A panel of talent acquisition pros at the HR Tech Conference revealed what TA tools and methods are working and where things are falling short.
Companies are desperate for new talent and a raft of talent acquisition tools should be easing the burden facing recruitment specialists; yet, despite innovations like AI matching and programmatic job advertising, many recruiters remain in the grip of old practices.
In a Thursday HR Tech Conference panel session titled “Filling the Talent Machine: Using TA tech to Populate Your Recruiting Funnel,” TA experts painted a bright if frustrating picture of recruitment in the age of the Great Resignation.
When asked what is working now for TA and what changes need to be made, Madeline Laurano, founder of Aptitude Research, did not mince words: “You have to pay people more money. You have to provide flexibility to let them work from home and you need to rethink your company’s standards around work and life,” she said.
That advice reflects the shifted conditions driven by the pandemic. “A few years ago, you would never hear anyone say, ‘I have to leave and pick up my child from school or go to the doctor.’ This has completely changed,” Laurano said.
According to Kyle Lagunas, global talent acquisition lead, attraction, sourcing and insights for General Motors, other TA obstacles include burdensome staff forecasting and the expectation that candidates will undergo an automated recruiting process.
“People are opting out of a process that is [an unfavorable] experience,” he said.
Employer branding is another hurdle. For instance, Lagunas said, GM is committed to being fully electric. “We are looking for electrical engineers who are not thinking about cars, and they are not applying to GM,” he said. “It’s like, wait, people don’t know us?”
TA tools can help HR and TA leaders pick up the pace to address these issues, according to Kris Dunn, CHRO of Kinetix. “What is in [new tech] is speed. Developers and recruiters have to make stuff leaner and get to candidates and make decisions quicker. You get penalized for not being fast,” he said.
“If you are not agile and not [making advancements with] enough speed, you’re dead,” said Dunn.
When it comes to TA tools, Lagunas shared that GM’s particular challenge is a lack of recruitment solutions. “To drive more candidate applications, you have to build pipelines,” he said. “We have to look beyond the ATS. I am astounded that we just have an ATS and [some] revolving LinkedIn recruiter seats.”
There is also significant opportunity when it comes to programmatic job advertising. Despite the near-universal adoption of programmatic—the method of automatically buying and optimizing digital campaigns—inside most organizations, recruitment teams remain resistant to change.
See also: Why ‘programmatic’ is changing hiring
“This is so shocking. Every marketer does programmatic and it’s so widely used within the organization but we haven’t educated talent management as to what is it,” said Laurano. “If you are doing job advertising manually in a spreadsheet, you are keeping this in your head. Programmatic shows what is working and not working. It’s so much more valuable.”
Employers are also struggling to recruit in terms of social media. To be successful on platforms like TikTok, for instance, employers have to be more intentional about adopting the style and approach of the site’s most popular content creators. Tim Sackett, president of HRU Technical Resources and the panel moderator, noted that Facebook and LinkedIn remain popular targets for recruiters, but Twitter is out.
“Twitter is dead from a career perspective—not much happens on there,” added Dunn.
Meanwhile, given the interest in the TA market—demonstrated by the high number of TA tech providers exhibiting in the Expo Hall of the HR Tech Conference—the panelists said the number of available solutions can be vexing for recruitment teams, leaving a lot of potential on the table.
“We are not enabling recruiter technology enough. We are not building tools to help recruiters manage their req workload,” said Lagunas.
“From a tech perspective,” added Dunn, “we see a lot of clients and friends who have bought tools and we often don’t use what we have very well.”
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Phil Albinus is HR Tech Editor for HRE. He has been covering personal and business technology for 25 years and has served as editor and executive editor for a number of financial services, trading technology and employee benefits titles. He is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and lives in the Hudson Valley with his audiologist wife and three adult children. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @philalbinus.