How to Transform a Recruiter’s Work from “Database Admin” to “Strategic Hiring Partner”

by | Dec 24, 2021 | News

Talent intelligence starts with intelligent talent discovery

By Polo Crosbie, Business Development Lead at MojoHire

If there was already a talent shortage in the tech industry before COVID-19 hit, the challenge has intensified with the sea of competent workers leaving the salaried ranks to work on a contract or freelance basis. Now, the talent shortage is being felt in industries across the board. No matter what type of talent your business needs, it has never been more difficult to find and attract than today.

Traditional methods of searching for talent were already inefficient, but the cost of that inefficiency is multiplied by a labor shortage. Not only that, but legacy search methods reduce recruiters to “database jockeys” that spend a bulk of their time conducting searches (be it on LinkedIn, in an applicant tracking system, on the internet, or other data repository). To find and attract the best workers, recruiters need to abandon the search and instead conduct intelligent discovery. Intelligent discovery allows them to make the right decisions quickly, and act as a strategic business partner to their peers.

The Googlization of recruiting

Twenty-four years ago, Google came up with a revolutionary advertising revenue model built around “search.” While re-inventing the global paid advertising market, turning the conventional news model sideways, and paving a model for how Silicon Valley companies approach internal HR, Google also achieved something that people talk about a lot less. Google has pioneered the assumption that search = intelligence. So much so that many of today’s thinkers now preach we live in “the society of the query”a world where truth and search are so closely linked that they are often hard to de-couple.

Nowhere is this more prominent than the world of Talent Acquisition (TA). 

In TA, many new (and extremely successful) businesses have molded themselves around the society of the query. These market forces have drastically changed what it means to be a recruiter and to lead a recruiting team. For today’s TA leader, search and query have become synonymous with work. This Googlization of recruiting has led to the industry-wide premise that the best people be “searched” from an immense never-ending pool of data; with the individual recruiter (req in hand) as the overworked “database jockey.” The tool familiar to all is LinkedIn, which has popularized search for recruiters and the enterprise. Similarly, in the past three years, new and extremely powerful souring tools have come to market. These sourcing tools allow recruiting teams to search from huge pools of data, ranging from millions or even billions of records. 

While these tools offer huge potential and reach, the reality has become evident that they aren’t a complete solution to the new problems facing talent organizations. Unfortunately, recruiters that default to search very often waste their organizations’ time, money, and hard-earned resources. Many recruiters (who unbeknownst to them have been demoted to the role of the database jockey) are now hooked on retrieval tools and are spending too much time searching and not enough time thinking. Every day, we speak to HR leaders who are anxious to turn this model around. Some of their real-life concerns sound like this: 

“My team defaults to using search before thinking about who is in their professional network, or internally in our own organization.” 

“Keywords are doing nothing to help my team think differently about the type of people we want to work here, as well as our DE&I goals.” 

“I’d like my team to start acting as more of a strategic partner to my hiring managers.”

Talent intelligence starts with intelligent talent discovery

data jocky INNER

Assuming TA leaders need to do more than search external sources, let’s define what intelligent talent discovery means. Intelligent discovery means giving recruiting teams access to the kind of information that allows them to make the right decisions quickly, and act as a strategic business partner to their peers. The first step in this journey involves looking at how to better access information around your internal employees and the data that’s already in your applicant tracking system (ATS).

The mindset shift: from talent search to intelligent talent discovery

Weaning recruiting teams off their beloved search applications requires change management and focus, but the latest thinking is now suggesting the benefits and upside are huge. Today’s research is indicating that the average mid-level recruiter spends over 50% of their time in external sourcing tools. On the other side of the coin, organizations are significantly more likely to find a long-term candidate in the data pool of people who have already applied to the organization (usually in their ATS or professional network) and internal employees command higher levels of job performance (at lower costs) if promoted to move up the ranks. External Hires are More Expensive and Don’t Perform as Well.

.What’s exciting about this discovery mindset is that there are also new techniques and technologies available to take action-oriented first steps. These steps should follow the North Star of pivoting away from overreliance on search, and focusing on real, tangible, immediate benefits. 

How MojoHire enables intelligent talent discovery

If the average recruiter is spending upwards of 50% of their time in sourcing tools and candidate data repositories, it becomes obvious that the ability to use artificial intelligence to automate and optimize this entire process will free up a huge amount of time for thinking creatively, engaging meaningfully with hiring managers, and functioning as a strategic partner to their organization’s key players.

The value of AI-powered talent acquisition and automation isn’t measured merely in the form of time savings, however. Having access to superior data and the ability to better analyze and derive actionable insights from it improves dialog between leadership, hiring managers, and recruiters and enables better decision-making, which is what will ultimately elevate recruiters from database jockeys to strategic partners. The ultimate benefit is greatly enhanced market competitiveness from intelligent talent acquisition.

Encouragingly, the latest culture change research is now validating action-based strategies as opposed to more academic culture changes as the best ways to start changing quickly. Adopting a discovery mindset, as opposed to relying exclusively on “search” allows TA teams to take back control of the recruiting process and add more strategic value to the business. We encourage business leaders to take concrete steps towards discovering what their recruiting team could do if they had time to think strategically and function as true business partners

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