The battle for talent is on – and it’s getting tougher by the day. According to management consulting firm Korn Ferry, by 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people, a number equivalent to the population of Germany. If this prediction comes to pass, that talent shortage could result in $8.5 trillion in unrealised annual revenues.
We’re already seeing the evidence – in 2016, science and technology jobs in the United States outnumbered qualified workers by approximately 3 million, a gap that started to become a trend in the wider jobs market in the US last year.
These numbers are causing grave concern for C-Suite Executive globally, and, according to the latest Worldcom Confidence Index, a growing number of CEOs and CMOs are now placing talent acquisition at the top of their priority list. In such a hyper-competitive market, only the companies with the most innovative approach to recruitment will survive and thrive.
Laszlo Bock, former vice president for people operations at Google, describes interviews as a “terrible predictor of performance”, based on extensive analysis of the process.
He previously told the New York Times: “We looked at tens of thousands of interviews, and everyone who had done the interviews and what they scored the candidate, and how that person ultimately performed in their job. We found zero relationship. It’s a complete random mess.”
It’s clear that, while traditional interviews still have their place, companies need to add more innovative layers to the recruitment process in order to stay relevant and attract the best talent. There are a number of ways to look beyond the traditional approach. Here are three:
When it comes to hiring for leadership positions, Aisling Hassell, Global Head of Customer Experience at Airbnb, advocates an “utterly rigorous” approach. The right hire will allow you to focus on key tasks and push the company to perform at an optimum level, so it’s worth getting to know the candidate beyond what the basic interview allows. Writing in BlitzScale Like a Boss, by Voxpro – powered by TELUS International, Hassell describes her approach.
“On a number of occasions, I have seen the wrong candidate hired even after a number of rigorous interviews. My current approach involves going further to find out more, including going out for dinner with the candidate and talking to people they have worked closely with, not just their official references.”
Walt Bettinger, CEO of Charles Schwab, takes candidates out for breakfast and secretly asks the restaurant to mess up their orders on purpose. The insights gleaned from how a candidate reacts to a scenario like this adds more firepower to the decision-making process.
Put Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Work
AI-powered talent acquisition software is enabling a faster selection process, less human bias and more accurate predictions of success. Tools like Mya and Ideal automate sourcing, screening and scheduling, saving time and money, and allowing humans to focus on the parts of the process that require far higher levels of cognitive ability and emotional intelligence.
But AI can also reduce the human bias that recruiters can apply unconsciously. Blendoor is an app that allows companies to sort through a diverse candidate pool without identifiers that can trigger unconscious bias. By removing information like names, addresses, gender, photos, and ethnicity, candidates are ranked on how well they match the companies needs and nothing more.
HireVue is a video interviewer that predicts job candidates’ performance based not only on cognitive ability, but also on facial expressions, tone of voice and vocabulary. The AI gives each video a client-customised score based on more than 250,000 data points, allowing for a data-led view on how the candidate will perform in the role.
A 2017 Deloitte report found 33 percent of survey respondents already use some form of AI in the hiring process, and as the race for talent grows more intense, that number is expected to grow.
Game the Recruitment Process
According to the recruitment lead for Voxpro – powered by TELUS International, games are a very effective way to get candidates to reveal more about themselves compared with the traditional competency-based interview.
“I was once hiring to fill a very demanding role that would require great agility and speed of decision, so I needed to test out the candidates’ ‘Brace Yourself’ mentality during the interview process. I designed a game called ‘Learning and Development Charades’ where candidates had to pick one abstract learning objective out of a hat and design the learning experience in 20 minutes. Objectives included ‘How to shape a Mohawk’ and ‘How to fly a drone.”
This unconventional twist in the process suddenly revealed some crucial insights into the candidate pool.
“It was at this point that the person who had been the frontrunner throughout the whole process started to complain about the game, calling it a waste of time. This showed me that this candidate would not be able to handle the kind of situations the role would constantly put them in, so I knew they were not the right fit.”
The ability to take a creative approach to recruitment has led to Voxpro consistently reducing employee attrition rates and boosting overall employee engagement.
Deliver an Exceptional Candidate Experience
In a candidate-driven recruitment market, creative and data-driven hiring practises like these are no longer nice-to-haves, they’re essential to modern talent acquisition. However, to be truly successful, every single recruitment innovation must be underpinned by one thing: delivering an exceptional candidate experience.
Jobseekers who have a negative candidate experience are highly likely to share that experience online. Fifty-five percent of job seekers abandon applications after reading negative reviews online, and only 45 percent of employers ever monitor or address those reviews. However, organisations that invest in a strong candidate experience improve their quality of hires by 70 percent.
As Vice President of Global Customer Experience & Head of EMEA at Dropbox, Adrienne Gormley focuses strongly on this part of the process.
Speaking to the Voxpro Studios podcast, she said: “We spend a lot of time really developing the candidate experience. We want somebody to come in and go through the experience as if they were the crown princess or the crown prince of talent, and we do that for every candidate coming through.”
Transparency is something Gormley also believes is critical to finding the right people.
“Sometimes when I have calls with candidates I’ll do what I call the ‘Health Warning’ and I’ll say ‘Hey, we’re mad and bad and fast and it’s great fun, but here’s what the reality is, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly’, and really being transparent about what we are as a company. That generally excites people, and sometimes people say ‘oh, it’s not what I’m looking for’, and then that’s great to know upfront.”
Companies like Dropbox, Airbnb, and Voxpro all have one thing in common when it comes to recruitment: they start with the candidate’s needs, not those of the company. The innovative practices they have put in place are designed to help the candidate reveal the very best of themselves and give an accurate picture of whether they will thrive in the company or not. Only through such a candidate-first approach will organisations find the very best talent in the most competitive era in history.