Here Are the 7 Trends That Will Define Talent Acquisition in 2017:

Last year, LinkedIn surveyed 4,000 corporate talent acquisition leaders across 35 countries to find out what was going on in the world of TA and where it might be headed this year. As a result of the survey, LinkedIn was able to pinpoint seven critical trends of which today's TA leaders should be aware:

Talent acquisition will have a prominent seat at the executive table: 83 percent of respondents to LinkedIn's survey said talent was the No. 1 priority at their company.

Hiring volume will increase in 2017: 56 percent of respondents said hiring volume would increase this year.

Sales, operations, and engineering roles will be the top roles recruiters hire for this year.

Employee referrals will remain the top source of quality hires: 48 percent of respondents named employee referrals a top source of quality hires, with third-party websites/online job boards (46 percent) and professional social networks (40 percent) following closely behind.

Traditional tactics will claim most of the talent acquisition budget: Job boards will claim a hefty 30 percent of TA budgets this year, while the more cutting-edge employer branding initiatives will only claim a comparatively measly 8 percent.

However, TA leaders truly do want to invest in more innovative recruiting tactics: If money weren't a constraint, 53 percent of TA leaders said they would invest in employer branding, 39 percent said they would invest in new technology, and 38 percent said they would invest in better sourcing tools.

Diversity will define the future of recruiting: 37 percent of respondents named "recruiting more diverse candidates" as one of the most important trends for the future of recruiting. Thirty-five percent of respondents cited soft skills assessments, and 34 percent named "innovative interviewing tools."

Digging a Little Deeper

As insightful as LinkedIn's report was, it also raised a few questions for us. Luckily, Wade Burgess, VP of talent solutions at LinkedIn, was willing to answer them:

Recruiter.con: Many talent acquisition teams report having "a prominent seat at the executive table." How can TA teams make the most of their strategic significance?

Wade Burgess: Enlightened organizations have observed that, often, the difference between being good and being great is rooted in the level of talent on your team. Over time, talent leaders have begun to find a voice.

I think it's fair to say that this voice, at scale, is not yet as powerful as it could be. Consider how finance rose to prominence 50 years ago as CFO became the second most influential role in an organization. And 20 years ago, technology leaders followed a similar path until CIOs and CTOs had become essential voices. As talent leaders find room at executive tables, the profiles of these leaders is different from traditional CHROs or heads of TA. Today's talent executives need to have a good sense of their organizations' visions, missions, values, and strategies. They need to be just as comfortable discussing organizational strategy, investments, and market positioning as they are managing the talent within.

More succinctly, when a TA team finds a seat at the executive table, they need to hone an executive presence and contribute to the thought leadership of the organization.

RC: The report found that most of a company's talent acquisition budget goes to "traditional tactics" like job boards, advertising, and recruitment agencies – even though investing in employer branding and employee referral programs could potentially lead to significant returns. Why are budgets being spent so conservatively right now?

WB: Implementing change is tough, even when it's for the better. For many companies, measuring success only upon short-term results or relative to previous results can often be easier than committing to the change management required to keep upgrading processes, tools, and methodologies. The reports and insights we provide our customers are intended to help showcase where these trends and opportunities are for long-term planning. However, there is certainly room for more education with the leadership teams to actually make the change.

RC: The report identifies automation as a key trend going forward. Can you speak a little about why automation is important, as well as what automation might look like in the recruiting industry?

WB: The process of connecting talent with opportunity has a lot of inefficiencies. Looking to many industries and functions that have improved with automation, the talent acquisition industry is beginning to imagine what is possible. Candidates are usually unclear on the process, where they stand, and what next steps are. For hiring organizations, managing the flow of applicants, screening and assessing, and extending offers is a very manual process today. Automation and AI offer promising improvements for candidates and hiring organizations.