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Digital talent: sensible defaults for attracting talent (part two)

Part one of this series on digital talent discussed sensible defaults for an agile organization. Part two moves a step further to discuss attracting and acquiring digital talent — a challenge for most organizations.


Here’s how I define a sensible default — a predefined practice that is designed to ensure the consistent implementation of specific policies and processes and aids decision-making. For instance, in the space of talent acquisition and management, sensible defaults could include job descriptions and performance evaluations. 


When exploring such sensible defaults, it’s important to consider the change in how candidates approach their careers. Traditional demands like compensation and job security are not the only factors that an organization is measured by. Today, candidates want clarity on job responsibilities, work-life integration, career advancement and culture. They expect their recruitment journey with organizations to give them a glimpse into all these aspects too.


Talent acquisition teams would play a vital role in creating a positive candidate experience and assisting them in deciding on an organization that aligns with their needs, goals, and values.The following recommendations can help talent acquisition and recruitment teams meet their goal:

Equip the brand ambassador


The talent acquisition representative is the organization’s brand ambassador. To create a stellar candidate experience, the talent acquisition teams will need the necessary tools and resources.


  • Train talent acquisition on the company's culture, values and mission to help them effectively represent the organization in all their external facing interactions


  • Provide clear guidelines to ensure all communication consistently aligns with the organization's values and mission


  • Provide ongoing support and recognition for the representative's efforts on this front


Guarantee visibility and transparency


Visibility and transparency in the recruitment process is crucial to build trust and engagement with candidates. Here's how we recommend doing that:


  • Provide clear job descriptions and expectations on the company's website and job boards


  • Be transparent in all communication with candidates, answer their questions honestly, be upfront about the company's culture, values and mission, and set realistic expectations


  • Provide timely feedback to candidates on their application status, interview performance alongside other relevant information that will keep them engaged and interested in the position they are applying for


Focus on candidate experience 


Providing a positive interview experience is crucial to attracting top talent and creating a good impression of the organization. To achieve this, here are our suggestions:


  • Respect the candidate's time by beginning the interview and any other planned interaction, on time


  • Keep the interview and all communication (in person, over video calls and over mail or phone) informative and efficient


  • Be transparent about the recruitment process and where the candidate’s flexibility will be expected when it comes to choosing a home office or a project location


  • Avoid confusion or frustration by providing regular updates to candidates


Train interviewers


The role interviewers play in shaping candidate experiences is non negotiable. Here is how organizations can help them conduct interviews effectively:


  • Provide a clear understanding of what should be covered during the interview process — competencies, skills and experience required for the role


  • Train interviewers to facilitate productive and meaningful conversations by seeing the candidate’s potential and how it will benefit the organization


  • Share tips on how interviewers can create a comfortable environment for the candidate to have an open and honest conversation


  • Cultivate interviewers to be non-discriminatory, ask open-ended questions and objectively assess candidates 


Drive and engage diverse talent pools


Building a diverse and inclusive workforce is crucial to an organization's success. Here is our guidance on how talent acquisitions teams can attract a diverse range of candidates: 


  • Expand the talent pool with a variety of sourcing strategies — job fairs, social media, employee referrals, alumni networks, military/veteran networks and reaching out to those on a career break


  • Provide ongoing training and resources to limit and eventually do away with unconscious bias in the recruitment process


  • Highlight the diversity in the organization's leadership, policies and practices when possible. For this, the organization needs to walk the talk and actively ensure diversity across the board


  • Nurture a progressive environment where business benefits of having a diverse workforce are tracked and diverse employees are given opportunities to grow


Leverage technology and tools


In the digital age, technology is reinventing talent acquisition practices. Here are ways technology can be better leveraged to improve the recruitment process:


  • Use video interviews to save time and resources while also allowing recruiters to assess candidate's skills and culture-fit


  • Implement 24/7 chatbots that can answer FAQs and provide updates to the candidates in real time


  • Utilize virtual tools such as online job fairs, conferences and online assessments


  • Employ virtual and mixed reality tech-enabled comms to help candidates understand the organization's culture, office spaces, teams and the work environment before joining


  • Provide personalized communication and feedback to candidates


  • Track and analyze data from recruitment metrics to optimize the process


Establish learning metrics and periodically review them


To measure recruitment strategies’ effectiveness, organizations could consider the following:


  • Monitor metrics such as time to fill an open position, cost per hire, applicant conversion ratio, source mix, quality of hires to make the recruitment process more efficient


  • Collect feedback from candidates on their experience and areas of improvement


  • Track the candidate pool diversity quotient and course correct as necessary


  • Gather feedback from internal stakeholders like hiring managers and interviewers to ensure recruitment strategies’ effectiveness


In conclusion, adopting the sensible defaults, outlined above, will help organizations attract high quality digital talent, cultivate a diverse and inclusive workforce and set themselves up for sustainable success in today's competitive job market.


Building on this foundation, the next blog explores actionable strategies that organizations can implement to nurture and retain their (hardwon) digital talent. We expect these valuable insights and practical tips to help companies maximize talent potential.

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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