The Past Back in 2006, the buzzwords in human resources transformation were Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Human Resources Outsourcing (HRO), and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). Large deals were signed between consulting firms and companies that wanted to streamline their HR and recruiting functions. HR transformation then encompassed creating standardization and time-bound efficiencies. Offshore recruitment teams came on board, standard processes followed, and documented scopes of work rolled-out. Recruitment metrics and operational excellence were topics that kept me up at night. We were constantly chasing internal ‘success measures’. Terminology like ‘Service Level Agreements’, changing RAG (Red, Amber, Green), and constantly deep-diving internal issues through root cause analysis of poor quality or time-lapses. These efforts back in the day laid a strong foundation for the talent acquisition (TA) landscape. However, is it enough for today’s acquisition world?

The Present

Today in the era of Recruitment 5.0, we are in a time when customization and personalization are the keys. The talent acquisition function today is much more than an application hub for interested candidates. It is an eco-system. Candidates do not want to be another statistic in your time-to-hire but want to have a meaningful conversation with companies that provide a purpose. They want a career with meaningful experiences, not a job. These uncertain times call for different ways to attract and recruit top talent. A company’s purpose and the way it drives value in its communities are attractive qualities to potential candidates. Hence, talent acquisition requires an eco-system—one that piques the curiosity of a candidate, convinces them to apply for a role, and finally conducts effective onboarding that sets them up for success. I believe that a candidate’s journey starts when they look up a company and hunts for more information. This is the attraction phase where teams share as much information as they can in a frequency that has ‘always on branding.’ The plan is to share a company’s culture and purpose, employee stories, dynamic office environment, contribution to society, innovations, and so on. Be authentic and focus on the mission: share relevant information for potential candidates to make an informed decision about you. It will give you the opportunity to tell ‘our story’, as I call it.

Candidates do not want to be another statistic in your time-to-hire but want to have a meaningful conversation with companies that provide a purpose

Once potential candidates click on your post or accept an in-mail invitation, we move to the phase of engaging and nurturing possible ‘connections’. In this phase, it is important to keep these connections updated on your company movements, and involvements or potential opportunities through short updates, job adverts, and simple blog posts from employees or leaders. All posts should be relevant and timely. Administratively, most large multinational companies use ‘Talent Communities’ (TC), allowing interested candidates to leave their details and interest for future connections and updates. All potential candidates are then managed (with appropriate data privacy consent) through a Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) tool that is preferably connected with your Application Tracking System (ATS). A highly useful CRM feature is one that can organize candidate information making it accessible when you need to route potential candidates to planned and unplanned vacancies with a click of a button.

Dedicated ‘Talent Sourcer(s),’ also known as ‘Talent Ambassadors/Talent Experience Managers,’ play key roles during this phase.

They can run recruitment marketing campaigns and speak directly to potential candidates -maintaining engagement for both the candidate and the company. The next phases, application, and assessment are probably the most mature in the eco-system. Recruitment 1.0 dealt with these phases most administratively and practically. As technology advanced, enterprise-wide HR systems included a recruitment module. In today’s evolution, I have had the privilege to pilot screening and assessing applications using algorithms in mirroring and matching candidates. These applications help in ranking candidate talent attributes from most suitable to least, reducing countless hours in manual screening and providing valuable data points when shortlisting potentials. There are quite a few solutions providers today and there definitely will be more to come, bringing new sophisticated software and features. When your talent acquisition team is able to attract, screen, and shortlist candidates, the quality of shortlisted candidates given to the hiring manager enables him to make an informed choice in a shorter period. Thus, supporting the reduction of time-to-hire, increasing quality-to-hire, and ultimately cost-per-hire. Interviewing techniques and styles are important to highlight your company culture. It is an insight to potential hires via their experience interacting with your leaders and managers. With the current market situation, video interviewing is a great option. There are many best practices for video interviewing to support your efforts.

Learning to observe facial cues, voice tonality changes, and noting differences in a candidate's speed of articulation will be critical in the coming time.

The last phase in the TA ecosystem is offering and onboarding. A standard offer is one with approved salary ranges your TA expert could easily role out in 24 hours. It can be done by providing recruiters with offer templates, education on salary ranges and overall company benefits cut down the back-and-forth administration. For complex offers, senior HR business partners or even a rewards specialist are involved. Building this into the overall management of an offer process is highly important as this could seal the deal with hard-to-find talent. Pre-onboarding and virtual onboarding through e-learning portals are now common practices. Online modules that incorporate information and on the go easy-to-understand content will help further with employee immersion. Incorporating videos and quizzes keep the experience interactive. Another tip is to break these modules up into sections that are time-bound and may overlap with Talent Development activities such as objective setting and performance development plans. As you design your talent acquisition eco-system, keep the user experience as a priority. Potential candidates become new hires who become employees who become your best employer brand ambassadors.