Talent Acquisition professionals are facing a turbulent time at the moment. On episode 109 of Talent & Growth we spoke to Jan Tegze, the Director of Technical Recruiting at Tricentis, about how we can develop ourselves and our careers in 2023. Jan describes himself as a recruiter and someone who likes to share. He shared his advice in his book Full Stack Recruiter and on our podcast.

How can we get better at our jobs in talent acquisition?

Get training. My book is a manual for recruiters, because knowledge is very limited in our industry. There are some online courses but I don’t believe there are good ones, and they are usually really expensive. People don’t understand the basics, so we’re struggling. We are facing the shift in the tools that are on the market. What I’m seeing is the opportunity to type ‘scream outreach message for Java developers working in IBM’, and getting it sent out. What we need is some kind of curiosity to explore and test things. No one is testing them by sending In Mail messages and getting results from it. I created several profiles last year and sent about 76,000 connection requests from them with various templates and customizations to understand what the best template is to increase the number of people who accept my connection request. What we are lacking is the willingness to spend extra time to test the theory. We need to get the results and share them with our community. 

My timeline is filled with Chat GPT posts. The results are amazing, but it’s like nobody’s questioning it. Everyone is excited, but people need to be sceptical too, because if we only spend our time with tools, where does innovation go? How are we going to try new things if we rely on those tools for outreach? I believe it’s a terrible idea. During outreach, you need to bring your unique perspectives to your candidates. That leaves a strain on consultants, because they’re using really terrible outreach messages that are presented by the AI good ones. People are accepting that they will not get the best results from it, because those messages are not good at all, and we’re just accepting poor quality outreach. We need to put people back into the process if we want to keep improving. 

How do businesses make the most out of NCAA teams without breaking the bank?

First of all, use the data. There are still a lot of companies that are not using talent mapping, so they’re trying to hire people with unique skill sets on markets when there are only five of them out there. Companies are spending an incredible amount of money on agencies who are submitting 10 candidates for just one hire. To process those nine other candidates, you’re burning the time of your hiring team. 

You can use data to see what’s working well, where you need to improve your performance and what you need to change. Train your recruiters, not just how to find people, but how to create good outreach messages. It’s an art; you need to understand how to create the message, what types of messages to create and how to work with your hiring manager. 

The biggest failing of every team is believing that every candidate should be motivated. If they are, they apply directly. Otherwise they were headhunted. Especially in tech fields, the majority of those candidates are headhunted people who already have a job, but they are still treated like they decided to apply for a job and asked why they’re not so excited about it. After the interview, the feedback is typically that the candidates are not looking for a change. TA partners need to start acting more like business partners by helping hiring managers understand those little differences. That’s something we can always improve, no matter what sector we’re working in. 

How can companies be more creative in attracting the best talent to the business?

It’s all about how you treat the people you already have. Company culture is the main thing that attracts people. If you are trying to help people, those people will share that information with their friends. That gives you referrals, because people who are engaged with the culture will share more of your company content and say good things about you both on and offline. If you have a good culture, people will also be eager to get involved with outreach events. If your people are treated with respect and care, they’ll sing your praises to anyone who will listen, which is the best way to attract people to your company. 

What’s one thing that TA professionals should do in 2023 to succeed?

You need to learn new things. Think about how you could implement AI to speed up your process. You should be exploring those tools, because it will help you and your company by improving your ATS. One example is using Chat GPT as a teacher that will help me improve my coding skills or understand things in a more simple way. It’s showing me how I can explain things in simple terms for a person who doesn’t understand it. Don’t be afraid of losing your place, you won’t be replaced by those tools. Explore them and find a way to learn from it or use it for your benefit. That will be what sets you apart in the coming months. 

To hear more about using AI for the future of TA, tune into the Talent & Growth podcast here

With a recession looming, lots of recruiters are feeling the pinch. It’s an unfortunate fact that when businesses have to tighten their belts, talent acquisition professionals are some of the first to be let go. On Episode 107 of the Talent & Growth Podcast, we spoke to Kristian Bright, the Recruitment Lead at Rooser and Co-Founder of DBR, about his experience of being let go last year. He shared the mindset that got him through, and how you can survive a recession in recruitment. 

How can you future-proof your position as a recruiter?

It’s all about your mindset. Whatever happens is a learning experience, so try not to worry too much. Your mindset also needs to address how you approach challenging situations, and find the positives you can draw from it. A redundancy isn’t a failure or defeat, it’s just a change in circumstances. 

The best way to future-proof your career is to build great relationships in the industry. Your relationship with your stakeholders is absolutely crucial, because they’re the ones who can actually help you when your company’s struggling. Keep them updated about what you’re doing and show up consistently. As a recruiter, you’ve kind of got to shed your ego and admit that you need them, and that you’re all in this together. It’s in their interest to help you. 

How can recruiters work towards becoming indispensable?

You need to understand how the business works and how it makes money. Get to know the business plan, what the objectives are and the perspectives of different teams within the company. Immerse yourself in all of it. From there, you can figure out where you can have an impact. You might not be an expert in this field anytime soon, but what do you need to know? How can you have a positive impact? What are the key hires? You need to know exactly where the gaps are, and how you can fill them. 

If you’ve had to move because of the recession, understanding how the company recruits will set you up for success. Figure out what’s good about their process. What’s been challenging? How have they found and hired people to date? Do a lot of the hires have a connection to somebody in the team? Spend time understanding where those connections came from. Find out what they look for in a candidate from a skill set and behavioural perspective. Spend a month learning and observing. Kick off those relationships with your hiring managers and keep bringing people together. 

What advice would you give to somebody in TA who has been let go from their jobs in the last few months?

If you have a network, utilise it. Spend time building it in a meaningful way. Figure out how to utilise and leverage that network. You never know, one of those connections could find you a job. Can you build a bit of momentum behind your job search? 

When you’re job searching, set yourself small goals. Your objective is to get a new role, but set yourself some smaller goals as well. Can you get an intro call with somebody who’s hiring? Can you get an interview? Are you going to reach out to like a certain number of people to start some conversations? Work towards each of those, and it’ll all fall into place. 

It’s about learning. Open yourself to opportunities, network with people, reflect on what you want from each opportunity and play to your strengths. You have to stay true to your values and motivations. Just because you’re looking for work doesn’t mean you have to compromise your authenticity. If you’re not true to yourself, you could end up in this position again in the next six to twelve months’ time. You need to put yourself in a healthy environment where you can make good decisions and be effective in your role. 

To hear more about how you can recession-proof your role as recruiter, listen to Episode 107 of the Talent & Growth Podcast here

With the threat of an economic downturn looming, recruiters are looking for ways to recession-proof their businesses. On Episode 105 of the Talent & Growth Podcast we spoke to Rassam Yaghmaei of the Recruiters InDa House podcast about how we can use data to our advantage in this uncertain climate. 

What are the challenges facing TA in this market? 

Investment is shifting from a focus on hiring people and building teams to coordination, sourcing, recruitment, programme management, hiring, diversity, etc. What’s going to happen in the next year is a focus on hyper-specialised recruitment firms offering a more holistic approach to talent. We’ve also evolved into coordination professionals, team leaders, sourcing managers, programme managers, TA programme managers… a whole group of leaders who created their own value by creating expectations. We’re back to basics, so if you don’t have all the information, you don’t have the documentation, you don’t have an inspiring manager for this or that, it’s up to you to go and make it happen. I feel that a lot of the people have lost that view. We’re going to have to be prepared to be flexible in the next year, and use data to support what we’re doing. 

How can we use data to be as effective and influential in our roles as possible? 

Data has often been seen as a sales metric. That’s changing, because you need to understand how many client interviews and prospecting actions you need to make, or how many candidates you need to send to a client to get a deal or invoice done. Data is actually a business-oriented tool, it’s not limited to sales. Data is key to marketing, it’s a tool to understand how to get your message across, how to be in more social interactions with people etc. 

Business leaders and hiring managers didn’t necessarily think that data could be adapted to recruitment, or that recruiters could have these deep conversations about upcoming trends. They’re surprised when we come and say “This is a problem, this is how we’re going to measure it over the next weeks, here’s the data.” Data is the future for recruitment because it’s led to great conversations with the business we work with. Recruitment teams and business leaders now want data on every executed job, like “How many open positions and offer rejections do we have, and what’s our average time to hire?” 

KPIs for recruitment need to go beyond the results. Sometimes you need super detailed metrics of “How many female level two engineers in Brighton did I have in the past six months that did the level two interview?”. That’s very granular, so it doesn’t give us a real sense of why we need to look at it. At the end of the spectrum, we’re only looking at applying the funnel and analysing conversion ratios on every job. Looking at your whole process and analysing every interval shows you where the ratio of conversion is from stage to stage. That shows you where you can change the discrimination ratio of phone screenings or highlight that the client wants less tests to be sent after phone screenings because they want you to filter more candidates out at that stage. It’s all about optimising your process. 

If you identify the super detailed metrics that you want to look at, they can show you where you can do better. It gives you better conversations on the executive side as well, because you can show your leaders why you’re only at 50% of the target or why we had this amount of rejections. That’s what we’ve been looking at regularly, because in your meetings, you’re going to say these numbers, and you can already have an action plan, because you know somebody’s going to ask “Okay, so what are you going to do about it?”. 

Do you think there’s any data that’s looked at too much, or is there anything that people aren’t talking about enough?

When we talk about data and recruitment, people often think there’s something going wrong. Most of the time, people will associate those issues with the top of the funnel, and that sourcing has to be the problem. The assumption is that we need to source more people, send more outreaches or write them better. Our leaders will think that we’re not looking at the right talent pools, aiming for the right companies, or haven’t understood the role well enough. The truth is that 90% of the problem is elsewhere. Most of the problems are further along in the process, where my hiring manager isn’t trained to interview people well, our salary brands suck, our process is too long, etc. All those conversations are hidden because it’s so easy to say sourcing is a problem, and much harder to admit that our brand is shit and we need to work on a big marketing campaign or work on communication. 

Data is great because it opens the conversation, and proves where your issues are. If you look into conversion ratios, you can say, “We’ve seen 50 candidates on site, and only two have gone into the final interview. Is that a good conversion? What’s going on there?” That is really the role of a recruiter. We’re becoming far more strategic and actually addressing the issues in the company in a holistic way. We can use data to provide an insightful business solution in different areas of the process.

To hear more about the future of recruitment and how data will play a role in its success, tune into the full episode of Talent & Growth here

Salary transparency is a topic that’s been spreading across professional circles in recent months. On Episode 103 of the Talent & Growth Podcast we spoke to Hannah Williams about how her company Salary Transparent Street is building better conversations around money. Their goal is to break taboos surrounding money, get people equal pay and break pay secrecy. Hannah spoke to us about how we can help them do that. 

What’s the vision for Salary Transparency Street?

It’s just to give people the resources to advocate for themselves. Our vision is pay transparency, which will help people get paid fairly – especially women, minorities, workers with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community or anyone else who is biassed against or victimised.  Pay secrecy plays a really big part in that mistreatment of minorities. By having these open conversations and encouraging people to talk about money with their colleagues and their friends, we’re going to help close those pay gaps.

What kind of response do you get from people when asking them about their professions and salary history? 

It’s really good. I think a lot of people think that there’s a lot of negativity, but most people are excited to talk to me and share, especially now that we get recognised. People say, “You’re that salary transparency girl, can I do an interview?” They’re excited to put that information out there. There are differences with various demographics that we chat with. Younger people are a lot more likely to be excited and open to those conversations than older people. Gen X and Boomers often give responses like “What do you want next? My Social Security number?” and I have to accept that they’re not into the conversation, and that’s okay. 

Sometimes we just have conversations with people on the street who are curious about what we do. People tell us that they’re not allowed to share their salary, or they had to sign an NDA. I love those opportunities, because they’re learning opportunities. They give me a chance to share education with them and tell them that’s illegal; there’s a labour law that says you have every right to discuss your pay. Most people aren’t aware of that. Companies take advantage of us every day with this illegal mentality that you’re not allowed to talk about your salary. Even when we get push-back, I feel like it’s always a learning opportunity to share education or insight that makes people think twice about why they’re told money should be secret.

What impact do you think 100% salary transparency would have on equality and pay gaps if we got there?

It would not close them. There’s always going to be this implicit bias which we can’t close, so there’s going to be that 1%. But I think salary transparency would remove almost 99% of those gaps. Right now, when people go into conversations about pay at interviews, it’s all on candidates or possible employees to set the benchmarks. They have no idea what a company’s individual budget is, no matter how much market research they do. That means there’s always going to be opportunities for people to be underpaid. Salary transparency solves that by showing that this role is about 50-60k. Candidates can go in knowing that they’re worth 58k because of the market research and their certifications. It’ll remove that huge gap, because the gap is caused by people not negotiating or people being undercut because of bias.

Unfortunately, companies could have fixed this problem a long time ago, but they didn’t.  Now we’re in a bit of a mess, where people are thinking about how much their colleague is making and worrying that they’re constantly being underpaid. If companies had felt the onus of responsibility to pay their employees fairly from the beginning and put pay ranges in all their job descriptions, we wouldn’t really be having these conversations. So many of us are uncomfortable with people knowing how much we make, but we shouldn’t be. How much you make says absolutely nothing about who you are or what you bring to society. When people feel embarrassed or ashamed, that’s when that taboo comes in, which is another thing that we’re trying to get rid of. 

Do you think that we might start seeing the progress stopping because the power is shifting back to corporations in the hiring market?

Unfortunately, that is a very likely scenario. A lot of the fear mongering about a recession coming up is also not accurate, because we’re still seeing a really strong labour market where people are still quitting their jobs and finding new ones. We need to keep going, because unfortunately, the reality is that we do have that power imbalance. That’s why transparency is so important, because employees are the ones that are able to be taken advantage of. If you really need a job, you’re not going to do things that might risk that job offer such as negotiating your salary or asking for more. That enables companies to take advantage of them. It’s a very likely possibility that if we do slip into a recession there will be a resulting lull in the positive movement for labour and legislation. But, it’s not the end of things if there’s a little bit of a setback with the economy. We just have to keep pushing. 

To hear more about Hannah’s work and how we can reduce pay gaps in our industry, tune into the full episode of the Talent & Growth Podcast here