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Is the Industry made of the right stuff?

Back to School

In October, I am participating in a short course for Managers on Data Science & Analytics at Monash University. I have chosen to take part in this course to upskill my knowledge in an area of increasing importance to my job and career even though I have an extensive background in finance and the application of data through my original career in accountancy, my subsequent MBA studies at Melbourne Business School and my broad based consulting work for TQSolutions.

I use data every day for my client consulting projects and for the general running of my business, however, data science is becoming increasing more complex and sophisticated and I no longer believe my skills are sufficient.

I need to go back to school, I need to better understand how to use contemporary data techniques and tools and I want to see how these will impact / support the recruitment industry in the years to come…….

Recruitment DNA is evolving

A key enabler of change in the recruitment industry is the people who work within it as they execute the hiring process day after day for their organisations. I believe that existing recruiters and talent acquisition teams are going to need to change and transform (and quickly) if they are to survive the pending industry metamorphosis.

I believe the industry needs an injection of new blood, with new skills and capabilities that are pretty rare in most talent acquisition teams and external agencies. The DNA requirements of recruitment is changing and the desired make up of teams will become more complex – I am not sure many organisations and recruiters are prepared for this.

Cycles of Capability & Expertise

Reflecting on my career I have seen several cycles of skill / capability development:

1) Agency recruiters who were (and are) typically extroverted, highly competitive, sales oriented and really competent networkers. Backgrounds and formal qualifications were typically less relevant and not a predictor of performance.

2) In-house recruiters who loved recruiting and people interaction but hated sales and were happy to follow formal business rules, policy and process compliance. Many such recruiters chose to rely more on advertising led sourcing activity than building extensive personal networks.

3) In-house recruiters who were required to be more pro-active when sourcing candidates, highly networked and focused on being ‘in the traffic’. Organisations wanted to see some more of the ‘agency mongrel’ and competitive edge when sourcing relevant people. Many of the RPO companies selected people in this mould.

I am sure you can relate to some of these cycles and know people who ‘fit’ into one of these categories – the interesting thing is that most ‘recruiters’ come from a similar background with largely similar skill-sets.

Ask yourself if you are thinking about the skills and capabilities you will require to be successful in the future or are you just hiring people to historical norms on a like for like basis? When was the last time you genuinely reviewed the construct of your position descriptions and updated them to reflect people’s actual roles and what will be required of them in the next 1-2 years?

Essential Requirements?

However, the world we are moving to is not going to accommodate these mainstream skills as readily, and in fact some roles that exist today are likely to be eliminated in time due to smarter and more efficient technology being deployed and as our current ways of working changes.

Increasingly, a new skill base is going to be required. Review your existing team and see how many people would meet these mandatory job requirements:

  • Digital and video content production and editing skills (really comfortable in front of a video camera)
  • Highly skilled in developing and producing narratives – written or verbal story-telling
  • Ability to develop and articulate a brand and marketing communications strategy (albeit in relation to job families and employment brand)
  • Possess significant social media presence and influence
  • Truly passionate about recruitment and the industry / functional vertical they work in
  • Obsessive about networking and connecting with new people in person and online
  • Highly analytical and able to derive insights from large disparate sets of data
  • Ability to develop business cases using financial modelling and return on investment analysis
  • Desire to look beyond the hire and evaluate a new joiner’s performance in future periods in order to correlate and refine or re-define predictive data assumptions
  • Significant research based and / or proactive sourcing skills – ability to recruit without the need to advertise
  • Outstanding relationship management and customer service skills – passionate about creating a highly positive and memorable experience for hiring managers and candidates
  • Acute interest in the changing technology landscape, abreast and aware of new tools and techniques

Calling all Marketeers!

Without these skills in your team it is going to be difficult for you to advance up the industry maturity curve in the years to come when Brand, Marketing, Digital, Data and Analytics will become significant drivers of value in the hiring process.

I am not suggesting the existing skills we have today will become totally redundant, on the contrary, some will remain of up most importance. However, the industry cannot continue to rely on ‘recruiters’ cut from the same cloth, we need to attract and deploy new skills and capabilities in earnest whilst offering existing workers opportunities to re-train or re-deploy.

I suggested to an industry forum a few weeks ago, that I do not think it will be long before a Head of Talent Acquisition will come from a marketing or communications background rather than recruitment or HR. Given the ‘Essential Requirements’ detailed above I hope you can see this is not fantasy but a emerging reality.

I am just off to browse short courses for managers in consumer marketing and branding.