innovation in talent strategies: creating the future now

August 12, 2014

seismic shifts are coming in how recruitment will be conducted in the future, iRecruit conference participants predict

Along with seismic shifts in global business, the recruiting landscape has also become more complex. There are more ways than ever to reach the same goals, and the efficacy of different methods is fluctuating. Industry leaders’ most important task is to make sense of all the available tools, techniques, and approaches to developing a comprehensive view of the market. But these opportunities for innovation should not be seen as a burden but a source of optimism for employers.

At the recent iRecruit Conference & Expo held in Amsterdam, some of the recruitment industry's foremost thought leaders shared their perspective of current and future developments expected to markedly change how talent is sourced, engaged, and hired. The following are some of the topics covered during the two-day event. 

talent journey management
To address today’s talent needs, recruiters need to sort, select, utilize, and integrate new ideas and services. Until the next paradigm-shifting innovation comes along, the greatest challenge remains designing solutions that offer flexibility and ensuring continuous inflow of quality talent. The structure itself is no guarantee for success, of course. True excellence can only be achieved by skillful, end-to-end management of the whole recruiting process by simultaneously delivering the required business results and creating great candidate experience at every stage of the talent journey. Since the landscape is changing fast, recruiting activities have to be optimized and their efficacy regularly assessed.

communications is key
Despite the complexity of contemporary recruiting, the most exciting innovations and improvements focus on core concepts. One of these is communication. For instance, consensus expressed at a recent European recruiting conference was that  better communication between the recruiters and the hiring managers is a key factor in acquiring the best talent in the shortest period of time. Regardless of whether the recruiter is sitting in the same office as the hiring manager, works at a different company site, or is actually employed by a different entity in an RPO framework, there is room for better cooperation.

In theory, everyone agrees on the high priority of talent acquisition, but treating hiring managers as internal clients has created unnecessary barriers. The recruiter has to manage the process and is responsible for its output, but he or she cannot be expected to solve every challenge based on just a few input criteria. Hiring managers should put on their consulting hats and share their insights and information during the process from intake to final selection. To improve speed and quality, it is important to realize that teamwork is more efficient than the traditional provider-client setup, and there are numerous innovative solutions to create a more cooperative environment.

Some examples include gamification, which is taking the world of business by storm and is having a similar impact on recruitment. Adding gamification elements to the candidate feedback process and the referral system is a good example of how we can bolster internal communication. Rewarding quality feedback with badge and  highlighting the days passed since feedback will motivate the hiring community to engage more. Creating a scoring system for referrals ‒ the more difficult the position, the more points the referring individual receives ‒ provides reach to otherwise hidden talent.

real-time dashboards
Another innovative originates from the recognition that recruitment teams have to focus on highlighting and sharing the most crucial information with the hiring managers. Most of this information can be extracted from an applicant tracking system (ATS), but data has to be easily understandable and visually appealing ‒ a feature not typically found within an  ATS. Building an application on top of this data, with real- time dashboards, is a great way to communicate important information, eliminating the difficulty of going through a complicated report.

Better communication is not only important in the internal relationship. In the increasingly competitive recruitment arena, companies need to create great candidate experience to excel. A slate of technological innovations on the market can help them reach this goal.

personalized content
Recognizing the importance of pre-selection is key. Your funnel should be filled with candidates who are most likely to be qualified and interested in the position. To better attract qualified candidates, responsive design and personalized content should be employed built into any portal. If we know from previous visits, referral traffic, CRM data, or social sign-in information what the visitor’s likely interests are, we can serve relevant content tailored to her tastes and needs.

For instance,  a visitor coming from an accounting blog would be automatically shown new openings in finance, and we could even narrow down the selection geographically and by language based on her IP address and browser settings, thus creating a highly relevant, personalized recruiting environment on arrival.

predictive technology
One of the pillars of direct sourcing efficiency is to reach candidates most likely to be interested in the opening. Depending on your status in the job market, your social activity and the content of your messages will change. This is where big data analytics can help.The ability to predict who is ready to change jobs is an exciting opportunity to make recruitment activities more efficient. 

video interviews
In terms of the actual interaction, the aim is not only to create good candidate experience but to also make it memorable to build your employer brand. Specialized recruiters are a growing trend, but the truly specialized recruiter of the future is more than someone who recruited in a certain industry ‒ he actually comes from it. These insiders speak the same language as the candidates, and they have the highest credibility among them. Personal touch and personal interactions are important factors in making the recruitment process memorable. 

We tend to build emotional connections with people we see on a screen ‒ a facet of human behavior we know too well from mass media consumption. Pre-recorded video interview questions have the advantage of showing the team to the candidates early on in the process, even in cases where the candidates do not reach latter stages in the hiring process. Comparing the memorability of this to a name signed in an email or a LinkedIn profile, there is no doubt which serves the long-term goals better.

mobile devices
When preparing for the future of recruitment communications, we must consider the increased role of mobile platforms. This means more than optimizing a career page for mobile (which is an absolute necessity). In the usual application process, a CV has to be submitted at a certain point, and that is something not frequently available on a mobile device. Diverting mobile visitors to a computer results in loss of candidates, so the application process should be modified. Either by allowing a social site to help with the process or by just gathering limited information that we can follow up later, we can make recruitment truly mobile.

fuel for innovation
The general sentiment in the recruiting community is clear: there has never been a better time for new ideas. Advancements in technology and methodology provide fuel for incremental improvements along the entire spectrum of the recruiting process. Thanks to advanced validation, prototyping, testing, implementation, and scaling practices, it is relatively inexpensive, fast, and uncomplicated to try new things in the increasingly digitized world. The potential payoff from these efforts can be huge, so innovation should not be a burden but a source of optimism for companies.

Skilled recruiting systems-builders concentrate on the most efficient processes and the seamless integration of trusted technologies and methodologies but also keep an eye out for emerging platforms and actively pursue innovation on their own as well.

We may not yet know exactly how the future of recruitment will look like, but we know exactly how to get there: by making the most of what we know now and continuously pushing to come up with better solutions at the same time. Talent and the need for talent are always there; how we bring them together makes all the difference.

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