#TalentQA | 3 min read

#TalentQA: Patricia Hiley, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Global Pharmaceutical Business

Written by Adam Woozeer

The latest in our Talent Leaders Q&A series, we recently spoke with Patricia Hiley who, drawing on her years of experience in talent acquisition, reflected on just how much the industry has evolved in recent years.

With candidate behaviour changing, and with both businesses and talent specialists having to adapt, Patricia discussed how organisations be successful in this new age of talent acquisition.

Third Republic (TR): How have you seen talent acquisition change in your time in the industry

Trisha Hiley (TH): I’ve seen a couple of changes, but the use of technology for sure is a huge one; it’s completely revolutionised how talent individuals strategise and source candidates. In line with this has been the rise of social media which has similarly disrupted how talent acquisition professionals do their job, because they are harnessing these new platforms to source and engage talent. Finally, I’ve seen a definite trend of people being more comfortable using their own network to refer candidates; which is interesting considering this rise in tech that talent acquisition has also become a lot more about relationships.

TR: Have you also seen candidates changing their behaviours?

TH: Yes, the market is now very much candidate led; I think for years there has been a lot of talk about the ‘War for Talent’, but over the last two years specifically this has really become the reality, and candidates are using this to their advantage. They know that they have the power because they are very much in-demand and have businesses desperate for their skills. In line with this, candidates have gotten much better at marketing themselves and, therefore, are less reliant on agencies to find them work because they realise that they will be approached directly.

TR: With this lack of reliance from candidates, how do you see agencies fitting into this new era of talent acquisition?

TH: Agencies still fit into this new era, but they need to ensure that they are truly part of the talent acquisition team and the organisation they are supporting. Part of this is being able to sell the employer value proposition of that organisation, and treating candidates as a valued commodity that they are!

TR: Do you believe that these changes in candidate behaviour has made them harder to source and engage?

TH: I think candidates have definitely become more selective with who they will engage with; although the rise in social media and technology in general hasn’t made them harder to source – it’s made it easier because everyone is online, and you can’t hide. That being said, this engagement piece is tougher because, as said, candidates know they are in demand.

TR: Are there any particular methods you use to overcome these challenges?

TH: I think now, businesses have to focus on working hard to sell their organisation and to make their roles look appealing. Organisations have to be creative in terms of how they dress their shop window – so to speak. Not doing so means they run the risk of blending into the crowd and failing to attract the attention of candidates when they promote their jobs and reach out. Businesses also need to utilise their own employees in order to help promote the company, and to engage with potential candidates. Talent acquisition is becoming much more a networking, and relationship-based industry, and so harnessing the talent you already have is key.

TR: Do you think the rise in digital and technology will continue to influence and alter the industry?

TH: Yes, I do. I think, in particular, it will influence the way in which we, as talent acquisition professionals, develop our own online recruitment processes, as more tech arises that helps us to streamline and automate the process itself. I also think technology will continue to influence the way in which candidates showcase their skills and talents.

TR: What other emerging trends are you seeing in the talent acquisition industry?

TH: I’m seeing a definite increase in the amount of counter offers being made, as organisations use more and more incentives to retain their talent. I also think we’re going to see an increasing use of technology through the recruitment process, and it is going to become more tech driven for sure. For instance, there will be less need for a face to face interview until the final stage because of the likes of Whatsapp and Facetime being harnessed for initial interviews. This will also go hand in hand with increasing the candidate experience as individuals have to spend less time, for instance, travelling to venues and instead can go through the process conveniently.

TR: Finally, what advice do you have to other recruiters navigating this changing industry?

TH: I would advise people to get themselves known for the right reason; always act with integrity and ensure you are putting the right message out. Look at things like your social media accounts because candidates will most definitely find you, and when they do you want them to see you as the face of the organisation you are recruiting for!