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Attraction - Making Talent Acquisition a Competitive Advantage

Where "attraction" starts

Uncovering and then attracting outstanding talent is, for the majority of business leaders, the human resource equivalent of a wing and a prayer. This represents a huge talent acquisition shortfall. No matter the quality and level of investment in the rest of the talent process, the simple truth is you can't hire talent you don't attract.

"Attraction" starts with good research. With social media and AI destined to play an ever-bigger role and as algorithms get better, a good deal of that covered under the term "sourcing talent" will be automated.

For example, HireVue offers AI-based, video analysis of the candidate's facial expressions, body language and tone of voice to conduct on-demand interviews. Predictive analytics, on-line psychometrics using advanced algorithms overcome interviewer bias. Chatbots can conduct initial, virtual, screening interviews. Data mining algorithms can delve into, virtually, every aspect of the candidate's background. Unilever, for example, by 2019 had already put 250,000 candidates through an algorithm-driven selection process. Blockchain technology, acting on behalf of the candidate, lies around the corner.

The promise of digitalisation is about to become fact.

First contact and beyond

Early in the hiring process, no matter how the candidate was identified, comes the, so important, first contact. The executive you want is unlikely to be the one who is eager to jump ship. Outstanding leaders are successful where they are. Their response to an initial overture is likely to be, "I have a great job here, why should I join ABC Company?" The organisation's reputation, the company's website, the right information succinctly delivered and the ability of the caller to share the organisation's story (hiring brand) all help the cause. That said, for top candidates these provide only part of the answer.

What the reluctant candidate really wants to know is, "What is it really like to work in this business you are representing?" You can invite me to drink the Kool-Aid, I'll visit the showroom and I'll even wear the T-shirt, but tell me, what's this organisation really all about? What's under the hood?" Enter stage left a simple insight … what keeps top talent attracts top talent.

Inspiration rests, in no small measure, on the perception that what we are being told is authentic. Seasoned leaders are quick to recognise even a whiff of bovine effluent. The recruiter, be they working from within the firm or not, clearly has a vested interest in gilding the lily. Meanwhile, if the recruiter (researcher) works for an external provider (e.g., executive search), any response that describes what the hiring organisation is really like to work for - that is anything less than totally authentic - comes across as little more than a warmed-over version of what the candidate expects to hear. And don't imagine for a moment that the candidate doesn't hear "the sell" in every phrase and nuance of what they are being "sold." Nothing beats presenting the facts. Nothing has the emotional impact of the truth simply presented. Nothing is more influential than an authentic voice.

Inspire top performers

Convey the right information and the candidate is informed. Introduce the organisation's story and the candidate starts to get involved. Share why the organisation's top talent chooses to stay and the candidate is inspired. The very best candidates are reluctant to move. It's not enough to inform. It's not enough to involve. To attract top performers … you have to inspire them.

Insights by John Burdett. Orxestra Inc., © 2019.

Insights from "Talent Acquisition - The Battle For Tomorrow".

Talent management is a system within a system: the organisation's culture

Talent management is a system within a system: the organisation's culture. Get talent management wrong and the organisation's culture will be misaligned with the customer's emerging needs.

Tomorrow, of necessity, talent management will be about resilience, reinvention and recognising that the ideal organisation design reflects how, given a choice, people would choose to work together.

Talent management is ultimately about hard data and tough choices – who to hire and promote, investing in the most efficient and fastest way to develop talent, putting muscle behind the succession process and, generally, building a cadre of leadership talent that will allow the business to survive and thrive in turbulent times.

If you can't imagine it, you won't reach it. If you don't measure it, you can't manage it. Strive to develop tomorrow's leadership competencies with purpose, precision, pragmatism and no little passion.

Insights from "Future-Oriented Leadership Competencies: Today's Talent Management Lynchpin" by John Burdett, Leadership advisor to TRANSEARCH International.