According to research from McKinsey, 50 percent of work activities are automatable using currently available technology—including a lot of tasks we talent acquisition professionals perform.
On first read, this might sound a lot like the "robots are coming for your job" rhetoric that is all too common today, but the reality is more aspirational. We can finally say goodbye to the countless hours we spend scheduling interviews, sorting resumes and working on many of the other rote mundane tasks that have monopolized our time for too long.
The rise of automation in our role has come at a critical moment. The unemployment rate is one pf the lowest it has been in the last decade (4.0 percent), meaning as talent acquisition professionals, we have to be more strategic in our approach to sourcing, recruiting and enticing talent if we want to stand a chance of filling one of the nearly 6.6 million open positions in the U.S. alone (that doesn't even include the rest of the globe!).
With some extra time in our days...hopefully, we have the rare opportunity to rethink and rewrite what we do, how we do it and focus on the most critical aspects of our work that fills positions with top tier talent. Looking in my talent acquisition crystal ball I see three ways our roles will evolve to not only increase our impact across the entire organization (by filling roles faster, retaining talent longer, matching candidates to open positions and enhancing candidate experiences), but also ensuring we fulfill our role as strategic leaders.
1) Get to Know Your Data
Our jobs are changing thanks to technology, and so is the traditional resume—all for the better. The resume of the future will make all kinds of candidate data available to recruiters. Instead of a one-page resume filled with past job titles, recruiters will have a whole aggregated Dropbox-like digital portfolio of each candidate's technical abilities, certifications, accomplishments, skills, social profiles and personality assessments. But what good will that do if we don't know how to draw insights from the data about whether or not a candidate is a good fit for our organizations? Or what role they will be most successful in? It will be our job, to utilize A.I. to look at historical hires and use algorithms to figure out which qualities (soft skills, hard skills, credentials, certifications, performance) determine success in a role and which candidates have matching skills and experiences.
This will be even more important in the future because candidates won't apply for a specific job. Rather, recruiters will be responsible for matching candidates of the gig economy to roles, projects, internships and apprenticeships they are the best fit for within the organization. As effective recruiters and strategists this includes forecasting which jobs are likely to open, based on historical data, growth and company goals, throughout the year at your organization and proactively building relationships and pipelining talent for those future roles.
2) Create Your Own Talent Pipeline
Candidates today don't have the skills they need for the future. A recent McKinsey report found that around 14 percent of the global workforce will have to reskill as digitization, automation and advances in artificial intelligence (AI) disrupt the world of work. Not to mention, according to Manpower Group's 2016-2017 U.S. Talent Shortage Survey, 46 percent of employers have difficulty filling jobs. How are we supposed to find qualified talent if they don't exist?
Enter: collaboration with training and development. We will have to work strategically with our organization's training and development team to create our own talent pipeline rather than waiting for the right talent to find us. Candidates might not come equipped with all the skills they need to be successful at a job, but it doesn't mean they won't have the potential to learn them. Talent acquisition will be responsible for identifying which critical skills promising candidates are missing using data from their resume. We will then work with the learning and development team to create customized training plans that ensure candidates get up to speed either before they are hired or right after they start. Developing a sophisticated upskilling training program and funneling the right candidates into it in a timely fashion will help ease talent shortages due to the skills gap.
3) Create Online Communities to Build a Talent Reserve
Recruiters are so busy right now they typically only have time to pursue candidates that fit roles they are actively working to fill. On average, each open corporate position receives 250 job applicants. But as technology and automation become more sophisticated we will be able to move from reactive to proactive recruiting. This means instead of starting outreach when it's mission critical, we will be able to expand our ability to build relationships with candidates for predicted future open positions. With our focus over the past years on recruitment marketing we have become experts at connecting with people on Facebook, LinkedIn,Twitter and Instagram who display shared interests or relevant experiences. Instead of immediately marketing job opportunities, the focus will shift to building up relationships over time. By maintaining a community of engaged potential candidates on social media and within our community network, you will have a talent pool to tap into when the need arises and be able to fill positions faster.
As automation and new technology take over many of the tasks that used to be considered a necessary part of the talent acquisition role, we have the rare opportunity to decide for ourselves how we want to evolve and revolutionize our roles. By finding new and meaningful ways to use data, upskill talent and build communities we set ourselves and our organizations up for success in a challenging talent market.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. What aspects of talent acquisition would you would change if automation saved you a few hours each day? Together we can figure out how to make our work more thoughtful, strategic and impactful.