Recruiters are caught in a cross-fire hurricane to find, persuade and hire the people they need as fronts in the war for talent evolve at a quicker and quicker rate. It’s at times like these when recruiters who are in the eye of the storm need to consider new approaches to get a step ahead of the competition.

Peter Thiel’s number one rule in his book Zero to One is ‘build proprietary technology that is 10x better’.  It’s a great rallying cry for new ways of tackling existing problems. So, to paraphrase Thiel: if you’re a recruiter going into battle for talent, how can you build a recruitment experience that is 10x better, exactly?

Over the last 18 months or so, the technology available to recruiters has undergone yet another evolutionary leap forward. Start-ups in this space that seemed pie in the sky just a year ago are now maturing. Collectively, they’re building an ecosystem of micro-services that, if utilised well, can provide clear, definable business value to big businesses.

This is something we're frequently asked to advise on. Each piece of technology in isolation seems amazing, magical even, but the systemic change comes when you integrate each one effectively with the rest of your ecosystem. We’re increasingly approached by our clients to help them get the most out of this leap forward as they vie for best-in-class recruits.

So how can you get the most out of this leap forward? Well, let’s start with five areas where you can be 10x better over the course of 2019.

10x better data: get smart about business metrics


Understanding whether or not progress is being made is imperative to secure buy-in to evolving recruitment technologies. Ultimately, it comes down to having a clear handle on data and the metrics that matter. 

This is a really important point, mainly because, from the get-go, the metrics you’re looking for will be offline and from disparate sources. For example, collating data on how long the applicant journey takes may first be defined differently across the territories you operate in, or the way data is collected may vary from territory to territory or department to department.

You need to start by speaking to those in charge of hiring talent to get access to the raw data. It’ll start off as a messy pile of numbers, but it’s better than nothing. From there, evaluate the differences and synchronise data collection to your key metrics.

The challenge here will be getting laser-focused on two or three core metrics that scale, which you can communicate back to the business. Speak to leadership to make sure they’re clear on what these metrics are and you’re at the starting point for all investment going forward.

10x better experience: make it human


Armed with a clear approach to how you’re going to measure performance, you’ll need to make the applicant journey as seamless as possible. Yes, the dimensions of the recruitment experience are set via your core metric, but your applicants are more discerning than ever and they’ll have expectations of the types of interaction they’ll have with you. The focus here needs to be on humanising the experience to up your fight for the best talent. 

Take time to really put the job seeker at the heart of the experience. How can you make their individual experience as easy as possible, while still making the experience feel unique to your business?

On a basic level this means architecting the digital experience around the user – asking key questions like ‘what content does the user need at each step of the recruitment experience?’ and building that in. Put internal stakeholder workshops aside here – assumptions and hypotheses around your recruitment experience won’t cut it. You need to seek actual user feedback to stand out from the competition.

We’ve found that in-depth interviews to map out in detail the twists and turns in the candidate’s journey and testing with prototypes are the most successful way to bring the voice of the user into the process. It’s illuminating and sets us on the right course.

Finally, take lots of time to make the blueprint of what the ideal end-to-end job seeker experience should be – from awareness, to consideration, to application, right through to day one. With one of our clients, we found employer brand content was actually getting in the way of the task at hand and ultimately confusing job seekers. By mapping out the ‘ideal’ candidate journey, we encouraged internal teams to prioritise calls to action and improved that particular link in the chain to join the whole thing up.

10x better decisions: it's about quality, not quantity


Hiring the right person for the business is, of course, the point here. Once you have your job seeker blueprint, you can begin working out the specific decisions your hiring manager needs to make and at which point they fall in the recruitment experience.

The opportunity to make decisions 10x better focuses on the interaction hiring managers have with candidates. Specifically, improving the speed at which hiring managers are able to make decisions about the applicants while maintaining effectiveness. If we can make those decisions more programmatic, we can standardise the decision-making process, while maintaining or improving the decisions hiring managers make. Which leads to technology…

10x better technology: data-driven decision-making


Sometimes there are steps forward in technology that can make things 10x better and deserve real attention.

That’s where we are today in recruitment technology. Over the last year or two, a whole new ecosystem of start-ups have been applying machine learning techniques to the recruitment process. Improving internal efficiencies, making better decisions quicker and eliminating bias are just some of the things at the top of every hiring manager’s agenda. A lot of new technologies are specifically designed to support in these areas, here’s just a few examples of what’s out there:

  • Hired-score is an adaptive learning system that instantly scores candidates and provides reports
  • Pymetrics applies proven neuroscience games and cutting-edge AI to reinvent the way companies attract, select, and retain talent
  • HireVue helps global enterprises gain a competitive advantage in the modern talent marketplace with video interviewing software and assessments
  • Arena uses massive amounts of data and cutting-edge data science to identify the candidates who are the best fit for each role
  • IBM Watson (okay, it’s certainly not a start-up, but it is making great strides in, for example, CV parsing)

10x better progress: breaking down barriers to change


There’s no doubt this all takes courage, ambition and leadership to pull off. To get the business behind you, you’ll need to think big and start small.

To make 10x better progress, adopt a software development mindset so you can test and learn quickly and pilot your thinking as soon as the business is 10% behind you. By applying systems thinking to help identify the levers of change, you’ll be able to map the networks of people who will influence your ability to implement change, identify the critical exchange of information that enables value, address the power structures that get in the way of progress and finally, articulate the new paradigm you need to create a vision statement.

But getting commitment from the whole organisation to deliver is often difficult when facing short-termism. Much of the value we’ve brought our clients has been set up by creating the business case to effect change internally.

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