How to use predictive insights to drive talent acquisition

HR functions are taking a more strategic, corporate brand and candidate-focused approach to talent acquisition

HR functions are taking a more strategic, corporate brand and candidate-focused approach to talent acquisition, as attracting and retaining high-quality talent is becoming increasingly complex for many organisations, according to a recent report.

Candidates are now looking beyond salaries and job titles when considering job offers, and as such, establishing and communicating corporate brand and enhancing the candidate experience is a priority for companies in improving their talent acquisition strategy.

Corporate branding is the number one concern for HR professionals, according to Alexander Mann’s Transforming the Talent Acquisition Function report.

“Communicating a firm’s value proposition is also a major challenge, since it must be consistent yet appealing across such a wide range of ages, experience levels and demographics,” said Caleb Baker, managing director, APAC & emerging markets at Alexander Mann Solutions.

The second biggest talent acquisition challenge for HR is finding the right sourcing channels and methods, with 37 per cent of HR professionals acknowledging that organisations must measure the effectiveness of sourcing channels in order to ensure ROI on sourcing activities, minimise waste, and drive out unnecessary cost and effort.

“However, we find that despite the growing menu of options for sourcing and connecting with potential talent, many HR professionals still find it a daunting task,” said Baker.

“Segregation of sourcing activities for the active and passive candidate market will likely become more prevalent as well. HR professionals must realise the different approaches each market requires.”

For example, when sourcing from passive market organisations, Baker said one must identify, nurture, activate and engage talent through the talent acquisition process.

However, when targeting the active candidate market, organisations must create compelling attraction and sourcing strategies across all hiring types – including social, digital and offline execution.

“Despite the growing menu of options for sourcing and connecting with potential talent, many HR professionals still find it a daunting task”

A third related talent acquisition challenge for HR is around the effective utilisation of technology and automation, according to 35 per cent of the more than 150 HR executives across the Asia Pacific who took part in the research report.

Technology plays a critical role in ensuring the effectiveness as well as efficacy of the talent acquisition process, Baker said.

For example, mobile presents as the single biggest opportunity for improving the functionality of talent acquisition, and while the research found that desktop and pen-and-paper are still the predominant channels for evaluating candidates, many employers are nowadays open to trying out mobile as well, with 58 per cent suggesting they are open to using it for talent acquisition.

“Much greater adoption of technology – in particular mobile and video – will lead to a vastly changed and, hopefully, enhanced talent acquisition process,” said Baker.

“Mobile technologies will continue to climb as the first choice for sourcing talent, although it is hard to imagine that the number of internal referrals will diminish, as that currently holds the top spot among all sourcing channels.”

The research also pointed to the shortage of candidates that fit the specifications as being a major issue for as many as 72 per cent of HR professionals, suggesting a need for more accessible educational channels.

“We found that forward-looking companies are adopting new technologies to screen and evaluate talent,” said Baker.

“For example, evaluation programmes are available that enable employers to watch candidates code in real-time while integrating voice, video, and chat features.”

A further 43 per cent suggested that video is another modern tool they would be open to using for assessment, and Baker observed that gamification also seems to be gaining popularity as a pre-hire engagement and assessment tool.

“Forward-looking companies are adopting new technologies to screen and evaluate talent”

The report also identified data and analytics as significant drivers for effective talent acquisition, yet only 18 per cent of the respondents said they are currently using data and analytics software tools during the talent acquisition process.

One of the greatest barriers preventing the adoption of these tools in multinational organisations is concern over data transparency, according to the report.

Organisations with more transparent corporate cultures are more likely to appreciate the ability and benefit of accessing information in a secure and convenient environment using data and analytics tools.

“Employing human capital data, metrics and analytics can improve the quality of hiring, enhancing learning outcomes, and provide better accuracy on employee performance,” said Baker.

“Therefore it is crucial to explore the possibilities that data and analysis can bring to your enterprise, and the insights it can provide.”

He recommended HR directors take a step back and look at the corporate offering as a whole, and evaluate if the message is clear, concise and consistent across all levels of the company, including all external assets.

“They can also start by speaking to data analysis platform vendors to gauge what resources their company is going to need,” he said.

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