With the Effectual Stretch in Recruiting, You Can’t Lose

“The end cannot justify the means, for the simple and obvious reason that the means employed determine the nature of the ends produced.” –Aldous Huxley

Indeed. This quote was shared with me in a comment on my Who Cares As Long As We’re Still Hiring article. The commenter conveyed that it does matter what we call something, as it helps to power the means.

This is true, and I responded that words do matter and the means employed are critical. But I argued that the spirit of technological innovation today isn’t helping to alleviate the human problem of not adapting fast enough to remain employable, and/or creating new opportunities where none existed before. We can and do occupy the same space with technology and displacement isn’t new, although now in this digital age, it’s unprecedented. Worrying about what we call talent acquisition isn’t creating solutions to retrain the workforce and keep our growing population productive – that’s the means I’m worried about.

His thoughtful response summed it all up:

The mistake all of us are doing… is trying to solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them – that only creates more problems.

Solid solutions in the past have come from trying to solve our problem outside the thinking we used to create them. This requires testing every belief we have – something most are not willing to do….

Amen. And change and solve we do, from every technological disruption to workforce displacement, whether it comes from early learning and not knowing any other way, or forced adoption.

For example, a PeopleFluent colleague of mine, who is a Millennial, developed a research survey for Millennials that will generate valuable insight for employers as they consider how to hire and develop their next generation of employees. Millennials can take the survey here. Instead of initially send out email campaigns to lists of the younger workforce, which we will still do, we instead chose to share via social media channels first. Within a week we had nearly 300 responses.

That’s telling, don’t you think? Give the young folk what they want, where they want it and how they want it, and you’re in.

Then there was the Wall Street Journal article about the New York Times temporarily blocking access to their homepage on all desktop computers at its headquarters. Those employees who try to get on their own site via desktops will receive a message prompting them to switch over to phones or tablets.

And that is that – forced adoption. Not a bad idea actually when you think about the fact that there are now well over 5 billion mobile devices in use across the world, compared to only 789 million laptops and 743 million desktop PCs. That’s where more and more of their readers are accessing newspapers, magazines and books.

And applying for jobs. In fact, the failure to recognize and account for the now ubiquitous use of mobile Internet access will most likely hobble a company’s efforts to find new people. As more candidates leverage their devices to learn about jobs and apply to them, they will simply move on from companies that don’t have mobile-optimized career sites. Responsive web design ensures the candidate experience is consistent regardless of device and will help reduce drop-off rates and increase qualified applicant conversation rates. Not to mention the fact that Google’s search algorithm now penalizes a company’s mojo if they have both a mobile and desktop website, as opposed to one mobile-optimized site.

Talent acquisition professionals today have the benefit of a bevy of technological innovations including mobile to empower attracting, sourcing, screening, interviewing, hiring and onboarding, but the mainstream is still focused on targeting the entire stream that dumps into the big blue of everyone looking or not looking for a job. The proverbial post-and-pray approach of posting a job everywhere possible and praying that some qualified folks will appear in the net along with the hundreds of unqualified people per each requisition posted. And doing it every single time the job is open.

When we discussed this on the TalentCulture #TChat Show with three progressive recruiting pros – Johnny Campbell, Founder and CEO at Social Talent; Sara Fleischmann, Purple Squirrel Hunter at Hewlett-Packard; and Stacy Zapar, Founder of Tenfold, and recruiting strategist, trainer & advisor – the consensus was that it’s the way recruiters have always done things.

There’s safety in numbers, and if everyone else is doing it, surely it must work! Unfortunately it’s still prevalent in many circles because there’s a lack of education and motivation in the recruiting industry.

But there those organizations making a difference, adopting new recruiting practices and empowering job seekers to do the same. For example, in a recent webinar with Gerry Crispin, Talent Board co-founder and one of the great minds behind the Candidate Experience Awards, some innovative examples of the “means employed determine the nature of the ends produced” include:

  • RMS – Run virtual chat rooms where job seekers bring honest questions and recruiters bring honest answers.
  • Spectrum Health System – Bring together qualified candidates and managers together in person for one-stop interview shop with a promised decision and offer, or not, the same day.
  • jetBlue – Built pilot people pools that start attracting talent in universities and then assign mentors that continue 3-4 years after graduation (bootcamps, assessments, etc. They sources 20% of their pilot hires this way.
  • CH2M – Continuously improve the recruiting experience and generate a monthly sentiment report. Their net promoter score increases year over year in overall communication, ATS efficiency, mobile apply, etc.

Change can be painfully productive, and the adage “adapt or perish” is one more and more employers and prospective employees hang from their hearts like motivational posters. That’s why with the effectual stretch in recruiting, of pushing oneself to learn and expand beyond what’s known and comfortable in a way that’s produces desired yet diverse effective results, it’s a win. Or what Mr. Huxley said. Either way you can’t lose.