The recruitment industry is vast, covering everything from small, in-house talent acquisition teams to large external agencies. In order to grow and attract clients, recruiters have to rely on marketing and outreach. We spoke to recruiter-turned-marketer Parul Singh on Episode 112 of Talent & Growth about her journey between sectors. Parul is a recruitment marketing partner at xDesign, where she is also passionate about her role as a Neurodiversity Advocate. She unpacked what a day in the life of a recruitment marketer looks like and shared her insights on the future of recruitment marketing. 

How did you get into recruitment marketing, and what were the drivers that motivated you to transition?

When I joined xDesign, I’d built up my personal brand, which was one of the reasons they hired me. The company was originally based in Edinburgh, but we’re looking to expand to areas like Manchester. To grow successfully you have to be involved in the tech community by creating content like newsletters, meetups, etc. Because of my personal brand I was offered a recruitment marketing role to help expand in that area. I toyed with the idea, because I’m a creature of habit. Was I ready to walk away from recruitment? At the time I said “No, I’m not not done yet, I’ve got more work to do.” About six months later, they came back to me, and offered it to me again. By then I’d done some event stuff and collaborated with the marketing team, so saying yes felt absolutely amazing. 

The second offer was also low risk, because they said my role would still be there if I changed my mind. The opportunity allowed me to add more strings to my bow, and I couldn’t say no to developing my career. I moved into the role full time in mid November last year. What really attracted me to it was the ownership I have in the role, and that I can shape it to suit me, because it’s quite different from a typical marketing role. I’m definitely considering it as a full time move, which is such an exciting opportunity because I’d never have thought about doing something like this six months ago.

What does the recruitment marketer do on a day to day basis?

I don’t do typical marketing stuff – it’s not what people think it is. I don’t use Google Analytics, SEO, social media, etc. It will differ from company to company, but my role is focused around increasing our candidate attraction and visibility on the market. The aim is to enable us to continuously hire great people to scale to our company. We have a headcount goal that we want to get to, but we’re not a bums-on-seats company. Some of the things that I’ve been involved in is a large-scale job adverts project. We’ve been looking to revamp our job adverts for quite a long time, but TAs are busy recruiting day in and day out. I’ve been doing research on various companies and job outfits, then running focus groups, coming up with proposals and doing A-B testing. I’m putting myself in the candidate’s shoes, and working with them. 

Other projects I work on include developing candidate personas and doing interviews with people that have joined the business to understand why they applied. What did they like about the hiring process? What stood out about x design? Why did they choose our offer? Has it lived up to their expectations? That feeds into the job adverts we create. Overall, it’s very different to recruitment because I don’t have any hard deadlines, it’s very much long term and strategic. The big difference for me has been that it’s not always “Go go go!” That’s worked really well with my ADHD, because I love recruitment, because there’s so much variety and a lot going on, but I definitely did struggle with getting overwhelmed at times. This is the best of both worlds. It’s still working at pace and with a lot of variety, but without strict deadlines.

What do you think is the future of recruitment marketing?

Part of my research is about the future of this role. If you search LinkedIn jobs for ‘Talent Acquisition Partner’, there are 1000s of results. If you search ‘Recruitment Marketing Partner’, there are a lot less opportunities. I actually have a lot of confidence in the future of the role though, because in the short period I’ve been here, I’ve seen how much scope there is for recruitment marketing. It just surprised me how few companies don’t have a dedicated recruitment marketing person, because it’s a whole job in itself. You can’t have just one foot in for this. I would love to see more companies recognising the value in this. My advice would be to trial one of your TAs as a marketer, and see how it goes. If you want to hire more people, you need to work on your strategy. It’s not just about sending emails out day in and day out. There’s a lot more to it, and marketers can help to guide that output and raise awareness for your company. 

To learn more about recruitment marketing, tune into Parul’s episode of the Talent & Growth podcast here

Greg Savage is a legend when it comes to all things recruitment. On Episode 110 of Talent & Growth he talked us through 6 of his crucial tips for recruiters in 2023. Greg is a recruiting veteran whose career has spanned 44 years, and took him from starting his own company to writing a book that has rapidly been adopted as the recruitment industry’s holy grail. Read on to hear 6 of his most important tips for recruiters this year. 

Tip #1 – Become Indispensable 

When decisions to lay people off are made in the recruitment industry, inevitably, it’s those who put in the least effort who are let go. If you want to survive, you need to make yourself indispensable to the company. If you want to play in the first team rugby, you don’t put in a second team effort. That’s true of life as well. Why would you put in a lowball effort on your job when your job plays into your career, which plays into your life and your happiness? You shouldn’t be doing more because you have to, but you should be putting in enough effort to impress the relevant stakeholders and make yourself indispensable. That means learning new skills, taking opportunities and improving the business, not for your boss, but for your own self esteem as well. 

Tip #2 – Train your People

This one is for people in leadership. You need to get closer to your people than ever before. Don’t think that because people have less options, you can do what you want management wise. I’m seeing recruitment companies saying people have to spend four or five days back in the office. What that suggests is that we’ve got the power again, but that kind of thinking is a mistake, because the best people will always have a choice. Now is the time to re-recruit your staff. Companies have been spending so much time training their new recruits and haven’t spent enough time with their valuable, veteran people. What managers need to do is spend time getting close to everybody, working out what their aspirations are, what training they need and how they fit into the culture and environment. Everybody in your business should be growing. Coaching and training IS retention. 

Tip #3 – Nurture Client Relationships 

Don’t take your current clients for granted. I often ask people, “When did you last see your client face to face?”, and they’ll say “No need to see her, she gives me all her work.” That’s such a dangerous mentality. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to nurture that relationship, when the wheel turns, there’s a good chance you’ll lose that client. Now’s the time to work out who your top 25 clients are and get closer to them. Figure out what’s happening in their company, what more can you do to make yourselves more visible and valuable? If you’re not close to your clients, other people will pick up their business. 

Tip #4 – Don’t Neglect the Little Guys

Reignite dormant client relationships. There is a phrase used in recruitment agencies, where we call companies a second tier client or a B client. The danger with that is lots of recruiters are only focussing on their clients who pay big retainer packages, and all their eggs are in three or four baskets. These ‘second tier’ clients who used to do a lot of work with you are essentially being ignored. That’s bad, because when the wheel turns, you’re going to need them, and they won’t need you. Now is the time to reignite those dormant relationships, and it’s 100x better from doing it face to face. Get them back in your stream and nourish those relationships so that you’re more protected if some of your bigger clients end up falling off.

Tip #5 – Refresh your Sales Skills

There are plenty of recruiters in the UK. The truth of the matter is, most of these recruiters who consider themselves to be experienced, have never done a client meeting in their lives. That’s a problem, because they don’t have any relationships with clients or skills to build meaningful engagement. If you’re one of those people, and you want to stay relevant, refresh your sales approach. Learn how to make an outreach call and how to sell your services and differentiators. You have to be able to differentiate yourself to clients and candidates if you want to stay in business. 

Tip #6 – Maintain Candidate Relationships 

If you run an efficient business, you’ll have a digital ATS. You can use that to rank candidates by some sort of categorization, which is a fantastic thing to do. Here’s why: there’ll be a whole sea of candidates that you didn’t place but ranked well. If you build up a good relationship with them, especially if they’re in senior roles, they might well be potential clients. At the very worst, you’ve given your brand a huge injection of goodwill by taking the time to make them feel valued. A candidate is a candidate for life, and we should work with them throughout their career cycle. You can place people five or six times in their career by putting them on a career path or journey. Building candidates will also save so much time, because they’re in your ecosystem forever – you don’t have to keep sourcing the same candidate over and over for different roles. 

To learn more from the legend that is Greg Savage, tune into the Talent & Growth podcast here to hear the full conversation. 

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

Generative AI has been taking the world by storm. Bots like ChatGPT have been revolutionising the way we work, from writing content to creating strategies. On Episode 101 of Talent & Growth we spoke to Tim Sackett, the President at HRU Technical Resources, about how we can use automations to improve the recruitment industry. 

What are the major changes you have seen in the market in the last 12 months, and what should we be preparing for as we move into the new year?

Dynamic, hourly recruiting software has gotten to the forefront with conversational AI. We’ve started to see companies splitting their tech stack and talent acquisition. If you think about traditional applicant tracking systems (ATS), they were designed for people sitting in front of a computer, going through a process to apply to a job through a career site. If you’re an hourly worker, with low to no skills, more than likely, you’re looking at that job on a mobile device. You don’t want to go through all those steps like filling out an application or uploading a resume that you don’t have on your phone. 

I’ve seen a gigantic conversion increase on sites that are using conversational AI. A typical conversion rate is around 10% on a career site, whereas a chatbot can convert 50 to 70% of candidates who are starting the process. Applicant tracking systems aren’t even paid attention to. A lot of companies are waking up and going, “Wait a minute, we hire 1000 people a year. 900 of those are hourly, 100 of them are salaried. Why did we buy technology for the 10% of our hiring, instead of the 90%?” These platforms are on fire because they’re focusing on the early hiring piece. 

I have to ask myself, is the future of recruiting that we don’t need recruiting? For the most part, 90% of your hiring is posting a job, waiting for somebody to apply, and then processing that person through. Within two or three years, I won’t need humans to do any of that. The remaining 10% of hiring is finding and reaching out to people, building the relationship and getting to know your client’s specific requirements. That will be the real recruiting that’s done. 

What changes are you seeing right now in how companies are using AI?

If you think about the future of recruiting, it’s here already. I believe that eventually, most of the conversations or tactical work we do as recruiters will be completely done by AI. Most of our work can be automated. AI can post jobs on your career site, match it to candidates within your talent pool, reach out to them to see if they’re interested and get updated information, put them through a screening assessment, and schedule an interview. That’s the first time a recruiter will have a conversation with the candidate at all, and that’s the future that programs like ChatGPT are offering us. 

There’s a lot of examples of companies that are taking certain parts of their hiring online and automating it. Let’s start with low-skilled / no-skilled hiring. These are the jobs that pay up to $20 an hour, where the screening process is like, “Do you know what this job is? Can you legally work on this job? Have you been convicted of a crime? Are you going to show up on Monday? Okay, the job is yours.” At that point, conversational AI can approach people on your site and say, “Hi, what can I help you with?” They’re built with natural language processing, and it’s still not perfect, but it’s much more robust than it used to be. Its responses sound somewhat human, and they’re able to react to people’s input a lot better. They can talk you through a large part, if not all, of the application process. 

Some companies actually use that same conversational AI  to avoid candidates ghosting them. When somebody accepts an interview, let’s say it’s four or five days out, the bots can start texting that candidate to say “Hey, just talked to the hiring manager. They’re super excited about seeing you on Friday. Do you have any questions?” It’s just a relationship build, which is all automated, but the candidate doesn’t know it. The bots can include a call to action, like “Hey, I forgot to write down the time that I told you to come on Friday. Can you respond with that time?” That checks that they’re still interested. Automation can have a really big impact when you start layering in that level of interactive response.

What impact do you think generative AI has? 

For most of human history, we’ve been labourers. We actually had to physically do work. In the mid to late 90s, there was an advent of the creator economy. We went from labourers to creators. There are still labourers out there, but we can all foresee a future where robotics and AI and automation will take labour off the table. There’s going to be a point where labour just isn’t part of the economic workforce. We have this creative economy, but with the advent of ChatGTP and generative AI the future of employees is changing, because AI will become the creator and humans will transition into narrating. 

To put this in the context of an HR person, let’s say they need to make a little change to how an employee inputs their time to the payroll system. It’s just a tiny field change. The HR person calls the software company, who say that’s a customization, it’s gonna cost $25,000 and take six months. The HR person’s role as a narrator would mean working with the AI and saying “I need to change this field within this pay system so that employees can do this. Can you let me see what that would look like?”, and all of a sudden, it would happen. AI can tell you “By the way, by changing this field, you’re actually affecting a couple of other fields too”. As a HR expert, you’re narrating what you want to change, and AI can make it happen in real time. 

As a recruiter, instead of going out to LinkedIn or Indeed and searching for resumes, you can tell AI “I need a software engineer. I would like them from these three or four companies”, and then the AI can do hours of our work in a matter of seconds. We’re looking at a reduced need for a workforce because people won’t be required for so many tasks. We’re at a tipping point of rich countries not being able to replace their own people because they have a declining population. I think we’re looking at a global shift, not just a trend in the recruitment sector. 

To hear more about how AI is impacting the future of the industry, tune into the Talent & Growth Podcast here

This week I am inviting all our readers to learn how healthy their talent acquisition process is.

The Animo Group has put together a hiring health check accessible for anybody to use.

If you take this short assessment, you will answer the following questions:

  • How does your business’s Talent Acquisition function compare to your peers in the market?
  • Are your operational mechanics optimised to make your hiring strategies successful?
  • Are you in the best possible position to attract the best people in the market for your vacancies?
  • Is your talent process fluid enough to improve and good enough to deliver a fantastic candidate experience?
  • Are you using the right tech to enable slick data capturing and data utilisation?
  • Are you using that data to cement your TA function as a strategic partner in the business?

Not only that, but we will be able to use the findings of this report to present back to the industry precisely the most significant challenges we are collectively facing.

If you spend 3-4 minutes now completing the survey you will find out how your TA function stacks up AND you will help the community identify the challenges we all need to work on solving together

Win Win 🙂

Have a great week.

Episode 100 of the Talent & Growth podcast saw Hung Lee of Recruiting Brainfood return to the show to share his insights from years in the recruitment industry. He told us his thoughts on flexible working strategies, from the rise of the four day week to widespread issues that are plaguing hybrid and blended working styles. 

How are companies getting it right when it comes to hybrid or blended working?

Companies that had moved remote before COVID were called cultural radicals and innovators. At first, they assumed that it was the best way to do it, but they all abandoned it, because no one turned up at the office. Doing a blended approach is the worst of both worlds, because you’re trying to ride two horses at the same time. Some companies have been successful going fully hybrid, but I’ve noticed that those companies tend to be market leaders that are already miles ahead of the competition. Nobody is competing with them, so they’re no longer innovating. If you’re working in a hyper competitive market and you make the decision to do blended working, then the competition is going to eat you for lunch because they’ve removed those inefficiencies. Blended and the hybrid are a luxury state that only elite market leaders can afford to do. I think it’s a bad move.

Have you seen people being driven back to the office? 

I’ve seen the big headlines. Employers should take the chance to say why we need to get back into the office. We know that senior people prefer managing in person because it’s difficult to effectively manage a remote team, but there’s resistance to the return. Employees do not want to reconfigure their lives again. They don’t want to commute five days a week. They don’t want to do the Sunday weekly shop anymore. People have different priorities, which is exactly what we’re seeing when it comes to generational differences and varying management styles. That causes conflict, so some reordering needs to be done. This period will produce self-sorting, where some companies demand a return to the office, people will say no, resign and find work with companies that are more flexible or remote only. Those businesses will backfill with early entry talent.

What do you make of the trial of the four day workweek?

The Brits did this experiment quite aggressively with hundreds, maybe even thousands of companies taking part. What was really interesting is that the vast majority reported positive return from this experiment and will persist with it. Two thirds of companies that did it are going to keep going. That’s a fantastic sample, and it just goes to show that we’ve always been a little bit overworked. People are doing 40 hours a week, and you have to wonder how many of those 40 hours are actually productive. I would say at best 20. There’s a bunch of times when you’re distracted, doing other things or demotivated. Most people don’t have the energy to really work for eight hours a day, five days a week. The idea of simply taking down the hours to a more sensible number, giving people one extra day off on the weekend seems to be a very positive thing for these companies, the person going home for the long weekend and society as a whole. When people are happy and relaxed they’ll end up consuming a bit more, which stimulates the economy, which gives back to everybody. I think this experiment will work for everyone.

Do you think we’re going to forget about days and hours and just focus on deliverables? 

I would say that it depends on the type of work that you’re doing. If you’re in a collaboration-rich role and you’ve got a lot of dependencies on your work, that would be harder. That’s when some structure is going to be more useful to make sure everyone can work together. If what you’re doing is very low on collaboration or you run your own desk, that would be much easier to set up towards deliverable targets. As recruiters we can work to promote that too.

To find out how Hung Lee is innovating in the recruitment industry, tune into the full episode of the Talent & Growth podcast here

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.

As we headed into the new year we spoke to Neil Carberry on the Talent & Growth podcast about what to expect in 2023. Neil is somebody who’s got his finger on the pulse as the CEO at the REC, and he provided us with fantastic advice for getting ahead in the next year. Read on to find out his best advice, straight from Talent & Growth Episode 98. 

How can recruitment companies keep their voices strong in the next year? 

Retention strategies are one of the main things that we need to focus on. Sensible companies are listening to their staff about the pressures that they are under. They’re not taking ownership of all of those pressures, because they can’t, but they are understanding what they can do to make a difference. Things like one-off bonuses to help with the energy bill rise will keep faith in the company. We also need to acknowledge that work is a transaction. Ask yourself what you need from your people, and what do they need? How can we mesh those needs together? People in TA should be talking to their colleagues in HR and leadership about how they can move our offers forward and make them distinctive. 

Is the climate changing for recruitment?

Candidates have got spooked by the changing market quicker than clients have. It’s more difficult to move people early in the year. Some people are saying ‘I need a 10% pay rise to keep up with inflation. These guys are only offering me 5%, so I’m looking at moving.’ Other people are seeing it differently. We’re getting feedback like ‘I like my boss, I know how to do my job and they’ll give me a 5% raise, so I’ll stay because of the security I have here.’ As recruiters we need to find the right people who are open to moving. 

Companies are never going to be able to offer everything that candidates want, but they can offer the most relevant things for their market, so it’s all about priorities. An example is hybrid working. Staff love it, as long as the company is clear about its expectations. It doesn’t matter if it’s two days at home or fully remote, they want clear guidelines. We can’t avoid our responsibility as employers, we have to make some decisions about what we need and articulate those decisions.

Are there any other challenges companies are going to be faced with in 2023?

The biggest challenge remains a shortage of people. The domestic labour force is getting smaller, because the baby boomers are a big generation, and they’re leaving the labour market. Brexit has tightened the market too, so labour being a scarce resource is going to stick with us now. Companies should be planning their business model for that environment. Productivity performance in Britain for the last decade has been a horror show. Companies need to put people first. If you do that, you’ll have a huge commercial impact. After a decent finance director, the next thing you need is a decent HR director. Companies need to be thinking strategically about how to lead and manage our companies to create opportunity. 

What advice would you give to recruiters preparing for 2023?

Talk to your clients. Understand where their pain points are, understand what things are shaping the company that you’re in. One of the tendencies in our industry is to throw as many hooks into the sea as you can to try and catch some fish, but a well-baited hook is always going to catch a fish better than an un-baited hook. Invest in a niche or client with some foreknowledge. The more you know about your sector, the better you’ll perform in it. 

Know where the business is going. Ask yourself, ‘Is everything I’m doing this week aligned with where I want my business to go?’ Do I know where this business is going and what skills it needs to get there? Do I know who the decision makers are? Am I hearing from them about their pain points? Am I reshaping what we’re doing to meet those needs?’ That’s the behaviour pattern that I see from the best people in the business. This is a people business, so focus on where you can make a difference and who you can make it to. 

To hear more about Neil’s work with the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, tune into the full episode of the Talent & Growth podcast here

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.