Kristina FinsethFebruary 13, 2017
Topics: Recruiter Experience

3 Ways for Talent Acquisition Leaders to Get Promoted

What does it take to become a senior leader at your company? Or, if climbing the corporate ladder is not your goal - what does it take to establish yourself as an invaluable asset at your company? What you'll probably find is that those labeled as "promotable" have quite a few characteristics in commons. Some of these qualities are consistency, leadership, initiative, thoughtfulness, commitment, etc. However, there are only a few moments that will make you not only promotable at your company, but invaluable to the entire industry.

Fortunately for emerging Talent Acquisition and HR Leaders, that moment is now, and we do not need to go too far back in history to learn from the last big career making moment. Clinton was still in office, Al Gore just invented the internet, and recruiters were running out of band aids to heal their paper cuts. Weren't the 90's great?

Just like then, we still operate in a highly competitive world. The war for talent is always on, and losing just isn't an option. At the dawn of the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), recruiters were able to use advances in technology to exponentially increase their activity. It was a new world order. No longer did we have to deal with mailing rejection letters or faxing hiring announcements. Filing cabinets of out-of-date resumes were replaced by servers, and new processes emerged. Combined, this created a highly aggressive tactical shift, driving recruiters and hiring managers to be hyper-efficient and process oriented.

For companies over 1,000 employees, adopting an ATS is a no-brainer. Put yourself in the shoes of a 90's C-Suite Executive who only just heard about the "internet" a year before, grew up skeptical of "big brother," and spent more on stamps than on health insurance. Directors and Managers of Talent Acquisition, hearing the paper cut filled cries of their frontline recruiters, lobbied for years to prove the business case for ATS adoption.

Those who fought to adopt the ATS were rewarded with promotions to positions like VP of Talent Acquisition, SVP of Human Resources, and in some cases, CHRO. Companies started investing billions into technologies and service providers to help transform their HR functions. As the market grew, so did the interest of large system integrators like PwC, Deloitte, EY, and others.

Just as the ATS emerged out of advances in computer processing power, a highly competitive job market, and the need for recruiter efficiency - we are now at another inflection point. Like their predecessors, the current generation of Directors and Managers of Talent Acquisition will have a difficult road to hoe. If they succeed, it will be career making.

If you think a little differently, here are a few approaches that will allow you to capitalize on this moment.

Get your leadership to think "Outside-In" The years of focusing on process and recruiter efficiency have forced us to view solutions to talent attraction and acquisition problems from a recruiter and process-centric "Inside-Out" approach. Albert Einstein once said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." If you flip the script to prioritize the candidate experience, your company will be more competitive in attracting top talent based on how your candidates are engaged in almost every other part of their lives.

Get your leadership to think of candidates as consumers Take a look at Spotify, Uber, and Amazon. These are three companies that prioritize the consumer experience, and crush their competition. These companies capitalized on opportunities to disrupt traditional experiences. With Uber, you can rate your driver and your driver can rate you. This has had an immediate impact on both rider and driver satisfaction. As a result, millions of consumers, who just happen to be "candidates," have transformed their expectations. They demand to be delighted by these phenomenal experiences.

Ipso facto: Candidate experiences that mimic highly engaging consumer experiences will produce quality applicants, and a high applicant conversion rate. Tweet

Get your leadership to think real-time data, not just CRM This is a specific example, but it can be applied to evaluating any new technology. We live in a world that is powered by machine learning and real-time data. It's all around us, and helping to deliver highly personalized experiences that seem manual but aren't. When you shop on Amazon, it knows who you are, what you like, what you buy, and what you might be interested in buying. After twenty years of data collection and advances in artificial intelligence, Amazon knows that people looking to buy a book are 30 percent more likely to purchase a book if they take the time to read a review and click on the table of contents. Amazon applies these insights to your individual history to serve up a personalized shopping experience.

Next time the conversation comes up about investing in a Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) system or any other tool - make sure that it is built with big data and machine learning in its DNA. Most importantly, any technology should integrate and share data with the rest of your HR and talent acquisition technology stack.


I cannot promise this shift in thinking will happen overnight, or if you will succeed in turning the ship of the company you are at now. I can assure you that these seismic shifts have already occurred in the market, and the companies who respond aggressively to them will win the war for talent. Those Talent Acquisition Leaders who take charge and navigate their companies through this evolution will write their own ticket for years to come. Career making moments don't come around like this that often, but when they do - it is for the bold to seize.

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