Insights from Aptitude Research’s 2019 Talent Acquisition: Early Findings report

Feb 26, 2019 - Cat DiStasio

Everywhere you turn, there’s another headline about how data-driven strategies are helping business leaders achieve more organizational goals, faster.

Data delivers. And while your company-owned data is a great way to make decisions about what is working and not working for your organization, industry research, data, and insights can show you how you compare to others in your industry and give you ideas for new strategies to try. Among the valuable sources of insight is Aptitude Research’s 2019 Talent Acquisition: Early Findings research report. The survey compiles feedback on talent acquisition challenges and opportunities from 250 participants at companies of all sizes, although mid-size and enterprise organizations make up the majority (at a combined 87 percent).

The survey offers a unique snapshot of the challenges employers face when competing for top talent, spotlighting the top priorities of organizations of various sizes across industries. We’ll explore the early findings and outline actionable steps you can take to improve your recruitment marketing, strengthen your employer brand, fight implicit bias, and harness the power of technology to bring your recruiting goals into reality.

Competition for candidates is the #1 challenge

In this year’s survey, 67 percent of companies reported that competing for top talent was their biggest challenge. Given the candidate-driven recruiting landscape, we’re not surprised by this figure, but it’s important to note the shift between this year’s challenges and the biggest issues employers faced in previous years. In 2017 and 2018, a majority (over 60 percent) of companies said candidate experience was the biggest challenge. While candidate experience still ranks (20 percent), talent acquisition leaders are clearly feeling the pressure of a tight talent market. Yet, let’s not forget the two are undeniably and intrinsically linked.

This represents a challenge, but it’s not necessarily as complicated or difficult to overcome as one might think. Many TA leaders are finding success by investing in AI to improve recruitment marketing, from using AI-powered sourcing tools to screen applicants to installing a recruiting chatbot to assist job seekers. These benefits help employers compete in a very tactical way, and there’s a secondary advantage, too. Focusing attention on improving the experience at the very top of your hiring funnel can strengthen employer brand over time and help your organization stand out in a sea of competition.

Use AI to battle implicit bias

Aptitude Research found a vast majority (90 percent) of companies say they are working to reduce unconscious bias, which is fantastic news. However, the efforts most of those companies are putting into action may not be enough to effect real world change. For starters, only 22 percent of those organizations are using a consistent interview process, one of the best ways to reduce implicit bias in your recruiting process. We’d like to see that number increase in the coming years.

There is room for other improvements as well. The report found that just 12 percent of the companies working to reduce unconscious bias are using AI tools to do so, while another recent research report put that figure at 38 percent. Either way, this is an opportunity for more organizations to take bias in recruiting seriously, and take advantage of AI-powered tools that help keep human bias in check.

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Recruiters need to prioritize conversations

There are two key things every talent acquisition professional should do to improve communication with candidates: have more conversations, and stay in control of those conversations. Aptitude’s research found that, generally, companies are doing a better job (compared to 2018) at making information available to candidates, but adding FAQs to your website doesn’t do much to improve communication if candidates still have trouble finding the answers they need.

Since 2017, the number of companies offering candidates a single point of contact has been dropping, now at 38 percent. While this shift may help companies save time and resources, it doesn’t help job seekers much. A recruiting chatbot could, though. With a chatbot on your career site or job page, you can offer job seekers an immediate point of contact and easy assistance with common questions.

A chatbot can also connect job seekers directly to a human recruiter in online chat, or collect their contact information so a recruiter can follow up. Train your human team on techniques for getting the most out of their conversations with candidates, throughout the recruiting process. There are several other ways to effectively use a recruiting chatbot as a partner to your human recruiting team to improve the process throughout.

And let’s not forget that conversations can happen through many other channels (we count 5, and we tell you how to get started in all 5 in this post).

Paving the way forward

With these insights from Aptitude Research, talent acquisition leaders are well equipped to pivot recruiting strategies to more effectively compete for top talent this year. We hope to see companies increasing their investments in AI tools to help stand out from the competition. The Aptitude survey found that companies using chatbots were twice as likely to fill positions within two weeks, which happens to be the magic time window that job seekers prefer. As recruiting chatbot adoption rates continue to climb and the technology continues to mature, we look forward to seeing how organizations in different industries will find new ways to use technology to start conversations that build winning relationships.

The full report is available here.

For more about how chat is helping recruiters hire top talent faster, check out Recruiting Chatbot Revolution eBook below:

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