How 4 companies are reaping the rewards from a proactive sourcing strategy
Proactive talent sourcing is increasingly an important weapon in a recruiter’s arsenal, and tools such as SEEK Talent Search are bringing new levels of sophistication to the process. But what is the most effective way to use these practical tools to add value to the recruitment process? And where should the technology stop and the human element take over?
“Over the past three years, our recruitment has become more and more proactive”, says Stephanie Chara, Recruitment Officer at Jeanswest. “We are focused on establishing and building relationships with potential candidates, which includes ongoing two-way communication and understanding what they’re looking for. We also ensure we shortlist top candidates in a database for relevant future opportunities; this creates better efficiencies, saves us time and results in securing higher quality candidates.”
Since late 2015, Goodyear Dunlop Tyres too has made a decisive shift towards proactive recruitment. “We wanted to reduce the cost of the recruitment process, and increase the quality of our candidates, says Sarah Butterworth, Talent Acquisition Team Lead. “You’re engaging with people who are considering their next career move, rather than just jumping into something, and the speed at which you can do things is crucial.”
This shift has proved to be a success for Goodyear Dunlop Tyres, with time-to-fill in retail recruitment reduced from 31 days in September 2015 to 18 days in April 2016, along with candidates staying longer with the company and attaining a higher output, across a range of positions.
Chara points out that a great advantage of the new proactive sourcing technologies is that they make it easier to access a candidate in a different sector, who may nonetheless have transferable skills. In attempting to source retail managers for Jeanswest stores, for example, Chara often finds strong candidates in areas such as hospitality.
“As long as they have the right attitude, a willingness to learn and are the right cultural fit for Jeanswest, which is of high importance to us as a business, then we’re open to giving candidates a go,” she says.
Relationships are still the key
For Ken Kwan, Regional Director at M&T Resources, search tools will never replace the human element of HR, in what remains a relationship-driven industry.
“Being proactive for us is about having and developing relationships with candidates,” he says. “We need to have an understanding of where they are heading in their career, and if we can help. The next stage is understanding what value they can bring, and what is their unique skill set. No search tool or technology is going to replace this human process.”
Iain MacGibbon, Managing Director at Farrow Jamieson, agrees. “Technology is about identifying people, but there’s no technology that identifies potential…”
For Chara, technology is certainly not deskilling what recruiters do. “What we do is so people-focused. Candidates can look great on a profile, but it may be a different story when you speak with them or meet them – there is still very much a human-side to recruitment.”
Combining technology with the personal
M&T Resources uses tools such as SEEK Talent Search to proactively pool candidates for future recruitment projects and assignments.
“More than 60% of our placements nationally [in Australia], and 70% in Victoria, come from non-advertising means, meaning that we have already engaged the candidate in previous interactions or are aware he or she already exists before they are contacted.” says Kwan. “In the war for talent, being able to find the right candidate within a shortened timeframe is a major part of why recruiters exist. The next part is having a strong relationship with that candidate to ensure you know what they can do and if that marries with what our clients want.”
According to MacGibbon, advances in predictive analytics offers the fascinating prospect of predicting a candidate’s future career trajectory, and potentially offering them their ideal position before they’ve even thought of it themselves.
“Our marker is a candidate saying, ‘I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right’”, he says. “Sometimes you’re too early, and the candidate appreciates you thinking about them, but you’re still putting down a marker for the future.”
Doing it effectively
For Chara, the key to effective proactive recruitment is keeping an open mind. “Don’t put top candidates in pigeon holes. If they have no sales experience, what other experience do they have? If they’re not suitable for a vacant role, what other roles may they be suitable for?”
“Understand your culture, have an honest conversation with the candidate and be as transparent as possible.”