The changing role of talent acquisition, and what it means for recruiters

According to a report in 2017 by LinkedIn, 83 percent of talent leaders are confident that Talent Acquisition (TA) has a seat at the executive table. Yet, as described in the same report, more is expected from their TA function despite a flat budget; pushing TA leaders to innovate faster, and drive their teams to do more with less. While there hasn’t been a better time for anyone aspiring to enter a career in TA, the role of TA in companies is also rapidly evolving.

Environmental factors driving the evolution of TA

When I first took on a recruiting role over a decade ago, the recruiting industry was different. We didn’t have the technology that we have today – recruiting was done  through headhunters, local job boards, print advertisements or internal job moves. Technology has disrupted the way we recruit: we now have the ability to identify, reach, and engage candidates globally at a push of a button. We can also scale efforts to assess and on-board talent into our organisations, speeding up the recruiting process.
[Tweet “nowadays, a #candidate might know more about your org. than you do”]
The pace of change is increasing rapidly, and companies must adapt to survive. The business environment is more competitive and more demanding than ever – companies are merging, buying over other companies or being bought, new businesses are launching, old jobs are becoming obsolete, and new jobs are sprouting up. Companies are challenged to offer more value, and to differentiate that value to their customers, despite unchanged or reduced budgets.
The candidate landscape is also changing. It is now a candidate driven market, with a talent pool that is global, more knowledgeable about your organisation and your competition, and far more highly educated than their predecessors. These candidates have higher aspirations, are discerning, and are far more demanding of their future employers.

How will the TA role change?

My opinion is that the role of recruiter will morph into a talent advisor and relationship manager, as technology can now take away the grunt work of recruiting, giving recruiters more time to work at a more strategic level and deliver more value.
Recruiters will be expected to have an intimate knowledge of their business strategies and associated talent needs, and be able to provide an external perspective of the talent market to internal stakeholders. They will need to analyse industry trends and market landscapes, to share market intelligence, and to advise their business leaders on the best strategies to recruit – which skills to procure for the future, and the best places to invest in growing talent, based on location employment laws and educational disciplines and standards.
Recruiters will need to be more tech-savvy, to better understand how to leverage the myriad of technology in the recruiting process, and will need to be process driven to constantly improve and optimise the recruiting process.
[Tweet “#techguru, #strategist, #futurefocused, a #talent specialist needs many hats to succeed “]
With the rapid pace of change in the business environment, TA professionals will be expected to be agile, with ready knowledge and pipelines of candidates ahead of requisition openings. What this means is that TA leaders will need to lead the charge on workforce planning in their organisations to prepare their teams in advance for the year ahead, and build in enough flexibility in their workforce models to adjust and adapt if the business climate changes.

Technology, pace of change of business environment, and changing candidate expectations are disrupting Talent Acquisition
TA professionals will evolve to be:

  • Talent advisors
  • Employer brand managers
  • Tech adopters
  • Leads in workforce planning
  • Change agents
  • Closely aligned to talent retention

With a candidate driven market, there will be a war for talent in talent scarce roles, and the passive, talented, candidate is king. TA professionals will be expected to be marketers – employer brand managers who can differentiate their company from others. They will need to better understand their target candidate pool and thereby deploy effective talent attraction strategies to engage and woo the passive candidate with a strong digital and physical candidate experience.
In such a dynamic landscape, a successful TA leader will need to be a change agent, helping their organisation to evolve through higher-calibre talent, new skills, new roles, and new organisation structures. This will be a difficult, yet critical, skill to develop and apply.
There will be more links to the retention side of HR, and so there is value in TA professionals collaborating with their Talent Management peers, for alignment between buying talent versus building talent. This would create wonderful synergies for employees and develop what the business actually needs.
The evolution of TA is happening now, and I encourage TA leaders to take stock of their own functions, and see opportunities to lead that evolution, if they are not already doing so. This is how we in TA can earn and keep that seat at the executive table.
It’s going to be an exciting time ahead for TA professionals as their role evolves for the future. I look forward to seeing more people joining the TA profession, and making that difference for their organisation!
Image: Shutterstock

This article first appeared on HRMAsia on the 27th of July, 2017

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