The recruitment industry is ever changing and the challenge of bringing in the next generation of would-be recruiters is certainly real. During the last decade of economic expansion, companies have focused on sourcing the right talent to drive business growth. However, with record-low unemployment rates and skills shortages in many technical areas, recruiting has become more difficult, leading to a mounting war of recruitment marketing campaigns, and AI-driven tools to deliver recruiting brilliance.

Millenials and Gen Zers joining the workforce today are well-informed, tech- and business-savvy and motivated more by altruism and “making a difference” than pure monetary reward. We, as a profession, need to do better to promote our life-changing industry and encourage people to choose us over traditional career routes.

With high levels of information and technology available, candidates can now make choices using review platforms such as Glassdoor, Trustpilot and Feefo. New people entering the market are now choosing the employer rather than the employer choosing them. This is a good thing. The challenge for European-based CEOs and leaders of recruitment companies is to stand out and make a career in recruitment a destination and not simply an afterthought.

But how do we develop relationships with such talent early enough in their journey? According to Deloitte, as the economy slows down, a new approach is needed. Companies need to consider ways to continuously “access talent”, finding people in the alternative workforce, and strategically leveraging technology to enhance sourcing and boost recruiting productivity.

As CEO of Finlay James and Talentskowt, I have helped build a global recruitment business that hires inexperienced graduates and nongraduates. Here are some ways to reach and develop these and other pools of talent.

Paid internships. Research has shown that in today’s competitive job market, it is unlikely that graduates with no previous work experience at all with any employer would be successful during the selection process, irrespective of their academic achievements or the university they attended.

Thus, work experience schemes have become an integral part of recruiting new graduates. Students applying for paid placements during their first or second year at university are selected through a very similar recruitment process to that used to recruit graduates.

Many recruiters also consider hiring candidates who have proved their abilities during a placement to be a more reliable way of employing fresh talent.

There is a transformation taking place in the workplace today, where both employers and employees understand the valuable role of internships in supporting the transition from education to professional work. For employees, internships provide valuable entry routes into the professions and contribute to the development of on-the-job professional skills. For employers, internship programmes provide cost-effective ways to identify and recruit talent that will contribute to the prosperity of their companies.

Career changers. Many people embark on a career and develop great skills, yet find themselves unfulfilled. There is a growing trend for recruitment companies to hire people from ex-forces, teachers and salespeople from other disciplines. Investing time, effort and energy recruiting from these talent pools can often be more fruitful than hiring individuals from within the recruitment profession that may not eat, live and breathe your values.

By drawing upon a diverse pool of talent which includes individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds, employers can also unlock untapped aspirations and nurture the innovation needed to drive tomorrow’s economy and improve social progress.

Working parents. As an industry, we are most definitely missing a trick when it comes to working parents that need flexible hours of work. As the gig economy grows, leaders within our industry should be encouraged to come up with flexible hours and remuneration packages to provide a win/win for employees and the business.

The war for talent is clearly raging more fiercely than ever. To win requires more than implementation. It demands reinvention — not just of the talent acquisition process, but of the talent acquisition mindset. To do this, recruitment leaders need to think outside the box, rethink how to better access existing talent, and reset traditional expectations on where talent can be found and, indeed, what it looks like. The talent is out there if you know how and where to look. You need to invest in it or be left behind.