SmartRecruiters mission is to transform recruiting. They partner with companies who fundamentally understand that the platform they use to identify, attract, and close great talent is as important to their success as what they use to identify, attract, and close great customers.
Meet the recruiting strategist who’s sought talent for the likes of NASA, ahead of her session at Hiring Success 19 – Americas, February 26-27 in San Francisco.
Kimberly Jones isn’t afraid to point out the obvious: if a company cares about diversity and inclusion (D&I), they can make it happen. She prides herself on speaking the truth about talent acquisition (TA), and that’s exactly what you will get in her session “Truth About D&I Strategy & Results” at Hiring Success 19 – Americas, February 26-27 in San Francisco.
After working with name brands like GE Aviation, Raytheon, and NASA, Kimberly founded her own recruiting firm, Kelton Legends LLC, in February of 2017. Kelton Legends is a multidimensional TA consulting agency that helps organizations create aligned business and hiring strategies with meaningingful D&I initiatives. Jobseekers can also turn to Kelton Legends if they are in need of career advice or coaching.
Kimberly has always had a penchant for math and science, and to satisfy what she calls her ‘inner nerd’, she’s been drawn to HR at aerospace and defense contractors. Working with these brain trusts has left her with some great stories. We talk with her today about how she ended up in the South Pole, and what it’s really like to work for NASA.
Most recruiters don’t find themselves in Antarctica. How did you find yourself there?
I was working as the diversity recruiting manager for Raytheon Polar services. Raytheon is a defense contractor, and the Polar services team worked primarily for the National Science foundation, staffing all program positions from Denver, Colorado to Antarctica.
At that point in my career I was ready for anything, so I told my leadership team to give me the craziest assignment they had. That’s how I ended up at the South Pole. Another part of it was practicing what I preached. Our team was making a lot of changes to boost retention efforts, so I needed to experience the working environments I was selling.
So, when the season opened back up [November through March the ice breaks up, allowing ships to pass while the 20-hour-a-day sunshine brings out the local flora and fauna] and there was an opportunity to visit the Antarctic stations I was like, ‘sign me up!’
I spent six weeks in Antarctica, most of that time at the main station, McMurdo, but also venturing to the South Pole for three days. That trip was one of the most fantastic experiences of my life!
What’s the pitch for getting people to relocate to Antarctica?
Surprisingly, it’s not that hard to convince people to travel to the bottom of the earth. The real challenge is getting the right mix of people.
What’s the mix of people you are going for?
At that point, Raytheon was the primary contractor for the National Science Foundation. This means we were recruiting scientists and lab technicians, but there were many other roles to consider. We needed engineers, maintenance people, construction workers, carpenters, housekeepers, firefighters, cooks, doctors, nurses, electricians, and even hairdressers. It’s a small village, so every role has to be filled.
You will be conducting a session called “Truth About D&I Strategy & Results” at Hiring Success 19 – Americas, can you tell us more about that?
If the business is a cake, people tend to think of D&I strategies as frosting – nice to have but not necessary. What I want people to understand is that D&I strategy is more like the eggs, i.e. critical Try baking a cake without eggs; you end up with a flat cake.
During my session, I am going to show everyone how to integrate D&I strategy directly into what they do everyday. This will impact engagement, candidate pools, interviews, and ultimately the new hires. When attendees leave this session, they will have a template for D&I strategy to take back to their organizations that has been successfully operationalized in multiple businesses already.
The slide deck and resources I will provide lay the foundation for a comprehensive D&I approach, and by substituting some of the information within the presentation, could easily be applied to another business.
What’s the biggest obstacle for D&I programs?
Recruiting isn’t rocket science. Believe me, I’ve recruited rocket scientists. It really only takes a commitment; if your organization is committed to D&I it’s very achievable.
McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top 25 percent for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to financially outperform industry competitors. So, anyone not deliberately working to make their organization more diverse tells me they’re not interested in being a competitive business.
Companies will boast about revenue, safety, and quality measures. Yet, in the areas of diversity, somehow people get so comfortable with mediocre.
You probably get this question a lot, but what was it like recruiting for NASA?
I can remember my first day of interviews. I remember seeing the NASA sign and getting goosebumps. My mission was to help the organization evolve. It was a big task, but looking back I am proud. NASA is one of the many organizations where the workforces is mainly white males. We even had one engineering group call themselves ‘tall, pale, and male’.
That first year I had some very high deliverables, including implementing an new application tracking system amidst a culture that was operating in a very insulated way. The fantastic and hard thing about being around some of the brightest minds in the world is that they will challenge you – they are aren’t afraid to articulate their concerns.
I had to consider their perspective, show them that I was an expert in my field, and demonstrate that even if I was doing was different, I would never do anything to undermine our competitive advantage.
I will say I burned calories for sure while I was there. There were days where I was pushed to some very extreme limits, professionally and emotionally, and on those days I would actually go sit in the space operations facility viewing gallery to watch all of the data beaming in from all over the universe. It kept me grounded in my mission, seeing these satellites that had been built and launched over 50 years ago, still functioning exactly how they were designed and engineered to work.
We talk people analytics with the TA leader breaking down big data at Hiring Success 19, February 26-27 in San Francisco.
Chris Louie, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition for LinkedIn, didn’t start out in TA. Four years ago this recruiting leader was a product manager rising through the ranks of Nielsen, the NY-based global performance management company. So, when Chris announced his move to the company’s people function, everyone had the same reaction.. ‘But, why!?’
Where Chris saw an opportunity for innovation and an unscripted future, the rest of the world saw a department with a reputation for being the most corporate of all the corporate functions, ie a dusty snoozefest. As one recruiter so delicately put it “The pros are that you would be part of a new generation of HR leaders; the cons are that HR is still dramatically underpaid and disrespected as a function!”
Yet, none of this well-meaning guff deterred Chris. He saw how critical talent was to business success, and he thought, “If I can affect change in TA, it will really make a huge difference to the organization as a whole.”
Chris didn’t know at the time, but he was actually part of a larger trend of outside people entering this once insulated field. And, as it often does, his outside experience informed his new work in positive and unexpected ways. Chris began approaching the challenges of HR with the mind of a product manager, leveraging his penchant for analytics, and working backwards from the data to find solutions.
After three years as Nielsen’s SVP of People, Chris began a new chapter at LinkedIn, taking with him his love of experimentation. Ahead of his session ‘Impact of Analytics in Recruiting’ at Hiring Success 19 – Americas, February 26-27 in San Francisco, we catch up with this industry changemaker to hear what it’s like to be at recruiting’s premier brand, and why HR needs its own hippocratic oath.
What have your first couple months at LinkedIn been like?
I’m part of the talent acquisition team here at LinkedIn. I’m not going to lie, it’s a pretty awesome team…and you would hope so because of the brand, right?
At LinkedIn, we have vertical recruiting teams filling reqs for product, engineering, etc, and I am leading a horizontal function that touches each of these teams to support their work. Some folks call it employer branding, here it’s known as talent attraction.
You once wrote that TA systems need product managers, not administrators – could you explain this idea?
Software companies don’t just develop a product for clients and walk away. They market the system, support their customers, and think about user experience – honing and evolving over time. However, there’s a tendency to not classify internal systems as ‘real products’ and just roll out new tech to employees with no marketing effort or success tracking. That’s why when you look at the NPS of internal systems it’s often quite low.
My thought is, that we need to bring the same marketing, support, and tracking efforts to these internal systems as we would to the products we deliver to our customers. Internal systems are ‘real products’, and they are critical to business success.
Tell us more about your session at Hiring Success 19 – Americas, what will practitioners walk away with?
The approach I take with people analytics is to start with the scientific method. What is the problem statement, or the challenge, that we’re trying to solve? The answer to that question dictates what you do from an analytic perspective. Start with what you’re trying to accomplish, not just ‘what analysis can I run?’
People analytics is still fairly underdeveloped, only recently do we have ready access to the data we need to make these evaluations.
I really love using applied science and math to make our processes better, because smarter processes actually make a positive difference for people. At the end of the day we’re not running analytics to write papers or sit on panels. This is about boosting the experience for everyone – candidates, hiring managers, and recruiters.
People tend to be intimidated by the idea of creating an analytics program, do you have to be a math whiz to make sense of your data?
Anybody who’s intimidated by the math of it at all should know it’s really not about the math. Frankly, math is the least required skill. We can hire mathematicians or staticians. What’s hard is finding people who understand the way HR and TA work today, and are discerning enough to identify the real problems and challenges, as well as the root causes… the analysis is just a tool for that.
Could you describe your personal brand in three words?
Connect: Competing initiatives often pop up in complex organizations and ideas get lost in the shuffle. I strive to bring together the right people and ideas to move initiatives up the ladder. I keep my ear to the ground, and even proactively seek out disconnects to ensure we are working together. I really enjoy making connections so that everyone gets to contribute instead of feeling their time has been wasted.
Care: If you define brand (as Wikipedia does), as “a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you,” then I hope the general feeling people get from me is that I am somebody who legitimately cares and who has time for people. This goes beyond the basics of check-ins and consistent employee experience; it’s a deeper responsibility I have as a leader to understand what the folks on my team are all about, and to create a space where they can achieve.
Create: I’m always at my best when I’m trying to do something new. If you have a system in place and you need somebody to maintain the status quo, then I’m the wrong person for the job. I’m someone who’s always looking for the next challenge, which is why I think I’ve made relatively dramatic moves in my career from one department to another.
In the wake of the #metoo movement, you suggest HR leaders create their own hippocratic oath. Tell us what yours would be.
My main feeling is that HR should adopt the ‘first do no harm’ perspective towards its employees, and feel a sense of responsibility towards these people. Personally, my hippocratic oath would include being an advocate for my team and the candidates.
It’s important to not fall into the trap, as a manager, of viewing your team member’s work in an overly transactional way. That means seeing how the people working for you are growing, knowing what their professional goals are, and helping set them up for a positive trajectory.
I name candidates as well because they are the voiceless in this process. If someone is having a negative candidate experience they feel alone and really have no recourse. There’s the one-in-a-hundred candidate who will get an email to a CEO or CHRO to complain, but that’s pretty rare. TA teams don’t usually feel the same accountability to applicants as they would to a hiring manager. At LinkedIn candidate engagement and experience is extremely important, and it’s one of the KPIs we measure to gauge our success.
This year’s contestants represent the most diverse mix of global startups to date—here’s what you need to know ahead of their pitch presentations at #HIRE19
In recent years, the TA industry has seen a proliferation of recruiting startups rising to meet the demands of hiring teams seeking top talent. Many of these startups are small rooms full of people, all working on an idea in the hopes of moving fast and breaking things. While a vast majority of these budding companies will fail, those successful few must demonstrate exceptional innovation and purpose.
As part of SmartRecruiters’ mission to help businesses achieve hiring success, we want to highlight those scrappy startups offering truly unique products and services for hiring teams worldwide. Now in its third installment, the Recruiting Startup Awards returns to Hiring Success 19 – Americas, February 26–27 in San Francisco.
At the outset, over 140 startups leveraged their business and social networks to earn votes. Soon, the top five with the highest number of votes will fly to San Francisco to pitch their business in front of 1,200 CHROs and recruiting leaders—which will walk away with $10,000 in sponsorship and press?
Previous RSOTY winners include Honeypot.io, an e-staffing company focused on software developers, and Enboarder, an intuitive onboarding platform that helps candidates hit the ground running. This year’s finalists run the gamut from chatbots to pipeline automation services, and hail from the UK, Canda, Australia, and the US.
Get to know the 2019 Recruiting Startup Awards finalists below, and be sure to watch them deliver their pitches on the final day of Hiring Success 19 in San Franciscos—see full agenda here!
Candidate.ID’s software allows organizations to create genuine talent pipelines and easily identify candidates as cold, warm, and ‘hire-ready’ in real time, claiming to reduce time-to-shortlist by 50 percent.
An increasing number of businesses are turning to more proactive hiring strategies to remain competitive in today’s job market economy. Reactive hiring no longer yields high-quality talent, Candidate.ID addresses this problem by zeroing in on pipeline automation, offering tools and insights that enhance hiring teams’ ability to source, discover, and nurture talent ahead of business needs.
Jobiak created the industry’s first AI-based recruitment marketing platform designed for Google. In a few clicks, recruiters, TA teams, and HR professionals can quickly and directly publish job postings to Google for Jobs. Jobiak makes it easy to post jobs by eliminating any coding or complicated HTML edits from the advertising process thanks to its advanced algorithms and machine learning functionality.
With over 70 percent market share, Google is the world’s most popular search engine by far. Additionally, Google captures 80 percent of all mobile traffic. With this in mind, Jobiak puts forth the following stat: 73 percent of jobseekers begin their search on Google, but the majority of them never see your company’s job ads.
GoHire leverages text messaging, Facebook Messenger, and chatbots to help organizations reach more candidates at the right time while also automating recruiting workflows. These optimizations help GoHire clients generate as high as 500 percent increases in applications, and significantly reduce the amount of time spent on pre-screening candidates.
GoHire was founded during the height of the TA industry’s focus on social media recruitment strategies, with founders Jonathan “JD” Duarte and Mike Lam seeing the opportunity to combine innovative technology with the preferred communication channels of today’s jobseekers.
Vervoe decided that candidates should be evaluated on their merit, not their background, so the company built an AI-powered skills testing platform to improve the quality of candidates in the hiring pipeline.
Companies can test applicants’ skills and attitude with customizable assessments that mimic real-world scenarios, and the Vervoe AI automatically scores, ranks, and recommends the best candidates for the position. Vervoe claims that it can help businesses identify the best talent at under $100 per hire.
Globalization has allowed more companies to expand into new markets and geographies, but staffing new offices can be challenging. Enter VanHack, a growing community of over 180,000 software developers, designers, and digital marketers seeking jobs abroad. VanHack believes in building a borderless world where careers are not restricted to a particular office, city, or country.
More than simply connecting jobseekers to opportunities, VanHack also works with employers to find talent for hard-to-fill roles like senior data scientists, machine learning experts, DevOps, and more, while helping facilitate visa and relocation processes for selected candidates. According to the company’s website, 90 percent of all jobs posted on VanHack receive qualified applicants in less than 24 hours.
Who doesn’t love a carnival? Adulting is great, but every once in a while it’s important to unwind with whimsey and just have fun. The Smarty Party is can’t miss event at each of our conferences, and Hiring Success 19 – Americas is no exception. Network with your peers while trying not to topple a tour giant Jenga blocks, or follow up with speakers at the pop-a-shot hoop. Indulge in some childhood nostalgia with oversized Connect Four, and make sure to grab a sweet from the cupcake Ferris wheel!
As the sun sets on our jam-packed first day, LED hula hoopers take the floor to dazzle us with a personal light show, followed by onsite food trucks with all your California style favorites, from empanadas to delicious Asian fusion.
And what carnival is complete without cotton candy or food on a stick? Don’t worry, we have that too!
At Pier 27, attendees get to enjoy a sweeping view of San Francisco’s iconic bay. While some work trips relegate you to little more than hotel lobbies or conference halls, the Hiring Success conference takes pride in imbuing every event with the spirit of the city. San Francisco has always been a place for creatives and dreamers, from the artists and activists of the 60s, to the innovative tech minds of today. We invite you to take a cue from the Golden City and reimagine what Talent Acquisition could be.
Speaking of the future, don’t forget the big debate on our second day: What can robots do that people can’t? And, how far do we go with selection by algorithm? TA industry vet and noted disruptor Bill Boorman will facilitate an interactive debate with live audience commentary. We have assembled two teams, practitioners vs data scientists, and you get to vote in real-time polls. This is a perfect time to discuss your arguments and gain insight from other practitioners.
While you’re there, seize this opportunity to make new connections, process the day’s learnings, and follow up with presenters who sparked your interest. The scenic vistas, classic games, and inspiring company (no scary clowns, we promise) will ensure you are recharged and ready for another nonstop day of demos, panels, labs, awards, and interactive sessions.
Who’s ready for a paradigm shift? Here arethesession highlights most likely to change your mind, deepen your empathy, andget you out of your chair.
It’s time to get on your feet and out of your comfort zone. In just two weeks, over one-thousand TA leaders will convene at Pier 27 in San Francisco, and not just for the amazing view. February 26-27, Hiring Success 19 – Americas – our largest conference to date – will challenge industry leaders and recruiting practitioners to define the future of Talent Acquisition (TA).
Over two days, 100 speakers and 50 sessions will bring new insight to the common pain points of TA, and introduce what’s on the horizon for tech and best practice. Sessions are divided into three tracks so participants can mix and match to meet our expert content at your point of need. See full agenda here!
Innovation: Understand the latest recruiting tech and see how these digital tools will actually affect you and your practice.
Inclusion: Stories of success and inspiration from hiring practitioners that will help you create the business case for a diverse workforce and inclusive work culture.
Hiring Success: Case studies and hiring hacks from practitioners who have #BeenThere and know your pain points.
Here are just five sessions from the magnetic lineup of changemakers who will help you break down your loftiest goals into actionable steps.
1. Mind Mix: Neuro Diversity at Work
The ability to think differently brings societal changes, and can grow your business exponentially. People often say they want ‘out of the box thinkers’ but when it comes to actually including those who think differently, the execution is often lacking.
In this session, unique thinkers will share their experiences on both the candidate and recruiting side. By the end of this talk, the preconceived notions about autism, ADHD, and dyslexia will be shaken, flipped, and served a reality check.
You’ll tap into an extra 80 IQ points by adding new perspectives to your organization and deepen your empathy along the way.
2. Impossible First: Journey to Everest and Beyond
Summit the peaks of your ambitions with Colin O’Brady – the four-time world record holder who most recently became the first person to cross Antarctica solo and unaided.
Hear how Colin’s career as an adventure athlete started with a major injury in Thailand – that left him bedridden with doctors warning him he may never walk normally again – and took off when he entered and won, the Chicago triathlon just 18 months later. From there, Colin went on to climb the seven highest peaks in the world in a record-breaking 132 days.
Yet, even more humbling than these amazing feats of endurance, is how this explorer encourages all of us to erase the line in our minds between the few who can achieve and the many who cannot. Rather, he hopes his journey demonstrates that you too can draw on your “inner reservoir of strength” to pursue your loftiest ambitions.
“I don’t think everyone wants to go walk across Antarctica, but I know that people certainly have challenges in their life. Everyone has reservoirs of untapped potential inside of themselves and can achieve really incredible things.” – Colin O’Brady
A post shared by Colin O'Brady (@colinobrady) on Dec 9, 2018 at 5:24pm PST
3. The Great Debate: In Two Parts
Recruiting has arrived at a watershed moment, where the future of the industry will be defined by how we choose to collaborate with technology.
TA industry vet and noted disruptor, Bill Boorman will facilitate an interactive debate, with live audience commentary. We have assembled two teams, practitioners vs data scientists, and you get to vote in real-time polls. Who said discourse was dead?
Debate 1: What can robots do that people can’t? Debate 2: How far do we go with selection by algorithm?
4. Impact of Analytics in Recruiting
Learn how to make your source-to-hire a 10-day process from the company that’s already done it, and yes we are talking about corporate reqs. Hear from Diana Ferguson, VP of Talent Acquisition – technology solutions and services at Oppenheimer Funds, how to construct a streamlined hiring process that leverages tech to increase hiring manager engagement, boost candidate experience, and discover new talent… all while decreasing time to hire.
5. Double Session: Recruiting Startup Awards and The Future of Recruiting with Lou Adler
We close out two days of amazing learnings as we always do, looking to the future! Recruiting Startup Awards gives one fledgling company the chance to win a $10,000 sponsorship to our next conference, followed by the ‘Godfather of Candidate Recruiting,’ Lou Adler who will show you how to achieve the best performance-based interview!
Recruiting Startup Awards
Over 140 recruiting technologies vyed for a spot in the top five, and now these finalists are coming to San Franciso. This is a moment to celebrate innovation in our beloved industry, judges and the audience will vote to decide the winner!
Strong interviewing skills is something every recruiter and hiring manager needs in their wheelhouse. Join Lou Adler, as he interviews everyone in the audience – everyone – to demonstrate his signature evaluation technique of performance-based hiring.
Discover the most recent developer hiring trends based on real customer data.
The demand for software developers is rapidly increasing, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 24 percent growth in the need for these skills between 2016-2026. Globally, developer positions are the fourth hardest to fill, and the problem isn’t just quantity – it’s quality. With HACKERNOON reporting, “The software engineering shortage is not a lack of individuals calling themselves ‘engineers’, the shortage is one of quality – a lack of well-studied, experienced engineers with a formal and deep understanding of software engineering.”
According to Stack Overflow, 90 percent of developers are employed at least part-time, with about 77 percent employed full time. And, only five percent of developers are unemployed and actively looking for work. So, how are top companies engaging with these in-demand candidates to get the right skills onboard? It’s hard to know if you are an internal recruiter, that’s where Devskiller Global Technical Hiring & Skills Report 2019 comes in. This developer screening platform has gathered data from 112,654 coding tests from developers in 121 countries within the last year, in order to bring talent acquisition (TA) practitioners the latest in best-practice and trends for technical recruiting.
This report unique in that it doesn’t rely on self-reporting surveys. All the data flows directly from real tests. So, let’s break down our findings into five actionable takeaways teams need to know now!
1. It takes an average of three days for a developer to take a coding test
Developers wait on average 2.88 days or approximately 69 hours to take a coding test. Tests sent on Tuesdays tend to get the fastest response, while those sent on Wednesdays usually take the longest to be completed. This probably means that devs prefer to keep their weekend free for other projects and leisure, rather than recruitment.
Here’s a graph of the Monday to Friday data with the average wait in days.
2. Candidates tend to take the coding tests recruiters send
Tech recruiters fear candidates will drop out of the hiring process if asked to complete coding tests. Some technical interview techniques do receive negative backlash – whiteboard tests, anyone?
We found those concerns may be inflated, as 73 percent of candidates do take the coding tests sent to them. Coding test completion rates are the highest for Latvia, Armenia, New Zealand, Denmark, and the UK.
3. The overwhelming majority of candidates complete a coding test once started
Ninety-two percent of all candidates who started their coding test on our platform took the time to finish it.
Here is a breakdown of the finish rate by continent: Europe leads the pack with 93 percent, followed by Oceania 92 percent, Africa 91 percent, and North America 91 percent.
5. Java is by far the most tested language
Top three drivers of international technical hiring: The US, Poland, and the UK
Highest average scores on coding tests: New Zealand
The most high-scoring candidates: Serbian companies
As a tech recruiter in the late 90s, Lars had a “front row seat” to the manic growth, and painful demise, of the first internet economy. Despite this trial by fire introduction to Talent Acquisition (TA), Lars continued in the industry, taking his talents in-house.
In the proceeding decade, he went on to run global recruiting for household names like Ticketmaster and NPR. Now, as the principal of Amplify, this people strategy chameleon helps companies build progressive talent functions for 21st century HR.
After so many years in TA, Lars’ view of the industry might be described as ‘high-level’. Yet, we prefer the descriptor ‘in-touch’ as much of his success has been his special attention to the ground-level of practitioners’ day-to-day.
For Lars, a big part of staying in-touch means continuous and open communication with the people in the field. That’s where HR Open Source (HROS.co) comes in, a not-for-profit he founded in 2015 along with fellow recruiting enthusiast Ambrosia Vertesi, VP of People at Duo Security. This global community aims to democratize access to modern HR practices through connecting practitioners who collaborate and share learnings to prepare themselves, and their organizations, for the future of work.
Speaking of the future of work, HROS.co recently put out a report on the near-future of TA, surveying over 500 HR/TA practitioners to understand what is happening on their teams now, and in the next three years!
Today, we speak Lars to learn about some of the surprising results, including how people-teams are investing in tech, and why TA is still wary of automation.
Why create another future of work report?
There’s so much content about the future of work, anywhere there’s another blog/podcast/report! The thing is, most of this content is developed by analysts, consultants, and pundits – entities that are a couple of layers removed from the actual work. We wanted to create a report that captured the perspective of practitioners on the ground: How do they view the future? What things are impacting them right now?
HR Open Source Future of Work Report found HR has concerns about job automation, and believe their organizations will be impacted in the next three years, what do you make of this finding?
The automation piece was certainly interesting. Our community tends to be on the innovative side of the practitioner spectrum and closely attuned to the technology impacting their work.
I don’t think automation will replace the majority of recruiting positions, but certainly, some roles will be impacted. Sourcing for instance: with everyone having such a large digital footprint it’s easier to find people, but harder to get their attention. Going into the future, sourcing will be more and more about personalized outreach sequences and tailored messaging.
Going into the future, recruiters will have to focus more on the human side of recruiting TA. Tech tools will automate tasks that don’t require empathy and human engineering. For the foreseeable future, humans are still the best equipped to understand what motivates candidates, and how to design the message to get them on board.
CRM is the top investment for the coming year, why is candidate experience coming to the forefront?
The reality is that most TA functions use their ATS as more of a transactional engine, than a talent database. Organizations have this dormant candidate database, of thousands – maybe more – who have already raised their hand and said, ‘yes, I’m interested in your company!’ Yet, recruiters approach every job as a ‘one off’ when they don’t have the means to leverage this talent pool.
With the means of a candidate relationship management (CRM) tool, recruiters are able to mirror the marketing function and replicate some of the more sophisticated branding exercises like audience segmentation and personalized nurture sequences.
Do you think tech in diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives will impact those programs’ efficacy?
Technology alone won’t solve a lack of diversity. Organizations need to have some non-tech foundational pieces in place, before these tech tools can be used to their full power. Pieces including interview design, closing the wage gap, internal mobility, continued learning, etc. – which come together under the umbrella of a general philosophical buy-in. Technology can then help you really accelerate those efforts, whether it’s software to scan job descriptions for gender bias, or bots to anonymize candidate details to prevent unconscious discrimination.
Was there anything in the report that surprised you personally?
One point, which I had experienced anecdotally to be true, that was interesting to see born out in the numbers, is that 70 percent of respondents previously worked outside of HR and recruiting. It’s a big shift from 10 years ago when HR was a very insular field, that people would enter and move through in a strictly linear fashion. This shift is important because it means the field of HR and recruiting is being infused with new skill sets and perspectives, and I view it as extremely healthy for the function as a whole.
Torin started a recruiting firm in 1998 and what he saw in the industry wasn’t always pretty. Up close with transactional Talent Acquisition, he was privy to the dearth of diversity across industries. He found himself asking “why” a lot – Why was there only one black person on the whole North American sales team?… Why were there so few in management?… Why were company leaders talking about a ‘war for talent’, yet failing to consider non-traditional candidates? The list went on. And although in his capacity as a headhunter, he did his best to boost under-represented talent, he wanted to do more.
So, in 2010 he decided it was time to face the issue head on and founded the Torin Ellis Brand, a boutique HR agency to advise companies on D&I strategies and risk mitigation.
During this time of economic recovery in the years after the 2008 financial downturn, D&I was not on the forefront of the workplace milieu, and when it was the news was dismal – homogeneous workforce and biased hiring processes, but Torin didn’t want to focus on the bad press.
“My thought then, and I follow this principle today, is that I need to get more people involved,” says Torin. “If we keep having punitive conversations about D&I, that aren’t solutions-oriented, then I know white men are going to run in the opposite direction. I know that white women may not participate. I know that black men are going to continue to be frustrated when they get passed over for a job or a promotion. And I know black women will continue to have to work until August to make the same amount of money that their white male counterparts made in by December of the previous year.”
His main goal is to not have the same conversation 50 years from now, and what he preaches are solutions-based D&I programs, that achieve more than a press release. Learn the three tenants of successful strategies, and the next challenge work culture faces.
Give us the outline for a D&I strategy that is more than window dressing?
Empowerment: We need people to speak up. D&I programs fail when there is silence. So part of the strategy needs to be grassroots where people leverage their own power to tell their higher-ups ‘D&I programs are something we need’. The other part is management creating avenues for those voices to be heard and the concerns addressed.
Strategic Exploration: Be willing to sit amongst people that are different from you and explore a variety of strategies. Know that there will be gambles and mistakes. Be genuine with apologies, and don’t be afraid to recalibrate. Most of all, trust that the community will be receptive to genuine efforts.
Tactical Execution: Not everyone can be in the meeting making the decision, so include people at different levels. Talk to the people on the ground, understand their needs, and empower them in the execution of the program goals. These people can be the evangelists, amplifiers, and action-takers that translate your D&I efforts from paper to practice.
Last year you started your session ‘The Power of Diversity’ by quoting Bernard Coleman the III, global head for D&I at uber saying: “The house burned in front of them but they wanted the data to prove it. That is the audacity and ridiculousness of making the business case: convincing one of the obvious. If the smoke doesn’t alarm you, the fire certainly should.”
Why did you share this and what does it mean?.
That quote arrested my spirit. It made me think, there is absolutely no reason, people like myself, should have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to create a business case for diversity.
For the last 20 years, people have been saying there’s a war for talent. Well, if there’s a war for talent, then why are organizations not embracing – or even seeing – different talent pools? Why are organizations not looking for ambitious and creative ways to nurture non-traditional candidates?
Too many companies are paralyzed in their comfort zone of ‘we are preparing a white paper on why diversity is important’… It’s a thin veil covering a lack of progress.
Watch last year’s session below!
The Power of Diversity - YouTube
Looking to the future, it’s hard enough to implement D&I programs in a traditional workspace, how will organizations find success in the gig economy?
We have a more disparate workforce than we’ve ever had before. Companies struggled with D&I programs when everyone came to the same place to work. So, how are we going to do it when people are all over the place?… How are we going to make sure that remote workers still feel a sense of culture and inclusion?
The truth is we don’t have definitive answers to ‘what’ will be successful in this, the fourth industrial age. We are beginning to employ the tools from like big data, analytics, AI, and nanotechnology, which is a great start.
What people need to understand is that D&I doesn’t have a finish line, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get somewhere.
Talent Acquisition is a networking game, be sure you are playing to win… even if the idea of networking makes you want to curl up into a ball.
As much as we want to hide behind our screens, sometimes we have to dust off our in-person social skills and go make some connections IRL. There are benefits to networking on and offline, but there’s nothing like a face-to-face meeting to solidify a contact, and can be the difference between your email being responded to, or ignored.
Most people know why it’s important to network – career growth, knowledge expansion, and gaining new business being the primary reasons. So what’s the downside? Maybe networking doesn’t come naturally to you. It’s ok, you are not alone. Networking can feel weird, artificial, and awkward. Or maybe you tried networking and didn’t get that much out of it. You met some people, but what now?
If either of these scenarios applies to you, these tips will help you feel at ease as you gain contacts, and guide your efforts so your networking becomes a strategic career-boosting knowledge-gathering candidate-meeting machine.
When you host your own event, you can be sure to reach your target audience, rather than hoping the right people will be there. It doesn’t have to be grand affair; start small, and grow over time.
Another upside to being a host is that it gives you purpose for approaching guests and makes interacting feel more natural. Welcome guests and show them around the space to break the ice!
2. Study up
Even if you aren’t a host, you can still have purpose. Making a game plan will help you feel better about approaching people during networking events.
Take a look at the guest list and identify some key people with whom you want to speak. Depending on the scenario, you can message them before and plan to meet, or approach them at the event with knowledge of mutual contacts and interests.
3. Prepare your profile
Make sure your LinkedIn is up to date, including a recent (that means within the last three years folks) profile picture and accurate work information so people can easily find you.
4. Debrief, like right away
After the event or even between conversations (to give yourself a well-deserved people break) take notes about your conversations and who to follow up with, on your phone or in a notebook.
5. Understand different personality types
Not all of us connect in the same way, but a recruiter’s ability to make others more comfortable is what sets them apart. In order to be a more engaged and effective networker, you should understand the different Myers-Briggs personality types that you’re likely to come across at events.
It can not only help you better tailor your communication style with someone, but also help you recognize the different personalities that work best in the roles you’re recruiting for. If someone is more reserved, for example, it might be more effective to control the conversation yourself, as opposed to relying on them to do so.
6. Listen and build a rapport
When meeting people, whether in person or over the phone or email, it’s crucial to set yourself apart from other recruiters and organizations. Make sure you’re actively listening and showing your engagement by asking follow-up questions and keeping eye contact, not just preparing your next question. This should allow the conversation to flow more naturally, and help you get a better idea of how this person would fit into your company culture. Getting to know candidates by learning about their personal passions is also a great way to show your interest in them and prove your organization’s dedication to their needs.