Harnessing the Amazon mindset in talent acquisition

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Advancements in technology mean recruiters can target candidates with personalised communications and achieve higher candidate quality

The 'war on talent' may sound like an aggressive phrase to be using in the workplace, but finding the right talent is a continual challenge for many HRs no matter which industry they work in.

Frustrations for many lie around where to find good candidates, and ensuring that potential candidates don't just click on a job vacancy but actually apply. Then there’s the issue of getting too many applications from unsuitable candidates.

On the flip side, applying for a job can be a gruelling process for many jobseekers. From conversations with candidates we've found that their biggest pain points in the job search include clicking on an advertisement to find that the text lacks clarity. And so they end up spending a lot of time on vacancies that are not really relevant. Other grumbles include being targeted with jobs that are off the mark, or being contacted if not actively looking. Or they receive emails that are too generic and seem a bit ‘mass market’.

All of these conundrums might lead us to think that we are forever going to be searching for the Holy Grail of talent acquisition. And yet it doesn’t have to be so elusive. It’s about adjusting our mindsets in the way we find talent.

We need to look at how Amazon has revolutionised how customers are ‘sold to’, and how they in return engage with consumer brands. Millions buy from Amazon because it provides personalised recommendations and solutions. Amazon knows what you or I want to buy and when we want to buy it. In short we are given an individualised experience when we shop. It’s quick and accurate too.

The mindset of the jobseeker is not so different. Candidates expect a similar approach when they are looking for a new job. So what can HR departments do to ensure digital marketing strategies bridge the disconnect?

The old-school approach (which I call ‘post and pray’) has relied on job posting, pay per job and pay per click, keyword matching, and communication campaigns scatter-gunned to a broad audience. The result is a hit-and-miss approach for job matches. It has relied on what is termed static data – involving candidates uploading their CV and HR departments having only a few insights into a candidate’s relevance as a result.

Thankfully, with huge advancements in technology – enabled by AI and machine learning – we can now gain many more valuable data insights that can significantly help to fill the black hole in the talent acquisition world. 'Intent data,' as it has been termed, can tell recruiters who is looking, what exact role they want, and how active they are in their job search.

It can build up detailed candidate personas and behavioural profiling – just like Amazon and other consumer brands. It can provide far more accurate matches; the moment you register you no longer have to search but simply apply. And the more you click the smarter – and therefore more relevant – the system becomes. This has a direct influence on the quality of the response. With a very targeted audience you can finally deliver on the promise of good candidates.

A new era is upon us. True programmatic recruitment means that instead of job postings HR professionals can create integrated campaigns that deliver automated matching in real time, and with content that is relevant to a specific customer. Instead of paying for job postings and clicks it’s about paying for performance and outcomes that matter to your organisation. Instead of keyword matching it’s about taxonomy and semantic matching. Instead of broad audiences and mass marketing the communication is personalised.

The question for HRs is how quickly they can embrace this new way.

Ryan Bridgman is regional director UK and Ireland at Jobrapido

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