A Blueprint for Modern Talent Acquisition

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A Blueprint for Modern Talent Acquisition A Take the Interview White Paper by Bill Boorman 2014 © Take the Interview

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Learn about the Six Phases of Talent Acquisition: Branding, Sourcing, Candidate Screening, Applying, Assessments & Interviewing, and Boarding

Transcript of A Blueprint for Modern Talent Acquisition

Page 1: A Blueprint for Modern Talent Acquisition



A Blueprint forModern Talent Acquisition

A Take the Interview White Paper by Bill Boorman




!2014 © Take the Interview

Page 2: A Blueprint for Modern Talent Acquisition

Talent acquisition used to be a simple process. People looked for careers, and companies looked for people who would sign up and stick around for several years. There was not much movement and when you needed an employee, you placed an ad in a paper, waited for people to apply, interviewed the best applicants and hired them. The numbers of applicants were manageable and the process was straightforward, passing from personnel to the hiring manager. Interviewing and hiring was local, people searched for jobs geographically and wanted a local job for life.

The Internet, in its commercialized state, was launched 25 years ago and things changed. Businesses shifted from local to national to global. The Internet provided a gateway to new opportunities, and the proliferation of social media meant people were able to connect in a way that they never had before. This brought choice and competition. The number of applicants grew as companies moved from posting jobs on bulletin boards to posting on job boards to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites. The significant growth in applicants via e-mail meant recruiters needed to introduce dedicated recruiting technology to deal with the volume, providing a barrier between the company and the applicants until they were identified as being a fit.

Before the growth of LinkedIn and other social media sites, when a candidate wanted a job they needed to provide data in the form of a resume; it was the only way we could learn about an individual’s background. Data had to be submitted because there was nowhere else to find it. When recruiting moved from offline to online, companies moved their process online, but this still required the completion of forms, the submission of resumes and the answering of questions. While it moved to an electronic format, the process that applied to talent acquisition did not really change much even as the outside world continues to do so.

The global recession had an intense impact on many companies and people around the world. Attitudes and expectations changed and the significant adoption of Smartphone technology meant that people were permanently connected. In 2014, more data is being created in one day than in a year only five years ago.

The “war for talent,” first used in a report by McKinsey & Company in 1997, has been intensified by demographic shifts primarily in the United States and Europe. This is characterized by an increase in demand along with a decrease in supply. There are simply fewer post-baby boom workers to replace the baby boom retirement in the U.S. and Europe. Although this is not the case in most of East Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Central America, South America, or the Middle East, Eastern Europe also tends to have similar demographics, namely an aging and/ or shrinking labor force. The war for talent is compounded by the shifting types of work, with a concentration of knowledge workers with new skills constantly in demand.

Employers recognize that their success is dependent on the people that they hire and the talent acquisition process is central to getting the right people into the business. If we accept that there is a war for talent and that competition for the best talent has never been greater than before, it would be fair to say that the way in which many companies go about attracting and hiring talent means they

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simply lose out. Some companies are injecting innovation to their talent acquisition functions and are driving change within their organizations. Companies can modernize and hire the best talent.

The Six Phases of Talent Acquisition



Branding is the phase that connects candidates to employers and people to connect with and follow. Sourcing is the phase that converts candidates to applicants for specific roles. The objective of the branding phase is twofold:

• Candidate attraction

• Company culture visibility

Demonstrating a company’s values helps candidates determine whether to opt in or opt out of the application process. Smart companies are fostering this by thinking of job descriptions as content rather than advertisements, with content and connections being provided by existing employees.

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Defining Candidates & Applicants

C a n d i d a t e s i n c l u d e a nyo n e choosing to connect with the c o m p a n y, f o r e x a m p l e , b y following a LinkedIn company page or becoming a fan of the company’s Facebook careers page. Candidates need to be nurtured with content, updates and the opportunity to engage. The challenge is that this creates data silos in different channels, which makes data mining to identify potential applicants for targeted content and job distribution complicated. To counter this, some organizations point all of their social media towards their career site as the only route to applying. This means that while candidates might be spread across multiple locations, all of the applicant data e n d s u p i n o n e p l a c e . T h e downside of this approach is that not all candidates are ready to become applicants, match any open positions or are ready to apply. Another way to overcome this issue is to adopt a talent network approach to candidates which will be explained in more detail later in the paper.

A p p l i c a n t s i n c l u d e a n y o n e applying for a specific job. While a candidate remains a candidate as long as they choose to, an applicant will either progress to becoming an employee or be rejected as an applicant and revert back to candidate status. The hiring pipeline is the process and the steps involved are when a candidate asks to be matched against a specific job and gets hired or rejected.

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Candidate Screening



Assessments & Interviewing


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The branding phase is about providing enough content and connection points to enable people to connect and discover what life at the company is like. Some organizations have set up a recruitment marketing function within talent acquisition by hiring specialists or by hiring external consultants, while others have placed the responsibility with the recruiters. This approach is flawed with recruiter workloads, skill level and other priorities as barriers for generating content. Candidate research conducted by the developer community, Stack Overflow, also shows that people want to connect and get content from their peer group and only want to communicate with people in the same profession. Programmers want to talk to programmers. Developers want to talk to developers. Accountants want to talk to accountants. They don’t want to find out about life at work from recruiters.

The solution to this is to take a “brand advocate” approach by creating social destinations such as LinkedIn company pages, Facebook career pages, Twitter accounts and Google+ pages, in addition to their career sites. On these social networks, employees can share their stories, updates and images. Oftentimes employees are told that they cannot speak on behalf of the company without first obtaining permission; this can be a major barrier for effectively communicating brand to candidates. High level permission with clear guidelines in place removes fear and helps generate content.

Our research shows that the average hire is connected and follows an employer for a minimum of seven months before applying for a position there. There is a significant difference between the path taken by hires and by applicants who are looking to find out if they are a fit during the hiring process. Of the companies we tracked in researching this paper, 81-percent fell in to the former category. Companies that have adopted a brand advocate approach to creating social destinations, and those that have enabled employees to generate relevant content, attract connections and people begin following the company.

In today’s hyper-connected recruiting reality, recruiters are becoming overloaded with unqualified and unsuitable applicants who apply for jobs with limited information. They are moving straight from a link, ad or update to the ATS (applicant tracking system) and applying. Research by Talent Board, founding organization behind the Candidate Experience Awards, (#CandEs, @thecandes), shows that the average number of applicants per open position is 205, with 95 percent considered unsuitable and unqualified.

Some organizations have decided to be much more open in their branding to show the good and the bad of the organization in an authentic way to help unsuitable candidates self-select out of the process and reduce the number of poor fit applicants. This approach is often termed Culture Branding, which was made popular by companies such as Rackspace through their culture site, www.rackertalent.com.

When Barclays Bank introduced this strategy for their Future Leaders program, the results showed the impact of culture branding. They achieved this by introducing a social hub to their career site with unscripted content and a good dose of honesty.

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Andy Hyatt, digital director at Bernard Hodes U.K. made the following comments on The Recruiting Unblog after the launch of the site:

“Overall, the campaign has performed well, attracting just over 355,000 visitors to the site since it was re-launched in September – an increase of 51% over last year, who viewed over 1.6 million pages – an increase of 75%. And this without an increase in advertising budget.

The visitors that interact with The Hub, have also proven to be more engaged with the site – proving that social content can attract and retain visitors over paid advertising: they are more likely to stay after viewing the first page (15.9% bounce rate vs. 25.8%), stay for longer on the site (9’ vs. 3’51”), and view, on average, twice as many pages per visit (10.05 vs. 5.01).

Visits to the site have increased by 51%, applications have decreasedby 40% over last year. At first this might seem worrying if not for the fact that the conversion rate between assessment and hire increased by 55%. Ultimate proof that targeted and relevant content can deliver better quality candidates who are also more likely to get hired.”

The site was launched at the end of 2011 and it shows the impact of social branding and connecting potential applicants with internal employees. The strategy adopted by organizations in their branding and recruitment marketing in 2014 should be to reduce applications, not increase their numbers, and target talent that is right for the organization and open position.

Talent Communities and Networks

Another solution is to remove the traditional apply process all together and invite people to become candidates of an organization rather than applicants for a job. It is possible to use the available data to only make jobs visible to candidates when they fit the minimum requirements, inviting them to become applicants for that specific job. This will significantly reduce the volume of applicants not candidates, giving recruiters more time to concentrate on candidate experience and enhancing the relationship with those who are qualified for specific roles.

The BP experienced hires team in London introduced a “Candidate Center” in 2013, with a unique login for each applicant, as an integral part of their careers site, enabling applicants to get access to specific content as they progress through the hiring pipeline including job and department related content, timetables and next steps. This provides high-touch candidate care and is proving to be a deciding factor when applicants have a choice between offers. It has also had a big impact on their applicant net promoter score, which indicates how likely an applicant is to recommend the employer to someone else. More importantly though, the applicant has enough information to be certain that

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they are potentially joining the right employer for them, thus improving the quality of hire. The practice of providing access to tailored content, specific timelines, feedback and next steps should be considered best practice and BP’s Candidate Center is an excellent example.


Sourcing is the process of converting candidates into applicants, and is the entry point of the hiring funnel. Sourcing can be both inbound and outbound. Inbound sourcing is the generation of applicants who have responded to a job advertisement and expressed interest in specific roles. This may be as a result of advertising, job sharing, referrals , mail ing and similar approaches. The objective is to attract applicants or to convert candidates into applicants.

According to 2013 research conducted by CareerXroads, the top source of hire was via internal means (42 percent), which highlights the importance of internal mobility as a sourcing strategy. The question is: who takes responsibility for internal mobility and who has responsibility for communicating opportunity throughout the organization? This is typically seen as a task for HR, with communication being executed via a company’s intranet. It can also be via a similar posting or may rely on employees checking or requesting opportunities with the exception of intra-department promotions or company redeployment. In terms of the hierarchy, all new opportunities should be first matched against internal employees, followed by ex-employees (good exits), candidates found via external sourcing methods and finally, job distribution coming as a last step.

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Talent Communities vs. Talent Networks: How they Differ

A Talent Community is a group that enables 360-degree communication between every member, as such, candidates can talk to other candidates, as well as recruiters and company employees. The limitations of this approach are that job seeking is not typically a public community activity, and few companies are interesting enough to retain members when they are not actively looking for a job. The community is most sustainable when its main purpose is not hiring and the topic is broad enough to enable engagement between members. The benefit of a talent community is that recruiters have access to member data for sourcing and employees have the opportunity to connect with potential applicants for branding. Applicants include anyone applying for a specific job. While a candidate remains a candidate as long as they choose to, an applicant will either progress to becoming an employee or be rejected as an applicant and revert back to candidate status. The hiring pipeline is the process and the steps involved are when a candidate asks to be matched against a specific job and gets hired or rejected.

A Talent Network enables candidates to connect with companies without the need for 360-degree communication between members. Sign up for the talent network needs to be as simple and quick as possible – preferably one click via a social sign in – with links on all jobs, career sites, social places and accounts. The talent network allows the recruiting team to share targeted and relevant content, updates and opportunities. The key to this is using the member data provided by the candidate and accumulated from other public places such as LinkedIn profiles. The talent network data is kept within the CRM and members are classified as candidates. The purpose of the talent network is to enable people to connect with the organization as candidates, keep up to date with relevant content about the employer and become applicants when their profile matches a job opportunity and they choose to apply.

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One organization making great inroads in this area is Sodexo USA, which includes internal mobility in the responsibilities of the talent acquisition team. Sodexo achieves this goal by viewing all employees as candidates of the organization and allowing recruiters to directly approach employees. Additionally, the company enables employees to benchmark themselves against colleagues and provides mentoring, support and development resources to enhance employees’ skills and knowledge. Interestingly, internal applicants and hires increased significantly when Sodexo introduced their mobile application. Internal applicants outnumber external applicants and hires by 4 to 1 and an internal referral program also enables employees to refer colleagues for internal opportunities. Sodexo is in the facilities industry and many of its employees are based away from a desk and a computer. By giving the talent acquisition team responsibility for internal mobility and by retaining employee data within the candidate relationship management (CRM) system, Sodexo was able to be successful.

According to CareerXroads’ research, the second highest source of hire, at 24.5 percent, is referrals. This is considered to be inbound sourcing because applicants respond to an invitation to become an applicant from an internal employee. The report notes that 10 percent of referrals result in a hire, which demonstrates the reason that many hiring organizations place referrals as a top priority for their talent acquisition strategy. Employee referral networks are expected to significantly increase their return on investment given that their reach is significantly increased as a result of social media. Successful companies incorporate social referrals. This differs from the traditional referral, which was in essence a recommendation.

Employers are also combining brand advocacy with referral networks as a single initiative rather than a series of short lived projects, where the focus switches from month to month. The person coordinating recruitment marketing should also take responsibility for the referral network, and success should be measured by employee participation, candidates and applicants generated and ultimately the number of hires.

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There is a school of thought and a growing number of companies that have integrated branding, referrals and recruitment marketing in to their marketing function. This is because marketing has already implemented many of the practices needed to be successful and owns responsibility for the technology to make it work. It makes sense to integrate talent acquisition throughout the business with each aspect of the business taking responsibility for their own area of expertise, with the recruiters taking the role of project manager to facilitate and coordinate all of the aspects that make these projects work.

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Besides referrals, career sites are also an important source of hire with 23.4 percent of hires coming from these sites according to CareerXroads Source of Hire Report. This is not surprising given that the career site is seen as the usual destination for searching jobs at a company and applying. Only 35 percent of companies enable applying on other destinations such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Instead, they typically direct potential applicants to the ATS.

There are several problems when trying to identify ROI and activity from social media channels. Source of hire is often reported as the last place the applicant clicked before entering data into the ATS or is captured via a drop down menu, which gives candidates the choice to select where they heard about the opportunity. This tends to be the last online site the applicant visited. While this may be useful as a source of application, it is important to understand the entire applicant journey and the source of influence. This will provide you with a much better picture of the effectiveness of branding and other talent acquisition activity. One solution to this problem is to track candidates and applicants and their connection points with the organization, such as following a LinkedIn page, Twitter account, commenting or subscribing to a career blog or other online career space.

As a source of hire, job boards brought in 18.1 percent of candidates that were hired at organizations. Despite rumors to the contrary, job boards are far from dead and still remain an important feature of talent attraction strategy. What is unclear is the way in which job boards are being used to attract

talent. Companies report that they are placing greater importance on the resume database as a means of identifying active candidates over traditional advertising. A recent development within the job board sector has seen Dice acquire TheSocialCV and Monster acquire TalentBin. These people aggregators combine external data such as Twitter feeds, Stack Overflow reputation scores, and more with the internal resme database. This keeps data current and real time, as opposed to being static. This job seeker data and may, at some point, become accessible and valuable to their customers.

One source of hire that is being underutilized is re-hires. Although some organizations are benefiting from taking a more proactive approach to re-hires, they are often referred to as boomerang hires. Sodexo has a dedicated community online for “leavers.” They will notify this community of opportunities that match their skills, run events for ex-employees and announce “returners” by having them share their story. In 2013, 19 percent of Sodexo’s management hires included

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According to CareerXroads, career sites increased by more than 100 between 2012 and 2013, reflecting an increased investment by organizations. The report also indicated that social media impacted 7 of the 11 sources of hire and the career site influenced nine out of 11.

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“returners.” There are real advantages to this approach because the candidate knows the culture and environment and it eliminates this risk which is often associated with new hires.

Talent Mapping

As more emphasis is being placed on building relationships with potential employees, sourcing as a discipline has gone beyond filling jobs. One practice that is growing in popularity is talent mapping. The availability of structured and unstructured data makes the identification and profiling of people much more realistic today. Sourcers or external consultancies are increasingly building talent maps of potential employees. These could be divided by job role, employers, skills, discipline or similar divisions. Building talent maps allows sourcers to build relationships in order to convert leads into candidates, connecting qualified people with the organization ahead of future opportunities.

Employers tend to organize data in the CRM by: Employees, Ex-employees, Candidates and Leads. By tracking the level of relationship between the individual and the organization, sourcers can provide hiring managers with a realistic time-to-fill following consultation with the hiring manager.


The Hiring Funnel

The starting point of the hiring funnel is the introduction of the requisition by the hiring manager. This commences the “project” of hiring. While the model that follows represents a common hiring

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funnel, steps can vary from organization to organization. The current mission is to automate as much of the administration as possible, and to improve the quality of applicants progressing through the use of profiling, matching and the increased use of assessments including background checks at entry to the hiring pipeline.

• The hiring manager introduces requisition with appropriate authority

• The recruiter agrees on the job description and sets a deadline based on CRM data. This is dictated by the level of relationship and the need to step outside of the CRM to generate new applicants.

• Organizations, such as Sears, have benefited from drawing up job descriptions and sourcing plans based on HR data at this stage. Top performers are identified from data held within the performance management system in order to draft the job description, with additional data coming from development systems, profiles and resumes. Connecting existing HR data gives a far more accurate job description and sourcing plan and provides a data-driven argument for influencing hiring managers.

• The sourcer identifies potential applicants from the CRM and new leads through internet research. They may approach candidates and then produce a long list of qualified applicants following these approaches to determine status.

• The recruiter then screens the long list of applicants based on knowledge, skill and fit assessments. The tests used are dictated by role and are often followed by telephone screening. The telephone screen and/or video screening.

• The hiring manager then selects the shortlist from screened applicants based on resume and scores, reviews responses and then elects to leverage telephone or video screening.

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Video screening offers a more in-depth and often more convenient alternative to phone interview. The usual format is three to five pre-recorded questions with timed answers from the candidate. Most commonly recruiters elect to employ a one-take approach to recreate the live interview format, while others allow applicants multiple takes.

The real benefit of using video for screening in place of the telephone interview is logistics because the candidate records their response in their own time and the results can be shared instantly or compared, without the need to coordinate time with the hiring manager. The recruiter and the applicant also do not need to be available for the call at the same time.

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• The recruitment admin coordinates the hiring manager and candidate interviews. Increasingly the administrative tasks of recruiting are being delivered via a self-service model where the hiring manager lists their availability and the applicant books the next step via an online portal such as BP’s Candidate Center. This can also be applied to tests, screens and background checks. The other route employed by organizations, such as Oracle and KPMG, is via a dedicated recruitment admin team that frees the recruiters to concentrate on qualifying the long list to a short list and build applicant relationships. Employers are automating as much of the hiring administration and logistics as possible to improve efficiency, give control to the applicant (within the confines of the agreed time frames) and to free recruiter time for more strategic work.

• The hiring manager conducts final interviews and extends an offer.

• The HR department coordinates offer letters, starter details, onboarding efforts, and any additional next steps.

The hiring pipeline can also follow a different path according to the source of application. Where applicants are internal or potential returners, there are fewer steps like assessment tests or background checks, and the route to hire will be quicker. Additionally, some steps may be omitted for reapplying applicants.

Candidate Screening

Organizations are expanding their screening process to include interview as well as assessments, profiling and testing as a means of gauging applicant fit and suitability, and technology providers are now offering solutions that help remove subjectivity to the interview process through greater collaboration, standardization and results measurement. This provides a data-based argument for selection based on evidence. As a result, the role of the recruiter is evolving.

Employers tend to organize data in the CRM by: Employees, Ex-employees, Candidates and Leads. By tracking the level of relationship between the individual and the organization, sourcers can provide hiring managers with a realistic time-to-fill following consultation with the hiring manager.

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There has been a notable shift of responsibility and accountability for hiring away from the talent acquisition team to respective hiring managers. It is increasingly common to see hiring manager key performance indicators (KPIs) include time-to-hire, quality of hire and candidate experience.

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The role of the recruiter in the hiring funnel is to generate the short list from a sourcer’s long list after qualification and screening. As the assessment process is becoming increasingly automated, recruiters are falling in to three different categories:

1. Super Recruiters

These individuals have less responsibility for day-to-day hiring tasks, with responsibility for strategy, branding and direction. In his recent e-book, “Standing out and attracting top talent,” Stack Overflow founder, Joel Spolsky, makes an important case for a head of talent acquisition who has a more strategic and influential role within the business, closely aligned to the C-suite, with less responsibility for the day-to-day hiring. If talent is viewed as the critical factor in business success, then talent acquisition and the hiring pipeline plays an integral part in influencing the organization. While these roles will be limited, talent acquisition strategy will become increasingly recognized as a key to business success.

“I realized the single most important thing a recruiter has to do, to be successful, is to clean up house. You have to be honest about how your workplace compares with other options developers have, and think about the kinds of things they are thinking about when they choose a career. You need to spend time with the CEO focusing on the things candidates are looking for in a job, because honestly, if you have a perpetual recruiting problem, and if you’re constantly whining how you can’t find developers, it’s a likely sign that there are better places for developers to work and you’re only going to be successful if you can fix up the situation to make your company more attractive.”

– Joel Spolsky, founder, Stack Overflow

2. The Candidate Manager

With the increased use of assessments, video, tests and background checks in the selection process, the recruiter responsibilities in the hiring process are changing. Screening, shortlisting and recruitment administration are becoming automated tasks that no longer require recruiter input. This changes the focus of recruiters, which is currently on applicants, to candidates, with the following responsibilities:

• Candidate attraction – coordinating the branding activity (not content curation), this includes brand advocacy and the referral networks.

• Candidate sourcing – this could be a recruiter or sourcer responsibility, switching from identifying and approaching potential applicants for specific jobs, to talent mapping and connecting the company with potential candidates.

• Project managing jobs from deployment to completion.

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• Internal sourcing and mobility, including workforce planning.

• Acting as point of reference for applicants and candidates, until they are converted to new hires/employees, at which time they typically interact more directly with hiring managers.

3. The Recruitment Administrator

Recruiters get tied up in logistics and administration, scheduling and similar tasks. The average corporate recruiter handles 40 live roles at any one time, and that takes a lot of administrative tasks when managed manually. If each role were to generate a list of 15 candidates requiring phone screens that would be up to 600 calls that need coordination between line managers and applicants. If five applicants were moved forward to the in-person interview, that would be up to 200 interviews that need coordinating, scheduling and follow up. For this reason, most talent acquisition teams have created a recruiting administration team that manages the logistics, and/or implemented an Interview Management Platform, because recruiting logistics is time consuming and costly.

The principle task for recruiters is qualifying and converting leads and connections to candidates in the talent network and converting candidates to applicants when there is a clear combination of opportunity and fit. While it might seem difficult, the benefits of operating a qualified talent network and only inviting candidates who fit, have the skills and experience, who have opted into the company culture and values are abundantly clear. Recruiters have responsibility for building the network, being a point of contact and managing the job and applicants.

One of the most important metrics for measuring the efficiency of the talent acquisition function is time- to-hire. When the recruitment process is disjointed, the time-to-hire becomes elongated, companies miss out on the best talent, applicants drop out because the organization appears inefficient and this damages their brand and the candidate experience plummets.

To improve this, forward-thinking companies have switched the focus from the convenience of the hiring manager to the applicant by automating scheduling, assessments and other tasks on a self- service basis. IT giant, Oracle significantly shortened their time-to-hire by introducing a charge to the business when a job went live with the recruiting team. This simple step created accountability for the hiring managers to deliver feedback on resumes, schedule interviews and streamline other tasks. When planning, talent acquisition teams should first look at administrative tasks and logistics and which of the steps can be automated.

Assessments and Interviews

In the past, tests and assessments for talent acquisition were expensive to deploy, and required training to interpret and administer. As a result of this, tests and assessments and background checks

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were applied at the end of the interview process to validate hiring. Advances in technology and data analytics have really changed the game in this area.

Combining assessment and tests with video, for example, means tests can be completed remotely. Assessments for fit and capability that previously took up to 90 minutes to complete can now be delivered in five to six minutes with 98 percent accuracy (based on Jobfig.com, Smarterer.com and SquareCubed.com) and at a fraction of the cost. The significantly reduced cost and ease of application has seen the assessments move from the end of the hiring process as a validation, to the start of the application process as a qualifier. When applicants are qualified, progressed or declined by assessment at the start of the process, it streamlines and automates the qualification stage. When assessments are used at this stage, short listed candidates can progress directly to the hiring manager, or through the recruiter, via video interview.

Another approach is to include simple and quick assessments as a part of the sign up process for the employer’s talent network. Qualifying candidates at this stage pays real dividends when it comes to identifying who to move from candidate to applicant against a specific opportunity.

Assessment results also provide the data to validate talent attraction and branding activities against capabilities and cultural fit, making adjustments to strategy where necessary. Where all shortlists are pre-assessed, hiring managers can interview with confidence to make the best hires.

Interviews are also becoming more modernized as technologies offer greater convenience – through video and recorded technologies that connect employers and candidates all over the globe without travel expenses and scheduling hassles – enhanced collaboration and accountability, and greater standardization with interview guides and objective rating features. Interview management is also

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In 2013, Matthew Jefferey, the Head of Global Talent Acquisition Strategy and Innovation at SAP, introduced a global assessment center (devised by The Chemistry Group) that could be deployed globally to identify the fit of sales candidates against the SAP values and culture.

The assessment centers can be deployed anywhere, and require candidates to complete real business tasks in a real life environment and the results are used to determine who should become applicants.

The results of this approach are a vast improvement in the conversion ratio from applicant interview to hire. Additionally, this greatly reduces the volume of applicants in the hiring funnel.

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moving to help organizations reach candidates on their mobile devices, allowing them to complete interviews from their smartphones and tablets, where ever and whenever it’s best for them.

Modernization of the interview process is also changing the way that recruiters and hiring managers interact. Previously, recruiters would complete a preliminary screening interview, take notes as possible and shortlist from there, oftentimes sharing incomplete feedback with hiring managers. From there, hiring managers interview candidates, taking (sometimes wasted) time from their day jobs to evaluate the same individuals. As more organizations adopt interview management technologies, recruiters and hiring managers can evaluate candidates based on the same criteria and questions. They can also view or listen to the same interviews, providing feedback in a more collaborative manner. As a result, they can improve quality of hire and advance the right candidates for further evaluation or hiring.


When it comes to onboarding, what works best will vary from organization to organization. The key is that someone takes responsibility for the applicant post offer and guides their transition to new employee.

The traditional approach to onboarding was to receive some form of structured or unstructured training during the first week of employment, but this is shifting to sharing content, connections and other initiatives from the day the offer is accepted. Including onboarding with the hiring funnel means that onboarding tasks can be automated, but the relationship between recruiter and applicant/ new employee is retained.

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Project-Based Hiring

We have talked a lot in this paper about running hiring as a series of projects. The dynamics of hiring are much the same as managing a project:

There is also a timeline and critical deadlines for each task to keep things on track. When tasks, resources and deadlines are agreed at commencement, starting with the sourcing plan, it is easy to track progress and identify any obstacles in the hiring funnel. Talent acquisition teams that have adopted this approach to hiring experience a significant improvement in time-to-hire and cost-per- hire along with the added benefit of significantly improved candidate experience rankings.

The project management approach is made possible by making everything visible and implementing a service level agreement between the talent acquisition team at the deployment of the job by the hiring manager. Typically the service level agreement includes:

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These are stakeholders:

• Recruiter

• Hiring manager

• Applicant

• Candidate

There are tasks:

• Sourcing/branding

• Applying

• Long listing

• Assessing/background checks

• Scheduling

• Screening

• Short listing

• Interviewing

• Delivering Feedback

• Offering/declining

• Onboarding

There are resources needed:

• Tests and assessments

• Interview media

• Template communications

• Timeline diary and stakeholder diaries

• Time-to-source

• Time-to-present

• Maximum time for review (resumes/screens/interviews, etc.)

• Time-to-select

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Applying the agreed metrics to the service level agreement, along with the stakeholders, tasks, timelines and critical deadlines enables reporting on progress. You can also operate a system of yellow (tasks on deadline) and red (tasks overdue) flags to keep things on track. By assigning tasks to stakeholders at the start of the process, accountability for completion is spread from the talent acquisition team to the task owner, presenting a greater likelihood of completion on schedule.

Self-service applicant tasks with a deadline for completion keeps the applicants on track. Mapping out the whole process with committed deadlines gives the applicant visibility of progress, the steps to employment and access to additional tailored content relevant to the role. It also allows for the collection of real time feedback at the completion of each step. According to Talent Board, for organizations that collect feedback on candidate experience, 80 percent of the companies that won asked for feedback at the end of the hiring process, with most soliciting feedback as part of onboarding. This is flawed because a hired applicant generally has a good experience (or they view it as positive) and few applicants can remember the ATS screening process, the telephone interview, and other stages of the process at this point. Incorporating real-time feedback in to the hiring funnel and asking every applicant, gives a comprehensive picture of the real applicant experience and areas for improvement.

Making relevant data visible and easy to interpret makes the management of the end-to-end talent acquisition process effective, and allows for analysis of performance to continually improve the hiring process and keep tasks on track. The key to achieving excellence is to create a single data flow from candidate to applicant to hire or back to candidate, utilizing the CRM for candidate data and the ATS for applicant data, with each job managed as a project, and with automated steps. While we often talk about the candidate experience, we should give equal importance to the other key stakeholders and consider the recruiter experience. The service level agreement ensures that all stakeholders play their part and work to schedule and that the recruiter can keep track of progress via visible data. This is often referred to as the single recruiter dashboard.


Some organizations are making significant strides to evolve the talent acquisition function. The first step is to leverage recruiting technology to make data visible and easy to interpret. The role of the recruiter is undergoing significant change. The days of the business passing the responsibility and accountability for hiring from the talent acquisition team back to the hiring managers is here. Adopting brand advocacy and social referrals as a single pipeline initiative, as well as giving recruiters access to internal employee data for internal mobility and ex-employee data for alumni sourcing, helps recruiters to build candidate pipelines now and in the future, with hires connecting and following companies for up to seven months before becoming applicants.

In 2014, the role of the recruiter is that of a project manager, managing each new job as the start of a new project, with a visible project plan incorporating stakeholders, tasks, resources and critical

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deadlines. This makes progress visible and manageable and automated applicant tasks and self- service scheduling makes the process visible similar to a service level agreement.

Assessments, video screening, knowledge tests, background screens and data profiling can all be delivered through automation. These tools combined with self-service scheduling, puts the candidate at the center of the hiring process and reduces time-to-hire and cost-per-hire, and improves candidate experience. This is because candidates are only invited to become applicants when they fit the role. It eliminates the guess work. Talent acquisition is changing and the organizations that win will be the ones that embrace the winds of change.


This paper incorporates the research findings of 120 global enterprises and their current hiring practices and incorporates the findings of the following research documents:

• CareerXroads: Source of Hire 2013

• The Candidate Experience Awards – U.S. and U.K.

• Global Human Capital Trends 2014: Engaging the 21st Century Workforce: Bersin by Deloitte

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About the Author

Bill Boorman has worked in and around recruiting and talent acquisition for the past 30 years. He founded #tru events (the recruiting unconference) in 2011, and has hosted over 180 events during the last three years. During this time he has met with and spoken to more than 2,000 talent acquisition professionals in 65 countries to understand how the market is changing, and to research real examples of best practice.

Boorman divides his time between hosting #tru events, commenting on recruiting, advising talent technology companies to build products for the modern age. He has assisted Oracle, Hard Rock Café, BBC and KPMG on integrating social recruiting and talent innovation, and in 2012 was recognized as the third most influential person in on-line recruiting. He has been described by HRExaminer editor, John Sumser, as “creative chaos,” and by China Gorman, CEO of Great Places to Work as the “King of Social Recruiting.” Boorman is the Lead Advisor to Take the Interview. You can find him at www. recruitingunblog.com or @BillBoorman.

About Take the Interview

Take the Interview is the only comprehensive cloud and mobile technology platform specifically designed to solve the challenges of the interviewing process. Regardless of the interviewing medium whether live, in-person; a telephone screen; or through video Take the Interview automates, streamlines and helps standardize the process and related communications while providing analytics for advanced decision making.

More information can be accessed at www.taketheinterview.com.

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