As we enter 2022, it is unlikely that the talent market will be much more competitive than before. In such a competitive market where top talent has many options, it is important to reflect on what has worked in the past, what has not worked and why. This will help you better understand the flow of talent and decide what you want to continue to do, stop doing or do differently.
At Spotify, we’re starting a big recruitment year. As a company that has already been in hyper-growth for several years, our 2022 targets are ambitious by our standards. And of course, that means things can be challenging, but we embrace the courageous, and controlled chaos, igniting our adaptability along the way.
So, how are we approaching the task? Concentrates on the starting point. We are sure that we will learn to go and be aware that we can land somewhere completely unexpected. This is the fun part of taking big bold steps forward. As the saying goes, it’s not a destination – it’s a journey.
Our preparations began in 2021, our position to hit the ground running now in January. When you have ambitious annual goals you don’t want to waste time with your preparation.
Our 2021 preparations involve three main components:
1. People (TA team who are working),
2. Process (how we work), and
3. Infrastructure (supports people and processes).
When it comes to people, we’ve seen historical productivity that meets performance expectations and business needs (recruitment goals). It gave us an outline of where our gaps lie, and from there we put in place a game-plan to effectively source, hire, and onboard new talent acquisition (TA) band members. The onboarding of new TA band members was restructured to cover more content, more quickly, for the team to understand Spotify’s culture, and to become productive sooner by doing so.
In addition to our People Analytics team, we have analyzed the steps (process) of our interviews to ensure our business is committed to both interview power and onboarding. Hundreds of band members were trained to be interviewers.
Ultimately, we continue to develop our TA Tech Stack (infrastructure) with the goal of working smarter versus harder and giving all teams more time to focus on the people and experiences we create.
Rent fast and well for the first time
Hiring fast and well for the first time should always be a goal, but it becomes more important when you are hiring more after that. Simply put, fix it first (fast). Why? Logically and quite frankly, it’s less recyclable. If you put the wrong talent in your role, it creates a negative experience for those people and your business. This adds to the appeal, and as a result, adds up the total number of recruits, including the extra backfill on your plate.
Assessments continue to gain traction in the TA world and in 2022 they will become increasingly important; They can also help you recruit faster and improve your chances of success (keeping the bar high as you grow). They allow you to discover your candidate’s strengths and if used properly they can eliminate bias from the process and provide an additional data point that leads to long term. Proper evaluation means coming to a quick decision, and providing a starting point for developing your new employees, even before the first day.
Skill-based interview training is another tool to become more efficient in fast and good recruitment for the first time. If your interviewers are trained to make sure candidates are proficient in their field, it creates a more positive and meaningful experience for candidates. The conclusion of whether they were offered a job is more objective vs. thematic, leaving the candidate a clear reason as to why, or why they were not selected.
If your interviewers are trained to make sure candidates are proficient in their field, it will create a more positive and meaningful experience for candidates. Whether or not their job offer is more objective vs. leaving the candidate with an obvious reason why or why not was selected.
The best tip I can give in this case is to invest time to dive deeper into your process and not be afraid to challenge the traditional ways of interviewing and establishing talent in the past. For example, reverse engineer the process. Not drawn by numbers. If you are too systematic, it can slow you down and make you lose great talent. Look at a given team and list the skills you need, then start recruiting for those skills. You identify them – hire them. Don’t wait for it to be 1, 2 or 3 at first, just crack with it and finally, you will see and your masterpiece will be complete.
Separate yourself from the pack
With so much competition for talent, and in some cases even more level playing field than before, providing a unique recruiting experience as much as possible is a good strategy for difference. And let’s be honest, differences are essential in this environment. This year there is not just one well-established company aimed at hiring hundreds or thousands of people – companies at all stages of maturity want to add talent to their workforce. It adds more competitive interviews and offers.
In order to compete you have to set up an unconventional experience that will set you apart. Think about personalizing and improving each interaction with your candidates. Partner with your in-house brand experts to perform communication strategies that create meaningful and lasting connections. Use any insights you have (whether through your career site, chatbots or social media interactions) to create content for candidates who nurture your pipeline better. This will increase the engagement with the possibility of both passive and active. Taking these steps will reduce your candidate withdrawal rate and strengthen your assigned talent pipeline.
TA Tech Stack
Spoiler alert – You can never be your best if you only invest in people and processes. Your infrastructure is important. Lots.
Used properly, your TA Tech stack can be a competitive differentiator. Strengthen your abilities (enabled by technology) to better scout the workforce and focus on the user experience. You should consider implementing tools such as Candidate Resource Management (CRMs) that scale your sourcing efforts and strengthen the relationship between candidates and employers. This will give you a holistic view of your talent pool to discover candidates more seamlessly across all your recruitment channels.
Also, see how your team currently works and identify opportunities to automate where possible. Automated workflows will simplify your processes, helping recruiters and hiring managers in a busy world ensure they are taking the right steps with the right candidates at the right time.
Employ strategic diversity
Strengthen recruitment through diversification. We have seen many companies make progress, investing in inclusive recruitment initiatives. Let us all challenge ourselves to take those results from good to great. No matter how high the targets and no matter how tough the competition, diversified recruitment is an issue that should not be left behind, 100%.
Perform recruitment strategies where diversity develops, making inclusive recruitment a competitive advantage in itself. Partner with your diversity, inclusion and affiliates and initiate top funnel partnerships that expand your reach to connect with different communities of talent. Accelerate your talent mapping practice to support strategic decisions about where you source and deploy talent.
There is often gossip about narrow talent pools. We create narrow talent pools. Talent exists – it’s up to us to put ourselves in front of that talent wherever they are in the world.
Never stop learning and keep trying to get better, especially as you grow your teams that are moving the work forward.
Don’t forget to have fun
All of this can seem awful. Does more recruitment and more competition mean more stress? Only if you allow it. I’m a huge sports fan. What sports are not considered – I like to notice how teams work together to achieve a common goal and how that common goal brings those people together. And seeing these groups highlights that adversity challenges us and acts as a mirror, showing our true character as a team. Basically, stress defines us.
As I have seen over the years, reflecting on the winning teams, a constant is always different. We need to realize that the people on the teams are skilled, they work hard, they are attentive – that’s all that matters. However, they are also having fun – they are enjoying the ride together.
Team chemistry is important and often underrated. So, next year as we take on this challenge is real, and we appreciate that a big hiring year won’t be a small achievement, but we remind ourselves why we’re hiring so fast with volume – we’re doing well and we are Continues to grow. And what a fantastic location that would be.
We remind ourselves and each other not to take ourselves too seriously and to enjoy the ride with the people on our left and right. And that is how we will meet our goals, and love our work. It’s challenging, it’s unpredictable, but bring it on! Happy recruiting everyone!