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In 2006, the buzzwords in human resources transformation were Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Human Resources Outsourcing (HRO), and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). Large deals were being forged between consulting firms and companies that wanted to streamline their HR and recruiting functions. HR transformation then encompassed creating standardisation and time-bound efficiencies. Offshore recruitment teams came on board, standard processes followed and documented scopes of work were agreed upon.
Recruitment metrics and operational excellence were topics that kept me up at night. We were constantly chasing internal ‘success measures’ such as achieving the ‘Service Level Agreements’, changing red metrics to green, and understanding the root cause of poor quality or time-lapses. These efforts, back in the day, laid a strong foundation for the talent acquisition (TA) landscape. But is it enough for today’s acquisition world?
Now, in Recruitment 5.0, we are in a time when customisation and personalisation are key. The talent acquisition function today is much more than an application hub for interested candidates. It is an eco-system. Candidates do not want to be another statistic in your Time-to-Hire but want to have a meaningful conversation with companies that provide a purpose. They want a career, not a job.
"We were constantly chasing internal ‘success measures’ such as achieving the ‘Service Level Agreements’, changing red metrics to green, and understanding the root cause of poor quality or time-lapses"
These uncertain times call for different ways to attract and recruit top talent. A company’s purpose and the way it drives value in its communities are attractive qualities to potential candidates. Talent acquisition requires an eco-system - one that piques the curiosity of a candidate, convinces them to apply for a role, and finally conducts effective onboarding that sets them up for success. I believe that a candidate’s journey starts when they look up a company and hunts for more information.
This is the attraction phase where teams share as much information as they can in a frequency that is known as ‘always on branding.’ The plan is to share the company’s culture and purpose, employee stories, dynamic office environment, contribution to society, innovations, and so on. Be authentic and focus on the mission: share relevant information for potential candidates to make an informed decision about you. The opportunity to tell our story, as I call it.
Once they click on your post or accepts an in-mail invitation, we move to the phase of engaging and nurturing possible ‘connections’. In this phase, it is important to keep these connections updated on your company movements, and involvements or potential opportunities through short updates, simple blog posts from employees, and the like. Do keep these post messages relevant. Administratively, most large multinational companies use Talent Communities (TC). Try not to let your TC become a black hole (a candidate drops in details and resume without hearing back). We have heard this grip all too well. All potential candidates should be managed (with appropriate data privacy consent) through a Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tool that is preferably connected with your Application Tracking System (ATS). A highly useful CRM feature is one that can organise candidate information and make it easily accessible when needed, like in the case of unplanned vacancies, for one.
Dedicated ‘Talent Sourcer(s)’ also known as ‘Talent Ambassadors/Talent Experience Managers’ are also key during this phase. They can run recruitment marketing campaigns and undertake target mapping to assist in maintaining engagement for both the candidate and the company.
The next phases, application and assessment, are probably the most mature in the eco-system. Recruitment 1.0 dealt with these phases most administratively and practically. As technology advanced, many enterprise-wide HR systems included a recruitment module. In today’s evolution, I have had the privilege to pilot screening and assessment applications using algorithms in mirroring and matching candidates. These applications help in ranking candidates’ talent attributes from most suitable to least, reducing countless hours in recruiter manual screening and providing valuable data points when shortlisting potentials. There are quite a few solutions providers today and there definitely will be more to come, bringing more sophisticated software and features. Choose wisely to support your business needs.
The penultimate phase is shortlisting and interviewing. When your talent acquisition team is able to attract, screen & shortlist candidates, the quality is given to the hiring manager enables him to make an informed choice in a shorter period. Thus supporting the reduction of time-to-hire, increasing quality- to –hire and ultimately cost per hire.
With the current situation, video interviewing is not negotiable. If you face resistance within your organization that is a clear signal to do more sharing and education on video interviewing. There are many well-documented best practices for video interviewing techniques to support your efforts. Learning to observe facial cues, voice tonality changes and note differences in a candidate’s speed of articulation is even more important when video interviewing, since reading full body-language is out of the question.
The last phase in the TA ecosystem is offering and onboarding. A standard offer is one with approved salary ranges. Most well-oil acquisition functions build in offer templates and educate recruiters on salary ranges and overall company benefits. This has proven successful in mass recruitment when time is of the essence. The ability to churn an offer out in 24 hours has always been greatly appreciated by eager job seekers. For complex offers, we sometimes involve senior HR business partners or even a rewards specialist. It is incredibly frustrating to lose a candidate you had been courting for months over a package that was not thought through.
Pre-onboarding and virtual onboarding through e-learning portals are now common practice. Online modules that incorporate information and on the go easy-to-understand content helps with employee immersion. Incorporating videos and quizzes keep the experience interactive. Another tip is to break these modules up into sections that are time-bound and may overlap with Talent Development activities such as objective setting and performance development plans.
However, you design your TA function, put yourself in the candidate’s seat. You will reap the benefits down the line with a well thought through Talent Acquisition eco-system.