Recruitment Outlook 2024: Quality, Agility, and AI

by Tim Plamondon


Recruitment in 2024 will be all about quality, agility, and AI. Kelly Burlage, Rob Navarrete, and Trent Cotton, RPOA Talent Leader Council members, shared their recruitment outlook during a panel discussion at the RPOA Annual Conference in September 2023.

Burlage, VP of Global Talent Acquisition at Lineage, Navarrete, Global Head of Global Service Delivery Recruitment and Transformation at WTW, and Cotton, VP of Talent and Culture at Hatchworks, shared key lessons from 2023 to improve recruiting in 2024; try new things and fail fast, choose quality over speed, be agile, and harness AI's benefits. Below is an edited summary of their comments.

Lessons Talent Leaders Learned in 2023

The panelists shared valuable lessons learned on their hiring journey in 2023 with the audience. Below is a recap of their vital takeaways that could help your recruitment program in the upcoming year.

Kelly Burlage: Try New Things and Fail Fast

For Burlage at Linage Logistics, she learned that everything they do is wrapped around continuous improvement. "We have a lean methodology; we work in a seven-step environment," she said. At Linage, it's about constantly looking for ways to change, evolve, be different, and innovate from year to year. 

She shared that having a fail-fast mentality is important. That mentality tries a new idea, see if it works, and try something else if it's not working. She told the audience that this approach helped the company create a long-term solution to its problem-filling maintenance engineering roles, which are challenging. 

The big lesson learned for Linage, she said, was to adapt and evolve. To better adapt and evolve, she said that at Linage, they do a quarterly innovation lab within the team. An innovation lab is where every team leader pitches their biggest, brightest, and boldest idea. The team does a benefit analysis of each idea and decides to run with the more beneficial idea. And following the fail-fast mentality, if that idea doesn't pan out, they move forward with the next idea.   

Rob Navarrete: Agility, Agility, and Agility

Navarette learned the importance of staying agile at WTW and used sprint-type recruitment methods to keep up with their transformation program. Here he describes how this lesson learned looked like at his company. 


Trent Cotton: Quality over Speed

Cotton told the audience that he relearned never to sacrifice speed for quality or quality for speed. He emphasized that not sacrificing speed for quality or quality for speed has garnered his company a 98.5 percent retention rate, which is unheard of for a tech company. He understands that his and his talent team's mission as recruiters is to ensure they bring the right people to the organization. The company's higher-than-normal retention rate affirms that understanding. He also noted that focusing on the quality of candidates reduced his company's voluntary turnover rate from 36 percent to 6 percent. 

Talent Leaders' Thoughts on 2024: What Are They Expecting?

For the last segment of the discussion, our talent leaders shared their expectations for 2024. Here's a quick summary of what they're looking for in the new year. 

Trent Cotton: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Streamlines Recruitment Process and Improves The Candidate Experience

Cotton predicts that in 2024, Generative Artificial Intelligence will become a crucial tool for recruiters, making their jobs easier and allowing them to create better connections with candidates. Here, he explains his prediction. 


Kelly Burlage: Integrating Employment Resource Groups into DEI Strategy and Prioritizing Individual Career Development.

Burlage shared that Lineage's approach will be centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), not treated with a check-the-box mentality. In 2024, she said they'll figure out how to tie their employment resource groups (ERG) to their DEI strategy. Linking its ERGs to its DEI strategy, she said, means that its ERG ambassadors communicate their ideas to the talent acquisition (TA) team so that the TA team can pass them along through the organization. 

Burlage is also excited to get back to the basics in 2024. Here she explains what that looks like at her company. 


Rob Navarrete: Onboarding, Retention, and Effective Leadership and Management  Bringing Success to Recruitment Program

Navarrete said that his company's main focus in 2024 will be continued success in its transformation strategy. But they remember the importance of onboarding, especially when hiring in significant numbers. He noted that the firm is excited to retain talent and deliver on its employee promise. He said they've put much into recruitment marketing campaigns and recruiter training to showcase life at WTW. The last thing they want is a revolving door situation. Some attrition is expected, he said, but we're ready to over-hire to tackle that. He also said they ensure top-notch leaders and managers can engage effectively with new hires. The company's goal, he said, is to run the business like a well-oiled machine while making our recruitment program a success.

In Conclusion

Our talented leaders shared valuable insights during the discussion. From Kelly Burlage's emphasis on continuous improvement and embracing failure at Linage Logistics to Rob Navarrete's focus on agility and preventing burnout at WTW and Trent Cotton's success in prioritizing quality over speed at his tech company - there's much to learn from these exceptional leaders.

In 2024, the panelists expect increased AI usage in recruiting for efficiency and a better candidate experience. They also highlighted the importance of integrating employment resource groups into DEI strategies, building authentic connections with candidates, and prioritizing onboarding, retention, and strong leadership for successful recruiting.

Did you miss our conference? No problem! Watch all sessions on-demand at the 2023 RPOA Conference page. Join us there and continue your recruitment success journey!

Free: Watch key sessions of the 2023 RPOA Annual Conference 


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