You can’t be the best at everything. And in Talent Acquisition you don’t actually even want to be. Because the things that are right for Spotify and my department may be completely useless in another setting. So choosing consciously and going all in, is always better than to jump on every buzzword and be generically half-engaged all over the place. Here are some current trends to choose from.
1. Personalization vs automation
We have all read the blog posts and articles on how “the machines are coming now” and where all the system providers explain how, very soon, things will be more automated than ever. So, is the talent acquisition world changing into “completely automated” now?
Well, here’s the thing; when things get increasingly automated, the cost of finding people goes down. The candidate market becomes more transparent as everything gets connected. That means that the name of the game will no longer be “reach as many people as possible to the lowest possible cost/effort”. Everyone will be doing just that. This means you will be needing to differentiate by making the candidate experience special and personalized. It also means you will need to make deliberate calls on where to automate and where to personalize.
2. Building talent pools
If it’s possible for you to form at least a vague idea of what kind of competencies you will be looking for in the future, I suggest that you move away from thinking “I need to find the next person for my team” and move towards “I need to find the next 10 (or 100) people for my team over the next few years”. If you know what you will be needing over time, it will be easier to plan for the future and start investing in building the “talent pool” where you will find talent in the future. This determines where you should spend your networking hours and niche event resources, and that’s in places where it makes sense for the long term and not only the short term.
Here is a simple but important example: At Spotify, we try to have a long term plan for where, geographically, we will grow in the future. That means that the talent acquisition team can prepare, scout the market and establish relationships. So that once things do happen in a new location, we hit the ground running. Whenever you have the chance; help your business plan from a talent perspective!
3. Embedding talent acquisition in the organization
The recruiter that represents the organization the best is the recruiter that has the deepest knowledge about it. At Spotify, the recruiters are embedded in the organization as talent acquisition partners, each in their own part of the business. But it’s not just about how we organize ourselves, being a great partner and really understanding the business takes effort and a genuine interest in what makes the business work. Finding a systematic approach to continuously learning from the business is key. At Spotify, we have a system of regular get-togethers where the business educates us. We take part in team and leaders’ meetings, we are included in business updates, and information is shared within the HR team so we can stay close to the business, understand it, and support it right.
4. New generation software – going modular
Right now, it’s easier than ever to integrate different systems with each other, and it will keep getting easier. More and more, we will be able to pick and choose just our favorite modules from each system and connect them to make our own portfolio of systems. The old huge systems that “manage everything” will be increasingly challenged and we won’t have to put up with “one size fits no-one” solutions to keep everything together. This modular trend surfs on the wave of new technology and open APIs and to me, it all makes sense. One solution rarely fits all. Right now, we spend a lot of time and effort finding the best technical solution for us, in each of our challenges, over the system borders.
5. Data informed
“Talent data” has been trending for a while now and that’s all good. But I see a different approach to it in the future. Because having a look at your talent data shouldn’t be an event or a kumbaya moment. In a data mature organization, “I have the data!” will not be an impressive statement. Because to really make a difference, data needs to be everywhere, seamlessly integrated into the decision-making. We need to both be analyzing it continuously and using it naturally in all decisions so that all our guesses are educated ones. Don’t wait for it to be perfect (because then you are likely over-engineering and that’s too slow), but do make sure that the analysis is done by a talent acquisition partner who understands the data and can put it into context. At Spotify, talent data is not something that comes up in a meeting once a quarter. Instead, it’s available to the organization in a “Talent Acquisition dashboard” where the hiring managers can get updated figures whenever they need it, and cut it in any way it makes sense to them.
6. Back to basics: Talent Acquisition infrastructure
Perhaps not so much a trend, as something we all need to be reminded of sometimes: Most things will fall flat in the end if you don’t have your basics in place. None of the fancy trendy practices will do you any good unless you have all your policies, guidelines, processes and systems in order, well configured and with clear ownership within your team. It is about simple (yet hard!) things like keeping the competence within the company instead of relying on individuals, and standardizing where is makes sense to.
A robust infrastructure creates the stability that allows us to get creative and follow trends where it really matters!