Recruiting 2020:

Transforming your
talent acquisition process

Recruiting 2020:

Transforming your
talent acquisition process

Recruiting 2020:

Transforming your
talent acquisition process

Recruiting 2020:

Transforming your
talent acquisition process

Talent acquisition in a tight talent market

Talent acquisition in a tight talent market

Talent acquisition in a tight talent market

Talent acquisition in a tight talent market

Explore three critical factors of success in increasing the impact of your talent acquisition function

Explore three critical factors of success in increasing the impact of your talent acquisition function

3 min read
01

Develop the 21st century recruiter

Develop the 21st century recruiter

Develop the 21st century recruiter

Develop the 21st century recruiter

Transform talent acquisition outcomes with a new framework, new skills, and new roles

Transform talent acquisition outcomes with a new framework, new skills, and new roles

4 min read
02

Redefine qualified by assessing for potential

Redefine qualified by assessing for potential

Redefine qualified by assessing for potential

Redefine qualified by assessing for potential

Know who has the potential to develop and which behaviors and skills define success

Know who has the potential to develop and which behaviors and skills define success

5 min read
03

Deliver differentiated experiences

Deliver differentiated experiences

Deliver differentiated experiences

Deliver differentiated experiences

Improve the candidate experience without sacrificing efficiency

Improve the candidate experience without sacrificing efficiency

5 min read
04

Take the next steps

Take the next steps

Take the next steps

Take the next steps

Don’t wait to get started—here are four steps you can take immediately to get moving

Don’t wait to get started—here are four steps you can take immediately to get moving

2.5 min read
05

Download the PDF

Download the PDF

Download the PDF

Download the PDF

Download the PDF version of this guide to learn more

Download the PDF version of this guide to learn more

06

Recruiting 2020: Transforming your talent acquisition process

01

01

Talent acquisition in a tight talent market

Talent acquisition in a tight talent market

3 min read

Think back to your recruiting team ten years ago. Even five years ago. Maybe even last week.

Think back to your recruiting team ten years ago. Even five years ago. Maybe even last week.

You were efficient. Standardized. Process was king. But then the world changed. Evolutions in technology threw your business into complete upheaval. Almost overnight, your team found itself in a very competitive market.

Today, progress rules over process. And everyone wants the talent and skills you need — cybersecurity analysts, data scientists, digital marketers…and who knows what the next new skill will be. You have to disrupt, or be disrupted. Flying the plane while building it comes to mind.

Skills are in hot demand

As a talent acquisition leader, you know it’s critically important to continually reassess and re-evaluate the skills required for your business to continue to stay ahead of competition. As your business moves into new spaces and new areas, with evolution of traditional products, and teams operating in new technology ecosystems and stacks, the skills you were recruiting for ten years ago are likely completely different from today’s reality. This shift in talent acquisition strategy requires new and differentiated recruiting skills, which requires a new and differentiated recruiting mindset.

Talent is in short supply

By 2020 the talent shortage in the US alone is projected to be around 23M employees.1 This is not simply a human resource issue. It’s an issue already vexing the C-suite, as 60% of execs struggle to keep workforce skills current and relevant in the face of rapid tech advancement.2 These challenges put the spotlight firmly on hiring. Don’t get hiring right and you’re making an already challenging labor market so much harder. If you want to retain competitive advantage, it’s critical to engage top talent before you’re ready to hire them – to build an ongoing relationship with candidates and deliver differentiated experiences. Particularly in the gig economy, where people move in and out of organizations multiple times in their career, you need to be in the best possible position to connect and reconnect with that talent if you hope to retain them.

And the competition is fierce

Today, 90% of the S&P 100 are recruiting for the same 37 in-demand jobs. And those 37 jobs make up almost 50% of the S&P 100 job postings.3 Gone are the days when like competed against like. You’re now competing against a differentiated landscape of organizations. Traditional brick and mortar banks are now primarily online platforms. Consumer brands and major retailers have gone digital. New categories have been created that blur traditional industry lines — from ride-sharing, to home-sharing, and beyond. There has been an exponential increase in the need for traditional tech talent across all industries. But when demand dramatically outweighs supply, it’s time to get creative. Our old approaches just won’t cut it.

The good news? This is your moment to transform the talent acquisition function — and your team’s impact on your business. Your teams are no longer enablers along the flow of a journey; you are the critical disruptors that enable change to happen across the business.

Let’s explore three critical factors of success in reimagining your talent acquisition function and increasing your impact and value to the business:

  • Develop the 21st century recruiter: Focus on the heart of what drives talent acquisition: your people. To reimagine your function, reimagine your team’s skills, roles, and ways of working. Recruiters can finally become talent influencers and deliver faster and more impactful outcomes than ever before.
  • Redefine qualified: Talent is scarce, yet most companies don’t get it right. Traditional talent acquisition practices are a coin-toss, wrought with gut-based decisions leading to a lot of hiring mistakes. Redefine what it means to be “qualified” by assessing for potential.
  • Deliver differentiated experiences: Your candidates are also your consumers — and they are making decisions long before they submit an application or buy from you. Understand what drives applicant behavior today to shape the recruiting practices of tomorrow.
Smiling man chatting with a womam in a office environment.

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Develop the 21st century recruiter to transform outcomes

Develop the 21st century recruiter to transform outcomes

4 min read

When HR is bold, the business benefits: 53% of high-growth organizations say HR is involved in kick-starting major change (compared to 39% of modest-growth organizations).4

When HR is bold, the business benefits: 53% of high-growth organizations say HR is involved in kick-starting major change (compared to 39% of modest-growth organizations).4

We all know the daily recruiting slog — too many open reqs, competing needs and priorities from the business, and not enough hours in the day. But what if you could transform from a binary world of matching resume to requisition, to an ecosystem of needs and a talent pool of candidates – with a way to bring these two together in a way that they overlap and place people into roles where they can be successful?

A new framework

As you think about how you can drive transformation in your own organization, it’s important to employ new ways of working, for example, leveraging agile and design thinking into your everyday job. Old methodologies will no longer sustain new models of operating.

IBM’s own human resources team has reimagined its approach by developing a next generation framework and operating model for recruiting in the digital era called AgileTA. The framework applies Agile practices and principles to the talent acquisition function, based on a cycle of steps where teams of recruiters work from an agreed upon, prioritized list to fulfill open job requisitions within a time-boxed period. Says Kevin Blair, IBM’s VP of Talent Acquisition, “Initially, our traditional recruitment process yielded inefficiencies, as we had a reactive system based on a one-size-fits-all method of recruitment. Often, there would be one recruiter per 100 requisitions, resulting in an extremely long average time to fill a requisition.” Explaining IBM’s transformed approach, Blair shares that “AgileTA runs on time-bound sprints and is prioritized based on the most critical roles, resulting in a faster time to fill (from 85 days to 45 days), higher quality candidates, better business outcomes, more efficient recruiting, enhanced candidate experiences, reduced cancellation rates (up to 75%), reduced average cycle time (up to 50%), and increased NPS scores for candidates, hiring managers, and recruiters.” Embracing a methodology like agile can empower your teams to be increasingly innovative, nimble, and able to react swiftly to changing business needs.

New skills

Organizations today need talent acquisition team members who can lead – who can be deeply involved with the business and deeply connected to business objectives. Thought leaders as well as subject matter experts. People who are comfortable augmenting their daily work with technology.

Blair shares that IBM recruiters use social selling with design thinking, meaning that recruiters are equipped with skills to prototype and visualize the experience of working at IBM, bringing the company’s story to life. IBM recruiters also leverage decision support with AI to anticipate questions about the company, recommend jobs, and uncover opportunities from skill-matching. A digital talent acquisition academy, with badges for skills like Agile, design thinking, AI, and data analytics has also helped establish a blended learning approach designed to close skill gaps, with boot camps for acceleration and customized training per function – and rewards, like credentials and opportunities, upon completion. “To date, we have upskilled 72% of our talent organization,” says Blair.

New roles

Creating new roles can also help restructure the ways in which you work. Blair shares that IBM HR introduced four new key roles in its talent acquisition function: Talent Influencer, Talent Scientist, Data Poet, and Scrum Master. Talent Influencers serve as business champions and power networkers, Talent Scientists focus on AI-augmented decision support leveraging industrial-organizational psychology, Data Poets utilize analytics to function as storytellers and design thinkers, and Scrum Masters lead groups of recruiters through AgileTA sprints. Says Blair, “Ultimately, these new roles, in accordance with an upskilled function and the implementation of AgileTA, have been pivotal to the transformation of IBM’s TA function.”

With some upskilling, ethical operating guidelines, and a healthy dose of technical curiosity, the HR function is now positioned to truly drive strategic advantage while better supporting the workforce we rely on to put the strategy into action.

— Diane Gherson, CHRO, IBM

With some upskilling, ethical operating guidelines, and a healthy dose of technical curiosity, the HR function is now positioned to truly drive strategic advantage while better supporting the workforce we rely on to put the strategy into action.

— Diane Gherson, CHRO, IBM

Your challenge Your transformed approach
How do I deploy my team differently to achieve better outcomes? Think from a point of view of accelerated work. Embrace Agile methodology, work through your backlogs, and reflect during retrospectives. Prioritize and reprioritize as you go through your team’s workflow. Focus on what will deliver the biggest impact from an outcome perspective.
How do I get my team to embrace and augment AI and other emerging technologies into their everyday lives Keep their eye on the prize. Paint the vision of becoming talent influencers, strategic advisors to the business. More automation around administrative skills and tasks empowers your team to deliver better, higher-value solutions to the business in a much quicker way. Make sure there are adequate opportunities for learning new tools and technologies, with clear rewards.
How do I get my team to use data more effectively? In talent acquisition, your product is a human being with emotions, and your customer is a human being with emotions. Focus on using data to tell a story that lifts your team away from emotional elements of recruiting. Reiterate that the more your team can augment with data and insight, the more informed their decisions will be, balanced by facts and free from unintended, unconscious bias.

Watch the webinar “How IBM Reinvented its Talent Acquisition (And You Can, Too)”

03

03

Redefine qualified by assessing for potential

Redefine qualified by assessing for potential

5 min read

Today, in many geographies and industries, there are more job vacancies than people looking for positions.

Today, in many geographies and industries, there are more job vacancies than people looking for positions.

If you’re a recruiter, you’ll be very familiar with this daily struggle: managers in your organization want better and better talent and they need it yesterday, yet great talent is increasingly hard to find. In today’s ‘buyers’ market’, the candidate is king and that demands fresh thinking from recruiters.

Taking the same approach as you’ve always done is not going to help you meet the talent demands of your organization, not today and definitely not tomorrow. In many ways, this is good news. The time has never been better to shake things up a little.

We need to redefine qualified when it comes to recruitment.

Look for potential not perfection

Consider this: people with potential for upskilling may only need to have an 80% match to your success profile. The key to securing the right talent is knowing who has the potential to develop and which behaviors and skills define success in a particular role. It’s not about perfection today, but about the potential to be perfect (at least as far as your organization is concerned!).

Take cybersecurity as an example. Finding experienced cybersecurity talent is incredibly hard, and it’s set to get worse. It is estimated that by 2022 there will be 1.8 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs.5 It would be counter-productive to lower your recruiting standards just to fill open positions but looking for people with potential to become great cybersecurity professionals, even if they don’t have all the technical skills right now, can be a good option. This approach can significantly expand your potential talent pool, but it needs to be evidence-based. Use a validated assessment to identify potential and remove the risks of relying on gut feel.

A word of caution: this is not about lowering standards. No one is going to thank you for finding candidates that just don’t fit the bill. This is about knowing exactly what you’re looking for and being able to hire for potential, knowing those new recruits will become your perfect employees of tomorrow.

Beware of bias

Just as redefining qualified is not about lowering standards, it should not be about unfairness either. Bias — conscious or unconscious — can derail efforts to build diverse and inclusive workplaces. AI has huge potential to facilitate unbiased decision-making, if it’s built and deployed in the right way.6

If you’re struggling to get enough good candidates into your hiring process, bias that shrinks your talent pool is going to make things even harder. And when bias shrinks your talent pool, it has nothing to do with candidate ability.

Ensuring your processes are as open and inclusive as possible starts with candidate attraction. Put the wrong message out there, and you could cut your potential talent pool dramatically. For example, if the wording of a job description is predominantly masculine, it can deter women from applying – immediately you’ve reduced your potential talent pool by 50%.

Bias can find its way into the interview process as well as managers use ‘gut feel’ to select their preferred candidates. Intelligent interviewing means bringing more objectivity into the process to both eliminate bias and hire well against that new definition of qualified. AI-driven, structured interview guides based on the skills, aptitude and knowledge for each particular role can help managers treat all applicants fairly. More than that, it’s risky to rely on the traditional face-to-face interview alone. Validated assessments provide the objective view that recruiters need to inform hiring decisions.

Degree not required

Let’s get ambitious now. We’ve talked about not shrinking your talent pool by avoiding bias. How about we make that talent pool bigger?

Many jobs have a stated prerequisite of a degree, but as we look to redefine qualified, we must ask ourselves whether a degree is really necessary in every case. Remove the need for a degree and your talent pool immediately gets bigger. Once again, this is not about reducing quality, but asking yourself – is a degree really a determinant of a great candidate for this role?

For example, for many technical roles IBM now looks at candidates who have hands-on experience via a coding boot camp or an industry-related vocational class, rather than a college degree. When you redefine qualified, you focus on skills, not just qualifications. If someone has the skill you need, then does it really matter whether they have a degree or not?

The market for AI skills is competitive, so companies need to open the pipeline when looking for talent. You don’t need a degree for these types of roles. Many of our employees are learning these skills via bootcamps or other industry courses.

— Kelli Jordan, Talent Leader, New Collar Initiatives, IBM

The market for AI skills is competitive, so companies need to open the pipeline when looking for talent. You don’t need a degree for these types of roles. Many of our employees are learning these skills via bootcamps or other industry courses.

— Kelli Jordan, Talent Leader, New Collar Initiatives, IBM

Your challenge Your transformed approach
How do I get better candidates to apply for our open jobs? First, define clearly what you mean by ‘better’ and what makes success in that role in your organization. If you free yourself from the traditional approaches, you can embrace a new definition of a qualified candidate. A definition focused on skills and potential, not just degrees.
How do I encourage more diverse candidates to apply? In two words? Mitigate bias. And that means addressing bias at every stage of your hiring process and beyond. Ensure your organization is seen by the outside world as inclusive in both words and deeds. Use AI tools to check for bias in job descriptions, assess your processes for adverse impact, and highlight the changes that need to happen to meet your D&I goals.
How do I spot potential in a candidate? You don’t need to, I-O psychologists have done it for you. There are validated assessments that can identify people with potential to become great performers in your organization. Using a validated assessment adds objectivity and means you don’t need to rely on gut feel or even a crystal ball to be able to hire well today for talent tomorrow.

Sign up for the Smarter Workforce newsletter to get more talent acquisition tips directly to your inbox.

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04

Deliver differentiated experiences

Deliver differentiated experiences

5 min read

People who are satisfied with their candidate experience are 38% more likely to accept a job offer and 2x more likely to want to be a customer of the hiring organization.7

People who are satisfied with their candidate experience are 38% more likely to accept a job offer and 2x more likely to want to be a customer of the hiring organization.7

Ever shared a story with your friends and family about a poor retail experience you’ve had? It’s the same for job candidates – your reputation as a great place to work is in their hands. Treat them poorly and they’ll be less likely to accept your job offer. Then they’ll spread the word so that others are deterred from applying to your organization too.

Candidate experience matters. Not only because it can help you fill open reqs, but it can also directly affect your organization’s sales.

Until now, you may have wanted to offer a very personalized, attentive candidate experience, but been hampered by the time it would take your already pressed recruiting team. You may have even acknowledged that right now you’re having to sacrifice candidate experience for efficiency. However, driving greater hiring efficiencies and increasing personalization no longer have to be competing goals.

Engage every candidate

Your recruiters may be hard pressed to find time for one-on-one chats with all your early-stage candidates, but technology can help. And when it comes to job matching, it can augment the ability of your recruiters.

Kristina Deighan, head of talent attraction for ZX Ventures, the global growth and innovation arm of Anheuser Busch InBev, found this to be true when she was tackling a challenge her recruiting team was facing. As a venture firm within a larger global company, ZX Ventures is a relatively unknown brand. Deighan’s team spent a lot of time educating candidates on the company’s mission, value proposition, and what they look for in candidates — and in a growing organization with complex hiring needs, the demand for these preliminary conversations was outweighing her team’s bandwidth. Says Deighan, “Let’s say we can have conversations with 1-10% of the people that are interested.” She wanted to increase the number of people that could learn about the company’s culture and career opportunities while still ensuring a great candidate experience. ZX Ventures turned to a Watson-powered candidate assistant to handle some of those early candidate conversations, which both freed up recruiter time and improved the candidate experience. In just seven months, the assistant has had over 4,000 unique interactions, with job seekers spending an average of 20 minutes interacting with the solution. Deighan says, “We did the math and this increased our team’s capacity to answer candidate questions by 50 working days in a 7 month period, which not only let us reach more people but also freed up time for the recruiting team to focus on more strategic, impactful work.”

A personalized, chatbot-based conversation enables candidates to share their CV and have jobs recommended to them that fit their skills and interests, without any need for a recruiter. This frees up your recruiters to spend time with candidates further down the hiring funnel, improving recruiter efficiency and effectiveness without sacrificing quality.

Help candidates self-select

Job titles can be very misleading. A marketing assistant to you could be a communications administrator to someone else. A career site search function that relies on job titles could mean you miss out on some great talent.

Rather than relying on job titles, you can now leverage AI to understand and interpret a resume and do the searching and matching for the candidate. By offering up job opportunities to a potential candidate based on their specific skills and experience, you reduce the likelihood that you’re missing out on that special talent you’re looking for. It’s all about making the most of that potential talent pool!

Secure better candidates

93% of job seekers say it is important to be thoughtful and informed about all aspects of a company, things like culture, values, mission, etc. before they accept a job offer.8

Give candidates a chance to get answers to these questions before they even apply and you’re much more likely to secure candidates with the ideal profile for your organization. Even better, don’t rely on your recruiters having to answer these questions, allow your potential candidates to find out for themselves.

A chatbot conversation that understands natural language can engage candidates, encourage them to ask any and every question that might occur to them about your organization, and that means you benefit from candidates that have already self-selected for organizational fit.

Candidates who believe they have had a "negative" overall experience say they will take their alliance, product purchases, and relationship somewhere else.

— Kevin Grossman, President, Global Programs, Talent Board

Candidates who believe they have had a "negative" overall experience say they will take their alliance, product purchases, and relationship somewhere else.

— Kevin Grossman, President, Global Programs, Talent Board

Your challenge Your transformed approach
How do I improve candidate experience without sacrificing efficiency? Use technology at the right time in the search and application journey. Early on, personalization can be delivered with AI solutions that are fun to engage with and informative. Making job suggestions to candidates that are relevant to them, their experiences, previous jobs and skills, is about as personalized as it gets. The right chatbot can also help answer those critical questions about company culture and working practices for a candidate in the early stages of their job search.
How do I increase the number of quality applicants to business-critical roles? Don’t make candidates work too hard. Ensure your job opportunities can be found easily by those quality applicants. With a quick CV upload, candidates don’t need to spend hours searching through your job listings (or giving up on a search in less time than that!), an AI solution does it for them and in moments. And don’t stop there. When you give candidates the chance to have all their questions answered via an intelligent chatbot before they even apply, you improve the suitability of those candidates who apply.

See how AI can be used to deliver a differentiated candidate experience.

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05

Take the next steps

Take the next steps

2.5 min read

Your new mantra: think big, start small, move fast.

Your new mantra: think big, start small, move fast.

As artificial intelligence and other new technologies help to automate tasks, support decision making and personalization, and drive new ways of working, incredible opportunities emerge for the workforce at large. This is the moment to rethink the way your talent acquisition team operates, where and how they spend their time, the type of new skills that your team develops, and your potential for impact on the business. Don’t wait to get started. Here are four steps you can take immediately to get moving:

  1. Pilot, pilot, pilot. Don’t wait until something is fully baked. Don’t spend years and years trying to create the perfect thing to scale to the entire organization. Get things moving. That’s how you learn. If you have a good idea, bring it to life quickly, let it build momentum and grow organically.

  2. Start changing the way you work. The role of the individual in talent acquisition hasn’t changed much in…forever. As you start to move forward, think about the different types of profiles you could have within the talent acquisition function: Agile teams that work in accelerated ways on project-oriented backlogs, focused on time sensitive, highly strategic roles; teams who are augmenting cognitive and AI all the way through your process – using data and insights to be more forward looking; recruiters who are working on projects and roles that are nine months out. Enhance traditional methods. Look at legacy technologies and processes you’re using and think about modernization. And don’t get caught up in budget constraints. There is a very real opportunity to create a net effect if you make the leap to some of the newer technologies that allow you to optimize and iterate on your existing ways of working. You can very quickly recover costs and it opens up a world of opportunity to put new and different approaches into practice.

  3. Start upskilling today. Invest in training and knowledge-sharing for your people. Bring in needed new roles. Foster new ways of partnering, collaborating, communicating, and augmenting with technology. You will quickly feel the benefits from your investments.

  4. Find the right partner. IBM Watson Talent is a go-to-partner for reimagining your talent acquisition process. Our expert team of industrial-organizational (I/O) psychologists informs the creation of all our products by guiding the collection and use of skills data, informing how to effectively use AI to augment human intelligence, and addressing HR challenges like unconscious bias, proactive sourcing, and recruiter overload. Watson is not only the leading AI for business, but Watson Talent is custom-built for HR. It classifies and ranks skills across candidates and employees, evaluates an individual’s potential for success and fit for job roles, analyzes and flags potential bias, and much more.

With tools and methodologies that help your team incorporate speed, precision, and differentiation into their sourcing and hiring practices, you can achieve better outcomes from start to finish.

Download a PDF version of this document.