Exploring new HR tech can help access talent when you need it.

If your company is like most, finding talent has become increasingly difficult. As most employers have realized, it’s a candidate’s market, and filling your vacant roles requires a Herculean effort to acquire high-demand skills. Competitive pay and benefits are just table stakes in today’s tight labor market; your business must offer much more to stay ahead in the war for talent.

But if you go about attracting talent like most companies, you’re just wasting time. The post-and-pray approach to recruiting stopped working long ago. In response, companies are stepping up investments in recruitment marketing, their employer brand and the candidate experience in hopes of boosting their appeal to job seekers. These are all important activities to building a better relationship with workers, but too many companies fail to do so in a comprehensive, strategic way, resulting in limited hiring success.

So what’s the answer? Like many functions these days, talent engagement is being redefined with the use of innovative HR tech. Automation, machine learning and AI in general all play a part in charting a new course in the hiring journey, especially during these disruptive times. And nowhere is the disruption more transformational than in the way companies are building their talent pipeline.

Progressive employers are creating private talent communities that can supply both their contingent and permanent talent needs. These pools include workers who have been sourced and pre-qualified as talent that a company can flexibly place into a number of potential roles. Private pools are developed specifically by an organization for its own use, and this list of candidates is not not publicly shared. Increasingly, companies include workers seeking permanent positions as well as those desiring contingent roles. For instance, silver medalists – applicants who were among the final selections for a role but ultimately passed over – may be placed into a talent community and possibly offered a contingent role in the future.

What does this mean for recruiters? To optimize access to talent, you’ll need to adopt a strong focus on building candidate relationships. According to Recruiting Daily, engagement matters now more than ever before due to growing talent scarcity, and organizations that provide a positive candidate journey assure themselves of a competitive advantage. There is plenty of research that show the business impact of engaged talent.

To maximize the benefits of engagement, employers need to reconsider their approach. As private talent communities proliferate, organizations face the challenge of keeping these candidates “warm” so that they are more likely to apply for a job when it becomes available, regardless of whether they are currently working or not. Only by keeping their brand top of mind for workers can organizations truly enjoy unfettered access to talent.

However, keeping talent engaged requires considerable resources. You must maintain regular communication that’s relevant to their interests. Messaging should be concise and provide value to their career ambitions. Content needs to be practical and shareable. Think of it as essential recruitment marketing on an ongoing basis throughout a candidate’s entire career, from grad to retirement relationship. This is different from today’s approach of engaging talent only when there is an open requisition.

HR tech strengthens relationships with talent

By leveraging the latest innovation and tools, employers can develop a candidate care program that includes lifelong management of talent, ensuring they are viewed as an employer of choice. Technology is key to maintaining this relationship, and we are already seeing some of these tools being implemented in the marketplace. The proliferation of candidate relationship management platforms, the incorporation of AI in career advisory services and automation of recruitment tasks all help raise productivity and candidate engagement in a way not possible under the old paradigm.

For instance, the use of HR tech to create a highly endearing candidate journey helps automate touch points, ensuring job applicants are attended to when they need support. There are numerous software solutions to source and screen CVs quickly. One Randstad client is currently using AI-powered chatbots to engage qualified candidates and invite them to apply for roles for which they are well qualified. Using text as the preferred channel, the bots can motivate scores of candidates to apply within hours of a requisition posting instead of days.

Other employers are actively using content to keep engagement high. For instance, Johnson & Johnson through their Shine program provide job applicants practical tips and guides for candidates that they can use during the application and even later. Through this kind of engagement, the company is building a loyal following it can source from today and in the future.

How can HR tech help your organization transform your talent acquisition strategy? There are many tools in the marketplace that will automate aspects of your process, but you should be deliberate in your approach. Be thorough when vetting an investment and follow these three best practices:

  • Map the need
    How will the skill sets your company needs evolve in the future? By identifying demand, you can develop a strategy and map out the resources needed to engage with the right audience.
  • Determine the solution. Will you need better tools, processes or people? Or maybe a combination of all of these? Technology can also help you redirect human capital to undertake more valuable tasks for building a talent community.
  • Monitor the results. Some of the tools in the market offer extensive analytics capabilities so make sure to leverage the data to help you identify areas of improvement for engagement. Include the insights as part of your overall recruitment efforts.

By exploring how new HR technology can enable you to engage with candidates throughout their career, you set up your organization to become an employer of choice and assure access to talent when you need it.