Archives for September 2019

AI, recruitment, and the essential role of strategic talent sourcers

AI, recruitment, and the essential role of strategic talent sourcers

Content Team

Paired with strategic talent sourcing, artificial intelligence (AI) elevates recruitment strategies. Want to know how? Watch our mini video now, or read more below.

When properly aligned, AI and human talent skills help you find stronger candidates. This combination enables you to attract niche candidates and other star talent.

But what are the key considerations for integrating AI into your talent acquisition processes? We talked with three of our global sourcing leaders about what works and what doesn’t.

team discussing client satisfation
A Hudson RPO talent team uses sourcing technology to help identify candidates.

Read on to discover how:

  • AI elevates the role of talent sourcers
  • Fairness must be entrusted to recruiters, not AI
  • A human approach can offer tremendous creativity

We’ll also explore which parts of recruitment should and should not be automated, before digging into how to best leverage tech with strategic sourcing, for short-term vs. long-term hiring.

By the end, you’ll discover how to fine-tune a talent process that successfully bridges AI benefits with the extraordinarily wonderful human competencies of experienced sourcers and recruiters.

From a talent sourcing view, AI is your biggest ally

Let’s be clear: AI has not replaced talent sourcers, and it won’t be doing so any time soon.

The process of sourcing great candidates includes far too many touch points that require a meaningful human connection.

As talent leaders, we must display emotion, establish trust, share humor, and more. And, it almost goes without saying, we must exercise our uniquely human ability to convey empathy.

Typically, when you’re recruiting for specialized roles, you need technology solutions that enable high-touch (human-led) recruitment.

Conversely, when you’re dealing with high-volume recruitment, you need to consider solutions that are more technology-based, rather than recruiter-driven.

While technology can automate much of the traditional administrative work associated with finding and sorting resumes and CVs, it can also elevate the role of talent sourcer from junior contributor to strategic partner.

Think of it this way, says Cameron Davidson, Director of Strategic Sourcing for Hudson RPO in APAC:

Cameron Davidson, Director of Strategic Sourcing, explores the intersection of AI and sourcing.

“Where AI drops off, the strategic sourcer picks up, thanks to the talent sourcer’s ability to represent the company’s employer brand, to begin building a strong relationship and to gauge the quality level of the candidate.”

With AI tools powering different parts of the recruitment process, sourcing now depends heavily on the ability of talent specialists to drive engagement with preferred candidates.

George McRobbie, Service Delivery Director for Hudson RPO in EMEA, explains: “Talent sourcers put significant energy into candidate management and opportunity marketing to build strong talent pipelines. Great talent sourcers play a vital role as business partners to recruiters and hiring managers.”

George McRobbie
George McRobbie, Service Delivery Director, discusses AI in recruitment processes.

Technology and sourcing: maintaining fairness

If you’re going to embed AI into your talent processes, then you need to consider fairness and objectivity within the design of AI.

So, can AI be biased?

Yes, just as much as any person can.

Any kind of AI can be biased, depending on the biases of the original coder or coding team.

“Tech isn’t smart enough to teach itself,” says Cameron. “Talent sourcers need to teach it by applying augmented intelligence.”

Bias does happen. It’s up to recruiters and talent sourcers to call it out.

For example, an AI tool was found to be using data patterns to eliminate female candidates from Amazon opportunities.

It’s true: AI in recruitment can become biased. For this reason, humans need to regularly review patterns and outcomes, and intervene when necessary.

George explains: “In the Amazon example, the tool was responding to patterns in resumes submitted during the previous decade. Given most resumes were from men, the tool began rating female candidates lower. It was an imperfection, which required a human being to catch. As talent professionals, we need to monitor results of the tools to check whether the tools learn bias in recruitment.”

There are many tools available to help recruiters eliminate the potential for bias. One example is the gender bias decoder tool, which scans job adverts for gender-coded words. It’s a free tool, based on a research paper that appeared in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The strategic sourcer: flexible, creative, resourceful

The human touch enables a wider view of candidate potential, sometimes more than AI can offer on its own.

Upon reviewing a candidate’s potential, Tara DePeau, Recruitment Consultant for Hudson RPO client GSK, regularly considers whether they might be suited to other roles within the company.

Tara says: “If the candidate is targeting a director-level title, I’ll see if there’s an associate director role available, so the candidate might grow into the role. This approach is also better for candidates because it gives them a stronger chance of securing a role with the company.”

Tara DePeau, Recruitment Consultant for Hudson RPO client GSK, says talent sourcers must take a personal approach to drive candidate engagement.

She explains: “Advanced sourcing is the difference between 10 solid candidates, vs. 100 candidates who are mostly not interested. This is particularly important if you need to quickly fill many specialized or senior roles. Done right, it’s like having a personalized salesperson promoting the opportunity.

“For example, I read candidates’ resumes and personalize the outreach to include a specific reference to their background. I also network with the hiring manager and their team. Does the candidate’s background share similarities with theirs? For example, did they attend the same college? If so, the college should be a good source of candidates.”

While technology allows sourcers to be more productive, the human factor enables them to be strategic.

George explains: “Sourcers are also the face of your employer brand. They’re usually the first human representative of your employer brand that a candidate engages with. The marketing department proactively pushes the brand, but the sourcer needs to represent your brand well, sharing key talking points with authenticity.”

What parts of sourcing should be automated?

AI in recruitment can’t build key relationships the way that humans can. But it can reduce time spent on administration, for example.

But even before that, or perhaps alongside, there exist other talent functions that are best served by people, or at least, by a combination of machine and human.

These tasks are often well-served, at least in part, by automation:

APAC Group at table
AI in recruitment can’t build key relationships the way that humans can. But it can reduce time spent on administration, for example.
  • Screening
  • Sourcing
  • Candidate assessments

But many talent professionals still recommend an element of human input into these processes.

For harder-to-fill roles, strategic sourcers will look for transferable skills, says Tara. Sourcers are well-equipped to spot potential in a more junior candidate, she adds.

Tara recommends personalized sourcing. This means personalizing communications based on relevant qualifications and other details that a recruiter has picked up on while researching the candidate.

“Whichever side of the hiring table on which you sit, people like the personalized experience,” Tara says. “This multipronged approach is a higher level of recruitment.”

Resume software is another grey area, where machine learning benefits from human oversight.

Cameron says: “AI and technology tools do provide easy access to talent. AI can leverage keywords and filter groups of candidates. However, it doesn’t fully understand the nuances of CVs. Some CVs are better written than others.”

Tara has also observed the limitations of resume software.

She says: “I agree, not all CVs are equal. Some may not have the right keywords included to be detected in automated search. For example, certain consulting roles have general analyst titles, but their resumes don’t speak to the specific industry experience.”

Leveraging AI in recruitment for different hiring needs

Of course, the point of all this is not to use technology for technology’s sake.

But, there are a multitude of administrative, repetitive steps that go into recruitment and talent sourcing. Augmented reality can help you reclaim time from these resource-diverting projects.

This approach offers short-term as well as long-term benefits. Expediting or automating low-skilled tasks enables your HR specialists to add value to other key business opportunities and initiatives.

From market expansion to salary levels, AI in recruitment can be used to help scope business priorities and opportunities.

Longer term, if the business is considering a market expansion, you should absolutely seek talent sourcer input. This is likely to include technology-assisted talent mapping.

Sourcers can research the available talent and compensation requirements. Decisions based on these insights can make or break a company’s market expansion plans.

Knowing whether key talent exists in a geography is also critical to new market success.

George says: “Particularly in a competitive market, talent sourcers advise the business on candidate expectations around salary and other career incentives. We’re often trying to tempt people out of their current jobs. Collecting and sharing candidate feedback can help inform the business strategy on how to effectively attract elusive candidates.”

He explains further: “The ideal scenario involves the recruiter serving as a project manager, taking a business partner role. In addition to looking after active vacancies, the recruiter supports the longer-term strategy. Knowledgeable recruiters can be consulted on all matters pertaining to the candidate market.

George McRobbie at computer
George McRobbie helps review sourcing tools

“Talent sourcers can use human- and tech-based insights to provide market intelligence to the business. This enables proactive sourcing and strategic marketing of the employer brand.”

Want to learn more about AI in recruitment?

When it comes to using technology in recruitment, best practices are often found at a local level. Moreover, data protection laws will also vary by country and region. Learn more about our recruitment technology services or contact us for more information.

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

Related articles

Digital skills shortage: IR35 and Brexit create the perfect storm

Digital skills shortage: IR35 and Brexit create the perfect storm

Content Team

In many ways, the digital skills shortage is the result of a perfect storm striking the UK.

Every day, businesses in all sectors are launching large-scale digital transformation projects. Yet, they often struggle to attract and retain the skills to deliver them.

The storm that could derail these projects is composed of several elements.

To begin, the integration of big data, cloud computing, and AI presents a complex challenge. These forces are fuelled by the development of robotic processes, cognitive recognition, and blockchain technologies.

To make matters more interesting, business leaders must also plan for the effects of IR35 and Brexit, discussed in more detail below.

These forces create a perfect storm looming over UK enterprise, and all businesses which seek to maintain competitive advantage must be mindful of its potential impact.

Miles Stribbline
Miles Stribbling discusses how Brexit and IR35 affect the digital skills shortage.

After all, the ability to attract investors and key talent may be at risk. Miles Stribbling, Consultant at Hudson RPO, shares his observations and insights.

IR35: a threat to contracted digital skills

If it isn’t hard enough to compete with Google, Goldman Sachs, Apple, and Amazon, HMRC have decided to play a trump card by extending Intermediaries Legislation (IR35) legislation into the private sector.

Presenting significant changes to work rules and contractor rights, IR35 comes into effect in April of 2020. These rule changes apply to companies with 250 or more employees.

IR35 is not an entirely new concept, of course, with changes to the legislation first being introduced to the public sector in 2017. A 2018 study by CIPD and IPSE revealed that more than 50% of managers lost contractors when HMRC implemented new IR35 legislation in the public sector. More than 70% of managers said they struggled to retain skilled contractors due to tax changes.

When Her Majesty’s Government first introduced IR35 in 2000, it was designed to address the problem of contractors working through personal service companies to avoid paying employment taxes. However, the door was left open for employers to take a blanket approach and refuse negotiation about terms of engagement with individual contractors.

Unsurprisingly, this was poorly received by the contractor population.

To add insult to injury, it marked the beginning of a major shift towards outsourcing significant chunks of back office support and development work to the other side of the world.

Over time, much of this work has been ‘near-shored’. The contractor workforce has recovered and provides significant value and flexibility to companies that don’t have either the budget or headcount to employ the skills it needs permanently. That is, until now.

Currently in the private sector, companies are turning to their IR35 readiness playbooks and realising that, this time, there is little place to hide. They must take their employment responsibilities seriously.

As for the contractors, they have long memories and are not going to make it easy for their beloved clients (ie employers) to get off the hook so lightly this time.

Suddenly, the offer of full-time employment, employment rights, employee benefits, employee bonuses, and job security seems a fair trade-off for self-assessment, timesheets, and uncertainty. But it won’t come cheap! The average cost increase to convert a day-rate contractor to a permanent employee is the cost of employers’ National Insurance, at 13.8% (see note 1), plus the additional costs of payroll and benefits. And that’s before you’ve even got to the negotiating table.

Highly sought digital skills come at a premium, and those who have them are in the driving seat.

The role of Brexit in the digital skills shortage

Brexit represents the crashing waves and gale force winds of this perfect storm.

Of course, nobody knows what to expect occur over the coming weeks and months.

However, many employers are concerned that the UK is becoming less attractive to candidates who offer high-demand digital skills. These are the candidates needed to deliver digital transformation projects.

Many of these highly skilled employees hail from European countries. To an extent, it’s still unclear how Brexit will affect these workers and their appetite to continue working in the UK. Many employers are concerned about whether key digital skills will be widely available post-Brexit.

In times of uncertainty, stay upbeat about innovation

While the immediate future may look bleak, there are many things to remain positive about. The Brexit situation will eventually resolve. Businesses can then make decisions based on the UK Government’s direction.

There is a huge amount of support available to organisations that are struggling to find their way during these tumultuous times. The UK remains at the bleeding edge of financial services, fintech, technology, innovation, and data management.

Dylan Thomas, deputy director of technology, entrepreneurship, and advanced manufacturing at the Department for International Trade, recently observed: “In human history, when it comes to technology, innovation almost always occurs at periods of crisis, uncertainty, and adversity.”

By providing in-demand skills and knowledge, contractors are key contributors to corporate innovation. Yet, many companies may struggle to retain contractor services, following Brexit and the imminent changes in tax law. The right managed services provision (MSP) enables a robust talent pipeline, even when uncertainty abounds.

Creating a strategy for the digital skills shortage

So, where do you go to find the required talent at an affordable price?

Perhaps we can help. Hudson RPO are global leaders in recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) and managed services.

Since 1999, customers have trusted us for innovative, customised recruitment outsourcing, and talent solutions. We offer an exceptional ability to source and hire candidates with hard-to-find skills on behalf of our clients.

Our approach is highly consultative, professional, and above all, honest. We may not have all the solutions to the challenging times ahead, but we would welcome the opportunity to talk to you, to see how we can help.



1. HMRC: National Insurance rates and categories. Accessed 24 September 2019.

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

Related articles

SOSUEU heats up with Hudson RPO talent sourcers attending

Sourcing Summit Europe (SOSUEU) showcases the latest thinking in talent sourcing. We’re incredibly delighted to announce that three of our multilingual talent sourcers will be attending.

The team representing Hudson RPO includes Jessie Caudron and Marjorie Gaume, who source French- and English-speaking candidates.

Jessie specialises in pharma recruitment, while Marjorie supports the Toyota account.

Three workers at SOSUEU meeting
SOSUEU: Marjorie Gaume, Aniq Butt, and Jessie Caudron will represent Hudson RPO

Also representing Hudson RPO is Aniq Butt, who can source talent in English, French, and Urdu.

Taking place in October, SOSUEU is one of the industry’s biggest events for talent sourcers.

In the run up to the event, Jessie, Marjorie, and Aniq, have participated in a virtual SOSUEU sourcing competition. For several weeks, they have vied with talent sourcers from around the world to complete a variety of complex sourcing challenges. The race has proven tight, and it will be exciting to see who wins.

Regardless, it’s proven good practice for our skilled and dedicated talent sourcers, who share their thoughts on participating in the challenge and the wider experience of SOSUEU below.

Which presentations are you most excited about?

Aniq: I’m excited to hear the SOSUEU presentations on ‘sourcing blue-collar workers’ and ‘using psychology to improve sourcing power’.

Marjorie: ‘Finding talent in unexpected places’ will be interesting, as the sourcing world is always evolving. It’s important to adapt and to always find new way to find candidates.

Jessie: Every year, Irina Shamaeva shares her best hacks of the year at SOSUEU. Last year, her presentation was mind-blowing, so I’m really looking forward to see what she’s prepared this time! The OSINT case study with the Netherlands’ police sounds very interesting as well.

Is there a particular sourcer you hope to meet?

Aniq: Florian Bonnet! He’s a popular Hudson RPO talent sourcing alum.

Marjorie: There are so many well-known sourcers present at this event. It’s difficult to name just one!

If pressed, I would say Laura Gonzalez as she has previously worked at Hudson RPO, and it’s quite inspiring to see that you can become a reference in this industry.

Jessie: As Marjorie says, there are so many good sourcers who will be present! It will be really good to be surrounded by the top sourcers in the world.

I’m looking forward to meeting Morgane Dalbergue. I follow her on Twitter and absolutely love her candidate-centric philosophy!

Tell us about participating in the sourcing challenge.

Aniq: It’s great, I wouldn’t change a thing about this. I might book a few days off to do this next year. You end up spending hours doing this.

Marjorie: This is a really interesting competition. The questions are really diverse. Some are easier than others.

But, as there were several of us within the team taking part, that made the competition more interesting.

We were trying to compete with our own colleagues. In the end, my two main goals were of course to win a free ticket, but also to try to beat my colleagues.


Jessie: I absolutely love that challenge! It’s a great way to learn and practice tricks that you wouldn’t really use every day.

Plus, it’s a good team-bonding experience as the first thing that we did every morning at work was discuss the latest question and how tricky it was! It’s also nice to see that even our Centre of Excellence (CoE) director is competitive and willing to give it a try.

Stay up to date with SOSUEU!

Follow us on Twitter for all the latest coverage from #SOSUEU. We’ll have live coverage featuring the hottest sourcing tips and insights.

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

Related articles

Life sciences recruitment advice: discover how to compete for talent

Life sciences recruitment advice: discover how to compete for talent

Content Team

Life sciences recruitment is tough. Incredibly so. How can you compete more effectively for talent in today’s life sciences environment? Watch our video, or read below for advice from a senior life sciences recruiter.

Life sciences recruitment: a competitive landscape

Change seems to be the one thing you can count on in life sciences recruitment.

Even compared to two years ago, candidates are better informed and prepared to make fast decisions.

Perhaps more than anything, today’s candidates know their value.

In this environment, talent acquisition leaders and hiring managers must continuously deepen their understanding of the candidate market, says Gary Jones, director of life sciences recruitment at Hudson RPO in the Americas.

Gary Jones Headshot
Gary Jones explores current trends in life sciences recruitment.

To hire top quality talent when you need it, make sure you have a well-defined employer brand and streamlined recruitment processes.

Hiring decisions need to be informed, but designed to be delivered more quickly than in the past.

If you haven’t hired in the last several months or a couple of years, the candidate market and recruiting world of life sciences has changed and will require that you change with it to successfully compete for top talent.

Create the vision, or candidates will

For top candidates, great roles are like buses. Another will be along in a minute.

There’s an abundance of compelling opportunities in today’s market. In-demand life science candidates are making quick decisions about taking new career opportunities. The risk is low. They know if they choose the wrong role, it’s easy to find another.

Plus, these well-informed candidates are better positioned than ever to make quick decisions. Using social media and sites such as Glassdoor, they’ve studied the market and a range of companies. This includes you and your competitors’ employer brands, cultures, and employer reputations. They’ve talked to their networks and have formed opinions.

Put simply, if you aren’t deliberately creating and sharing a compelling employer brand story with candidates, candidates are creating another version.

In life sciences recruitment, don’t delay the job offer

I can’t state it enough. When you’ve got a match, make an offer.

Some hiring managers decide they want to interview a certain number of candidates before the interview process even begins.

The number always seems random, such as “I need to see seven candidates,” or “we’ll make our choice after 10.”

If candidate number two is perfect, why add several months to the recruitment process to meet some arbitrary number?

In this market, the candidate hiring process is like a hot home-buying market. Before you begin your search, you determine your preferred criteria, such as neighborhood, price, etc.

medical worker in mask
To secure top candidates in life sciences, you must be prepared to make offers without delay.

You have your ducks in a row so that when you find a home you love, you can make a quick offer. You don’t say, “I’m in love with this house, but let’s look at eight more just in case.”

In a hot home-buying market, any delays in making an offer pretty much guarantee you’ll miss out.

That same sense of urgency permeates today’s candidate market in the life sciences sector.

Be reasonable in your requests during the process

Don’t tap candidates on the shoulder and then make them jump through hoops.

If your recruitment team reaches out to a passive candidate and sparks interest, be mindful of how much homework you give the candidate early in the interview process.

Yes, you want to ensure he or she is the right fit, but expecting people to complete a lot of outside assessment work when your company approached them, may not leave the best impression or increase early interest or engagement from a passive candidate.

I’ve had candidates say to me, “You guys approached me, and now you want me to do all this extra work?” See it from the candidate’s view. Then, encourage hiring managers to make reasonable adjustments.

Don’t forget to sell the job to top life sciences candidates

Yes, life sciences sales jobs are usually demanding. However, you can set that expectation while also highlighting the benefits of the role.

I scan the job boards and see opening lines such as, “This position is 24/7 with 100% travel.”

Whoa! Why would anyone read past that? Most life sciences sales roles are demanding. That’s a given. You can communicate the dedication required while also highlighting the benefits of the role and company’s mission.

Excel in life sciences recruitment with strategic innovation

New innovations make competitive markets more competitive.

Flexibility and scalability are important to keep up with new innovations, products, and strategies.

For example, the CEO of a company I support decided to invest significantly in robotics. Naturally, other life science companies are adopting the same strategy. It’s where the industry’s headed.

Such developments make an already competitive talent market even more so.

In that example, the CEO’s new strategy meant a massive hiring drive. Sales and R&D requisitions grew by 300% each, year over year. We had 60 to 90 days to prepare for some incredibly niche positions critical to the company’s growth strategy. Our RPO team was able to flex up resources and support quickly to meet the demand and then scale down once the hiring needs were met.

Sales hiring is always a challenge in the life sciences, pharmaceutical, and medical device fields. Given the product mergers and acquisitions, territory changes, and general turnover, you need fluidity in your recruitment teams and processes, in order to meet shifts in hiring demand.

Great life science candidates are out there, but in this market, you need a strong employer brand plus speed and flexibility built into the life science recruitment process to win over top candidates.

Click through for more information about life sciences recruitment.

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

Related articles

Business innovation: hire great people, then let them experiment

Business innovation: hire great people, then let them experiment

Content Team

Business innovation can be a major influence on competitive advantage, particularly within the talent space.

A lack of innovation bears on an organization’s ability to stand out in a crowded marketplace for great talent.

A lack of innovation can also make talent acquisition less effective and more costly.

Lori Hock, CEO for the Americas, recently spoke with TALiNT International for their September cover feature on organizational innovation, which you can read here.

Alongside other Hudson RPO leaders, Lori addressed what businesses should consider when developing a culture of innovation.

Lori Hock
Lori Hock offers more than 30 years of experience in recruitment and innovation.

To continue driving that conversation forward, we asked Lori for more of her insights, which she has gained from more than 30 years of experience in the talent sector. During that time, she has pioneered a range of innovation initiatives, including implementing a Recruitment Center of Excellence. Discover her insights below.

What does a company need to do to be innovative?

Hire the best people. Assess candidates for creativity and innovation. Train hiring managers on behavioral interview questions that indicate high performance and innovation.

Give permission. Fear crushes innovation, so employees must feel empowered to try new things. If an organization has a culture of blame, it will be safer for employees to stick with their day jobs.

Educate employees on how innovation goes beyond product or service innovation. It extends to business models, operations, policies, and non-client-facing roles.

Innovation is an ongoing effort, otherwise employees will focus on innovation for a few months and then it will be back to business as usual.

What challenges can crop up when innovating?

Managers, who are charged with delivering optimal results around core products and services, may find it easier to tell employees “no” rather than jeopardize results for new ideas.

Educate employees on how to pitch a new idea and to whom.

Create a wider support system for those willing to take on new challenges. Of course, support managers in achieving their core objectives, but don’t let great ideas die at their feet.

When trying new innovations, expect some failures, but frame them as valuable learning opportunities. If employees fear that association with an unsuccessful project will be a black mark on their record, they will avoid participation.

Can innovation ever be overrated?

No. When employees develop an innovation mindset, it leads to breakthroughs and successes. Employees are more engaged and retention rates improve, both of which lead to better results.

What trumps innovation?

Delivering business results and meeting client promises are more important, but innovation fuels continuous improvement for both.

Race to innovate

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

Related articles

Innovative recruitment: Darren Lancaster talks business strategy

Innovative recruitment: Darren Lancaster talks business strategy

Content Team

Innovative recruitment can be a major influence on competitive advantage.

When talent strategies lack innovation, this can make your recruitment process less effective and more costly.

A lack of recruitment innovation also bears on an organisation’s ability to stand out in a crowded marketplace for great talent.

Darren Lancaster, CEO for EMEA, recently spoke with TALiNT International for their September cover feature on organisational innovation, which you can read here.

Alongside other Hudson RPO leaders, Darren addressed what businesses should consider when developing a culture of innovation.

In the spirit of driving that conversation forward, we spoke with Darren about the nature of innovation in the recruitment space.

Darren Lancaster
Innovative recruitment: Darren Lancaster reveals where the industry excels, and where improvements are possible.

As a champion of curiosity-based innovation, Darren offers more than 20 years of experience in the recruitment sector. Discover from him what HR directors and talent specialists can do to enable innovative recruitment.

In which parts of recruitment does innovation excel?

The resource-intensive areas are key. This includes the applied use of technology to help you source, interview and coordinate, select and engage candidates. These are all important parts of the recruitment process. When you can automate one or more of these functions, this gives you more capacity to focus on developing relationships with top candidates.

Automation can help streamline processes and reduce costs. Ultimately, we’re all in a race to hire the best talent, and an efficient process enables this outcome.

What are some of the weaker areas?

What the industry is perhaps lacking in most, would be recruitment systems to track your total workforce(s) through one interface.

For example, you can have an applicant tracking system (ATS) for permanent and fixed-term recruitment, and another vendor management system (VMS) for temporary, contractor, and statement-of-work workers.

The creation of one system that can manage all workers has been discussed for many years, but no one has designed such a system. When such technology does exist, it will add exponential value.

I’ve also written previously about the disconnect between candidate engagement and employer brand. Unless your enterprise includes a level of personal engagement early in the application process, many candidates will never reach the stage of fully discovering your employer brand. Artificial intelligence, for example via chat bots, can help enable that engagement early on.

What are some quick wins for innovative recruitment?

Recruiters and talent sourcers should be your innovation champions. When the people who regularly represent the business are empowered to explore and adopt innovation, anything is possible.

Of course, innovation isn’t always about implementing technology. It can also be about adopting a single change in a process.

A lot of your best ideas already exist within an organisation, or can be created by the minds of brilliant people who know the business best. You just need to create the right culture for innovative ideas to be heard and acted upon.

How can recruiters become more innovative?

The most important aspect is to have a culture of innovation.

Fundamentally, innovation isn’t about putting a sign above a door and saying ‘this is the office responsible for innovation’. At its most organic level, innovation is about everyone contributing and an organisation creating a structure that allows employees to contribute.

Innovation can also be seen as being a product, which isn’t necessarily always the case. It can be about evaluating a current process and changing it with one simple innovative change.

What we have seen is where there is a department for innovation, that is exactly when it doesn’t happen and stops, as everyone thinks it isn’t their responsibility!

What are the advantages of pursuing innovation?

Convenience and flexibility are also key benefits of innovation. For example, at Hudson RPO, we support training and development by offering on-demand skills courses. Our employees can access these courses whenever, and wherever, they are. This also means that we can provide a wider range of skills development, while managing L&D costs.

It depends on what you are trying to achieve and where you or your end clients are along the innovation curve. They may be a luddite, or they may be at the end of the spectrum.

For example, the innovation of three years ago may well be appropriate for a luddite organisation because that innovation would still create genuine value.

In comparison, an organisation that is forward-thinking and sufficiently resourced would be happy to embrace the latest innovative tools on offer. From there, you can gain competitive advantage. An obvious example of this is Apple creating a phone from an already popular iPod.

What advice do you have for introducing innovations?

Whether it’s in recruitment or another business area, innovation must add value.

If it adds value, then the introduction is relatively straightforward. The normal approaches to change management and project management would allow it to become successful.

However, like any change, the adoption of innovation doesn’t always happen quickly. Don’t be too hasty to abandon a new tool, process, etc. To jump back to the example I shared earlier, about offering on-demand skills training, our business needed to experiment with different ways to entice users to engage with it regularly. It certainly wasn’t overnight. The rights comms and outreach strategy are key. The longer-term value is often worth the effort.

Can recruitment innovation ever be overrated?

No, of course not. The world wouldn’t have developed without it. One possible problem, however, is that organisations can become obsessed with doing it.

But, to remain competitive and continue providing added value, we need to lead the industry in trialling, implementing, and recommending the best innovations in rectech and beyond.

With the right innovation, you can create a better candidate experience and business outcomes.

When it comes to business, what trumps innovation?

Doing what you are supposed to really well and looking after your customer — these are always fundamental.

The other aspect is if it is important to create a culture of innovation, equally important is a culture of curiosity. An organisation full of curious innovators is one hell of a combination!

Click through to learn more about innovation and recruitment technology.

Race to innovate

Hudson RPO

Content Team

The Hudson RPO Content Team is made up of experts within the Talent Acquisition industry across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions. They provide educational and critical business insights in the form of research reports, articles, news, videos, podcasts, and more. The team ensures high-quality content that helps all readers make talent decisions with confidence.

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