Talent Acquisition, Now and In Future: Three Viewpoints

March 8, 2011

I know the following statement might elicit eye-rolling from some quarters, but I absolutely love hearing our customers speak.  They’re sharp, they’re forward-thinking, and I typically learn more from them in five minutes than I can in an hour or more of digging around online.  So it was quite a treat to witness John Campagnino of Accenture, Amy McKee of Autodesk and Andy Williams of Kaiser Permanente onstage today at the HCI Summit in Atlanta.

In a panel moderated by our own Dan Shapero, the three shared their thoughts on the role of social recruiting in their organizations and key emerging talent acquisition trends.

The session was especially interesting given the different vantage point of each.  For Amy at Autodesk, with 7000 employees, a presence in 39 countries and the need to fill up to 2000 positions a year, the main challenge is coming up with new ways to find and reach candidates given the change in their behavior and expectations.

Then there’s John, who heads global talent acquisition for a 211,000-employee organization in 140 countries.  John’s recruiting team at Accenture is double the size of my entire company, and they hire 50,000-60,000 people a year (Now, that’s hiring at scale).  John’s hottest near-term priorities relate to ramping up hiring in emerging economies, without compromising skill sets or corporate culture; and to making employee referrals the number one source of hire for the company within the next two years.

Meanwhile, Andy, who runs recruiting for Kaiser Permanente throughout the Georgia region, has other things on his mind.  Healthcare is booming, but the number of qualified industry professionals is not even close to keeping pace.  For the healthcare delivery side of Kaiser's business, the growing shortage of nurses and other healthcare workers is a fact of life.

Despite their diverse business challenges, all three have successfully developed in-house capabilities to handle the bulk of previously outsourced staffing needs.  As John pointed out, good agencies continue to have their place in Accenture’s hiring strategy, but the cost savings for all have been significant (Andy’s team spent $3 million in 2008 on outside help; that number plummeted to just $100,000 in 2010 with the help of LinkedIn Recruiter and other tools).

The in-house transition requires different team skills, approaches and technologies, but all made it sound relatively easy to accomplish.  Amy had the fortune to hire talented recruiters who were already comfortable with reaching out to passive candidates; that, plus equipping them with the right social recruiting tools, has done the trick.  She also embedded social recruiting in her team’s goals to drive alignment.

John and Accenture leveraged the overlap between existing hires and social network engagement (75% of those hired via agencies were already on LinkedIn) to motivate a team already drawn to “the thrill of the chase”.  When armed with the right tools and training, they delivered phenomenal results.

Andy went even a step further, using access to tools like Recruiter to entice new talent on to his own team.  He recounted a great story in which he was able to hire a top-notch recruiter by spinning around his monitor and showing him, real-time in the interview, the tools he’d be able to leverage as a recruiter at Kaiser Permanente.  As Andy said, it’s not hard to get a recruiter excited about technologies which make their lives easier, increase their odds of success and help them reach candidates more quickly.

So, what’s next?  Andy predicted the demise of the paper resume, the rise of online profile-based hiring, and the growth of video interviewing.  Amy talked about being where the candidate is, for instance by moving away from email and making job posts smartphone-friendly, though mobile recruiting results aren’t there yet.  And John stressed the need to understand the key buyer values of Gen Y and even the next wave of talent, those born post-2000.

What will Gen Z look for when they’re ready to work? I don’t know yet, but I have a feeling our customers’ experiences will help shape my understanding in due course.