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5 Reasons Your Talent Cloud Might Not Be a Rainmaker

Recruitment Automation has been getting some buzz in Talent Acquisition circles recently. And rightly so. The hope, nay the promise, is that through clever use of CRM, Marketing Automation, AI/Machine Learning and Analytics, organizations can build a reliable “pipeline” of talent (i.e. Talent Cloud) and fast-track the hiring process by eliminating some portion of the sourcing, screening and scheduling tasks that are done manually today. Assuming it all works as advertised, companies reduce time-to-fill, decrease cost-per-hire and improve quality of hire metrics. Game on...right? Well, maybe.

5 Reasons Your Talent Cloud Might Not Be a Rainmaker

Let’s start with the good news. The technology pieces are coming together nicely. At the top of the Talent Acquisition funnel, there exists all manner of digital advertising and marketing options for attracting prospective candidates. And Marketing Automation, especially when integrated with a CRM/ATS, can be an effective tool for engaging, nurturing and tracking that talent across mediums after you’ve welcomed them to your Cloud. In addition, matching technology, like Monster’s (er, Randstad’s) Cloud Match and CareerBuilder’s Textkernel, are good and getting better. Tools like these could serve as the connective tissue for a Talent Cloud solution – providing more relevant matches between prospects and jobs, and offering deep insights into the people data (skills, roles, geographies, etc.) that make up the cloud. 

The above is a bit of an oversimplification. But the fact remains, the technology exists today, right now, to begin executing on a Talent Cloud strategy. But before you submit that funding proposal to the Board, here are a few potential pitfalls to consider:

  1. Adopting a One-Sided Approach

    Whether your Talent Cloud is built through opt-in strategies, or is more of an outbound platform targeted at high-value sourced prospects, its ultimate success relies on engagement. The vast majority of your prospects won’t be a match for an existing job, or won’t be interested in what you have available at any given moment. Your goal then is to provide something of value during these lulls, to maintain awareness and (hopefully) earn occasional updates, or possibly even referrals. But keep expectations low, and always attempt to provide more value than you ask in return.
  1. Treating It Like Another Database

    There are a myriad of candidate sources that require little to no ongoing management – a Talent Cloud isn’t one of them. As mentioned above, success of the program relies as much on engagement as the wiz-bang technology that runs it. So if you don’t have an engagement strategy, you’re not ready for a Talent Cloud; it’s that simple. And to be clear, emailing out a list of available jobs each week doesn’t count. Engagement and nurturing programs require thoughtful planning, careful execution and a reasonable amount of work. Invest the time to do it right, or your results will suffer.
  1. Not Aligning with The Business

    Some skillsets and roles are more important than others to your organization; your talent cloud should mirror that reality. First, make sure you are attracting and engaging the right people. If you haven’t hired someone similar recently, and don’t plan to hire someone similar in the near future (a year or two), then why would you spend time marketing to them? Instead, invest those resources on your highest priority targets – making sure they feel the love and stay engaged with the program.
  2. Nobody Truly Owns It Internally

    Determining who has ultimate responsibility for the program is crucial, and depends a great deal on how your organization is structured. Some possibilities include Marketing, HR, Sourcing and Recruiting/Talent Acquisition. Regardless of who you chose, there will need to be a significant amount of collaboration between these groups, as well as your hiring managers. But think carefully before allowing ownership to be jointly shared. As with most things in life, the buck should stop somewhere. And whoever that falls to should be supremely focused on delivering value – both for the business, and for everyone in your Talent Cloud. And they should also manage the budget for the program and be responsible for reporting on ROI and other hiring metrics related to the source. 
  1. Forgetting to be Human

    Automation can be great – both for your business and for prospective candidates. But don’t overdo it. Figure out the key touch points in your recruiting and hiring processes, and make sure a human is involved at the level necessary to ensure a great candidate experience. As an example, there may be great tools to reduce friction in setting up screenings and interviews; awesome – use those! But make sure and have someone on your team assigned to that candidate, keeping an eye and ear out to make sure things work as expected. Last point here. Just because you’re automating a process, your communications, voice and messaging shouldn’t be robotic. In fact, you need to make a greater effort to humanize your company and brand, and to orient your perspective toward the message recipient.

As a self-admitted technology geek, a former Recruiter, and a current Talent Acquisition and Marketing leader, Recruiting Automation and Talent Clouds hit all of my hot buttons. Done right, these programs offer the possibility of simultaneously reducing costs and improving hiring metrics, while also delivering a surprisingly human and efficient hiring process for candidates. But experience tells us that the flip side is also possible. That instead of rainbows and unicorns, your Talent Cloud could produce a cyclone of misery – or possibly worse still, just dry up altogether.

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