January 23, 2018 | Written by: David Whittingham-Jones
Categorized: Talent Acquisition
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Ed Crowe leads the IBM Talent Acquisition Optimization sales team for North America, covering consumer product goods (CPG), retail, and travel and transportation. He’s passionate about helping clients realize the benefits of using cognitive computing in talent acquisition.
What is your experience in the talent acquisition industry?
I started recruiting in a call center in 2002. I moved into executive search for seven years, working on senior appointments covering retail and CPG in the UK and Europe.
I then had the opportunity to move to the United States and join Tesco’s U.S. venture, Fresh and Easy. This was my first in-house role, and I was promoted into a position where I ran the recruitment for stores, manufacturing, and the head office. This was a fantastic, fast-moving experience, and a steep learning curve.
After Tesco I moved into RPO, which is my real passion. I have joined existing RPO programs as well as launched one. I love the client interaction and getting to understand the business.
What are you most passionate about in your current role?
I love working with clients. I get a kick out of partnering on projects, suggesting new ideas, and talking about innovation. As I have sat on both sides of the fence, I see the issue of recruiting from both the perspective of the client and the RPO provider.
During your career, what has been the biggest change you’ve witnessed in the talent acquisition industry?
Without a doubt the innovation in digital. However, we are moving into an unprecedented period of change with the power of cognitive, something I’m passionate about as I see it really putting “craft” back into the recruiting role. The investment that IBM is making in IBM Watson Recruitment is very exciting for me.
What is the biggest challenge for TA leaders right now?
A shortage of talent. This is across all industries and levels.
What is the most important thing a talent acquisition leader should be doing or paying attention to that often is pushed to the back burner?
People analytics, using data to make strategic decisions in talent acquisition. I think the typical talent acquisition function within organizations has more data than they realize, so it’s a matter of working out how to extrapolate and use it—not just to report, but actually use it to make decisions.
If I may offer a second critical area of focus, it’s developing talent for talent acquisition. The best recruiters are constantly training on new techniques and mastering their art. That’s not to say they shouldn’t still be putting in the cold calls—that’s a must!
How do you like to spend an off day?
My wife, Justine, son Sebastien, and Maggie the dog enjoy camping and exploring the U.S. southwest in our RV. After retiring from playing rugby some years ago, I get my kick out of trail running.