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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