementation process is also key to ensuring you have the right environment in place to promote sustainable growth and hard savings. The MSP provider should have a demonstrated track record of being able to put governance in place as an organization is moving toward a centralized model.

Leaders also need to look for providers that can bring the right technology – from a VMS and analytics perspective – and use it appropriately. Incorporating predictive analytics and other forms of data analytics into an MSP program can help organizations better understand the full picture of their contingent workforce and predict future needs.

What About a Second- or Third-generation MSP?

Usually, clients don’t make a change unless the operational foundation with their incumbent provider is not working. That means that reporting analytics, process adoption, VMS administration – or a multitude of other things – could be improved. Typically, organizations that are in a second- or third-generation program are looking for a solid foundation that fills in the gaps where their current provider is lacking.

Thought leadership is also important in a second- or third-generation program. Leaders with mature programs should be looking for MSP providers that can provide insights on the competitive landscape and how can they elevate themselves to be a best-in-class employer.

What About an Organization Where Leaders are Thinking About Transitioning to a Total Workforce Solution?

I think the first question leaders need to answer is, “what is our core objective?” Is it attracting best-in-class candidates? Is it improving the internal process within their own organization? Is it that they want the ability to leverage talent more effectively? Is it that they want to make sure they have the right ecosystem to sustain growth? We come across a lot of different objectives when clients are exploring a total workforce solution. So, having a clear goal in the beginning is really important.

The other thing is that for an organization to really take on total workforce, leaders need to be ready for change. They will need to be able to unite the workforce management process enterprise-wide, and they need to have consensus across procurement and talent acquisition. It sounds foundational, but I think that’s where many customers find it’s challenging to transition to total workforce – because they haven’t made some key decisions and established consensus internally.

Total workforce is an evolution, and there is still a lot of room for exploration. It isn’t going to be something that happens quickly. Leaders should look for a talent partner with the experience and knowledge to explore total workforce solutions and get to a solution that’s the right fit.

How Does Technology Fit In?

First, an MSP program needs to have a VMS. That’s still foundational. In my experience, analytics can be a bit of a soft spot. At PeopleScout, we have Affinix™ analytics. It provides a clear view of metrics across your MSP program – which is the lynchpin to solidifying an MSP or total workforce program.

Within the next five years, we’re going to continue to see highly repeatable functions replaced by chatbots or robotics processing. It’s really going to shift where the benefits of MSP services are. I think where an MSP’s true value is, if you think about it from an MSP-client buyer perspective, is the right mix of technology and human touch.

What are You Excited About for the Future of Workforce Management?

I’m looking forward to the continued innovation, creativity and technology. As I reflect on the evolution of MSP, I think we have all the tenets in place, and we’re at the precipice of what’s next. It’s been a slow process to get MSP programs to a high level of maturity, so I’m excited about how we can use technology to move forward and how we can use our innovation and creativity to make things more efficient. I can’t wait to see where this conversation goes in the next year, three years and five years.

Listen to the companion podcast, “Getting the Most Out of MSP,” at peoplescout.com

What’s Next: Prescriptive Analytics

Product Marketing Leader

Imagine your day as a lead recruiter for a major retailer. You have delivered successful results, but sometimes you get bogged down with small details. By the end of this month, you need to fill 27 requisitions for store managers and customer service supervisors – a pretty normal workload that you’re used to.

At 8 a.m., you look at a weekly dashboard report sent by your VP that describes how you are performing against monthly recruiting goals. You are doing well, but you have to turn it up a bit more. Ten of your requisitions are new, five are in the interview stage and eight are in the offer stage. You know how to manage this – you are a pro – but there is so much to do.

From 8:21 until 10:59 a.m., you respond to several calls, filter so many resumes you lose track, and perform a couple phone screens; it makes it hard to take a minute and plan with this type of pace.

By 3 p.m., the day has flown by and you need to spend time reviewing your activity log. In an ideal world, you’d clear your plate of your morning tasks and instead spend time building candidate relationships. However, you remind yourself that this type of pace and workload is true for most recruiters.

At 4:30 p.m., you receive some predictions from your finance team about where you need to shift your focus. This will help you manage your time better, but to be honest, the data would have been more helpful if you had received it last month. You love reading the color-coded strike zone reports, though, and take note of how long it is taking to fill some of your harder-to-fill roles.

By 5:30 p.m., you leave feeling like you’ve done your best to tackle the day and made some real progress. You are putting out fires and making everything work, but what would be really helpful would be a prescription telling you what and where to attack each day to help you achieve even better results and be more efficient.

Maybe your prescription could look something like the following:

Prescriptive Analytics is Next

In our story, the recruiter received several different types of information, but the amount of disparate data was still unhelpful in the recruiter’s daily work. What our recruiter needed was some form of prescriptive analytics metrics to figure out where to focus his or her time.

What does prescriptive mean in the context of analytics? Prescriptive analytics solutions not only make predictions, but also aim to answer questions related to the decision-making process and explain why some action in the future will take place.

Prescriptive analytics solutions are only beginning to enter the mainstream world of talent acquisition. Rob Wells, managing director of Workday in Australia and New Zealand, said, “The most innovative companies are relying on analytics in their HR programs and those that are implementing prescriptive analytics will reap the biggest rewards.”

Gartner predicts that the prescriptive analytics software market will reach $1.1 billion by the end of 2019. InformationWeek lists resource optimization, broadly termed as matching resources such as people and goods with an organization’s needs (for example, talent acquisition), as a strong target for growth.

Prescriptive analytics is more easily understood in context with its relationship to descriptive and predictive analytics.

Predictive vs. Prescriptive Analytics

While predictive and prescriptive analytics sound alike, prescriptive analytics is the more advanced solution of the two. Prescriptive analytics builds on predictive analytics forecasts and transitional analytics solutions, such as diagnostic analytics, to evolve toward overall better decisions.

Predictive analytics today is more widely deployed. Predictive analytics uses data to find patterns and then uses that information to make forecasts that can shorten the recruiting process and produce stronger hires. While predictive solutions produce forecasts based on existing data, prescriptive solutions answer problems. As Gartner states, companies should ask “What can we do to make ____________ happen?” – prescriptive analytics helps answer that question.

Talent Analytics Adoption: Most, Some, Few

Descriptive Analytics
Receiving detailed data on past behavior is descriptive analytics. Most companies have this today.

Up to 90% of organizations use basic descriptive analytics. Descriptive analytics in talent acquisition looks at data related to candidate generation, like the volume of candidates, time-to-fill, cost of the candidate search and source-of-hire, for example.

Predictive Analytics
Reviewing predictions of what might happen is predictive analytics. Some companies have this today.

Giant retailers such as Amazon are known for their predictive analytics algorithms that manage data, inventory and customer needs. Some recruiters in talent acquisition also have begun to use predictive analytics tools. Predictive analytics throughout the sourcing process is also integrated into PeopleScout’s proprietary talent technology, Affinix™.

Prescriptive Analytics
Knowing where to act and how to move in a specific way is prescriptive analytics. Few companies have this today.

For example, the healthcare industry has seen success using prescriptive analytics. One company implemented a prescriptive analytics solution that analyzed the number of obese patients and used their cholesterol and diabetes risk levels to customize specific treatments. While still new to talent acquisition, prescriptive analytics help predict what is needed by providing an actual prescription of how to alter behavior for better outcomes. Some applications of prescriptive analytics include finding new learning paths for employees or anticipating when a candidate might ghost an opportunity, and then providing a solution that may prevent it from happening.


As prescriptive analytics models enter the talent acquisition world, what are some implementation challenges to keep in mind?

  • Price. Right now, solutions are targeted and priced for larger organizations, according to SHRM.
  • Talent. Many in-house analytics teams may not have enough people with the right skills to implement a prescriptive analytics solution. In fact, many organizations are still struggling with adopting predictive analytics.
  • Organizational readiness. The right level of organizational maturity to implement a solution like prescriptive analytics is critical. Many organizations are still in the consideration stage for predictive analytics and are not ready for prescriptive analytics offerings.

Preparing Your Prescription

How should you prepare for the use of prescriptive analytics? Regardless of your organization’s readiness, keep the following planning tips in mind:

Review your current analytics capabilities. Where is your organization in its analytics “journey”? Are you delivering complex or more simple descriptive analytics functions today?

Evolve your analytics business case. What problems can you solve today? What would you like to solve in the future? What tools will help you meet different challenges?

Assess potential vendors. Some vendors may say they are selling prescriptive analytics solutions when they are not. Terminology across AI, machine learning and different analytics tools is sometimes misused. Do your due diligence to find out if your vendor can deliver the results you need.


Key Takeaways

  • Prescriptive analytics is the most advanced stage of business analytics currently available after descriptive and predictive analytics solutions.
  • While prescriptive analytics may not be used widely in talent acquisition, the potential for this next-generation analytics offering is promising.
  • To prepare for prescriptive analytics implementation, assess your company’s existing analytics challenges and determine whether prospective vendors are prepared to help you with the analytics problems you want to solve.

Want to Learn More? Talk to Us About Affinix.

Attitude is the New Experience

Senior Talent Manager

There have been numerous studies on turnover rates in multiple industries, and they all land on a similar conclusion: a high proportion of staff fail within the first 18 months of starting a new job. In fact, one study found that figure to be 46% of 20,000 new hires in America. When you look at the reasons why, 89% of those who failed did so due to cultural misalignment or attitudinal reasons, rather than technical capability.

To try and buck this trend, I’ll share with you a few tips on why it’s so important to attract and retain the right people, rather than the right skill set, and how you can adopt this approach in your organization.

First, you need to have a great culture, which is essential to keeping people in the building. Each company’s culture and mission is unique, and you need to make sure you have values that you stand by. Secondly – and this is the main area that I’m going to focus on in this article – you need to have a recruitment strategy that is aimed at finding the right people for the organization rather than the right skill set at every opportunity, from graduate roles through senior management. With our client PHD Media Worldwide (PHD), we’ve focused on hiring people who align with their values of collaboration, courage and curiosity with conviction – and it’s really, really helped!

“Hire for attitude, train for skills” is a phrase that every HR professional has uttered at least once or heard from colleagues. Unfortunately, only a small number of businesses apply it (like, actually apply it) to their recruitment strategy. While many job advertisements focus on the soft skills and cultural alignment piece, the interview process reverts to focusing purely on the hard skills and capability a candidate has from day one.

We work in an ever-changing industry with the constant emergence of new technologies and software, and an increasing shift in focus from traditional channels to more sophisticated digital channels. Change takes place now at a faster rate than ever before; what you knew yesterday might not necessarily prepare for you tomorrow. So, with that in mind, why do some businesses focus on purely trying to tick skills boxes? The candidate who feels fully aligned with the organization’s strategy and beliefs and is a part of its continued success will be more motivated to learn the necessary skills for tomorrow than someone who only has today’s skill set and not the buy-in.

Here is how we can go about finding those right candidates in various levels of the organization:

Graduate Roles:
For so long, the media industry, for example, has only considered candidates from a media/advertising/marketing-related field and often opted for interns who gained first-hand experience working with their particular agency. When interviewing candidates with a specific degree and asking them what they know about a media planning and buying agency, their knowledge levels are comparable with that of any other degree – very little!

A huge amount of the first 12 to 18 months in a media agency is about learning as much as possible. A very small amount of what you learned in university actually applies to what you are now working on in terms of real briefs with real, multi-million-dollar budgets attached. With that in mind, PHD has had a lot of success in opening up their doors to entry-level staff from any degree/non-degree background.

Zac and Tiffany, two great coordinators who joined PHD in the last 12 months, even wrote an article recently on how university prepares you for your first job in media. Throughout the article, it never mentions that it’s the marketing theory they were taught in school or the principles of advertising that has helped them succeed. Instead, it’s the focus on meeting deadlines, making quality presentations and working under pressure and as part of a team. These are the skills that you need to succeed in your first job, and when you couple them with the right attitude, you can learn almost anything relatively quickly.

More Senior Roles:
Believe it or not, it’s those same soft skills that apply to the more senior roles that we look to fill. Let’s face it – at one point or another, we have all had to “fake it `til we make it” in our careers. A little white lie in an interview, a little oversell of our abilities and BANG, we’ve landed ourselves a gig without a clue of what we’re actually going to do. When faced with this situation, those with a good attitude, flexibility and the ability to learn quickly will be able to adapt and succeed in their roles better than those without these critical skills.

Additionally, no one knows exactly what they are doing on day one. We all have our own systems, processes and ways of doing things. At PHD, they have a proprietary planning tool, SOURCE. Unless you have worked on it before, there is a learning curve for everyone to pick it up, and it’s the pace and ability with which people pick it up that matters, as they would have zero experience in using it before. All companies have their own processes and tools, which they will expect you to learn over time.

Yes, you need to have a fundamental understanding of what you are talking about and the more senior the role, the more of an understanding we expect you to have. But, we want to talk to someone about their attitude toward certain situations, learn how they act when everything goes wrong (because it does sometimes), find out what they would do in the difficult times and learn how they bring a team along on the journey with them. Ultimately, someone who ticks the attitude box will get the job, and we will often wait until that person comes along, rather than simply fill a role with a candidate who doesn’t fit.

So, What is Attitude?
Attitude, for me, is a collection of soft skills that you can apply to every job. It’s not necessarily something that someone has been taught (or could be taught). Rather it’s more an approach to work, an approach to learning and the way someone conducts themselves personally and professionally.

What does one look for when gauging attitude?

  • People who look for solutions to problems rather than people who find problems without resolution.
  • People who raise their hand rather than point their fingers.
  • People who make mistakes and have a sense of humility, but, then focus on what they can do next time to improve.
  • People who, when times get tough, dig in and rally everyone to achieve the same, rather than openly complain to others.
  • People who genuinely love their job and are interested in joining the organization. This is half the battle: finding someone who wants to be on the same journey as you.
  • People who genuinely seek development/career growth opportunities.

It’s so easy to get bogged down by the immediate needs of our new hire, and we often do. It may be replacing someone who has left, or it might be a new role that has popped up because of workload increases. However, it works, nearly every time, to be cautious and focus on hiring the right person for the organization, because the longer-term effect of having the right person will really pay off and the struggle of having to dig a little harder to find them will soon be forgotten.


Key Takeaways

  • Turnover rates in multiple industries show that a high proportion of staff fail within the first 18 months of starting a new job.
  • To help buck this trend, it’s important to have a recruitment strategy that is aimed at finding the right people for your organization rather than the right skill set.
  • Attitude can be considered a collection of soft skills that you can apply to every job. It’s not necessarily something that someone has been taught (or could be taught) but more an approach to work, an approach to learning and the way someone conducts themselves personally and professionally.

Read the original article on adnews.au.

How Google Jobs is Taking on Talent Acquisition

Product Marketing Leader

Google’s first commercial for the 2019 Super Bowl showcased Translate, its language translation feature. Its second commercial of the night was also about the power of translation, only this time the focus was on helping veterans translate their military skills into civilian careers.

The aforementioned ad illustrates how Google for Jobs helps veterans and other U.S. service members quickly find civilian jobs by searching “jobs for veterans” on Google and then entering their military occupational specialty codes. Then, they are provided with search results for civilian jobs with similar skills to those used in their military roles. Now, a group of job seekers that had difficulty finding roles online can easily conduct a simple Google job search.

Launched in 2017, Google for Jobs, or Google Jobs, is a job search platform that goes well beyond simple search efforts by pulling relevant job-related data from multiple partners and company sites into one intelligent search function. In this article, we will walk through an explanation of what Google Jobs is, how it works, how it can affect talent acquisition and what to keep in mind before incorporating Google Jobs into your recruitment strategy.

What is Google for Jobs?

Google Jobs connects interested job seekers with relevant positions from job boards and career websites around the world. Google allows users to filter job searches the same way you can search for anything else online, with criteria like location, posting date, type of company, and more. It even includes pay estimates from several outside sources. With more than one-third of Google’s monthly searches coming from job-related requests, Google Jobs helps bridge the gap between job seekers searching for career opportunities and employers looking to provide them.

How Does Google Jobs Work?

Google Jobs pulls job board listings from around the web into its platform through partnerships with LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Facebook, Monster and others. Postings on a company’s career site are also pulled into the Google Jobs engine. Initially launched in the United States, the platform is now available to millions of job seekers  from North and South America, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

When a user searches for a job, Google serves up the most relevant job description, location, seniority, job types and salary content available courtesy of machine learning. Machine learning is a subset of AI that adjusts and learns without being explicitly programmed. Traditional Google search queries use algorithms to sort through hundreds of billions of web pages to find and present the most relevant, useful results to a user. Google Jobs’ search mechanism operates similarly, except that its enhanced use of machine learning only retrieves results from job postings, which it lists at the top of a user’s search results.

If you start by searching directly in Google for “jobs near me for ‘nurses’” using Chicago as a location, roles with a few local healthcare organizations, along with 100+ more jobs, appear. Additional filters also are available, such as jobs posted in the “past 3 days” or “full-time” jobs. Users can view these filters at the top of the screen.

If a user clicks to see additional jobs using the “100+ jobs” link at the bottom of the results page, this next screen appears:

Users can then explore their Google Jobs search using the following features:

  • Jobs are displayed in the left column.
  • Filters are available across the top of the screen, such as title, date posted and type of employer. For example, if you click on “title,” related titles appear, such as a surgical or clinical nurse.
  • Pay comparisons are available at the bottom of the listing from other sources such as Glassdoor.
  • Alerts are available for your job search in the lower, left-hand corner. You can turn alerts on or off with your Gmail account and save the search for future use.

How Does Google Jobs Affect Talent Acqusition?

Extending your recruiting strategy by integrating with Google Jobs benefits talent acquisition programs through increased reach, better candidate choice and reduced costs.

Expanding Your Reach
Google Jobs expands your pool of candidates by crawling millions of job listings across the internet and presenting jobs relevant to a user’s inquiry that may not appear during a traditional search.

So, once you’ve posted your open positions on job boards integrated with the Google Jobs platform – your reach is instantly amplified.

Google also provides developers and website owners access to the new jobs search feature where they can embed company logos, job seeker reviews, ratings and job details. This feature functions outside of organic and paid search on Google, so job postings are easier to find and more prominent than before.

And, for organizations with smaller recruiting teams, Google Jobs helps level the playing field by allowing their job postings to appear organically to the same candidates as those advertising on job boards.

Filtering Out Unqualified Candidates
When a job gets posted online, recruiters get inundated with qualified and unqualified candidates alike. Filtering through these resumes is time-consuming and reduces a recruiter’s ability to quickly identify quality job candidates.

With Google Jobs’ multiple filters, it is possible for recruiters to better target candidates and only receive the resumes that best align with specific roles.

For example, instead of receiving generic resumes for nurses, now it is possible to filter results so that recruiters only receive resumes from entry-level nurses with two years of experience in a hospital setting who live in Atlanta and expect to be paid $35K-$70K annually.

Reducing Cost
Increasingly, the need to go to CareerBuilder, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and other sites to post your job listing is waning as Google Jobs principally provides the same service in a more cost-effective manner. The average cost of interviewing, scheduling and hiring a candidate is thousands of dollars; this cost could be reduced if recruiters worked with fewer third-party job boards and advertising partners.


Before your job postings begin appearing in millions of Google searches, here are a few tips to get started.

Optimize Your Job Listings
Keep your descriptions short and specific. Avoid any internal jargon that candidates would not search for or know. Study other ads in the market to make sure your job description is similar. Also, check to make sure your listing is consistent with your employer brand.

Enhance SEO
Google Jobs is a powerful tool. However, to harness its full potential, make sure your job postings are optimized for search. This means making sure you are tagging the correct keywords, titles and other attributes.

Make sure your listings are updated for mobile search, where 90% of job seekers now search first. You can use the quick test Google offers to check to see if your website is currently mobile-optimized as well.

What to Keep In Mind?

Connect Your Job Listings
There are a few main paths to connect your listings with Google Jobs. If you post jobs directly through your website, you can connect directly with Google. However, this option requires some technical knowledge such as marking up jobs, crawling, indexing, enriched search, APIs and structured data. This direct connection path can also come through your applicant tracking system (ATS) provider. Another option is to work through a third-party to manage your postings, for example LinkedIn.

Remove Old Listings
Google may penalize your site if job postings that have been filled are still being displayed, so make sure you regularly remove old listings.

Understand Not Everyone Is Involved (Yet)
Certain jobs may not be included in Google Jobs search results, as some job boards are not integrated into the platform. As of April 2019, job search giant Indeed had not yet partnered with Google Jobs, so any efforts talent acquisition groups have with Indeed remain separate for now.


Working with Google Jobs benefits talent acquisition programs through increased reach, better candidate filtering and reduced costs. Before integrating Google Jobs into your TA strategy, organizations need to optimize their job postings. Companies need to understand the pros and cons of managing a Google Jobs program in-house versus working through an ATS provider or a third-party integrator. Most ATS providers are optimized for Google Jobs, but make sure to confirm with your vendor. Talent acquisition leaders can also consider using the ATS module within PeopleScout’s proprietary talent technology platform, Affinix™. Google Jobs is available today through Affinix.


Key Takeaways

  • Extending your recruiting strategy by integrating with Google Jobs benefits talent acquisition programs through increased reach, better candidate filtering and reduced costs.
  • If you are integrating with Google Jobs, make sure your job listings are relevant for SEO purposes.
  • When deciding how to work with Google Jobs, evaluate if you want to manage the more technical process yourself, work through your ATS provider or outsource through a third-party provider.