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Talent Acquisition: Beyond the Job Description

The global talent market is changing at a rapid rate, and COVID-19 has changed the way we all view our jobs, our work, our future, and our organizations. To compete and stay relevant, it is crucial for talent acquisition teams to create a human-centric candidate journey. […]

talent acquisition rep on the phone

The global talent market is changing at a rapid rate, and COVID-19 has changed the way we all view our jobs, our work, our future, and our organizations. To compete and stay relevant, it is crucial for talent acquisition teams to create a human-centric candidate journey. Although one could argue this has always been important, the focus now is on creating an emotional and cultural connection with potential candidates long before that first conversation begins.

Here is how you and your team can humanize your talent acquisition approach during this pandemic and far beyond:

Keep the conversation real and human-centric

Six months ago, recruiters were generating pipelines and having candidate conversations with a different focus. Conversations between an organization and a candidate were focused on day-to-day responsibilities, compensation, titles, benefits, work-life integration, and commutes. Times have changed, and COVID-19 has shifted priorities, wants, and needs.

More than ever before, people want jobs to mean something—they want to feel connected to a greater purpose. The role of a recruiter is to establish human to human connection immediately and be a dynamic storyteller as well as an active listener. Recruiters should listen for a candidate’s personal interests, values, and priorities, and create a bridge between them and the values of the organization.

Align your messaging in a way that tells a story of the company culture. After the culture is introduced, start to interweave where the candidate’s specific job role would have a positive impact on the organization. After that’s done, it is all about honest dialogue and keeping it real.

For example, do not be afraid to talk about how your organization has handled COVID-19. Be open about how your organization has been reacting, shifting, moving forward, and making employees feel safe. This establishes critical, preliminary trust between the potential employee and organization.

Foster a connection

Now is a good time to evaluate your current employer brand and tweak it to better connect to your organizational vision amidst all the uncertainties of our current times. Talent acquisition professionals should ask themselves:

  • Where are we projecting and sharing our employee value proposition (EVP)?
  • What is the messaging we are putting out there?
  • Does our brand align with our vision and mission accurately?

Personal connection is key. Consider utilizing employee stories, home-recorded videos from leaders, and bold value statements that communicate humans being the heart and soul of an organization. Show the candidate that your organization is one that loves and cares about its people.

Tell stories about how employees want to be a part of the organization and how they positively impact the company. Communicate why the organization does what it does, and how employees influence that. This means so much more than corporate mission statements and bland job descriptions.

Create a positive recruitment experience

As you transform your talent acquisition processes to be more human-centric, it is important to recognize that not everything is designed to support your new approach to recruitment. It may be time to evaluate your talent systems and connect those dots with a more tailored approach without disrupting the need to hire quality talent quickly.

This starts with how you spark interest and establish a connection.

Generic recruitment emails from LinkedIn or lackluster voicemails without purpose resonate less now than ever before. It is important to understand the talent landscape and be more informed and targeted in your outreach. Many organizations have overhauled their talent acquisition functions to be more agile and have created mechanisms that allow for more efficient and effective pipeline generation. This is great, but only if it gives recruiters more time to nurture candidates and make personal connections faster.

It also then extends to how you interview—you cannot seem distant and disconnected. You must evaluate and ensure you have the right technology to facilitate the virtual interview process that is both personable and establishes a human connection. You and your team should ask yourselves:

  • Do we have the right tools to make this a great experience for all stakeholders?
  • Do these tools provide candidates with enough experience and connection to make an informed decision on their next career journey?
  • Do managers know how to use these tools effectively to portray the EVP correctly with each candidate individually?

Recruiters need enablement too

In the span of just a few weeks, everyone has had to adapt to new ways of working. Just as we are investing in the enablement of our sales functions to interact with our customers in new ways, we must too invest in our talent acquisition teams.

Talent acquisition teams need to be masters at pitching the company culture, creating a personalized recruitment experience, and leveraging applicable technology. Lean into marketing and bring in copywriters to provide sample emails and messaging guidance. Marketing is your friend—get creative. Written blogs, videos, and other relatable cultural assets are all beneficial to recruiter outreach—especially in our totally virtual times.

Brainstorm with marketing and create messages that tell the candidate a story of opportunity. An opportunity to participate in a culture that provides job satisfaction, personal/professional growth, and the knowledge that they can have an impact every day. The recruitment process is the first step to a potential career-long relationship and should not be overlooked.  Reflect an organization that is committed to sustaining that type of relationship.

If we can figure this out, these talent practices will enable and strengthen our organizations for the long run. Clarity and connection are the names of the game moving forward.  Talent Acquisition teams need to be agile entities that fuel the organization’s strategic and human capital motors—one story at a time.

Elisa Vincent is VP, Talent Enablement at Skillsoft

Brie Miller is VP, Global Talent Acquisition at Skillsoft

Capitalise on People Development to Retain Employees

According to the latest Gartner research, Australian employees plan to stay with their current employers, with the numbers actively seeking new positions falling by almost 7%. While on the one hand, that might give HR professionals a reason to smile; the reality is now is not the time to sit back and assume attraction and retention of talent is not a challenge. […]

Capitalise on People Development to Retain Employees

According to the latest Gartner research, Australian employees plan to stay with their current employers, with the numbers actively seeking new positions falling by almost 7%. While on the one hand, that might give HR professionals a reason to smile; the reality is now is not the time to sit back and assume attraction and retention of talent is not a challenge.

Original source: Gartner  

The Gartner study reaffirms my belief in the power of opportunity. Career opportunity to be precise. Now is the ideal time to implement a unified talent development strategy that builds a strong employer brand, encourages employee engagement and retention, and leads to increased productivity. This strategic approach ensures employees see not just a way to secure their future, but also a way to expand their skill arsenal.

How an organisation can develop employees, so they stay

 

Before we go any further, I want to be clear about one thing. Developing your employees is more than investing in training. It is a holistic approach that encompasses all aspects of the employee lifecycle. Think of it as your organisation’s employee value proposition (EVP), the combination of benefits and rewards that an organization offers to its employees in return for their work and skills… a strong EVP also includes intangible components such as culture, opportunities for personal and professional development, and more”.

My colleague’s blog post, How to Use an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to Attract Top Talent, provides a brief introduction to the many ways a strong EVP is the cornerstone of an organisation’s talent development strategy.  A robust EVP enables employers to create talent personas that relate to the specific roles they need to fill and highlight critical components of the job most attractive to these personas. Think of it like this, designers tend to be most interested in working with companies who have a strong sense of identity, brand and aesthetic, while engineers and programmers are more likely to favor companies that prize and highlight their commitment to innovation and cutting-edge technologies. Tailoring EVPs to specific roles and individuals help organizations stand out in a big way.

The Five essential characteristics of an EVP

According to Gartner, EVPs portray the value of working in an organization across five attributes:

  • Opportunity: Can I learn and grow here? Is the company growing?
  • People: Will I connect with my co-workers, manager, and can I see myself here? Do I have confidence in upper management?
  • Organization: Is the company socially responsible? Do I connect to the causes it promotes? Are the products or services from the company those I place value in?
  • Work: Will my new role facilitate a work-life balance?
  • Rewards: What sort of compensation is on offer? What is the salary, the health benefits package, and how much paid time off is part of the package?

Technology’s role in your EVP

The discussion around the profound changes artificial intelligence brought about – from attraction, onboarding to performance management — is not new. The changes are happening across the board, and HR professionals are all too aware of the transformational impact technology is having on their profession and their daily tasks.

While it is highly beneficial to have at your fingertips the means to automate performance reviews or onboarding, it is technology’s role in facilitating career paths for employees that seals the deal for me. When employees can see where and how they can progress within their company, they feel valued. Career pathing is also an invaluable tool as you design and implement your personalised succession plan. It enables employees and employers to see what skills a candidate possesses and what they require to be eligible for future opportunities.

 Four steps to establishing career paths

  1. Build an individual employee profile (IEP). Be sure to list include skills/competencies, education, and experience.
  2. Based on the IEP, identify what skills are missing and recommend the relevant training
  3. Incorporate manager input on skill gaps and recommendations
  4. Utilise your learning management system (LMS) to execute the development plan

 

To learn more about establishing and implementing career pathing in your organisation, check out this free webinar: Career Planning & Pathing: How to Develop a Strategic Vision.