Talent Acquisition

9 Ways IBM is Reinventing Recruiting

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The talent industry is facing a major shift to reinvent itself. We are moving to a new era where companies need to work and operate with increased speed and agility, along with more efficiency, to predict solutions for problems before they occur. Upgrading the abilities of talent teams and enabling the use of new recruiting technologies require a host of new skills, capabilities, roles, and processes that are action-oriented and talent-centric. Reinventing the talent acquisition function is critical to sustaining a competitive advantage and driving maximum value to the ever-changing needs of both the business and new era of consumer grade, candidate experiences.

What concerns me as a talent leader?

To borrow a quote from Einstein: today’s problems cannot be solved with the same thinking that created them. Many of you are going through your own HR transformation journey. At IBM, our HR function has been transforming in various phases for the past decade. We started with outsourcing, then moved to centralization, followed by optimization. Today, we are facing our biggest transformation to date: the cognitive era, powered to deliver smarter outcomes. Cognitive has allowed us to accelerate our transformation, impacting the end-to-end process of our talent lifecycle, from attracting candidates and onboarding new hires, to retaining and growing our talent.

As we look ahead to new recruiting trends for 2018, here are 9 ways IBM will #ReinventRecruiting in talent acquisition.

1. UPSKILL THE FUNCTION to differentiate with domain and organization capabilities

As we enter the cognitive and digital era, we will all work differently. 100% of roles will change in the future. To support the changing needs of businesses and candidates, talent acquisition teams must expand the role of traditional recruiters. This means recruiters must embrace 21st century recruiting skills that focus on driving business value and outcomes rather than acting as an administrative function to fill open requisitions.


2. HORIZONTALLY SOURCE to build ready-now talent pipelines

Our competitors have changed. Many of our business lines are competing against the same companies. Skills are no longer reserved for specific business units; they are viewed horizontally, to support various verticals, as distinct lines of businesses seek analogous skills in Agile, cognitive, and cloud. At IBM, we moved away from requisition-based sourcing and now focus on the commonality of horizontal across all skills within various businesses, domains, and industries.


3. WORK AGILE to increase speed and predictability

To utilize Agile effectively in a non-technical role, like recruiting, companies must incorporate the methodologies of Agile into the DNA of the talent function. Working on an Agile talent team increases speed and predictability, prioritizes requisitions based on complexity and value, and sets timed sprints with “Kanban” boards to manage the hiring process and create social contracts for hiring managers to gain commitment. A successful integration of Agile into the talent function will deliver solutions and outcomes to the business in faster, more impactful ways than ever before.


4. CREATE A RECRUITING-FIRST CULTURE to support continuous hiring

Building a recruiting first culture means treating every candidate like a customer and empowering every employee to become talent ambassadors. What can you do to create a recruiting first culture? Know your talent better than you know your customers. It’s about crafting personalized, digital messages and engaging assets for employees to share on their social networks, which extends the message’s reach and eventually leads to talent engagement. This creates an environment of employees who are more engaged and connected, which leads to increased retainment rates and higher quality talent.


5. TRUST-BASED HIRING to create candidate pooling and optimize talent pipelines

In many organizations, skills that are high in demand across multiple business units fight over the same talent pool, without taking the needs of candidates into consideration. IBM takes the opposite approach. Our trust-based hiring model looks at preferred skill profiles and showcases them under one requisition, encompassing the demand across all business lines and filling the talent pipeline with quality and diversity. Then, we have subject matter experts we call “Cognitos” form a central team of interviewers to help both the business and the candidate decide the ideal placement for the highest chance of success and contentment.


6. PROACTIVELY SOURCE to increase passive hiring and instantly match for performance success

Watson is IBM’s artificial intelligence platform that helps businesses make more-informed decisions, touching nearly every industry across the globe. Within talent acquisition, Watson’s ability to proactively source and find applicants that match key success profiles (that may have been missed by recruiters) has kept our talent pipeline buzzing and more diverse than ever before. Tapping into Watson’s vast network of data and predictive technologies has allowed us to recruit more inclusively and increase diversity across our talent pool.


7. COGNITIVELY ASSIST CANDIDATES to engage new prospects

A dynamic world requires dynamic tools and talent. Our cognitive-infused tool, “Watson Candidate Assist,” allows us to personalize the candidate’s experience on our career website. With traditional job-matching sites, applicants find jobs based on skills they enter. With IBM, Watson personally engages with job seekers by asking questions to learn what’s most important to them in a job and company. Think of it as a Pinterest board for pinning key attributes about a company’s work environment, culture, specialties, and more. So far, we have seen 86% of individuals engage with Watson and 35% more people apply for a job based on their interaction with Watson.


8. PERSONALIZE OFFERS to enhance the candidate experience

Every candidate is unique. There is no “one-size-fits-all” benefits package. We developed the “Personalized Offer” tool to empower candidates to customize their benefits package based on their unique needs. When early professional hires receive an offer from IBM, a text message is sent to them from Watson inviting them to personalize their package. Through their mobile device, they can customize up to three benefits: up-front cash as a signing bonus, funding for learning grants, and deferred cash for their 401K. In 2018, we will be extending the number of benefit options to customize as well as improving the end-to-end experience.


9. INTERVIEW WITH COGNITIVE to help hiring managers and candidates better prepare for interviews

Given the human element involved in the interview process, some hiring managers may display an unconscious bias in the questions they ask candidates, whether they realize it or not. To reduce this predisposition during live interviews and keep the focus on the quality of the candidate, Watson continuously looks for triggers and indicators that suggest performance success with the candidate. The hiring manager is then presented with questions to ask that are focused solely on performance success.

I believe the roles of a talent team are even more critical to the success of a company in this digital era, especially with the rise of artificial intelligence. In a recent report from Entelo on 2018 recruiting trends, a whopping 62% of companies plan to invest in AI technology for recruiting purposes in 2018.

To continue to grow in this function, we must learn to harness technology to develop domain expertise, deeper candidate relationships and be trusted advisors for the business. This is just the beginning. At IBM, we are making big bets, experimenting often and learning every step of the way as we transform our organization. Following these nine strategies, we have seen success with our opening efforts to reinvent recruiting, and we are excited to take them to the next level.

We don’t have all the answers, yet. But we do have Watson to help us along the way! What are some ways your organization is looking to #ReinventRecruiting?


This post was originally published on LinkedIn.

Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition

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