"I just want to speak to a human being!"

  • March 16, 2018

In a world where technology seems to advance every day, it goes without saying that the ‘digital age’ has had a huge impact on the way organisations hire and attract their talent.   According to a 2014 Report by OFCOM, 61% of UK households now have a smart phone and 44% have a tablet meaning people now spend an extra two hours a day on media and communications. With so many social media platforms and digital products accessible to all, attracting potential employees and raising brand awareness in the market has never been easier. Or so it may seem...

Certainly the need to engage with these platforms and products is now a key part of any talent acquisition strategy and this is evidenced up by our recent survey where 92% of respondents said social media platforms were a key part of their talent attraction strategy.  However, what impact is the increasing use of digital technology having on the talent acquisition process?

For large global organisations with established brands, digital media has given them a direct communication path to potential candidate pools, enabling initial touch points to be consistent and easy through clever use of apps and mobile friendly sites. This was highlighted by our research which showed 68% of respondents had redesigned their career sites over the last 12 months to provide an improved user experience for those showing interest in their organisation and applying for potential positions. However, if ensuring your career site is mobile and tablet friendly is resulting in increased candidate pools, how do you then drill down through the noise to find the best talent?  This is where the human touch comes in.

Human interaction remains a core part of the talent acquisition process, from pro-actively identifying the right talent, to building relationships and engaging with individuals.  This is especially apparent when looking for specialist roles and hard to fill skill-sets. Whilst social media has made it easier for organisations to reach a wider audience, there are no guarantees it will produce candidates with the right skills in markets with candidate shortages. This is where the digital tools, need to be supplemented by a pro-active approach to finding talent, by utilising an in house recruitment function or a third party.

For smaller organisations, digital innovations and social media have been key to building brand and market awareness around their business. Increased connectivity means that they are able to cleverly use social media to attract individuals to the business, utilising social networking tools and encouraging existing employees to be highly engaged and build positive online presences and profiles.

The downside of such connectivity means that competitors also have an easier route to passive candidates and potentially to the top talent in your own organisation, so engagement and retention becomes an even more important issue. It also means that brand wise, HR have to focus on driving positive media messages - one negative action by an employee can have massive repercussions, especially if it goes viral! When everything from internal employee memos to employee actions can be shared by the world in a matter of seconds, a strong social media policy and effective human communication is key.

What the above highlights is that whilst digital tools have had a massive impact on talent acquisition, having a blended talent acquisition strategy supplemented by the human element either in–house or by third parties who can proactively target the best available talent on the market is the best way forward.