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Wish upon a (recruitment) star



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HR and talent acquisition leaders from six leading organisations get candid and creative with Aditi Sharma Kalra on their vision of recruitment in the near future, underpinned by a serious commitment to transformation in HR.

What happens when you get six HR and talent acquisition leaders to comment on the future of the recruitment function? Absolute fun and creativity, yet a seriousness and dedication towards making constant upgrades to the way they recruit, onboard and engage the best talent.

In this feature, prepare to read short stories on HR’s vision of recruitment 2020.

And since it’s almost unfashionable (unfathomable, even) these days to look at change across a five or 10-year timeline, we are sticking to a timeline of 2020 in reviewing such transformative changes.

We asked these leaders what they wish to change about the recruitment function, and how they propose to make this change a reality (essentially, the “what” and “how”) – read on for their insightful, yet out-of-the-box responses.

Wish one: Video résumés

James Foo, head of group human resources, ABR Holdings

The what: Increasingly, organisations worldwide are making use of technology to streamlinework processes. However, there are still many companies yet to jump aboard the
tech bandwagon in areas such as recruitment and selection.

I hope they will become largely digital by 2020. Specifically, the usage of video résumés, that goes beyond the traditional way of applying for a job during the recruitment process.

When job ads ask candidates to submit video résumés, specify that they are required to introduce themselves briefly as well as answer a few questions.

The how: First, sell the idea and benefits to the board/top management. Next, decide on the video clip details such as duration. For instance, when job ads ask candidates to submit video résumés, specify that they are required to introduce themselves briefly as well as answer a few questions that are tailored specifically for the position.

This is very useful as it will allow HR recruiters to assess candidates in their own time (that is, 24/7) anytime, anywhere. Video conferencing can be used to interview the shortlisted candidates, while candidates who meet further requirements will be invited for a face-to-face final interview.

Among the things to note, we need to list the pros and cons, and selection criteria for the pre-screening and video interview guidelines to ensure fairness.

Wish two: Advanced customisation in job searches

Delphine Leong, talent acquisition manager, Meltwater Asia Pacific

The what: In addition to the need for an intuitive and universal job portal, more needs to be done on the technology front for advanced customisation of filters and requirements in job searches for a stronger tie-back to the recruitment objectives of each organisation. For example, working in the tech space, there’s such a wide range of candidate skills that it would be useful to have a platform where we can zero in on specific areas of expertise, saving time for both the job seeker as well as the employer.

I believe there is a need for greater collaboration between employers and job portals to better accommodate companies’ recruitment needs.

The how: We foresee that technology will play a critical role in changing how we identify, assess and connect with talent. But hand-in-hand with that, I believe there is a need for greater collaboration between employers and job portals to better accommodate companies’ recruitment needs and challenges, particularly as more skill sets become nuanced. This could be addressed with a more streamlined and universal platform which can also be customised or filtered to cater to different industry contexts.

Wish three: Blending AI with a human touch

Shmeer Bharoocha, regional talent acquisition and country lead (Europe and America), ANZ

The what: Expecting an entirely new way of working and recruiting is something all of us should prepare for. One example of a tool organisations should consider is artificial intelligence (AI). However, given the early days of AI, I don’t believe a candidate’s entire interview journey should only be through robots and machines. The human touch is and will continue to be not only important, but also relevant in recruitment. The idea is to utilise technology as a tool to augment the recruitment process and assist in simplification where possible.

The decision on a candidate’s part on whether to join your firm could be down to very fine margins – like having to go to your office to return a signed document.

The how: I would highlight three key aspects for HR leaders to bear in mind to make this change a reality. The first is to adopt a “continuous improvement” and growth mindset. Studies have shown that Millennials make up most of the early adopters in technology. Failure to recognise this may mean you could potentially lose out on attracting the best talent in the market.

The second would be to acknowledge that the speed at which we attract talent might be determined by how much technology we utilise.

The decision on a candidate’s part on whether to join your firm could be down to very fine margins – like having to go to your office to return a signed document versus mailing over an electronic version.

The third is to keep up to date with trends in the market. It is always good to know what your competitors are doing and what tools they invest in to supplement their recruitment process.

Wish four: Hiring via an app

Natalie Wright, HR director, Supernova

The what: I would like to see the entire recruitment process become more tech-focused. Perhaps hiring via an app that can match candidates to your role based on keywords or questions. Employer branding is key and I would love to see recruitment take more of a marketing focus utilising Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest through videos.

I’d love to replace the CV submission with a short five to 10-minute video for candidates to apply for roles and to include VR technology.

The how: I think we need to become less rigid in the recruitment process and move away from the traditional CV. I’d love to replace the CV submission with a short five to 10-minute video for candidates to apply for roles and to include VR technology. Company culture fit is so important, but when it comes to talent acquisition you can’t always read that on a CV.

Wish five: Bots and machine learning

Sreejith Nambiar, regional head, talent acquisition, Asia Pacific and Japan, Autodesk

The what: Recruitment has been transforming in terms of both mindsets and technology. From being solely a recruiter’s job, nowadays everyone needs to think like a recruiter in the company, given how hyper-connected we all are to business results.

Speed matters. Earlier, people provided feedback on a monthly basis, where today’s demands call for feedback on a weekly or daily basis. The way we look at talent and engagement, we can only expect the speed of decision making to go faster in 2020.

From a technology standpoint, I’d like to see HR start using bots and machine learning to manage a lot of the initial screening and competency tests. That means recruitment becomes a specialist role, that is, high on soft skills, high on candidate experience and high on creativity.

Adapting game-changing technology and making sure it is customised for your company is essential.

The how: Adapting game-changing technology and making sure it is customised for your company is essential, which means HR leaders and their teams spend more time re-evaluating their current skills, culture, competencies, and more.

Wish six: Automation and artificial intelligence

John Bush, VP talent acquisition, Zendesk

The what: I would love to see automation and artificial intelligence (AI) improve the current candidate experience, all the way from application to offer. The process needs to be more engaging and transparent so the applicant can truly embrace and feel the employer’s value proposition through every step, without the clunky systems and bureaucracy that is experienced today.

Also, I would love to see AI reduce a recruiter’s burden of sifting through résumés and scheduling interviews.

Allowing AI to drive initial unbiased selection and organise interview schedules would increase the velocity of pipelines and allow recruiters to focus on more impactful areas such as driving robust external sourcing strategies, diversity, interview assessment and training, improved candidate care, and proactive consulting.

There needs to be an ongoing partnership by talent acquisition to consult with the business in order to develop the trust to try something different.

The how: Technology needs to advance to allow for front-end automation and improved candidate experience. This is happening now at a rapid pace, so the technology is not far off from becoming mainstream.

There also needs to be an ongoing partnership by talent acquisition (TA) to consult with the business in order to develop the trust to try something different and allow new ways of connecting and accelerating candidates into the interview process. TA is the people business. No technology will ever replace recruiters, but rather will take away mundane tasks that impede recruiters from doing what they do best – finding and hiring great talent.


HR leaders and their vision for recruitment in 2020 

[read the full interviews]

Read the full feature in the September edition of Human Resources, Singapore:



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