We live in a hyper-connected world where information is a click away, and a company’s digital presence is asking clients to meet in their physical office. The same way people form a first impression when seeing that workplace, customers and potential employees also form opinions based on how a company presents itself online.
Now that the internet is a dominant communication method, telecommuting has replaced commuting, video interviews have replaced in-person interviews, and the recruiting process has shifted from being more people-centric to machine-centric. While the top-level simplicity of these changes belie underlying processes that can be dizzying in their complexity, it’s vital to keep a finger on the pulse of technology, and not only learn about it, but also learn how to best make use of it.
While the rapid changes in technology have brought about an incredible variety of innovation, the central trend is, as above, simplification through complexity. This means transforming an otherwise mundane activity into something that excites people; whether that concept applied means having fun while taking an assessment, starting from the basics and coaching your own up-and-coming talent, or guaranteeing that you’re actually talking to whom you think you’re talking to, simplifying situations using complex tools yields truly amazing results.
Thinking outside the (boring) box
Assessments are an incredibly useful tool when gaining insight into a candidate’s skillset. As the use of assessments has grown, we’ve gained a better understanding of individuals’ values, potential, and greatest challenges. Potential is of particular importance, as hiring decisions are made based not only on what the individual hasdone, but also what they will do and, in turn, their capability to learn.
While there is much to be gained from assessments, the downside is that some candidates are overwhelmed by their length and breadth. Once an assessment starts to feel like work, it loses effectiveness and candidates start to disconnect intellectually.
To combat this dilemma, assessments need to be a more enjoyable process – eliminating as much of the tedium as possible. Jonathan Kestenbaum writes, “…applicants can play engaging games on mobile devices, have fun, and not feel like they are being tested. In turn, companies can generate truly remarkable findings.”
Creating an assessment in the form of a game tends to disarm people’s inhibitions, enabling them to be more honest in their responses. This translates into a more effective process, and happier clients, as they’re more likely to get what they were expecting in a new recruit.
Perhaps one of the most interesting discoveries is that games are particularly well-suited to judging ability, according to Clements Aicholzer: “Gamers typically expend a high degree of cognitive resources whilst playing video and smartphone games, research has revealed. Thus, it is not surprising that games can be adapted to accurately and reliably measure cognitive abilities, as well as job-relevant traits. Also, their accuracy is similar (and increasingly higher!) when compared to longer and more repetitive text-based psychometrics.”
If the core of the game remains focused on better-understanding the individual while still balancing the “fun” aspect, this has the potential of causing yet another major shift in talent acquisition. That’s especially true considering it’s estimated that “digitally-native” members of Gen Z and Millennials are expected to make up around 60% of the global workforce by 2020.
Go back to school
Tapping into the gold mine of digitally-native talent is so crucial today because the Baby Boomers, a massive part of our economy, continue to retire in droves (~10,000 per day). The younger generations can onlybe reached by speaking their language. Recruiters have to find ways to engage through technology, and perhaps most importantly, start the recruitment process as early as possible.
In that spirit, the necessary pipeline is one that goes from institutions of education to the job market. This means stepping away from more traditional channels and focusing on how to develop relationships months, or even years, in advance of a placement.
Jess Hart writes, “Not only will the relationships with colleges and high schools retain the personal touch to recruiting, but the partnership will also help to produce the talent that companies need.” The importance of that idea can’t be overstated. If recruiters wait for candidates to come to them, they’re always going to be taking only what’s available, which the world at large also has access to online.
In contrast, when proactively targeting candidates early on and building relationships slowly, the recruiter jumps ahead of their competition and has the ability to build critical support relationships. Candidates can be given insight about their field, assistance with making directional changes in their education, or the recruiter can serve as a general guide to the working world. Not only does this help strengthen the bond between recruiter and candidate, it ensures more people will work in the most sought-after and needed fields.
A related point is that digitally-native individuals crave good information and transparency above all else, and that means every element of your digital presence needs to be up to their expectations.
Having a strong digital brand presence allows companies to stay connected to countless candidates in various stages of the pipeline. The positive effects of a strong digital recruiting strategy are magnified when the potential candidates act as brand advocates within their own social networks, spreading the word and causing more potential candidates to listen to your message. While designing and building a successful digital recruiting platform isn’t easy, it guarantees future placement success in the most difficult hiring climates and ensures a leg-up over the competition in the coming decades.
AI: Science Fact
When we think of artificial intelligence, or AI, we tend to imagine science-fiction movies featuring robots intent on taking over the world. However, the reality is AI is already all around us, and its presence continues to grow.
Although it’s unlikely AI will replace human interaction completely, AI is already a game-changer in talent acquisition. Artificial intelligence is helping to make processes far more efficient, secure, and it’s presenting a whole new range of information.
As Lamees Abourahma points out, “Automated systems can aggregate candidate data, present a list of this data to a recruiter, or seek out particular candidates based on their work history and skills. Some systems can even conduct the first round of candidate interviews and screening for the employer.”
This goes hand-in-hand with more advanced processes like machine learning. R.L Adams expands on this idea, saying, “A true artificially-intelligent system is one that can learn on its own mind. We’re talking about neural networks from the likes of Google’s DeepMind, which can make connections and reach meanings without relying on pre-defined behavioral algorithms. True AI can improve on past iterations, getting smarter and more aware, allowing it to enhance its capabilities and its knowledge.”
This sort of technology means that finding a needle in a haystack can be far more efficient than ever before. No longer are we relying on our brain’s limited ability to deal with vast amounts of information. We’re letting machines do what they do best while learning and improving in the process.
The Future of Talent Acquisition Continues to Evolve
As recruiting continues to progress, the aforementioned trends will represent a fraction of what’s to come. While some innovations require significant time and development before they can be fully realized, they represent points of orientation that guide organizations toward safe harbors in the challenging times ahead. The sea change that we are witnessing is not a passing storm. It is an epic hurricane, representing the need for a complete re-think of strategy, one that is adapted to the digital age and to a population that thinks about and responds to the world completely differently.