70% of enterprises are investing in Recruitment Marketing this year alone, according to Aptitude Research.
It’s an area of talent acquisition that is receiving a lot of attention, but it is also rife with misunderstandings around what good looks like, and the market is not yet even near maturity.
We invited Kelly Cartwright, Head of Talent Acquisition Technology Strategy at Amazon Web Services, and Madeline Laurano, founder at Aptitude Research, to talk through this changing market in one of our recent webinars. Among other things, they shared their insight into the current gap between recruitment marketing technology, and the capabilities of recruiting teams.
Talent attraction and engagement are a priority in the current talent market
There are literally hundreds of recruiting solutions available in the market today, all offering a varying spectrum of capabilities. In this type of crowded market, it’s hard for talent acquisition leaders looking for the first time to invest in recruitment marketing capabilities to be clear on what to ask for, what to expect from these tools.
On top of the increasing number of solutions on offer, TA leaders have to contend with changing priorities. Aptitude Research survey companies every year around their top recruiting priorities, and this year, candidate experience did not come on top as usual. The emerging priority was actually competing for talent across industries.
Companies are worried about their ability to attract the right people, and know they have to look outside of their industry for them in this tight talent market. It’s not surprising to see an increase in investment in talent engagement and marketing capabilities in these conditions.
Candidate experience is still very much top of mind, but there was so much focus on it in the past couple of years that companies are now thinking about the next challenge. That doesn’t mean it is less of a priority.
For in Amazon, for example, it is still a focus area, but other things are bubbling up as the company is looking to advance its talent strategy. From her participation in events or talks with other leaders in the industry, Kelly Cartwright believes it’s the same in other companies; it’s not that people don’t care about it anymore, but candidate experience has been a hot topic for long enough that people now have an action plan around it and are executing on it, as opposed to tackling it for the first time.
A new framework is emerging in talent acquisition
Along with this shift in priority, we’re seeing a new framework emerge in talent acquisition. TA leaders are looking beyond recruitment activities to set their strategy, and are developing programs upstream and downstream of their core recruiting activities, either in talent attraction, or to a lesser degree in candidate onboarding.
According to Aptitude Research, companies are increasing investments in the areas of recruitment marketing, sourcing, and talent engagement. They are also still managing the usual recruiting activities that are a traditional part of their role, around assessment, interviewing, screening and making offers. Finally, TA teams are focusing more on onboarding activities as well, as the first few months of a candidate’s life at the new company play a key role in their retention. This includes checklists and forms that ensure the new hires are compliant and processed correctly, of course, but most importantly, it means socializing these new hires in the company, introducing them to their teams and ensuring they have everything they need to get started.
Specialized teams needed
This new talent acquisition framework cannot work without talent teams also becoming more specialized, and extending their realm of responsibilities. In Amazon, for example, there are team members who specialize in sourcing and candidate-facing roles, as well as candidate experience specialists, data scientists, and business analysts attached directly to the talent team. Amazon also has dedicated employer branding functions, given the complexity of the company’s brand and all its sub-brands in the different business units.
These specialized capabilities are necessary for success in the era of recruitment marketing, because TA leaders otherwise find themselves being handed the keys to a car that their team members can’t drive. Recruitment marketing and CRM platforms can do so much, but to be used to their full extent, they need teams that have these specialized skills.
Talent teams are still catching up to the tech
This lack of specialized skills might be one of the reasons why only 2% of companies believe they use all the functionalities of their recruiting marketing program. It might also be why recruiters are still spending most of their time in activities such as scheduling interviews or finding candidates with their ATS, when their time could be better used developing their advisory capabilities, for example, or building candidate pipelines and long-term relationships with great talent. The recruiting automation tools available today can free up most of those daily repetitive tasks, and let recruiters focus on the high value-add work.
Another likely reason is that recruiting teams don’t take the time to design ambitious talent acquisition strategies that take into account the powerful functionalities now available in the market. This is where a solid partnership with providers can make the difference, as the right partner will be able to advise not only on the right solution for your business, but also the team restructuring and strategic change needed to achieve the desired goals.
This blogpost addressed the first part of the insights that Madeline and Kelly shared on our webinar “Selecting the right Recruitment Marketing Technology for your Business”. You can see the recording of the full session below.