Companies are only as good as the people they bring in. That means recruiters play an outsized role in the success of your business and people strategy.
But with unemployment at historic lows, attracting top performers has never been harder. New technologies and approaches to talent acquisition could give recruiters an edge — but which will make the most impact? In Lattice’s recent panel, Recruiting Trends for Hiring Your Next Top Performers, two industry experts weighed in. Watch a recording of the discussion here.
Spend any amount of time in the HR Tech expo hall and you’ll pick up on a theme. “Artificial intelligence has arrived,” or something to that effect is scrawled on every other vendor’s booth. There’s guaranteed to be at least one actual robot at the event every year.
Mike Moriarty, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Dropbox, has spent his entire recruiting career in tech. Prior to his current role, he worked at Google for over five years. He knows technology can revolutionize industries — but only to an extent.
“I think there's a lot that AI can provide to make recruiters work smarter and make talent teams more informed in their decisions,” said Moriarty. But that doesn’t mean switching over to robo-interviewers any time soon. Instead, he believes AI’s most valuable contribution to the field will be more practical. “We always talk about teams wanting to have a seat at the table and I think AI can provide the clearance and capabilities for [them] to do so,” he said.
Time-consuming, manual tasks like sourcing, resume screening, and scheduling lend themselves to automation — freeing up time for recruiters to work with, you know, humans.
“I think we need AI. We really do. Recruiting teams are struggling because they're overworked, and a lot of that work can be automated. Teams would rather focus their energy on providing business value,” he said.
“Location, location, location” isn’t just an outdated philosophy, it’s the wrong one.
Companies used to open offices in specific cities for recruiting purposes, but with remote work growing in popularity and current events nudging that trend along, companies are learning they don’t need to invest in brick and mortar offices to stay competitive.
Mike Bailen is the VP of People at applicant tracking system Lever. Leading HR for a recruiting tech company has given him a unique perspective on the race for talent. Having also led recruiting at Eventbrite and Zappos, Bailen has seen the shift from localized to globalized firsthand.
“It's hard to find great talent. If you're not an organization that’s adopting or thinking about remote work as being an option, you're going to be missing out on some really great people,” Bailen said. Technologies like Zoom, Slack, and Asana have made it easier to collaborate with peers across the country or around the world. Over 80% of job seekers and employees said flexibility was a key factor in whether they’d join or stay at a company. Remote work isn’t an employee-perk, it’s a business necessity.
“Otherwise, you'll have a leaking bucket effect, where people will just leave and go to an organization next door that does allow for more flexibility,” he said.
Candidates used to worry about interviewers digging up dirt on them. Oh, how the tables have turned.
“I used to ask every single new hire about the channels or avenues they looked at while on their search, and 100% of our US-based hires looked at Glassdoor,” Bailen said. Sites and apps like Glassdoor and Blind give job seekers a peek behind the curtain. What’s working at your company really like? Interviewers might not be inclined to share that intel when asked face-to-face. But in a private, anonymous forum? All bets are off. And it turns out that job seekers might not be the only ones interested in that candid feedback.
“You really have to be paying close attention to your brand. Not only for candidates but even for investors. They’re looking at things like your culture, recognizing that it can lead to better business outcomes,” Bailen said.
That shift hasn’t just given candidates an upper hand; it’s put pressure on recruiters to go on the offensive. If your company isn’t a “best place to work” just yet, it isn’t enough to wait for top talent to make the first move. The importance of employer brand, coupled with low unemployment, has made scouting an absolute must.
“With the candidates and your prospects having that much more information, it's an investment to have a sourcing function,” said Moriarty. The most successful recruiters have the tenacity and dealmaking savvy of a salesperson. “The best person for most of my roles probably already has a job, so I need to differentiate our company among all these other options that they have out there,” he said.
Moriarty started his career in commission-only sales. After having what he called an “Eat Pray Love” experience, he happily found recruiting. But in making that transition, he was initially struck by how far behind the profession seemed in regards to data. There just weren’t reliable ways to measure success.
“Forget hope. It's not a good strategy. Having data is becoming more of an expectation in our industry. And I can promise you, in sales, they have all this,” he said.
Talent acquisition is catching up. Applicant tracking systems like Lever now come bundled with analytics dashboards tailored to recruiters, hiring managers, and executives. From there, teams can drill into source of hire, offer acceptance rate, pass-through rate, and other data points. Based on historical performance, some of these tools can even predict how many candidates you’ll need to screen before finding the perfect match.
“The accessibility of information and data is light years ahead of where it was a decade ago,” Bailen said. But while technology has empowered recruiters to slice the numbers in new and exciting ways, some standby metrics have stood the test of time. One of those is time to fill, or the amount of time needed to hire for a position.
“Time to fill is something that is highly debated and some people hate it. I heard it referred to as a junk metric yesterday,” Bailen said. But of all the metrics available to recruiters, it’s still among the most compelling. “I actually love it. If we're doing a really great job of building and cultivating relationships practically, with the type of talent we need, we should actually be able to accelerate time to fill. And time to fill is a direct add to business value,” he said.
Recruiters saw their fair share of change over the last ten years. The next decade is set to bring even more upheaval. But what’s in store for professionals across other HR disciplines?
In Lattice’s first Resources for Humans Virtual Conference, experts from some of the world’s most exciting companies broached topics including remote work, recognition, career growth, and technology. Rewatch the entire virtual event here.