Olivia Reuter
December 12, 2023

Predicting the Biggest Talent Acquisition Shifts in 2024


Hiring and talent acquisition is not just evolving; it's undergoing a revolution. In this ever-changing landscape, where technology and human expectations intersect, new trends are emerging that are reshaping how companies attract, hire, and retain talent. 

Andre Boulais, an expert in all things related to talent acquisition, shares his 2024 outlook with Fuel VM. He has extensive experience in talent acquisition and technology leadership, including roles at Salesforce. 

Among the trends Boulais notes is a focus on data-driven decision making within HR teams. This trend underscores the growing need for HR teams to justify their actions and expansions, not just in terms of staffing and program development but also in terms of their financial impact on the organization. It also addresses the challenge of candidate ghosting, which can have significant financial implications for companies. 

Watch the video or view the transcript below.
Video Transcript

Olivia: Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining our Talent Acquisition series brought to you by Fuel VM Talent. I'm Olivia Reuter, Client Engagement Director at Fuel VM. But the real star of the show is Andre Boulais, the go-to expert on all things talent acquisition. Andre, will you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit more about your background? 

Andre: Well, thanks, Olivia, and I appreciate you having me today, but you're the star equally as well, too. I’m so excited to share more about what I'm seeing in the market. But my background is a little bit different. I've spent my entire career in talent acquisition and technology leadership, being the head of talent acquisition for over a decade for large global companies like Salesforce, and then spending the last eight years on the recruiting technology side, really trying to partner and find the right solution with technology and best practices, and just returned from a conference in Dallas a couple weeks ago with a few hundred TA leaders from large companies. I’m excited to share the insights of what we're seeing there, and happy to be here today. So, thank you. 

Olivia: So, in today's video, we're going to hop into what can we expect in the talent acquisition space for 2024. And Andre, as the official subject matter expert, could you please explain three trends that you can expect employers to see in 2024? 

Andre: The number one thing is a trending hashtag on LinkedIn called #DefendtheData. You know, with everybody going to budget season right now for 2024, you're going to see recruiting teams become a lot more efficient. And being able to share the information on the work they do and the financial impact that makes on the business. You know, when I was the head of sourcing at Salesforce, I never had a problem getting more headcount, more program, more anything because I knew we were saving millions of dollars a year with what our team delivered. And I can measure that as well, too. You know, Marc Benioff had a great quote at Salesforce saying, never come to a meeting without ... never come to the table without data. 

And that's essential. So, you're going to see a lot of HR organizations get more data heavy as far as the ones that want to defend what they're doing to either grow their teams and staff or add additional programs, you know, and seeing the impact. And in some cases, we talked about earlier, just the idea of seeing a lot of candidates ghosting certain employers are costing employers $100,000 a month for certain areas. So, you know, being able to say, we solve for this and having the data behind it is going to be critical. So defend the data is the number one trend that I see happening. It just makes HR teams more efficient and makes them as important as finance, as sales, as product, as marketing. 

Olivia: Fantastic. So defend the data being point number one, as people are preparing their budgets for next year and hiring, what's a second trend that people can expect to see in 2024? 

Andre: Yeah, I think a really interesting one that I'm hearing all over the place is that recruitment marketing is officially part of the talent acquisition team again. The reason I say again is, you know, one of the biggest trends I saw over the last decade was we started to see more and more organizations have somebody in employer branding or marketing on talent acquisition teams. You started to see that prevalently. I'd say one of every five large enterprise and mid-market customers had a member of the branding team sit on talent acquisition, and that was disrupted a little bit during the pandemic, during, you know, what followed afterwards. 

But we're seeing that again, where folks are really starting to hire staff, where they're embedding somebody for the recruitment marketing background into their talent acquisition team, or if they're not doing that, they're really partnering. The data speaks for itself. This year alone, in 2023, there was a 43 percent increase in talent acquisition teams spending on outside recruitment marketing agencies. So, you're starting to see some really good partners. 

In fact, in Dallas a few weeks ago, I sat down with a friend of mine that I've known in the space for a long, long time, and she was a longtime head of talent acquisition and employer branding for companies like AT&T.  She actually made the switch and launched her own firm and is having an immense amount of success going in and advising companies on strategy on best practices around branding and engagement. So, you know, she saw the trend well ahead of a lot of other individuals. And this is great because this is something that Fuel VM has been a part of for the last 20 years and has really kind of jumped into kind of the talent acquisition space. And again, it's not going to go away. I see this being something that's going to be built over and over again. And I think for the organizations that are not embracing this, please know that your candidates that you're going to vie for are going to have better engagement from your competitors that are doing this as well, too. So it is a huge area of catch up that can help you punch above your weight from a branding standpoint. 

Olivia: Absolutely. And I may be a little bit biased as someone who is in an agency, but it's all about making this outside party an integral part of your operations and lessening the workload internally, but also working together to make sure that you're being represented correctly and in the way that you want your talent pool to see you and attracting the right candidates. 

Andre: I think that's exactly right. I mean, every company has their own unique story, and making sure you're telling that story to the right audience and going to the people that you want that maybe haven't heard of you, that would love your story and fall in love with it if they just had the chance. And I think what I love seeing is that, you know, the team at Fuel VM really does a good job to engage on multiple levels, whether it's going to be social media, email campaigns, looking at all the different avenues to get in front of talent. I led a webinar a few months ago called From the Dorm Room to the Boardroom with Elaine Davidson, a huge speaker in our space. It all covered the idea that every data point from the BLS.Gov shows that we're in a crazy trend right now where over the next ten years, you're seeing an entire workforce retire from the workforce, the entire new group come in. 

Those individuals don't want to be communicated the same way as the folks that are that are in the industry for 40 years. You're seeing for the first time all of the data where now SMS is being embraced at a 3 to 1 ratio by several individuals, even the folks that are still working, even Gen X, even though the old folks like me, those individuals prefer an email or an SMS response at a 2 to 1 ratio to email. So, whereas before the last 10 years where the CRM kind of came to prominence and you saw a lot of communication via email, now there's so much people who are ignoring it who are getting in front with video, with SMS. 

You know, I think if companies like Pivot CX do a really good job to do candid engagement across multiple channels through email and AI as well too. So, it's exciting. But at the same time, if you're going to be leveraging a partner for employer branding and recruitment marketing, make sure that they're a partner that can communicate across multiple channels because you want to make sure your message is hitting the people where they are, and they might be in different places. 

Oliva: Absolutely. You want to communicate with the candidates in the way that they're going to be most receptive to, because if you're going to be emailing Gen Z that prefers SMS, you kind of missed your mark a bit. And that's a lot of what we do in our initial discovery phase at Fuel VM is we take the time to identify these audiences, and that's where I get a little nerdy about it, because I love the consumer behavior side of it. But this is a story for a different day. So, kind of leading into your next point of what we can expect to see in 2024, how does the tech play a role in that, and what can different companies expect to see as that space evolves? 

Andre: Yeah, well, that's a great question. We already talked about recruiting, marketing, being back on the team and talent acquisition again. The newest member of the team that kind of I've heard from everybody is AI. So, you know, that was one of the most hotly debated topics, um, you know, in conferences and in meeting rooms, in strategy meetings, you know, there's a huge there's one camp of like, oh, my God, I'm afraid it's going to take all of our jobs. There's another camp like this will make us so much more efficient. The reality is the interest is somewhere down the middle, you know. AI is never going to replace the human recruiter and what they can do, but what it will do is it'll help automate the process and increase candidate engagement. 

You know, I think again, they're doing a really good job with this. I'll reference again, you know, Pivot CX does a really good job to automate the workflow where, you know, for every applicant they're going to get, you know, they might get 3 or 4 touches that come from a recruiter, but it might be pre-programmed messages that feel very authentic versus, you know, hey, you know what? I applied for 20 jobs. I never heard back from anybody. Well, if one company is getting back to you for at least a few touchpoints, it's going to feel like a much better and authentic candidate experience than the recruiter can pick and pick that up and keep the conversation going. In that capacity, you can go from having, you know, a recruiter handling 20 candidates to handling 200, and let them do a lot more from an operational efficiency standpoint. 
And then I think as well as how you leverage it with companies like Connect, you know, a great applicant tracking system that is really setting itself as the ACS 2.0. If you think about what I talked about earlier, the last 10 years of the previous applicant tracking systems, this is really the first experience where they're leveraging AI to for making hiring a more human experience. So it's more of a touchpoint. It's leveraging AI to really make sure that every individual has a personalized candidate experience. And I think you'll see folks gravitating more towards, hey, you know what? I'm sick of being ignored and applying for jobs the last two years. 

I'm going to go to the candidates that give me an experience where that's coming from, you know, an employer branding team coming in, helping to build out that experience or that that's coming from just the technology by itself as well, too. So, I see that being a huge area where AI becomes a key member of the team to help automate, process and improve the candidate experience. And the great thing is, I'm seeing a lot of a lot of recruitment marketing companies like yourselves that are working very closely with all those technologies to help have that personalized touchpoint tell the authentic brand story, be the company, be their true selves at every step in the process. So, I'm excited for 2024. It's going to be a heck of a year. 

Olivia: It will be. Absolutely. And you said it earlier in an offline conversation. We are all about AI and kind of keeping up with the different tools and embracing how it can help automate certain processes that took too much time in general, whether it's in recruiting, producing content, kind of streamlining processes in a way that makes it easier for the client at the end of the day. So yeah, as we come to the end of our call, I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing your expertise. And I will include the link to a longer version of this topic where you dive into a couple more areas of what companies can expect to see in 2024. Is there anything else that you want to promote for people watching? 

Andre: Yeah, I think, you know, again, you can always connect with me on LinkedIn. I love to keep the conversation going after these webinars and these little vignettes. You can also follow my newsletter, The Lighthouse. We're up to over, uh, over a thousand subscribers, but really, it's published on LinkedIn. It's really if you want to catch up on best practices and trends, we try and do something new every three weeks, and it's been really fun to see the interaction. And it's fed by information from folks like yourselves as well too. And the last thing I'll do is I'll plug Fuel VM. I think, you know, last year when the pandemic, you know, after the pandemic, we started to see a large amount of layoffs impacting folks in talent acquisition. 

It really kind of was hard for me to see so many friends and colleagues laid off. So, I started a program where we could, um, put a portal together where in 30 seconds, individuals could add their information if they were laid off and what roles they are interested in. And then I can work with the different teams to redeploy them. Your CEO, Andrew Curtis, is a huge advocate. He's a great person where he shares with his CEO network and all of your customers as well. You guys have that portal running right now, or anybody that's been laid off or knows anyone that's been laid off can take 30 seconds and join, and we're going to be doing a special Thanksgiving edition of the e-newsletter to go out to all the individuals who are currently looking for work and hoping to match them with 100 plus opportunities, including one at Fuel VM that match their background. 

So hopefully everybody heads into the holidays with a little bit of hope and some great opportunities to land a job before January of 2024. So, thanks for all the good that you're doing. Giving back to the recruiting community. And thanks again for having me. I'll come on any time. 

Olivia: I appreciate it very much. Thank you. So, if you made it to the end of the video and are interested in elevating your talent acquisition experience and just kind of making things a lot easier, taking a lot off your plate, feel free to head to fuelvm.com/talent and we will get in touch with you there. 

Andre: Awesome. Thanks, Olivia. Thank you so much. 

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