If HR Ran Sales, You’d Be Out of Business


A pervasive theme in the HRO market today is the need to improve employee satisfaction. This requirement to nurture and retain employees stems mainly from a concern that there is a scarcity of talent in the marketplace. Personally, I have often written on themes relating to talent shortage, and while this situation is backed to some degree by statistics, is it in fact overstated?

Is the shortage of talent self-induced by organizations?

My recent research has focused on the RPO market and never have I seen such a disconnect in the maturity level of both provider’s capabilities and also client policies.

No wonder your talent pool is limited if your hiring policies are outdated and your RPO provider is still using the yellow pages.

So let’s begin with the organization. It’s scarcely a surprise you can’t find talent if you are still stuck in the age old practice of sourcing either top performing or ivy league candidates. This issue is compounded further by hiring departments alienating candidates who are not successful in their first application. The simple fact is; we have growing global economies requiring an ever-increasing workforce. Supply can simply not meet demand if we continue to use the old model of hiring what we perceive as “the best.” Your sales team look to continually expand its target market, so why isn’t your recruitment department doing the same?

At this stage, you might be asking, “Don’t we hire RPOs to advise and assist with this?”

Well, firstly outsourcers can only be as good as the processes they are permitted to follow. And secondly, the disparity in RPO service provider’s capability is massive. On the one hand, there are providers offering traditional RPO support that balk at the idea of using analytics and simple automation, beyond interview scheduling, to enhance the selection process. Then there is the modern leader in the RPO market, using machine learning and intelligent analytics to enhance the candidate selection process thereby expanding the available talent pool. Here the “ideal candidate” is constantly updated through the ongoing analysis of interview and employee performance data. These systems can then identify the best, and most likely to succeed in an interview, candidates from available talent pools.

How do we address this talent shortage then?

  • Address your legacy recruitment policies: Firstly, start with the organization itself. Companies need to realize that what was previously viewed as “the best” is no longer entirely accurate. Targeting a wider pool of targets is key for success in today’s recruitment department. Ernst & Young has been a forerunner here, with its UK hiring department dropping its minimum academic requirement for graduates after it found no correlation between academic performance and on the job performance. Also, psychologists now need to be a key member of the recruiting department. Assessing candidates via skillset as opposed to behavioral characteristics seem counter-intuitive. Skills can largely be taught, behavior and culture are more generally ingrained in one’s nature. A great case study to highlight this point was a contact center which changed its hiring approach and realized an 80% improvement in first month KPI adherence from candidates hired through a purely behavioral based methodology, against counterparts hired via a traditional skills based assessment.
  • Foster your unsuccessful talent pool: Secondly, organizations can no longer simply forget about unsuccessful candidates. By unsuccessful we mean they might not be a fit for the one job, but keeping them engaged for future opportunities can shorten the recruitment cycle for a potential future match. Sales and marketing have been doing this for years, continually engaging and challenging its target audience, so why not recruitment? Accenture has developed a talent community which continually provides updates for suitable available positions and further candidate development, thereby keeping its talent pool engaged and aligned for future job openings.

Your RPO needs to embrace automation and analytics.

RPO service providers have a crucial role to play here. If organizations are open to expanding hiring policies, service providers need to be able to deal with a larger and more diverse talent pool. One of the reasons RPO’s have not embraced automation is simply because automation in the recruitment market needs to be cognitive to offer true value. Automation at its most basic level relies entirely on rules-based, preconfigured processes. As we have discussed here, hiring practices need to be increasingly fluid, making cognitive automation a better fit. As such recruiting platforms that utilize automated processes need to learn from prior hires and adapt “ideal fit” accordingly. Very few providers yet have this ability. What is crucial to realize here is that cognitive does not remove the role of the recruiter, it merely means recruiters can spend more time in the assessment process with a better candidate.

The Bottom Line

Our key takeaway here is that after companies initially address internal hiring policies, they then need to partner with providers that offer both the technology AND the people needed, to identify and engage a diverse talent pool.

Posted in : Talent in Sourcing


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