Talent Acquisition: People Versus Technology

What image does Talent Acquisition conjure up? One that represents people or technology? Like it or loathe it, American terminology has a huge influence on the World’s use of language. Some Human Resource [HR] Managers and recruiters are resisting what they perceive to be the negative connotations of using the word ‘talent’, but we only need look at history to see what will dictate the language of tomorrow.

The introduction of the latest in people analytics technology to attract candidates appears to be changing the terminologyused to describe staff management2. In more recent years, larger organisations have begun to separate out Recruitment from HR to introduce highly specialised internal recruiters. Today a new label is emerging in the UK – that of Talent Acquisition [TA], again from America, and one destined to meet the language requirements of our global economy.

The Talent Acquisition function now sits juxtaposition with Talent Management as technology and humans conjoin in an effort to enhance organisational success. As confidence grows in our emerging global economy, the competition to find high-quality candidates for jobs is escalating, especially in areas of key skill shortages such as engineering and data science. This has meant that Talent Acquisition sourcing via the very latest in big data technology has gained huge momentum with the need to find staff to fill those sectors with skill shortages such as engineering and the more niche technical roles.

…half the World’s population is now under 30

With half the World’s population now under 30, and having grown up with the convenience of the Internet in their everyday life, this looks set to continue to be the number one way to progress Talent Acquisition. It will certainly make it easier for those with the analytical know how to utilise the myriad of public data freely available on the Internet and use it to enhance the capabilities of recruiters.

So the fight is on as HR Departments and recruiters look to position their long-term strategies to include technology as part of their remit to attract, engage and, importantly, hold on to their talent. There are a number of offerings new to the market, ours included, which use advanced technology as an alternative to the traditional approach of job boards and recruitment agencies. Employers now have the opportunity to directly target people through their social media channels, or by using a bespoke system such as ours, to tempt people to apply for their jobs.

However, no matter what approach employers take to recruitment, one thing has not changed, the need to keep it human, but we should be even more conscious of this when technology is involved. Finding the right person to fit your role is about opening genuine lines of communication between two sets of people – those who are looking for jobs and the people who are looking to hire them.`

there is a limit to just how much people will tolerate having their social space invaded

The issue with using the software on offer by some companies to help you find talent is that it is primarily designed to reach out to jobseekers by sending messages en masse via their favoured social channels. While JobsTheWord initially looked at the option of going along this route, we believed these tools will eventually lead to the degradation of social recruitment; few join Facebook and Twitter to have recruiters continually hound them for what they view as generic roles. And while most on LinkedIn understand recruiters pay to use the site to search for potential candidates, there is a limit to just how much people will tolerate having their social space invaded.
The idea for our recruitment solution originated from me having worked within the industry and very quickly realising it was a hugely painful process for both jobseeker and recruiter. I genuinely wanted to improve the recruitment experience for both parties and teamed with a friend who had the technical and analytical skills to build a system for making this possible.

One message came through loud and clear…

And we never rest on our laurels, to ensure we are getting it right, we recently undertook a Candidate Voice Survey of more than 200 people who had experienced our approach to recruitment, the results of which will be released later this month. One message came through loud and clear – a personal email was their number one choice as a means of communicating job opportunities to them. The second was relevancy of the role to their skill set and the third location.

By designing our own bespoke system through algorithmic machine learning and utilising all the public data now available on the Internet, what we have designed and continue to develop on a daily basis is very different to that of social recruitment with the result that JobsTheWord now lead the field.
As with any new concept it can be difficult to get your message across to a new audience; it is human nature to try and link it to something we are already familiar with. Put simply we directly match companies, jobs and people better than anyone else using technology. As a result we are now able to give employers the same results as that of a recruitment agency, but by combining technology with a human touch we can do this more efficiently and at a fraction of the cost.

machine learning will wipe out the need for recruitment agencies

I would go as far as to say that the type of machine learning we are developing here at JobsTheWord will wipe out the need for recruitment agencies as they currently stand – and in the not too distant future. Unless agencies evolve to meet the demand created by companies who are continually refining their big data solutions, organisations will simply abandon them for this cheaper and effective route to candidate success.

1 Heavily influenced by the American market, the Personnel Departments of the 70s eventually began to adopt the term Human Resources when the modern view of human resource management first gained prominence in 1981, with its introduction on the MBA course at Harvard Business School.

2 The HR Department remit became more strategically wide-ranging to cope with the increasing complexities of employment. Where Personnel Departments dealt mainly with employee relations and payroll, today’s HR professional requires knowledge in Strategic Management, Employee Relations, Employee Development, Risk Management, Benefits, and Employment Regulations.

Mike Sandiford
Head of Partnerships
0207 193 9931

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