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[On-Demand Webinar] The Changing Recruitment Landscape: How To Overcome Today's Key Challenges

Xref bullhorn webinar

Watch the webinar on-demand

Hosted by Lee-Martin Seymour, CEO and Co-Founder of Xref, and Matt Chippendale, Field Sales Executive at Bullhorn, this webinar calls on research from both companies. 

Learn tactics to improve candidate experience, drive talent acquisition and deliver process improvement.

Webinar Transcript:

Sally: Hi everyone, thanks for joining us today. My name's Sally. I'm the marketing specialist here at Bullhorn. Today, we're joined by Lee-Martin Seymour CEO and Co-Founder of Xref, and Matt Chippendale, Field Sales Executive here at Bullhorn. 

Matt: Thanks, Sally and hi everyone. The first report we're going to look at is the 2018 Australian Recruitment Trends Report. It's the fourth year that we have done this research, and the reason we've done it is to bring to light the emerging trends and challenges in the recruitment industry, to help overcome them as a group. So, that's the report we are going to be touching on today from a Bullhorn perspective. 

Lee:  Thanks, Matt. Xref has run the Recruitment Risk Index across the globe in a few different regions. The first time we did it was in Australia. Why did we do it? We went out to thousands of Australian HR recruitment professionals, to basically turn urban myth into fact. Xref has been around for about eight years. For the first five years, we were walking around the industry telling people that the way that they were collecting feedback on other humans was outdated, it was broken, it was full of breaches in privacy and discrimination, and nobody in the process actually liked the job of reference checking.

So, rather than keep pounding the pavements and working on our own credibility and getting people to trust our judgment, we went out to the industry and we asked really sticky questions, around what the industry perceptions are. So, I am delighted to cover this today, but really the most exciting part about this webinar is the fact that we are bringing both the Bullhorn report and the Xref report together, it's clear that there's a disparity between the priorities and challenges that you, the professionals, face out there. So, today, we'll be covering the key findings of each report, where the two reports corroborate and what their combined outcomes tell us. And then, the solutions for tackling the three key themes highlighted, which are candidate experience, talent acquisition, and process improvement.

Matt, tell us what were some of the key stats revealed in the Bullhorn report?

Matt: Look, key findings from the Bullhorn report actually highlighted the root cause of many of the industry issues that we're seeing today. So, I guess recruiters know what they should be focused on. A lot of them are actually failing to improve the way that they approach their priorities, so, according to the Bullhorn trends report, the top priorities at the moment for recruiters are profitability, being the main one, candidate acquisition is the second, and candidate experience third.

And then, if you look at the challenges that the recruitment industry in Australia is facing at the moment, skill shortages is there at 71%. Pricing pressures and margins, they're in a pretty close second. And then finally, leveraging technology and automation to actually improve the process comes in third. And, I guess the ironic thing that we've seen here is the fact that each of the three priorities could be improved, and then the top two challenges actually overcome by tackling this third-rated challenge, which is what we're going to talk about today, and that's leveraging technology and automation to actually get ahead.

Interestingly, only 17% of the respondents to the Bullhorn trends report actually rated this as a priority for the year ahead. And, Lee, I think another challenge, that's not mentioned in our report but highlighted in some research that you've done, are the risks associated with losing good talent. 

Lee: Yeah, I think when the stats came back on the Xref Recruitment Risk Index, the key one, the first one here, the 41%, was alarming. We could never have imagined that the industry would come back and tell us that they are losing 41% of their talent because of delays in the hiring process. If it were me, I would make this 41% a lot bigger on this screen, because I think this is an alarm bell, you know. We're in a talent-short market. There is a war on talent.

There's been a war on talent in Australia for as long as I've been here, the last 15 years. We've got the lowest unemployment rate. I get to travel quite a lot around the world, and I see the different attrition rates and unemployment rates around the world, and we can't afford, as a nation, to lose four candidates out of every 10, because our own processes, whether they're manual or automated, are just not good enough, right? 

So, isn't it bizarre, moving on to the second stat, that those same people that said they're losing candidates are telling us that, 35% of the time, these people are frustrated with their own recruitment processes?

And then, leading on from that, we're in a time now of GDPR, where personal, whether sensitive or not, data is being sold, being leaked. It was clear in the report, even two years previous to the GDPR, that 54% recognised that data privacy risks were prevalent in the traditional recruitment process. We've all had line managers and clients take references behind candidates' backs, we've all seen recruiters share CVs of candidates to crowbar jobs open, and the candidates not even aware that their resume's been sent. So, and I can say these things because I've been a recruiter for 20 years and I've seen all types of behaviour... the 54% is very understandable.

So, look, The Industry's in Limbo. I think it's torn between new technologies and automation, and the perceived challenge of an organisation adopting it. So, I think we can agree the two reports present some significant issues for recruiters today, and to the broader HR market. But, Matt, you've got these summarised nicely on the next slide.

Matt: Yeah, so look, what does it all mean? So, I guess, a couple of key trends came out of the two reports, and the first thing that became pretty apparent was that finding top talent, as you've just touched on there, Lee, remains a universal issue for the recruitment industry here in Australia. Despite this, though, and despite how competitive it is, the industry's still really reliant on traditional ways of recruiting. It doesn't appear that many people are actually being very adventurous in the way that they find talent.

So I guess what we're noticing, the industry as a whole is now realising that it's more important than ever to be able to work smarter and not harder, and they're looking at tools that they can use to actually make this process a lot easier for them. So, Lee, I think having looked at some of the priorities there, how can we turn these priorities into realities and then turn some of these challenges that we're facing into opportunities?

Lee:  Okay, so, I think if you have a look at these stats in terms of the candidate experience, recruiters, in the Bullhorn report, we only saw 31% of recruiters telling us that candidate experience is a priority. Oh my goodness, being a recruiter for some time, I can tell you, I never put a candidate in a closed boxed interview room with a piece of paper to fill out before I've breathed a word to them. We would be sitting in a café talking about life before we talked about the possibility of finding a new role. 

Recently, I went out and interviewed Jeff Van Groningen, the managing director of the Sydney Kings, and they've just hired an all-star NBA player, Andrew Bogut, to come back and play basketball with the Australian NBL. The video of the interview is on the Xref website, and it really does show us that in other industries, recruitment and candidate experience is so important. So, really nice to see that, and it's well documented in the news right now as well. But we've really got to think a little bit harder about how we delight the people that we're changing the lives for.

How do we improve candidate experience? 

So, number one, first impressions count. How many times do recruiters get a resume and take two days to respond, or they get a phone call out of the blue from a candidate, looking to make a move, and they block the call by asking for a resume before they can engage? We're humans, at the end of the day, and we need to engage from the very minute with these candidates because we just can't afford to delay the situation. So, we need to prioritise efficiency.

I'll talk about it a bit later, but we can't hand off the art of being a recruiter to technology, that blocks us as humans from doing a great job. But we do need to find ways in which we can become far more efficient. I remember getting on a train with a candidate and taking the train home with them, and interviewing them on the way home, because they had no other time to do it. I found myself on the wrong side of London, but I ended up with a fantastic candidate. So, whether it's manual or automated technology, we've got to find ways that prioritise efficiency.

We need to continue to engage with the new recruits. We can't place people and forget about them. These people are the key to finding more great talent. There's some smart technology out there to really drip-feed our touchpoints with these candidates, and we need to find clever, smart, elegant ways of building relationships as humans, but also creating touchpoints over time, using technology.

And we need to adopt tools that drive engagement, stop looking at things that are nice-to-haves, that are fun for six minutes. I think we need to look at business-critical toolsets. One decision we made eight years ago was to take the role of the job of referencing off of the line manager, who by the way hated it, or the recruiter who hated it, and give it to the candidate. The candidates love to be in control of their own destiny. That's what they're in it for. So, you know, tools like Xref, where we put the candidate in the driving-seat, allows them to have the visibility and control over the outcome and provides efficiency to the recruiter, a fantastic hand-in-hand tool. 

So, Matt, what sort of tools does Bullhorn offer to help drive engagement?

Matt: Yeah, look, something that we've heavily, heavily focused on at the moment, when we're looking at the products that we're developing, is this automation piece. So, this year alone, Bullhorn as a platform, we're going to pump back about $US 25 million into improving our platform for our customers, and, as I said, we're heavily focused on automation.

So, to give you an idea of what that could look like, it could be, rather than you as a consultant having to remember to call or email a candidate after three days, three weeks and three months from point of placement, we can start to automate that for you, and make sure that it's not just the good consultants that are remembering to do that. We can make sure that that's set as a standard across your entire agency. So, that for me, when you look at technology enhancing the experience that candidate has and making recruiters better at the job that they do, that for me is a really big one. And that sort of automation is something you can expect to see from us over the next couple of months.

So, if we continue, I guess talent acquisition has been identified here as both a priority and a challenge, but what we're seeing is that it's really yet to be handled effectively by the people that were surveyed. So, skills deficit again was identified as a top three challenge by 71% of the people that actually responded to the Bullhorn survey this year. And at the same time, candidate acquisition has been identified as a top three priority for 41% of the same people. Despite that, the Bullhorn report has highlighted a really heavy reliance, if you like, on the traditional ways of finding candidates. That being referrals, which sits at about 60% of people, and then, still in this country, job boards are a really, really dominant way that people are sourcing candidates.

The conclusion that we've come to is that innovation in the way that recruitment agencies are actually sourcing and identifying talent could really help this industry overcome the challenges that we're seeing, in a really skill-short market, and actually help them meet these increasingly difficult talent acquisition targets that they've got in place.

How do we overcome some of these challenges that we're seeing in the market at the moment? Well, the first thing is, you have to know exactly what your candidates are looking for. So, in a market where differentiating one's salary and business perks is no longer enough, what else could it be? What else can you tap into? Could it be training? Could it be that you offer flexible working hours, a comfortable distance from home? Is it culture, is it business structure, could it be an agile environment? More than ever, it's important to recognise what candidates are really looking for in a potential new employer, and it's really, really important to treat them as individuals rather than just taking this one-size-fits-all approach.

The other thing that's super-important, and I'm sure it's not the first time many of you listening today have heard this, but it's super-important to build an employer brand and a personal and professional brand. As we all know, a really positive and consistent employer brand is critical to ensuring that you're getting the right message across to the right talent, and also at the right time as well. So, to build a strong employer brand, you need to have a strong understanding of what your existing employer brand is, what channels you are using to drive it, and then you can start looking at ways to improve it. 

Finally, adopting really smart tools, and adopting different ways to identify and find great talent. So, for us here at Bullhorn, what we're seeing is a real trend of people ditching the traditional ways of finding talent. And they're actually going back into their database of candidates that they've acquired in years gone by, to really tap into people with the right skills, that might not be actively looking for a job. We're seeing a really high level of success, and people being able to get the most out of the assets that they've already paid to acquire in years gone by.

Lee, from your side, does Xref offer any similar tools that your customers are using to find people that they wouldn't potentially find on job boards, or through referrals?

Lee: Yeah, absolutely. Look, I think that we've always had the division between a job-seeker that comes through seek and a passive candidate. And we all know as recruiters that passive candidates are gold-dust, and they take nurturing and relationship-building, and they're hard to find because they don't have up-to-date resumes and they're not on job boards. They're busy doing an excellent job in their organisations. We've all been recruiters that have tried in some way to turn a referee into either a client or a new candidate, but time constraints and the broken process of traditional referencing doesn't allow us to do it succesully all too often.

So, what we found over eight years of referencing online, is that our organisations, that use Xref, have built up huge amounts of data, of these passive candidates that at one stage in the past referenced one of their successful candidates. So, we now offer the People Search product as a separate app, that you can get to from Xref, and we have organisations using People Search to identify talent. And, when they make that human phone call, they're saying, "You gave a reference for Bob a year ago. At that time, you were in this particular role. Bob's worked out really well for us, would you entertain a coffee and a discussion to explore a possible role with us?" So, we have organisations finding new ways to find and talk to these passive candidates. It's working really well. 

So, on to the next point, process improvement. It's been recognised as necessary for success, so, in the Xref report, 77% were interested in a way to streamline their current reference-checking process. But then, the industry realises that the tech base automated solutions could improve experience, but again, 47% see tech and automation as one of the top three challenges that they face. And only 17% rated it as a top three priority.

Now, I wouldn't panic too much about this. I think the world is turning. I think I'll make some comments on the next slide about this, but added to this, the fact that 53% of the Bullhorn respondents feel that there was a risk of job loss in the industry due to automation, being locked out, I suppose, from the human experience and the control, and the visibility, I suppose. So, it becomes clear that professionals are struggling to weigh up the opportunities it could offer, against the perceived threats it may pose. I suppose I have seen technology out there where candidates are just refuting the technology in favour of the human touch.

So, how do we overcome this? 

Number one, I think we need to educate ourselves and each other. There is a wealth of information around us. My daughter says, "Don't guess, Daddy, Google." You know, yes, we do Google technology solutions, and I can tell you right now that the landscape of HR technology solutions globally are thousands, and it is a minefield. And it's a minefield because, as technologists, we can create a beautiful brand, a beautiful website, and all of the content to sell you a great idea. And we can do all of that in an afternoon, but it doesn't mean to say that that's the app for you, and it doesn't mean to say that it's going to solve your issue.

Now, what you could do is ring your peers. You could use LinkedIn to understand what the best technologies are out there, and who's using them, and how they fit your business case. There's a great HR ecosystem in Australia, people are very well-connected, and people are very happy to share the successes of the technology they use. Have a look at the integrations that people like Bullhorn and Xref and others have decided to join up with. Our choice to integrate with Bullhorn was because their culture suited ours, their technology was the leading edge, and the way that they worked with us to have a rich integration was unparalleled. So, if a company like Xref decide to integrate with a suite of services, then I would say, if you trust a particular platform, then they've probably made good decisions on others.

We need to value the human experience. The number of times we hear maybe junior recruiters pretty much read the advert back to the candidate, whereas the great recruiters out there are storytellers. They're telling stories to candidates about how the journey into this new organisation's going to be, what the environment's like. They are telling stories about their candidates' journeys, not just what's on the resume, but everything that's not on the resume. And we need to be storytellers out there. But, to be storytellers, we need the time.

So, we work in an industry of art and science. We need to use technology to back the science up, while we have the luxury of being the artists, being the humans and the storytellers in our industry, because that makes the biggest difference. What we need to do is find the tools that will make our life easier. But find the tools that are business-critical, the ones that are enterprise-ready, the ones that delight you, your candidate and the experience that they have. Don't just get the ones that are nice-to-haves, that look pretty.

So, look, that almost wraps up our webinar. Matt, perhaps you could just summarise our key challenges, and share some of the resources that we have for our audience?

Matt: Yeah, will do, thanks, Lee. Look, in the interests of time, I'll try and run through this quite quickly, but I think, to recap, what we've identified is that there's a real need to focus on three things. Those mainly are the candidate experience, talent acquisition and process improvement as well. Quite clearly, from the research we've done, there is quite a level of dissatisfaction with the way that recruitment's being conducted at the moment here, here in Australia, and on top of that, there's a lack of focus on introducing new ways of working and breaking the mould and looking at new technology. And, should you choose to look at new technology, I think the real value is derived from that tech that allows you to be more human, that technology that's going to take away potentially the more monotonous parts of your role and allow you to spend more time with candidates and really giving them the experience they deserve.

That's just a quick recap of the session today. In terms of the resources that we're going to send through to you, the first one we'll send will be obviously the Bullhorn 2018 Australian Recruitment Trends Report, that, coupled with the Recruitment Risk Index, that's from the Xref side of things. On top of that, what we'll make sure we send through as well will be the Bullhorn Source Code, so that's little tips and tricks on how to find and place the best candidates, and we're also going to have, from Xref, the HR Tech Checklist as well. So, a number of different providers there that might be of interest to everyone listening today

Lee: Thanks, Matt.

Matt: Thanks very much, Lee.

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Recruitment Risk Index: Australian Industry Perspective

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