This spring I attended the Indeed Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas. Indeed accounts for more hires globally than any other source, so the conference was a great opportunity for me to hear about current trends in the market from industry leaders, and see other great speakers like Malcolm Gladwell. My initial goal was to write about what I learned when I first returned from the conference full of ideas and inspiration. The reality is, I returned to my desk and attended to the day-to-day and the more pressing/higher priority items that come along with a fast-paced talent acquisition career, and put the “write this blog” goal to the side.
Thinking back, the delay turned out to be not such a bad thing. A true test of a successful learning experience is if you apply what you learned. Therefore, my “what I learned at the conference” post has morphed into a “what I applied and how it has helped” post. If you are in talent acquisition or seeking a new career or role, I’ve outlined the top three things that impacted my practice as a recruiter. In the growing “war for talent” world we live in, the hiring and recruitment process.
- Candidate Experience is as important as ever
While I’ve always tried to focus on the candidate experience with clients I’ve supported and the firms I’ve worked directly for, I learned more about the continued tightening of the labor market across many different areas I recruit around. This served as a great reminder of how important it is to leave ALL candidates with a good impression regardless of whether we intend to hire them or not. Something as simple as a response on an application, closure, or even offering to open up my own network to those who might not be a good fit for some of the roles I’m actively working on is the right thing to do, plain and simple. However, it seems that many in our industry still fail to do these basic tasks. In an age where candidates have more information than ever before on our firms and clients, whether via online reviews, friends, social media, etc., the experience we create for them as recruiting professionals is more important than ever.
Take away: White glove treatment for all!
- Recruiting more for skills and less for requisitions
How many times throughout my career have I chased the proverbial purple squirrel, looking for the candidate who does not exist, or is perhaps one of the 10 people in the continental US who have the requisite skills my firm / client might need? The good news is, we are in the midst of a major digital industrial revolution, where firms need to adapt quickly in order to thrive, and I happily work for one of them. While people might not show up to a firm “job ready” on day 1, it is up to employers to recognize and strengthen the talent pipeline from its source. The role an individual was hired into might change over time, so recruiters need to find candidates who are adaptable enough to change with it. Since listening to Jennifer Carpenter present in May, my belief that we should be recruiting and screening for the “athletes” – which are defined as those who are adaptable, curious, agile, fungible, and willing and able to learn has been completely reaffirmed. Focus on the traits you/they will need, and teach them the business. Since the conference, I’ve hired several individuals who fit these distinct criteria.
Take away: Find the right fit for the company, hire beyond the role itself, and develop and invest in your hires to grow them into the roles they will fill, as well as what roles they might step into in the future.
- To compete globally, firms need diverse thought and opinion
The focus on recruiting diverse talent is being prioritized like never before in our industry. Outside of just being the right thing to do, Inclusion and Diversity is critical for firms who need to innovate and stay ahead to have team members that can contribute diverse thought and perspective. During the conference, I attended at least two packed Diversity & Inclusion sessions. Walking away from them it was clear to me that:
- To attract diverse talent, firms need to be clear on how they define Diversity and Inclusion. They also need to educate their people on verbiage tied to inclusion like Parental Leave (vs Maternity), and highlight programs like adoption assistance.
- As one of the panelists stated, diversity is invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance. If people feel included, no matter their background, experience or identity, diversity will follow.
- Inclusion and Diversity continues to change, evolve, and is a more complex challenge – but firms are making it a priority through education, policies, and aligning business goals.
Since the conference, I’ve been using the term parental leave exclusively, and have coached others on being more mindful of overall language with all candidates we all come into contact with. I’ve also become increasingly aware and involved with our firm’s Diversity and Inclusion program, which the firm and our executive leadership has been extremely passionate and committed to. Recently, the West Monroe Partners recruiting team has rolled out our new Values Based Contribution interview training over 200 of our people, and I am proud to have helped run the training in our New York office. We focus and look for candidates who embody what West Monroe represents as an organization; i.e.: nimble stewards who put people first, who are the best and brightest, who have respect for diversity, and who enjoy the work they do.
Take away: If your firm isn’t talking about diversity and inclusion, they need to be. Companies that intend to move into the next decade with the best talent, the widest reach, and the most innovative approaches will need to prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Let’s start a conversation – would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. To learn more about our recruitment process and job openings at West Monroe, visit our careers website.