Human Capital Management Solutions


How to win over passive candidates and not turn them off (part 2)

By Trevor Vas

In part one of this series, I wrote about what we should be doing before we start engaging passive candidates. Here, I’ll move on to the next stage – the process of sourcing and reaching out to these people.

As mentioned before, engaging passive candidates is one of the most challenging part of any recruitment assignment in my opinion and it requires more than a touch of skill and tact to get a candidate across the line.

These following steps are what we should be doing, based on my experience over the years, when sourcing and trying to get to these passive candidates:.

1. Developing a sourcing map/plan
A sourcing map is a visual representation of the channels, approaches, and other elements of a sourcing plan.

With a sourcing map you can be sure that you are keeping track of all the potential Talent sources and candidates you are uncovering, as well as ensuring that you cover the whole market.

By mapping it out visually you are able to gather feedback and additional information from Hiring Managers and other stakeholders.

You can also minimise the risk of missing sources and, if it’s an online shareable map, you can greatly increase your effectiveness by asking others to contribute their knowledge into it.

Here’s an example of a sourcing map:

Fig. 1 - Sourcing Map Example (click here to expand)

2. Developing and testing your call plan
Now we are getting somewhere. After developing a sourcing map, I will then use the information to build on my call plan.

A call plan is a strategic/consultative way of asking my candidates questions that will get them to take action (e.g. send me resume, have a chat with the hiring manager). Typically, my call plan will include Cialdini-style questions based on his six principles of influence – reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, authority, liking and scarcity.

Here are examples of a few typical Cialdini-style questions I use:

  • I have a brief document of how candidates can create an impactful LinkedIn profile, would you be interested in getting a copy?
  • I really like how you have set out your accomplishments, have you had many comments on these?
Commitment Consistency & Scarcity
  • We have some quality candidates on the short list and I will be closing the position shortly, can I please get your CV by the COB?
  • We have a video of the hiring manager taking about the position. It goes for two minutes and most candidates who viewed it really felt excited by the position and the company, can I send this to you?
Social Proof
  • Our Value Proposition seems to be favourably considered by the XX number of candidates I have spoken to, how does this sit with you?
Armed with this call plan, I ring up 2-4 low-prospect candidates with the skills and capabilities that I’m looking for to understand what is compelling for them and what will not work. Listen to the tonality of their voices and the questions they ask, this simulates reality.

Then tweak your call plan accordingly to further refine your questions.

When I learned to recruit, we termed this “Benefit to Need”. The candidate must gain a benefit from taking the position and they must be also able to fill the organisation’s needs. If there is a neutral or, at worst, a negative “Benefit to Need”, there is a strong chance the employee will leave for something else that suits their needs better. This match is really critical in a skill short market and is often overlooked.

3. Start with low-prospect candidates and work your way up
I generally do not go for my best prospects immediately. As mentioned briefly in my above point, I am constantly refining my value proposition to ensure that I have an amazing proposition on hand to offer to the candidate that I know would absolutely love it.

During the call, I also make sure I clearly express why I have called and what I am looking for. At the same time, I am trying to add value to the prospective candidate. I am looking for help and I also want to help them.

Mantra #2 – always leave your candidates in a better place.

4. Get into a positive state of mind
I need to be healthy and happy before I commence calling and emailing, you should be too. If I am not at my best, I do analytical or creative stuff instead of contacting prospective candidates.

I take my candidates on a journey, and I need to be at my best to really excel.

So what do you think? Love your thoughts on how you would engage passive candidates, leave them in the comments below. To read part one of the series, click here.

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How to win over passive candidates and not turn them off (part 1)

By Trevor Vas

What is a passive candidate? For me, it refers to someone who is NOT expecting a call in relation to a position.

Engaging these candidates is the most exciting part of any recruitment assignment in my opinion. Not only will you get to market test your skills and methodology on the job you are filling, talking to these candidates gives you instant feedback that may leave you pleasantly surprised (or otherwise). You just don’t really know what to expect.

So how can we excel in what I describe as the “We Find You” approach? In this part 1 of 2 series, I’ll outline the initial steps we should be taking before we start engaging passive candidates, based on my experience over the years.

1. Talking to the Hiring Manager to build a Candidate Success Profile
Just like an iceberg where 90 percent of its mass lie beneath the water, I spend most of my time preparing myself for the assignment as opposed sticking my head out immediately into the candidate market.

In every case it is essential to speak to the Hiring Manager and his/her team to find out their benchmark of a person who would excel in the role and the type of people who may be trained to undertake the position. During this process, I’ll also get them to consider high performers they know or have worked with in the past so I can better understand what they are looking for.

Some of the questions I would ask include:
  • Who is the best person that you have worked with in this position?
  • Who do you know of in the industry that would be amazing in this position?
  • If you could get a person and had no restrictions at all, who would that be?
In addition, chatting with the Hiring Manager will also help you spot bias within the hiring processes so that you can work together to correct them.

My mantra #1 is – “I need to know how you will know”. It is ok if they are unable to provide you with a clear direction initially, but what you will get are ideas that will help guide you along and provide you the direction you need as the assignment progresses.

2. Eliciting an authentic candidate value proposition
Understanding why a person would want this job is a huge clue to the type of person who would be successful.

The candidate value proposition will be both tangible and intangible:
  • Tangible is always easy to define and measure and includes items such as remuneration, career path, location, travel time, training and benefits.
  • Intangible includes brand, culture, team environment, work-life balance, leadership style and so on.
When I learned to recruit, we termed this “Benefit to Need”. The candidate must gain a benefit from taking the position and they must be also able to fill the organisation’s needs. If there is a neutral or, at worst, a negative “Benefit to Need”, there is a strong chance the employee will leave for something else that suits their needs better. This match is really critical in a skill short market and is often overlooked.

3. Gaining internal and external market intelligence
Not many people do this typically but this is crucial if you want to know how the value proposition of your role is stacking up against similar offers in the market. This market intelligence when consolidated is vital feedback to share with all stakeholders.

A simple search on job boards such as SEEK, Indeed and LinkedIn will enable you to find out the number of similar positions in the market, companies who are hiring, remuneration packages and locations.

Conducting further analyses using SEEK’s Talent Search and LinkedIn Recruiter will provide information on numbers of potential candidates with similar skill match, location and a remuneration range. Looking at salary surveys will also provide you with a good idea on how competitive your salary packages are.

Based on this picture, it is critical you look at your Position Brief and assess your chance of success. Briefing your Hiring Manager and their team will engage them and enable you to tweak the position brief, if required, to ensure you maxmise your chances of success.

Next week, I will go into the actual workings on how you can source, reach out and engage passive candidates. Stay tuned.

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Contingent workers cost more than permanent workers – fact or myth?

By Trevor Vas

This old chestnut is a very interesting question – should Contingent workers be costing more than permanent workers?

I have had many conversations with my peers debating this question and most people I spoke to have the impression that hiring Contingent workers is more expensive for the business because they expect to be compensated for the lack of financial certainty relative to a perm employee.

But this really shouldn’t be.

The question to consider is do Contingent Workers cost more or are we indiscriminately setting Contingent rates based on what the worker wants to be paid rather than what the job is worth?

Contingent workers are more expensive if the rate that is paid has no correlation to what an equivalent permanent person would be paid, which, unfortunately, is what many organisations are doing currently. Many businesses are applying rates based on what the seller of the service wants to be paid, hence, the greater salary costs.

Here’s an analogy to help explain further – If you were going to buy a property in a certain suburb with a 3-bedroom house on a reasonably-sized block of land, you would visit various real-estate agents look at what they have sold, check out their recent sales records on their websites and conduct the necessary market research.

You would not just walk up to any house and ask the owner what they wanted to sell for and agree to a random fee won’t you?

Unfortunately, for many organisations when they are employing Contingent workers, the rate is based on what the seller of the service wants to be paid. This is why in many cases people attribute the costs to be much higher than that of recruiting a permanent worker/person.

So what is the solution? A better approach to calculate how much to pay, in my opinion, would be to divide the perm equivalent annual salary by 220 (the number of work days minus annual leave, sick leave and PHs) and rounding up the figure to get your daily rate.

For example, let’s say you are looking to hire a Management Accountant in NSW and you know that the average salary for this role, based on similar positions in your organisation, is $120k per annum. To calculate what this contractor should be paid, you simply divide this amount by 220 (the number of work days minus annual leave, sick leave and PHs).

Perm rate: $120K including super

Contingent rate: $120K/220=$545 (~$550 or with 10 percent variance either way) per day

If you are after a hot skillset, you may need to pay a premium, but this should be the exception and not the rule. Such roles need to be evaluated on individual basis to ensure that the remuneration package is fair.

Checking various salary surveys to see if your rates compare favourably is another good way help you decide.

Using this approach, it is also easier if you want to convert the Contingent worker to permanent in the future.

If you take this approach, you will be relating your Contingent staff costs to your permanent staff costs and this will go a long way towards reducing your overall salary costs.

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What L’Oréal’s venture into A.I.-powered recruitment technology means for TA leaders everywhere

By Trevor Vas

The signs are clear. A.I.-powered recruitment technologies are rapidly proving themselves to be very effective tools in the Talent Acquisition (TA) space and if you haven’t gotten yourself acquainted with them, you must now.

In what is becoming an annual pilgrimage, I was at the HR Tech conference in Las Vegas again this year checking out the latest in recruitment and a session involving cosmetics giant L’Oréal and A.I.-powered chat bot Mya really hit home for me about the use of the technology.

It is great to see that A.I. is still attracting huge interest in the US as this vindicates our decision to run our entire ATC conference earlier this year around this theme. However, what interests me more is how the conversations on A.I. are already starting to shift.

It is no longer a question whether A.I. can help recruiters become more efficient, the numbers provided by L’Oréal has shown that it does (the numbers below), but the conversations are now around how we can maximise the ROI from using this technology.

The biggest roadblock for L’Oréal when implementing Mya was deciding what questions to ask candidates and how can they get accurate feedback from them, given most of these candidates are invariably going to be rejected for the roles they are applying for.

Also, as a B2C organisation, most of their candidates are also customers and that made it an even more delicate process. In the UK, they did some research by cross correlating 250K candidates on their ATS to their sales database and found that 17 percent were on both. It might be only 17 percent you say but they accounted for $2 million pounds in sales. That’s massive.

So to overcome this, the company went through a detailed analysis of the candidate experience process involving everyone including recruiters and store managers. They also decided to roll this out in two of their most stable markets first – US and UK, to test their stakeholders’ appetite this technology.

According to Niilesh Bhoite, L’Oréal’s Chief Digital Officer, initial reactions from their recruiters were very positive. Mya was able to remove a lot of the tedious work and helped speed up the processing time for applications. Feedback from candidates were also positive and most expressed satisfaction at the quick turnaround time and value of information provided.

No recruiters were replaced in the process either. Mya was also able to direct candidates to the most suitable positions for them. These information are recorded in the ATS so recruiters were able to use this information in speaking with candidates.

Moving forwards, L’Oréal is looking at rolling out this technology to 100 countries in multiple languages to further help their recruiters maximise their productivity and provide candidates (also their customers) a consistently great job application process around the world.

It amazes me the speed at which things are developing in the A.I. world and we are now starting to see real-life case studies of how these recruitment technologies can be implemented and scaled successfully.

In addition, this is not restricted to just chat bots but we are seeing other A.I.-powered technologies such as Hiretual making great progress and shifting the conversations rapidly.

The next stage of A.I. evolution is happening right now and if you are not already onto these technologies, you should really start checking them out before your business lose further ground.

And as mentioned earlier, here are the L’Oréal numbers:
  • L’Oréal receives two million applications each year for 4,000 positions;
  • They employ 140 recruiters worldwide;
  • Since implementing Mya, L’Oréal reduced candidate application processing time by 20 minutes per application in the UK;
  • That’s equivalent to 45 days saved in total, which were then spent on improving candidate engagement;
  • The technology was also able to remove gender biases during screening, which meant L’Oréal is now seeing a 50/50 gender diversity during the application process.

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Key discussions from the Future of Talent 2018 retreat

By Trevor Vas

The first ever Future of Talent 2018 (FOT2018) retreat, collaborated with ATC Events & Media brought together some of the most senior Talent Acquisition (TA) leaders from different industries across Australia to find solutions to the most pressing matters affecting recruitment today, and I must say it was a treat.

So what did we learn? Here’s a summary of the key conversations.

1. No machine can read stop signs, yet
Machines powered by A.I. today are currently limited in creativity, adaptability, emotional capability and common sense says speaker Toby Walsh.

Toby is a leading Australian researcher on A.I. and professor at UNSW and he reckons it is still too early to hand over full recruitment responsibility to the machines. Even though humans can be notoriously bad at making decisions, limitations to the A.I. technology mean it is still too early to take humans entirely out of the decision-making process.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t use the machines to augment our intelligence and help us make smarter decisions. The most important thing about humans is our consciousness and together with A.I., we can harness the power of the machines to hire and recruit better.

2. Training the machines
Which brings us to the next point on trust – specifically how can we trust the machines to deliver what we want. The old adage – garbage in garbage out – still rings true and one of the challenges we face is training the machines using the right data.

Toby warns everyone against using historical data of a best recruit to train the machines because this system is more than likely bias. He uses the example of post codes and how these data can be used by the machines to infer a candidate’s race, which could lead to preferential treatment for a group of applicants while disadvantaging another.

To overcome this, Barbara Hyman, CEO of PredictiveHire, advise that we should use only objective data which has no bio data and to use multiple machine learning models to continuously triangulate the model rather than relying on one version of the truth. You can read more in an article she has written here

3. The time to build trust is now
While we are on the topic of trust, Toby believes that it is key for organisations to start building trust with their candidates because that would be the most important differentiating factor over the next 10 years.

With the ongoing issue of fake news and the coming to light of the extent to which organisations are collecting and using (whether ethical or not) personal data, it is crucial that we start looking at how we can increase the level of trust people have for our business.

4. If you do not have a data strategy in place, get onto it now
If you think your business isn’t big enough to benefit from using data, think again.

What are you currently basing your recruitment strategy on? Is it gut feel? Is it based on what you see and hear from your senior executives? If your answer is yes to these questions, then it is time for a relook.

Data can help you understand your candidates’ behaviours and pinpoint performance breakdowns for you to better understand each part of your hiring process and know what you need to optimise and what is performing well.

So it is time to start making data-driven decisions, consider hiring a data scientist to help you create your data strategy and have the person monitor the data to avoid “blackbox” situations.

No one company is too small to tap into the potential of what data can bring.

5. Stop obsessing over PDs & CVs
There was some debate raised over the practice of making PDs so unique that we make it hard for ourselves to find the right candidate – why are we so fixated on doing this?

Talent Acquisition has always been obsessed with hiring unicorn candidates and we all know how difficult it is to find them. However, we continue to persist and more often than not, we are left feeling disappointed.

Perhaps it is time to stop creating unique PDs that makes it nigh impossible to fulfil, but start looking for white ponies to paint purple instead?

Rebecca Houghton, founder of BoldHR, also raises doubts on the adequacy of CVs as an indicator for capability and raises the notion of using task-based interviewing process instead to evaluate a candidate’s ability to perform.

Food for thought for everyone.

6. Start looking ahead
More often than not, Talent Acquisition is restricted to a functional role in the company where it exists only to fill jobs. This will not be enough moving forwards. Talent Acquisition must morph into Talent Management in order to stay relevant. This is currently undertaken by a blend of People & Culture positions, however, there are many examples of this changing.

Organisations who are looking to stay ahead of their competition need to be able to anticipate change and be able to get evolve quickly, and Talent Management plays an important role in this process. Talent Management is identified as attracting, identifying, developing, engaging and retaining people who are considered particularly valuable to an organisation. This definition must also evolve to include the contingent workforce and “buy versus build” decisions will increasing become part of Talent Management’s work with the business.

As Talent leaders, we need less guessing and we have to sit down and objectively assess the future. We should be looking ahead and ask ourselves what sort of environment the candidate is going to be working in in three years’ time and how does a successful candidate look like.

We also need to learn how to apply the macro effects of what is happening in broader society and apply them on Talent Acquisition more effectively.

7. Ethics and A.I.
Does A.I. narrow or expand your pool of candidates?

Algorithms have the potential to help you get rid of unconscious bias and enable you to hire Talent in a fair manner. However, the question lies in how do you define what is fair?

According to Toby, there are 21 mathematical algorithm definitions of fair (and possibly more) and the lack of transparency in how these algorithms are written means it is impossible to know for sure if they are truly fair. There is also a general lack of accountability as there isn’t a sure way of assessing these tools for how they perform.

For all we know, these A.I. technologies might be penalising perfectly good candidates simply because they don’t meet the requirements set by the algorithms.

We need to crystalise the nature of the problems we are facing better, identify our pain points more clearly, rather than use A.I. as a blanket solution for everything. It’s easy to assume A.I. is the answer to all our Talent Acquisition problems but we need be aware about how we use this technology and where can it be used.

8. Blockchain primed to become the next big thing in TA
If you are not familiar with this technology, you should probably get onto it soon.

Kevin Wheeler did a fantastic job at demystifying and simplifying the concept of blockchain to show us how it has the potential to impact Talent Acquisition.

In very simple terms, a blockchain is a digital ledger of encrypted records that are organised into groups of data called blocks and shared across a network of computers. These blocks are located on servers called nodes linked together and a record can only be added/altered if all the nodes agree with each other.

Kevin has written a great article on blockchain explaining and exploring deeper into the benefits of blockchain in Talent Acquisition and HR, you can read it here. Or, if you are more of a visual person, here’s a beautifully created visual animation by the people at Reuters explaining how blockchain works – do check it out.

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Recruitment – a beautiful four-storey bungalow of lies

By Simon Townsend

Recruitment is a lie, all of it, and don’t expect the machines/robots to solve this problem for us. Don’t believe me? Come with me on a journey.

Let’s start with the hiring manager – “I need someone right now (no you don’t because the job is still being done..), but not just anyone (righto..), I want the best person who has ever done the job (but you’ll settle for less..), the topper-most of the popper-most and only the top five percent is eligible (but you are not willing to pay them what they are worth..).”

Next up, the recruiter – “So I hear you are in the market for a senior product engineer? How about looking at Google to see if we can get one of theirs (righto…)? And of course, you will need to speak to Jane, she’s the smartest product engineer I know (Jane is probably the only candidate you know at this time..). I also have another candidate in mind who might be a total fit for the role (now you are really just throwing random suggestions..).”

So, how do you think the candidate would react to these lies? You guessed it, they join in the fun – “Yes, I have got all the experience in the world (tick!). I single handedly, successfully, set up the engineering design process in my last company (tick!). And I managed a team of six people, yes, not four, six (tick!). Oh, and I get paid more than the salary range but am willing to negotiate if the opportunity is right (tick!).”

Three storeys in one house of lies. Yet we all accept that this is the way to go and, somehow, it all works. Companies needs workers, recruiters recruit, and candidates are not candid. We all pretend that the game is not full of lies, that everyone is being completely truthful at each stage and, you know what, that is exactly what makes it work. And here is where this article would have ended a couple of months (or years depending on how progressive your organisation is) ago.

But we have a new set of players who have ante’d up and joined the table. They don’t lie. In fact, they are right finks and will grass up anyone they catch lying faster than you can say “who are you talking about? You mean the robots, right? I think he means the robots… This is actually a thing about robots.”

Yes. The robots. Who are not robots, but don’t get me started on that high horse or you will be here all day.

How do we all play nicely as the rules get changed? More interestingly, perhaps, how do we all keep playing when one side is fact checking in real time and the others have only just realised that the game is not the same one they used to play?

With the latest round of artificial intelligent (A.I.)/machine learning enabled sourcing platforms, recruiters and hiring managers are profiling people based on their online habits, their writing styles and putting their trust into these new platforms and the insights they produce.

There are platforms to find you the best candidates automagically – sourcers rejoice as their jobs get easier. There are tools to provide an instant DISC profile assessment that come with “we’re pretty 80 percent confident” – naturally, we’ll trust them – hey, 80 percent is pretty close to 100 percent, right? And when the time comes to speak to the candidates, we can roll out a chatbot to take the mundane work away and focus only on those who passed the initial screening.

At this point the candidate will probably learn that they are being assessed and found wanting by a computer rather than by a human, but maybe not.

Is this fair? I don’t think so. Should we be pinging candidates who don’t make the cut to tell them that they have been reviewed? Perhaps.

I can imagine it now – “Hey, our robots thought you would be good for this but then our other robots said you wouldn’t so we didn’t talk to you. But maybe we are wrong, are you interested?” That is a hell of an opening line for an email to a candidate.

I’m sure the use of A.I. and machine learning-powered technologies in recruitment is the way of the future, but until we become more transparent about how the assessments work are we simply adding another lie to the process? A fourth storey to the bungalow? And, more importantly, is it one that a third of the players don’t know about, and can’t be involved in?

Are we breaking the agreement that keeps everything working? And is that a bad thing? What do you think?
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What I learned from using recruitment technologies

By Trevor Vas

I remember when I was first introduced to CrystalKnows back in in 2016 – a DISC profiling tool that provides insights into the personalities and behaviours of my candidates and hiring managers – it was such an eye-opener, and it still is.

This tool is able to provide additional data points on my candidates and hiring managers before I even speak to them. It offers me clues to a person’s personality, and it also provides a confidence rating on its assessment. In addition, the tool is able to compare personality styles and informs you on their compatibility levels.

To illustrate, here’s a snapshot of my personality profile, which I thought was pretty accurate.

If I were a recruiter recruiting myself, I’ll be able to use this information to craft targeted questions to find out more about myself and also of any referees. This not only speeds up the hiring process but it also gives me the extra confidence when I am presenting candidates to my hiring managers.

To further illustrate, here is a personality comparison report between me and my business partner Simon Townsend.

If I were hiring Simon, this report gives me a snapshot of how our potential future working relationship would be like and helps me decide the questions to ask that will enable me to determine if he is the right person for the job.

Of course, CrystalKnows is not the only tool in the market that can help you enhance your hiring process. Other technologies such as Hiretual, SourceHub and RecruitEm have also made their way into the TA space and they are changing the way we recruit and manage Talent.

That is all very empowering, and it is easy to become addicted to these technologies (as I have), especially when they are able to provide so many additional data points to assist you in your decision-making process.

However, too much of something can also be counterintuitive to what you want to achieve. I came to realise this as I was trying to figure how best to use this information and what should I be presenting to my hiring manager.

Some of the questions I found myself asking were:

1. How do I explain this information to my hiring manager?
My thoughts are that these are valuable data points that can be used in the candidate selection process and they should definitely be taken into consideration. However, there is so much data available now and I find myself having to pick and choose what to share. I also need to be able to present them in a clear and succinct manner.

2. Do I show the hiring manager their CrystalKnows profile and overlay with the shortlisted candidates?
Yes I do. But this needs careful managing as it can be a little intimidating, particularly where the profile indicates areas for the hiring manager to improve. Again, these are data points that are definitely worthy of exploring.

3. Do I show my candidates the hiring manager’s CrystalKnows profile?
I do, as I think it adds value and it shows the candidate how the hiring manager thinks and allows them to picture their future working relationship.
A simple search on job boards such as SEEK, Indeed and LinkedIn will enable you to find out the number of similar positions in the market, companies who are hiring, remuneration packages and locations.

4. Do I use this approach with all jobs?
No, I only use this for senior positions.

5. Should I look at whole teams and see how the person would fit and contrast?
I think this is a great Talent Management approach and worthy of exploring.

Ironic as it seems, instead of making it easier for me to decide who to recommend to my hiring manager, these technologies seem to have made it harder. But these are good problems to have as they make you more critical about the decisions you make and it will set you aside from your peers who are not using these technologies.

In today’s modern Talent Acquisition world, it is no longer sufficient to rely purely on information gathered from screening and interviewing candidates. Recruitment technologies like CrystalKnows and Hiretual can help to enhance your hiring process and you should definitely look into how you can apply some of them into your daily work.

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Should you still be investing in Talent Pools?

By Trevor Vas

A sudden thought came to me recently as I was using an online tool for sourcing a General Manager role. It was no ordinary tool.

This tool relied on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) to help me quickly and effectively identify potential candidates who possess the critical skills I’m searching for on LinkedIn. It reduced my time to hire, enhanced the recruitment process, and also had me wondering about the need for Talent Pools, especially when critical skills can now be sourced quickly using these tools.

Talent Pools have been around for as long as I could remember and I have been involved in building them for various clients throughout my career. The purpose for having a Talent Pool is to ensure an organisation has ready access to the critical skills that are missing from the business. It is a way to insure the future of the organisation and ensure effective leadership succession and workforce planning.

Without a doubt, it is a very useful method for reducing time to hire while keeping high quality candidates warm until you are ready to offer them a role. But until that happens, you are investing time and effort to maintaining these relationships with no idea when, or if, they will eventually bear fruit.

Enter the new generation of sourcing tools. Thanks to advancement in technology, tools such as Hiretual and HiringSolved are now able to identify and shortlist candidates with the right skills and culture fit quickly for you on LinkedIn and beyond. All you have to do is key in your sourcing criteria and the tool will do the rest. From the ensuing results, you then decide who are the most suitable candidates to reach out for a chat.

How straightforward is that? And if it is a skill that you are recruiting for regularly, you can use these tools to build a close network of eligible candidates easily. And if you are able to continuously hire quality candidates within an acceptable time frame using this method, then I wonder – what is the future for Talent Pools?

Should organisations continue to put resources into creating and maintaining their Talent Pools? Can these resources be better utilised elsewhere? Should you be investing more into Big Data/A.I. sourcing tools?

Before you ditch your Talent Pools and jump headlong into the new world of digital sourcing tools, perhaps have a think on these questions:

1. Are you getting full value from your Talent Pool?
As mentioned earlier, the aim of Talent Pools is to have ready access to skills that are not available in your organisation currently so that you are able to replenish your workforce quickly when someone leaves. To achieve this, segmentation is key and different criteria are needed for identifying the types of candidates you require.

However, I don’t think many organisations recognise the need for segmentation and even if they do, I’m not sure how regularly they update their criteria and, thus, the candidates they have “talent-pooled”. This could lead to less-than-desirable hiring results and persistent problems such as inflated costs or longer time-to-hire.

So, before you decide to kill your Talent Pool, have a think about how you have been managing and using this resource. A slight change in your approach and looking at segmentation using up-to-date criteria might lead to an improvement in results.

2. Are you covering the market?
Cutting off your Talent Pool may be more detrimental than beneficial as that would mean one less avenue for you to source candidates from. It is all about covering the market and understanding that you have reached all areas that are worth considering for the skill that you require.

Having said that, I must say I was impressed by the ability for some of the job sites in providing access to skilled candidates. I know that many people roll their eyes at this statement but hear me out.

I had used both SEEK and LinkedIn for conducting my search for the General Manager role and I had great candidates coming through from both the search and the job advertisement. OK, there was an overhead involved for the advertisement, and I had to deal with a bunch of applications that came flooding into my inbox but if you know what you want, you can manage this quickly and fairly.

Ultimately, a Talent Acquisition leader will need to balance up the value proposition of Talent Pooling against the use of digital sourcing tools and placing ads on job sites. The use of KPIs where you are measuring the cost-of-hire from each source and the effort-to-hire vs. quality of hire from each source should help you support your decision making.

If you need further advice, feel free reach out directly at I’ll be more than happy to have a chat.

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A.I. Recruitment Tech – Love Them Hate Them

By Trevor Vas

Let me start by saying, I love using new technologies.

There is something exciting about getting my hands on that latest techie gadget or recruitment software tool and setting them up to help me do my work better. The sense of anticipation is exhilarating, even if I might get a little impatient sometimes when I couldn’t get them to run the way I want (but I’ll usually get there). I also love surprising my clients with new data points that they can use in making better decisions.

However, a recent experience had given me a slightly different view on the use of technologies during hiring. Don’t get me wrong, technologies are essential and they definitely help to enhance the recruitment process, but, to be using them as an end to itself is probably not the best idea.

So to illustrate, I was using some Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) powered recruiting tools to help me with a some search assignments I’d picked up recently and they were absolutely amazing. These tools were able to provide me a candidate benchmark and generate personality profiles to help me decide if a candidate’s working style was a good match with the hiring manager’s. It was brilliant and it gave me clues that I can further delve into and ask targeted questions.

However, one particular personality profile jumped out at me and had me stumped for a moment:

It comes naturally for candidate X to try to reduce or avoid structure and bureaucracy to ignore existing rules and processes.

My first thought was to think – “Mmm, I do not want to show my client as it may disqualify candidate X”. I was down to my final shortlist and he fitted all the other criteria and looked a solid character. Striking him off the list meant I had to re-run my search again. I hesitated.

So I thought I should validate this with candidate X and try to understand whether this could be an issue. I also referred him to the source of information ( so he could read the profile for himself. He agreed with the profile and was able to provide an honest explanation of how this may have came about.

I did the same for the rest of the candidates to ensure fairness across the board and what I also did, was to overlay the candidates’ profiles against the hiring manager’s to understand their potential compatibility. This also gave me additional data points on how well they would work together.

So with my concerns sufficiently allayed, I included candidate X among the list of potentials which I forwarded on to my client. I also provided my client with a range of data points that included candidates’ benchmark scores (from Hiretual), CrystalKnows profiles (candidates’ and client’s) and the Klout scores, along with my comments based on their interviews with me.

A few learning points for me from this experience:

1. Technology can only get you this far
Recruitment tools can provide you data points to help you form a view of your candidates. But these are limited to the algorithms that are written into them and, as advance as they may be these days, I believe you still need to do additional validation such as behaviourally-based interviews, in-box exercises, assessments and have good open and honest conversations.

A 10-minute phone chat with candidate X enabled me to move beyond the data points and allowed me a deeper insight into the psyche of the man. This ensured that I had a more holistic view and gave me the confidence to put him forward to my client. As ironic as it sounds, in today’s age of technology where A.I. and automation are talk of the town, we have to be more human than ever before.

2. Your clients need to be educated on how to use the data points
You need to help your clients understand them and build additional steps into the recruitment process to make more informed decisions. Often, clients can get overwhelmed with all the data coming through and are unable to interpret them effectively. It is then your responsibility to help them learn and make sense of the information so that they can use them to their advantage.

Which brings me to my next point…

3. Technology should raise questions instead of purely providing answers
Shannon Pritchett once said this during the Sourcing Social Talent conference Technology – “If you act like a robot, you will be replaced by one.” As with all technologies, you MUST use them to assist in gaining a greater understanding and they should NOT be an end to itself.

Curiosity is what sets you apart from the robots and you should always be questioning the data presented in front of you. Could it be possible the candidate has different personalities at work vs. during social settings? What are the possible reasons behind candidate X exhibiting those characteristics? Keep asking questions to move beyond the technology – that is one of the ways you can thrive a post A.I. recruitment world.

It is easy to become over reliant on technologies so it is important for us to be aware and not fall victim of this. Remember that they are there to either augment the recruitment process or assist with our decision-making and they should not be the star of the show.

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A.I. Tech to Watch from the HR Technology Conference 2017

By Trevor Vas

I’ve been to the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas a few times now but it still amazes me every time I attend.

The sprawling exhibition halls, the spectacular expo set up, the star-studded speaker line-up, the extensive programme, the mindboggling amount of HR technologies on show, the extravagant entertainment – I could go on forever.

With over 80 sessions and 400 exhibitors, HR Tech is a giant behemoth and it is impossible to see everything. During my four days at the conference, I reckon I’d managed to see only a quarter of what’s on show, and that’s after some careful itinerary planning on my part before I flew over.

So, between some of the more quixotic HR technologies on display and those that are more practical in a way that they’re able to solve immediate challenges for Talent Acquisition leaders, I thought I would share with you some of these bright ideas that I’ve discovered during my trip.

These technologies use artificial intelligence (A.I.) to enhance the recruitment process and they are, in my opinion, some of the best on display. Given that the theme for our next ATC is “Thriving with A.I.”, it seems pretty appropriate for us to take a closer a look at some of these technologies. Check them out and see if you can pick the common thread between them!

Do drop me an email at if you would like to find out more about any of these technologies. You might even see some of them at ATC2018 for a first-hand encounter with you if there’s strong interest – let me know!

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