Candidate.ID have conducted a series of interviews with leading recruitment and HR professionals to gain insight in to talent acquisition today. Our first #TalentTalk is with Kasia Tang, Employer Branding & Community Specialist at 10Clouds.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing talent acquisition leaders today?
I would say the biggest challenge recruitment leaders face today is a lack of hands-on experience within an equally complex market. They understand how recruitment should work in theory, but when you add elements such as social media or recruitment technology, they can easily become overwhelmed. This impacts their ability to effectively manage recruitment teams: they don’t know what type of activity they should track and measure, how to tell if a recruiter (or a sourcer) is doing well and how to support them when it’s not the case.
Candidates are commonly described as being in the driving seat of talent acquisition these days. Can you see this power balance continuing and what do companies need to do to adapt and gain competitive advantage?
I believe that in many ways this is a bit of an illusion. Many organisations today are slow to react to changes in recruitment and I think there are still many that fail to treat candidates in a fair and responsible manner. In this case, some candidates will instantly lose interest in these organisations and therefore they will obviously struggle to make the hires they need.
Some organisations try to gain a competitive advantage in a changing market without really taking the time to understand their target audience. The great thing about social recruiting however is that people within our organisations – including recruiters – now have so many ways to interact with our potential candidates as well as each other. We need to be more open to having meaningful conversations about work both within and outside of the company, to allow candidates to openly ask questions and interact with the organisation. Social recruiting isn’t just about the platforms we use, but about enabling a real dialog, whatever technology allows us to do it best.
The main problem today is not getting enough applicants, the problem is getting more, better qualified, quality candidates. What is your experience?
I think to an extent this is true, however I also believe that organisations need to have a clearer understanding of exactly what ‘quality’ candidates they really are in search of. Many recruiters today have an extremely narrow vision of what they need. They create a very niche candidate profile, often based on the profiles that competitors are currently hiring for similar roles, and then struggle to get candidates who fit the bill. I think that as an industry, we need to take a step back…perhaps by bringing attraction and selection closer together, we could re-learn to look for what we really need instead of what looks good on paper.
What do you think are the most powerful ways to reach out and get high quality passive talent aware, engaged and considering you?
The most powerful way to do that is to treat them as individuals. Talent acquisition leaders need to take into consideration the human aspect of recruitment. Although the employer brand is also important, many candidates are still hesitant to trust a brand of any sort. This is especially true where I’m currently based, in Poland. As a result, recruiters need to learn promote their personal brand alongside the employer brand. They need to build meaningful relationships with their target audience and learn to reach them outside of the immediate recruitment context.
What are the main challenges talent acquisition leaders face when adopting an integrated approach to generating, nurturing and identifying the best candidates?
The main challenge is getting everyone on board. With recruitment being an expansive department, comprising of many different teams, overall integration is always a challenge. When a new process is implemented or a change is taking place within recruitment operations, it is often difficult to ensure that every member of the team is willing and able to actively take part in that process. In the past year, I’ve worked with organisations who understand this well and would create project teams that would involve recruiters as well as marketers and communications specialists. By engaging the people within the organisation first, they’re ensuring everyone sees recruiting as a common goal, which encourages people to participate in whatever new process is being implemented.
What is current best practice for prioritising the list of candidates to contact first, and how do you think it could be improved?
To be perfectly honest, I think many organisations (and recruiters) today are still unsure how to prioritise the list of candidates to contact first. Many still rely on professional social networks such as LinkedIn and from there, candidates are often selected at random and contacted. It is very often not prioritised and not based on any specific candidate activity. Whatever candidate profile LinkedIn (or any other platform) decides is best for the role, the recruiter reviews first – or even worse, all of the candidates that come up in a search are spammed all at once with generic messages.
What do you think are the most important metrics that talent acquisition leaders need to focus on today to demonstrate ROI and greater accountability to the business?
First and foremost, it is the organization’s ability to fill the posts they have. But of course time-to-hire is also extremely important. It is still common within organisations that one employee will leave a post and then it can often take significant time to find a candidate to replace them. This means that there is no period of takeover and key skills and insight may be lost. Therefore, an organization’s ability to rapidly fill upcoming positions is increasingly important in remaining competitive.
I also think it is important to note that many organisations will track only online metrics, using specific online tracking tools. I think it is important for organisations to tie in these online metrics with their actual hiring metrics – online activity is only effective if it allows us to reach our recruitment goals. I’ve seen too many recruiters tracking the number of likes they receive for job updates without ever wondering if they result in any relevant applications. Organisations must take greater responsibility in tracking both online and offline metrics in a way that is meaningful for their recruitment.
It is becoming increasingly important to measure the amount of candidate pipeline that each recruitment initiative contributes. How do companies currently do this?
Unfortunately, many organisations lack the know-how when it comes to measuring what recruitment initiatives contribute to their candidate pipeline. They really have no clue how to measure it. Some organisations opt for online technology and tools that will provide a rough estimation however, more often than not, this data is inaccurate. In my experience, the most effective way to do it, is to directly ask the candidates when they attend an interview or when you engage with them. They will be able to provide you with the most accurate, detailed insight into what attracted them to a role with your company or why they replied to a message from one of your recruiters.
In a business of any size – candidate interactions can number in the hundreds or thousands. What are the right tools talent acquisition teams need to manage the complexity?
A key way to manage candidate interactions is to use tools that will automate certain aspects of the process. Understand which parts of your process you can automate is a challenge in itself as this will vary from one organisation to another. It doesn’t have to involve a fancy new tool either, sometimes small changes in how you use the existing technology can have a huge impact on your process. By automating some areas of candidate interaction, recruiters will have more valuable time to spend on undertaking meaningful, one-to-one interactions with the best candidates (which of course will mean different things to different organisations).
What are the most important things you have to keep in mind in order to be successful with talent generation management?
Get hands on with recruitment technology! You must really get to know the ins and outs of the tools you implement to ensure you utilise 100% of its functionality. Often it’s the way you use tools that is more important than the tool itself. For example if you swap tools but use the same methods and processes, you will no doubt obtain the same result each and every time.
Kasia Tang is a social recruiting and employer branding expert with multinational and multi-sector experience. Kasia helps companies make the most out of their recruiting and employer activities regardless of the size of the HR team or budget.