The Real Key to Successful Recruitment: Advice from Rebecca Skilbeck

January 15, 202012:15 pm1502 views
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Great employee and candidate experience is the key to successful talent acquisition. While employee recruitment focuses more on retention, candidates experience focuses on the broader aspects since job applicants are not accustomed to the company culture yet. That said, if HR wants to conduct seamless hiring and recruitment process, they have to first understand the key to effective recruitment.  To start, we have a candid interview with Rebecca Skilbeck, the Head of Customer Insights and Market Research at PageUp, who has years of experience and has published many pieces of research in recruitment and engagement industry.

During your employment research, please tell us the fascinating facts about employee experience before, during, and after recruitment.

Before recruitment – HR professionals are shifting from a top-down approach to talent management to one that focuses on creating a positive employee-centric experience. Employer branding and the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) are key components of the attraction story. 75 percent of job seekers research a company before even applying for a role, which means an attractive employer brand is a must to appeal to top talent. Companies with great employer brands receive 50 percent more qualified applicants and see a 50 percent reduction in cost-per-hire than those with negative or non-existent employer brands, according to LinkedIn research.

During recruitment – People who are satisfied with their candidate experience are 38 percent more likely to accept a job offer and 87 percent of candidates say a great recruitment experience can change their mind about a company they once doubted. In contrast, 83 percent of talent say a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked and 14 percent of millennials and Gen X job seekers say that they would decline an offer based on a lack of HR tech in the application process. 

After recruitment – Candidates who have a positive recruitment experience are more than twice as likely to recommend the organisation, compared to candidates who have a negative experience (62 percent vs 28 percent). Employers should strive to create a seamless journey between recruitment and onboarding. Organisations that create a positive onboarding experience see a 50 percent uplift in new hire productivity and a reduction in turnover.

How do those facts align with organisational success? 

Recruitment is not just about attracting and securing candidates, retaining talent is also key. People want to work for companies whose values and missions align with their own. This creates a win-win for companies and employees: new hires are highly motivated and engaged, and thus less likely to leave, and companies with high engagement are more productive and profitable. In which, showcasing EVP provides transparency and demonstrates your organisation’s culture, mission and values.

What are the trends and ideas shaping the field of HR and technology in a few years? 

We see a trend of employers prioritising greater emphasis on delivering exceptional candidate experiences by making candidates feel valued. This can be done through a mix of technology and personal touchpoints.

First, mobile-optimised career sites, autofill functionality on job applications and tailored automated messages to applicants can help deliver a seamless candidate experience. In addition to this, Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help reduce bias in job ads and encourage diverse applicants. Chatbots can be leveraged to create an engaging candidate experience, allowing the employer to deliver an agile, intuitive recruitment experience for candidates.

Recruitment marketing is also shaping HR as organisations increasingly understand the importance of tapping into passive candidates and building out talent pipelines. If recruiters want the best talent, they need to be proactively sourcing for all roles. 

Data and analytics should also inform the recruitment strategy. AI and machine learning are revolutionising selection and screening by matching candidates against skill sets and competencies to generate recommended shortlists. 

How can a platform like PageUp help HR people in future recruitment? What are the benefits and the possible drawbacks of using a recruitment platform? 

PageUp assists daily HR operations – from recruitment and recruitment marketing, through to onboarding, performance management, learning and development, succession and internal mobility  – all in one place.

Our software simplifies the day-to-day work of HR practitioners. We do so by allowing companies to accelerate the often-tedious hiring process through automation, user-friendly dashboards and sophisticated talent pooling, saving organisations both time and money while delivering an exceptional candidate experience.  

There is no drawback to using recruitment platforms per se, however, companies might fall into the trap of being over-reliant on technology and as a result, lose the personal touch in the recruitment process. Thus, it is important to remember that HR is fundamentally a people-first function.

In your Recruitment Trends 2020 webinar, you emphasise that “skills will be the job currency of the future”. What do you mean by that?

We’re seeing an increased emphasis towards hiring for soft or “essential” skills. Organisations are hiring people who are adaptable, creative, innovative and collaborative. People with these attributes have high learning agility, leadership and strong communication skills.

Roles are evolving as technology continues to advance. Yes, some roles will be replaced by machines, but the expectation is that AI and automation will complete approximately half of the tasks within a role. This means there is an increased emphasis on the traits that make us inherently human – collaboration, creativity, communication. That said, in order to retain the talent, you need to give them the opportunity for lateral movement, so skills rather than experience is key.

AI is likely to be helping HR management more in the future. What do you think will happen when AI “take over” HR jobs? 

AI will not completely eliminate the need for HR practitioners. HR is fundamentally a people-centric function. Candidates and talent want to interact with an HR practitioner and form an authentic connection, which they won’t be able to get from dealing with a machine.

What is your advice for HR people when dealing with the difficulties of operating HR tech? 

An important first step before selecting HR technology (or any technology) is to understand – what are the problems your business needs to solve? Engaging key stakeholders (HR, IT, hiring managers, etc) early in the process creates a shared understanding of your business’ needs. This allows your organisation to identify the solution that is designed to solve your business’ unique problems.

Change management and communication are crucial to overcoming barriers and reducing perceived difficulties. So, educating stakeholders on how to use new technology and articulating business outcomes helps drive engagement and uptake. 

For organisations using multiple HR tech vendors, there needs to be a seamless and consistent experience when moving from one solution to the next. Ideally hiring managers, candidates and HR should be unaware that they are switching between systems. 

Aside from using technology as a competitive advantage, what should HR personnel prepare to attract and retain talent? 

Attracting and retaining talent relies on having a long-term strategy that is based on an understanding of the capabilities and skills. This will help HR managers understand if they have the existing talent to build into the roles that will be needed, or if they should go out to the market to acquire new talent.

For a targeted attraction campaign, organisations need to showcase their values and mission. This helps attract the right talents as they will understand why they should come and work at a company – not just for current roles but for a future career. 

HR professionals should build and maintain a warm talent pool by nurturing relationships with potential candidates – including passive candidates – and keeping them engaged. HR teams can do this by sharing company information on a regular basis such as organising bi-annual coffee catch-ups with candidates. This works more effectively and efficiently than having to reactively search for candidates to quickly fill an open role. When recruiting passive candidates using recruitment marketing tools, it’s important to use analytics to gain insight into which channels and methods are working. 

In terms of talent retention, I encourage more companies to embrace a culture of internal mobility. Companies tend to overlook their existing talent pool when looking to fill open roles. By looking inwards and opening opportunities for your staff to redefine their career paths internally, companies can tackle skill shortages and prepare the next generation of leaders.

Read also: Have the Future Challenges of HR Been Predicted? Candid Q&A with Leong CheeTung 

About Rebecca Skillbeck:

Rebecca Skilbeck is the Head of Customer Insights and Market Research at PageUp. Her areas of expertise and passion are business intelligence: gaining actionable insights from organisational and market data and thought leadership: what are the trends and ideas shaping the fields of HR and technology. Rebecca has over 20 years of experience as a research analyst in a career that has included academia, strategic consulting and equity investment. She is the author of numerous white papers on talent management. 

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