Embracing the Changing facets Of recruiting

Companies should combine personal relationships and technological tools to create the best talent acquisition strategy. One without the other will result in half-baked approaches and unsustainable results



The world is getting smaller, the workforce is getting increasingly diverse and young, and businesses are getting progressively global and fleet footed. These factors pose a challenge for the HR function, since it is their job to ensure that such workforce feels engaged, and is aligned to the business objectives.

Talent management has evolved from being a single entity and an automated process to a unified part of the HR function that is directly linked to business strategies and goals. The system, which is an essential pillar of an organisation, can prove to be highly effective and efficient, when reinforced by technology to transform HR processes and help achieve the business objectives of the organisation.

Naveen Narayanan is the Global Head of Talent Acquisition in HCL Technologies

The ambitious industry demands have created a need to re-adjust the strategic role of talent acquisition and more importantly its ways of working. Primary amongst these is the need to embrace technology in all stratas of its exposure. In such a scenario, it becomes imperative to have a combination of right technologies to help companies identify, develop, and retain the right talent.

More than ever, recruitment has evolved into a dynamic process with the introduction of recruitment tools such as smart Application Tracking System (ATS) on SaaS or any social media integrated app. A recruiter can avail the benefits of such platforms and rope in potential candidates if they know their way.  Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) have seen huge changes in the last one year. Earlier ATS was just about automating the workflow but today it is about engaging a virtual talent pool and about CRM and the data being spewed in an analytical form. Capturing disparate data, crunching them to find trends, and predictive analysis can help in talent management initiatives and help drive business outcomes

Similarly big data analytics is helping organisations to predict employee success, identify top performers, calculate compensation models and cost to business, predict demand-supply of resources, and analyse market trends with exceptional accuracy.

In my experience, we are at an inflection point where technology can disrupt existing models and paradigms that are available, to conduct the hiring process. Let me ask you this. How many recruiters are building talent communities on social platforms? In your company, are there teams tracking the interactions and also actively engaging employees? Are you still hiring with a resume and do you track them on paper or have you moved to video resumes?

From the land where I come, there are 85 per cent of the billion plus population who have a mobile, and a little more than 50 per cent who have access to basic sanitation. With that paradox, with the largest employable and young population for the next 40 years to come, companies are deeply investing in mobile apps. Career pages on mobile apps, ATS sending updates on mobile, RSS feeds and such opportunities are endless. The millennials and Gen Y employees benefit from the use of internet at their homes or through cell phones. They are always connected on social media platforms, which allow quick and easy exchange of information.

The explosion of social media is showing signs of both threats and opportunities. While most companies are already implementing the new media for hiring or are eager to do so, only a handful have a formal policy in place which makes the technology open to misuse and the organisation liable to potential claims. Keeping this in mind, identifying the right data becomes crucial and every recruitment team, in-house or agency, should have a clear strategy whether they pay for the service or not.

Video interviewing is replacing face-face interviews and with predictive analytics and tests, this medium is growing quite fast. Linking this to ATS and recording asynchronous interviews is already catching up. It certainly helps in closure and time to on-board.

For instance, when a prospective candidate sees a job post on Twitter, his/her profile gets read by an analysis tool to match his resume to the job post and can choose a self-scheduled interview over video conferencing. After a video assessment of the interview, the candidate receives his/her auto generated offer letter and once on board, gets trained through an e-learning module. All transactions and repetitive activities that required employee advocacy are converted into an automated HR function to enable line managers to better manage teams through an integrated delivery of services.

Gamification is another technology powered innovative intervention. According to Gartner, 2014 would see 70 percent of global organisations owning at least one gamified application—these could be to grasp a specific area of expertise, or to improve one’s health. Gamification influences the user’s natural desire to compete, accomplish, position, express, and achieve closure.

Some organisations are also leveraging social media networks to customise candidates’ experience through gamification. Gamification as a technology can be used in any part of the process within the recruiting supply chain. More than the technology, again, companies are working on deeper analytics behind gamification, as there is rich data that comes through. Also, a fundamental shift when you implement gamification is democratising the process and allowing users or candidates to manage interactions at their own pace and time.

Taking cognisance of this fact, organisations that are keen to effectively respond to the workforce needs should invest in an integrated talent management system to serve their own as well as employees’ objectives. Such an investment would enable workforce planning, optimise engagement, and attract and retain talent. Also, exposure to a global and diverse talent base will help broaden employees’ horizons and accelerate their potential.

I would however like to put in a word of caution. Random application of technology should not be seen a short-cut to quick results. Behind all technology should be a robust outline representing processes that are delivering stable outcomes and are mature or sustainable. Unless this is established, technology will not lead the next phase of transformation.

One major aspect that technology cannot override is the personal connect. For example, recruitment based on personal relationships and meaningful conversations cannot be matched with one that’s sourced through technological tools, although technology can definitely provide the base and enhance the entire people process.

So I guess what the best talent acquisition strategy will have to be is a combination of hi-tech and hi-touch. One without the other will only result in half-baked approaches and unsustainable results. As a wise man once said, “pick the best of the new and marry it with the depth of the old and what you get is a marriage of many lifetimes”.

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