A Talent Acquisition Drama

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Talent Acquisition: A blog article in 3 acts


There is a veritable plethora of talent acquisition blogs, studies and reports – most of them drawing the same conclusion from the same data.

We decided to do some more in-depth research ourselves, taking a closer look behind the curtains. Our findings showed a strange connectedness. Sadly, we didn’t find a magic formula to solve the skills shortage, but maybe we can stimulate a different thinking that might just help you fill your stage with an all-star cast.

Act 1

Enter, the Talent! Hellooo ...?

Talent is hidden everywhere it seems; in the most unlikely places and often in disguise, until someone (or happenstance) shines the spotlight and coaxes it out of hibernation (just watch the X-factor). Yet, looking at the growing skills-gap, with enterprises struggling to fill jobs and allocate the right talent for the right roles, recruiting the right people seems to have become a ‘mission impossible’. Something does not add up.

So, where is this elusive talent? We found some striking imbalances that, when connected, suddenly give more clarity as to why there might be such a talent acquisition issue. The findings show a rather complex interconnectedness. But let’s first set the scene:

  • A recent market insight found that around 70% of respondents were passive in their job seeking, meaning their CVs might be on various portals, but they were not actively chasing jobs, rather waiting for recruiters to find them.
  • One conclusion from this Forbes article sees this as an under-utilised opportunity to scout for talent.
  • Resume Robots (aka Application Tracking Systems, or ATS) are pretty standard for most job portals and recruitment agencies to pre-filter (by keyword) the pile of applications that land in their inboxes. However, a Guardian article on ATS stated that these Resume Robots reject up to 75% of CVs before any human lays eyes on them!
  • Jobsite.co.uk conducted a survey of 11,000 users and found that 64% of employed candidates said they are open to new opportunities. 41% of these also admitted to actively searching for jobs on a daily basis.

Can you spot a pattern emerging? These findings should ring alarm bells for recruiters, candidates and HR departments alike.

To top it all off, UK enterprises are now faced with an additional challenge in the digital transformation of (almost) everything and the looming economic uncertainty that Brexit brings.

But it doesn't all have to be doom and gloom.

Let’s not forget that talent can also be hidden amongst your existing workforce, just waiting to be discovered! Innovation often thrives when there are fewer options on the table

Act 2 - Technology! Too much of a good thing?

Many news feeds focus on providing us with a grand vision of #TheFutureOfWork and how technology will transform how we complete tasks. However, there is an increasing argument that we have taken our eye off the ball, perhaps favouring technology over people. Somewhere along the way, we forgot how to attract and retain the right talent to take businesses forward.

A Talent Acquisition Drama

The methods, of how recruiters and HR departments reel in talent, has changed drastically through the advances of technology. The Talent Acquisition dilemma however remains steadfast.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), have come a long way to assist in the pre-application filtering and talent assessment process. But not everything that glitters is gold.

Resume Robots (ATS) reject up to 75% of CV’s

before any human lays eyes on them!

Most job portals and recruitment agencies have integrated some form of ATS platform. Yet with 75% of CVs never making it into a humans’ decision-making process, you have to ask, is this kind of technology actually hindering actual talent acquisition?

Then there is another issue that comes into play: user experience. Frustrated job-seekers often abandon application processes mid-way because they can be long and complex.

For example:

CareerBuilder survey finds that one in five employees gives less than ten minutes to a job application, or looks at two-three pages on a mobile device, before dropping off. That is a lot of potential talent down the drain.

Our question:

Would a more ‘Human2Human’ element at the early assessment stage produce better results in finding hidden gems?

Buying into technology for technologies’ sake does not seem a smart recruitment strategy if the result is not a positive one – and the gaping skills-shortage and nearly 600.000 unfilled vacancies in this country alone are, it seems, proof of a glitch in the system.

It's crucial to find the right balance when leveraging technology for Talent Acquisition. Algorithms will only tell you part of a person’s make-up. The unique personality of every candidate; how they collaborate, their soft-skills and their individual learning styles, should be top of your Talent Acquisition search criteria list.

A summary of technologies driving HR and recruitment industry these days:

1) Video interviews

Preparing and scheduling face-to-face interviews can be challenging. In a digital world, geographical barriers are being torn down as the line between on-site and online begins to blur. The good news for recruiters came with the dawn of video conferencing platforms like Skype. 63% of HR managers use or have used video to interview candidates, and this figure is expected to rise.

Video interviews send a positive message to the talent and can help promote transparency. But most importantly, it also somewhat removes the problem of nerves that come with placing a candidate in an unfamiliar environment on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.

2) Programmatic Job Advertising

Emerging technologies such as AI and ML are enabling almost every area of a business to make data-driven decisions. Finding the best talent is no exception. Predictive algorithms can analyse market data and historical ad tracking to predict how each job ad will perform accurately.

Beyond the buzzwords, such programmatic job advertising is a new solution to a very old problem: how to place the right ad on the right job portal at the right time to secure the best talent with only a little human input.

For example, the algorithm automatically advertises positions using smart placement choices across primary and niche job boards. The platform then tracks and analyses the results across a network of thousands of websites.

3) Conversational AI (CAI) vs Chatbots

When recruiting for the best talent, it is crucial to provide every potential candidate with a positive experience from the outset. Both chatbots and CAI have a role to play. But it’s important to remember that old-school chatbots - that aren't much more than an interactive FAQ search - can run the risk of frustrating users.However, a team of intelligent bots (known as CAI) can help build a stronger and more meaningful online relationship with candidates. Using natural language processing techniques enables CAI to engage with applicants and can even recognize subtle nuances in a conversation. The tone and emotive language used by the candidate will be analysed before giving an appropriate response.

CAI can help with an overwhelming number of applications and has the potential to dramatically improve the online candidate experience. For recruiters, a well-implemented CAI enables them to focus on the higher-value work that often gets neglected.

4) Blockchain

Here in 2019, blockchain hasn't quite changed the world in the ways some were predicting. But once the adoption challenge is overcome, it has the potential to transform the recruitment industry and HR completely.

GDPR means that businesses need to take responsibility around personal data seriously. Blockchain claims to take this to another level with promises of greater security, trust, and transparency.

Try to imagine a future where every single candidate possesses an immutable record that contains all of their employment history, training courses, skills and qualifications. Blockchain CVs will make employee verification much easier and more efficient.

Blockchains will also make it possible to create an employee record that cannot be tampered with and thus dramatically reduce fraud. From a compliance point of view, it will go a long way to safeguard personal data safety and hopefully avoid heavy GDPR fines.

Act 3 - Much ado about nothing

It is all about the experience factor these days...We live in a world of one-click baskets, entertainment on-demand and we can use our voice to control our home lighting or heating. Yet, walking into an office can feel like stepping back in time ten years. Something clearly calls for a change of attitude. Enterprises need to make themselves more desirable to attract the right talent!

A Talent Acquisition Drama

Talent Acquisition is no longer something that you just throw money at. Talent in 2019 is now favouring:

  • workplaces with the right culture, supporting their lifestyle
  • better benefits and incentives
  • the right ethos
  • added flexibility
  • options of working remotely

Managing expectations has become the holy grail of talent acquisition as this great blog further elaborates on: 3 New Expectations Placed On Talent Leaders

It's crucial that employers recognise that a rise in consumer expectations has also transformed what motivates employees. Employee Experiences have now become more important than the product or service itself - the workplace is no different.

GEN Z and millennial candidates will also prioritise the employee experience over salary. This could mean anything; from added benefits, more efficient technology, access to shopping areas, or a relaxation area. Adapting to a new benchmark of expectations is something that every business needs to take seriously.

Advances in technology enable employers to unlock new potential hidden in big data and optimise the journey to locate the right candidate for the job.

Finding the right balance between high-tech and personal-touch in your search for talent seems lopsided and it looks like it requires putting the "human" back into Human Resources to get talent acquisition back on an even keel.

Act 4 - Finders, Keepers!

A Talent Acquisition Drama

Congratulations! You just landed yourself a talented new addition to your team and enterprise. Now, how do you keep them?

In every talent acquisition process there has to be a forethought and additional emphasis on having an ‘all-singing-all-dancing’ onboarding strategy in place.

Here are 5 key elements to consider, to keep your new talent happy:

  1. Provide a truly caring and immersive onboarding experience
  2. Ensure diversity of thought and that everyone is heard
  3. Allow them time to learn and settle in (keep an open-door policy)
  4. Create a collaborative environment
  5. Allow for remote working and the flexibility it provides

… and they worked happily ever after!


Find out more about how we can help you with your Talent Acquisition activities - and please don't hesitate to get in touch if you would like to have a chat about your requirements.

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