Unexpected Change in Talent Acquisition

By Jobviddy

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Back in December I asked ‘Why Isn’t Change Happening?’, which looked at the preoccupation with shiny new HR and recruiting offerings when many basics such as employer branding, providing a quality candidate experience and producing more engaging job adverts were overlooked. Well, there have been a few things I’ve come across so far this year, which make me think that change is certainly happening in some HR/recruitment departments but in a different way to what many might expect.

Simplification and Repurposing

Given the general desire to be seen as moving with the times and being on top of the latest trends, it’s been refreshing to discover that the approach in some HR departments has been of simplification and repurposing. They’ve been reviewing what they already do and the assets they already have to see how they can both improve existing ways of working and better utilise materials that have already been created. So what are some of the ways you can do this?

Candidate Email Communication

One area to look at is your candidate email programme as changes here can make a significant difference to engagement levels. A case study of Hertz does a great job of illustrating the review, improve and reuse mentality in this area as they set about reducing the 45 emails in their ATS and updating the most crucial messages to make them more personal and appealing to candidates. They also added a two year old employer branding video, which had been largely unused.

Mark Duffy, a Talent Acquisition Partner at Hertz, explains more in a LinkedIn post about tailoring their candidate emails and says they include details at the end for the candidate to make contact if they think they’ve been wrongly rejected – something he reveals has happened and the person went on to be hired! By tweaking their candidate emails, Hertz saw a 5% increase in candidate response in three months, plus received a large volume of positive candidate feedback, proving that simple changes to existing procedures can lead to more effective recruiting.

Relationships with Hiring Managers

Your relationship with hiring managers is another area to review for potentially easy ways to improve your recruiting success. In an interview, Bethan Davis, Head of Recruitment Europe & Asia Pac for RMS, outlines how her team’s strong partnerships with hiring managers enable them to be more effective as they better understand what talent they need. She says they also found that reminding Hiring Managers of what it’s like to be a candidate, increased their involvement in the process leading to a better candidate experience and, in turn, more placements.

This is reiterated by Eyal Steiner who says that hiring managers want better communication with recruiters as it enables them to provide better job descriptions and requirements, which can only help you to find suitable talent more easily.

In his article, Eyal actually calls out the temptation to turn to technology as a ‘quick fix’ before truly understanding where your current recruitment practices fall short;

“Nowadays, whenever something does not work properly, we immediately look for a technological solution. The promise of tools that can streamline our entire hiring process and foster collaboration between candidates, hiring managers, and recruiters, is captivating, but often makes us forget the real reasons behind our challenges.”

Job Adverts

Both Hertz and RMS have made simple improvements to their job adverts by implementing video. RMS say this has helped to give people a better understanding of the role and company whilst Hertz have taken this approach as “a form of self-elimination on the candidates part.” With text jobs ads they were finding many candidates weren’t bothering to read all the details so they were getting more irrelevant applications and candidates were left wondering why they weren’t successful. Both companies are producing these video job adverts using smart phones with the recruiter or hiring manager spending a few minutes just talking through the key details of the position, so no significant outlay of time or budget. At Jobviddy, we’re obviously huge advocates of the benefits of video job descriptions and we create these for companies using their pre-existing assets so that it doesn’t become a time consuming or expensive process.

Current Employees

Better utilising your current employees can help you achieve your recruitment goals.

For example, take a review of your referral programme. How effective is it? Are your employees incentivised to put people forward for positions? Are new roles communicated with them from the outset with clear steps on how they can recommend someone? Do you make it easy for them to do this?

What about internal promotion? When you’re recruiting do you have a process for considering existing talent in the business? Not only will an effective internal development scheme help with filling positions but it’s also likely to lead to happier employees and better retention – both key HR wins.

RMS say that improvements in both of these areas have played a part in helping them achieve better success in recruiting.

Embracing Best Practice

In another trend, there seems to be a move by some HR departments to better utilise skills and best practice found elsewhere in the business e.g. sales, marketing, design. This can either be through collaboration with these departments or actually moving dedicated resource into HR.

Data and Analytics

Perhaps the area where you can most see HR embracing skills more commonly found elsewhere in the business is in data and analytics. In fact, Josh Bersin recently wrote an article entitled ‘Geeks Arrive in HR: People Analytics is Here’ which looked at how data science was starting to be applied to the people side of the business. He does note that there are only a small set of companies (less than 5% of the market) who are doing this on a significant scale but given the positive results they’re seeing e.g. making better decisions about who to hire, who to promote and how much to pay people, it should encourage others to follow suit. For those wanting to get ahead of their competitors this is something to explore now.

Some companies, such as Hertz and True Religion Jeans have dedicated analytics people within their HR/resourcing departments but even if you haven’t got the budget for this it’s worth making the business case to have someone who looks after data in your organisation spend some of their time looking at the people side. You should be able to prove the returns of their efforts pretty quickly.

Marketing & Sales

Switched on recruiters are adopting techniques from their sales and marketing colleagues to improve their effectiveness. For example, they’re using relationship marketing and exclusive content to keep their talent pools engaged or stay connected with a candidate between acceptance of an offer and their start date, as demonstrated by Miller Brands.

They’re also increasing the personalisation of their communications based on the higher engagement that has been seen in sales and marketing when taking this approach. This is particularly important in a market where securing top talent is becoming ever more challenging. Recruiters are having to think like salespeople and marketers when trying to win over sought after talent by developing key messages of why someone would want to work for the company and how the role delivers towards their career aspirations. They’re also having to overcome objections and negotiate masterfully – core sales skills.

In this tough recruitment market, employer branding also comes into its own in helping you attract talent. This definitely benefits from marketing input, especially in terms of how social channels can be used

Design & UX

Lastly, you can see recruiters turning to design and UX to understand how they can achieve the most effective careers site. They’re looking into what’s best practice in terms of layout, colour, functionality etc? How can they set up testing to see if making changes will have a positive effect? Does the site perform on desktop, mobile and tablets? Can the candidate easily carry out actions such as applying or registering for updates when relevant positions become available?

Design best practice is also leading to recruiters making better use of visuals, for example video job adverts and meet the team/office imagery on career sites.


So it seems that change is certainly happening within HR at some companies, and they’re not turning to the latest technology to achieve it. They’re managing to make their recruitment more effective by carefully reviewing their current activity and making better use of existing materials. They’re also turning to other departments in the business to learn from them and utilise their skills and expertise. Hopefully this has provided you with some ideas to look into.

This post was contributed by Andy Kerney, Founder of JobViddy.


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