Three Things We’ll See In Talent Acquisition By 2022

John Whitaker Audacious Ideas, John Whitaker 10 Comments

On Friday of last week (10/20), I was a guest on Michael Cameron’s daily radio program “Win-Win@Work” and had the opportunity to speak about my favorite topic – building and leading a world-class recruiting team. It’s a wonderful thing when you find yourself leading a team that has hit its collective stride. It’s a magical place, a place where the beer flows like wine, and where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. Building and leading a team is the most satisfying part of the job for me, and when things are good, they are really good.

But we know in this crazy Talent Acquisition life, every day is a snapshot – who knows what tomorrow will bring, much less what might happen in 2022. So when Mr. Cameron (makes me feel younger to call anyone “Mister”) asked me at the end of our interview, “where do you see Talent Acquisition in five years?”, I’ll admit I chewed on my tongue a bit ~ five freaking years??

Since, “I don’t have a clue, Mike” is a decidedly bad answer to a live broadcast question, the little man started rummaging my subconscious mind for those thoughts I have when allowed to be future-focused. To my surprise, I think I may have made a little sense, you tell me.

Three things I expect to see in Talent Acquisition by 2022:

  1. Talent Networks/Communities Will Explode ~ If you aren’t building a community already, you better get with the program. Building virtual connections by sharing meaningful information is definitely a “long” play, but when those crops start to come in, you’ll have a pipeline of engaged candidates.
  2. Speed Wins ~ The application process is an absolute beating. Everybody seems to know this, but even with technology advances the process takes, on average, 30 minutes. That’s garbage. Find the key to that door and the kingdom is yours. The huge ATS is going to go buh-bye, and the sooner the better.
  3. Blurred Lines ~ With the increased importance of building a people pipeline via talent networks, Talent Acquisition will continue to morph into a Marketing arm of the organization. Candidate or customer, what’s the difference? We’re just scratching the surface of how to maximize the time we engage with a potential candidate, why not also capture them as potential customers? What we have here is another way to tie Talent Acquisition to financial metrics – yay metrics. Same concepts apply – who’s your audience, what kind of persona are you targeting, and how do you most effectively reach them?

There’s also one other fundamental belief I have that isn’t universally shared. Fundamentally, I still see our job being relationship-driven by talented people in recruiting roles. There’s a swell of Orwellian thinking that technology will replace recruiters as time progresses. Here’s the problem –  the HR-Tech boon of the last several years has, in many ways, resulted in white noise. Too many tools, too many gimmicks (too many blogs, consultants, and “experts” too for that matter.) I still believe the recruiting function needs to be internally based and owned by actual employees of the company. The technology that succeeds will be the kind that frees up recruiters to do what they do best – recruit. 

If you want to listen to the conversation, here’s the link. And yes, I really do sound like that.

Comments 10

  1. I agree with these three points. I’d also add the inclusive lens to talent acquisition. People are trying so hard to rid themselves of unconscious bias in hiring, and hopefully by 2020 we will have made some strides. Speaking of… When I read your first paragraph, I understood you were not writing with me in mind. Where women flock like salmon? So are your world-class recruiting teams made of almost all heterosexual men?

  2. Love these Tim! Especially agree with #3 and I am finding that is the hardest one to get people to accept that have been in TA for a while. It is just such a different look and feel and approach to every part of the process. Would love to hear your thoughts on how we get to that point…. just scrap it all and start from Marketing? Or morph/transform what we have? Is it possible either way? Pros/Cons.

    1. I could see both functions reporting up through the same Senior leader – it’s crazy how many overlapping initiatives we already have, would be nice to combine budgets and talent

  3. Great points. Still believe huge emphasis will remain on cost and quality of hire and ROI of technology investments needs to be considered accordingly. Reviews of both organisations and Recruiters ( experience) will increasingly be openly reviewed on Likes of Glassdoor.com which is “ Tripadvisor@ of Industry and candidate experience.

    1. Great point about Glassdoor – I’ve been amazed (and pleased) with the impact of a well-managed Glassdoor account. Wasn’t too long ago that companies were terrified of opening themselves up to anonymous feedback.

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  5. John, I love that you are inspiring us to think ahead. I am actually very excited about the future of TA. With respect to the “blurred lines” – this has been a long evolution and there are reasons why this is taking so long. When I led employer branding, I was one of a handful of TA leaders who saw its power, but I had to convince marketing that I could walk and talk in their world. I did that by taking a mini-class on marketing – everything from how to do market research, customer segmentation and branding. I had to learn the language so I could be taken seriously. I see that lacking in our function. Yes its come a long way, but more work needs to be done by TA and also HR. Also the idea that a candidate is also a customer is so true, but marketing has traditionally not been convinced especially if you are in a B2B environment I remain optimistic because of what I see in other industries and sectors. Design, curated experiences are just the tip of the iceberg that will also impact our function.. and I see huge potential in blockchain. Thanks for your insights!

    1. Elizabeth, you make several great points, thank you! Speaking the language is critical, it bridges credibility and understanding – I’ve actually had to return the favor with our Marketing folks, they wanted to learn “our” language – makes the communication b/t the groups really seamless. B2B was mentioned in more than one response, I can see the difference being a challenge – but, ultimately everyone is a customer, even the B2B’s ultimately have B2C down the chain, lol.

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