I spend a lot of my time connecting dots. I look at data I’ve gathered, trends I’m noticing in the enterprise, and changes in business priorities and process, and I try and connect all of the dots. My goal is to draw a picture of the state of talent acquisition today, and maybe a glimpse of what’s to come. It’s a bit ironic, anecdotally.

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As a kid, I hated connect-the-dot pictures. They were too angular, and never captured more than a vague representation of the things they were supposed to be.  I would do my best to flesh the picture out a bit – not because I considered myself a great artist, but because six-year-old-me wanted a more realistic illustration. I’ve only recently begun to appreciate the metaphor.

As we enter the final stretch with my Talent Acquisition Industry Perspective, which features key findings from our first annual Talent Acquisition Benchmark Survey, I’ve spent a lot of time connecting the dots and fleshing out pictures. More specifically, I’ve been looking at disparities between companies’ talent acquisition priorities and processes to capture a realistic picture of the challenges facing today’s hiring organizations.

There were a few encouraging data points. For example, attracting more talent, strengthening employer brand, and improving new hire retention all out-ranked reducing cost per hire in priorities for 2014. As I mentioned in my blog a few weeks ago, hiring better talent was the number one priority for the year – which is a great and lofty aspiration.

When looking at the processes many organizations have in place to support these goals, however, it’s clear there are a few dots hiring organizations are having trouble connecting. Improving candidate experience, for example, tied for last in talent acquisition priorities (along with reducing cost per hire). This manifested in the number of companies that are taking more than eight weeks to hire new talent, and the number that aren’t measuring candidate experience at all.

Spoiler alert: If you’re not measuring candidate experience, your candidate experience is probably lacking at best.

With all of this in mind, I flew to Milwaukee earlier this week to visit the folks at Pinstripe Talent/Ochre House and learn more about their unique approach to recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) that I’ve heard so much about. I say unique because though RPO solution providers can be powerful allies in talent strategy, they rarely sit at the forefront of innovation in talent acquisition process.

Thirty minutes into my meeting with Pinstripe/Ochre House, it was evident that they were an exception. While many hiring organizations today are still taking a highly transactional approach to recruiting, it was encouraging to see them building a narrative of holistic talent acquisition – wherein candidate experience was as important as client experience and business results.

I spent the morning on a guided tour of the office, meeting recruiters, team leads, and directors alike – each with something to show me, each connecting one more dot to create a compelling picture of Pinstripe/Ochre House’s innovative approach RPO. And I don’t use the word “innovative” lightly. A few quick facts that jumped out at me:

  • Pinstripe started using video interviewing technology in 2009, long before it began its recent rise in popularity.
  • Their HQ houses their Impressions Center – a team dedicated to high-touch candidate experience for clients, fielding candidate questions big and small, with a 96% first-call resolution rate.
  • Their Talent Relationship Management platform features top-notch technology, and supports many of the exceptional sourcing and hiring capabilities that Pinstripe/Ochre House recruiters are trained in.
  • Their dedication to innovation and excellence manifests in bi-weekly training courses available to all employees.

With the current landscape of talent acquisition solution providers as crowded as it is, it’s rare that I come away from a briefing so impressed. The energy exuded, the passion for good recruiting, and the dedication to high-touch candidate experience left me optimistic about the future of both Pinstripe/Ochre House and their clients.

I’ll be putting together an official solution briefing report in the next week, but for now I’d like to leave you with this: As we continue connecting the dots between priorities an process, there is a discernible difference in the approach organizations like Pinstripe/Ochre House are taking to talent acquisition that sets them far above the rest.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – high-quality talent expects high-quality process. Those organizations aspiring to hire better talent in 2014 and beyond should take note of the practices Pinstripe/Ochre House has hard-wired into their approach to talent acquisition.

Have you worked with Pinstripe/Ochre House or another RPO solution provider? I welcome any anecdotes – success stories or otherwise.

 

Kyle Lagunas, Talent Acquisition Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

Kyle Lagunas

As the Talent Acquisition Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, Kyle heads up research in key practices in sourcing, assessing, hiring, and onboarding - as well recruitment marketing, candidate experience, and social recruiting. Through primary research and deep analysis, he keeps today's business leaders in touch with important conversations and emerging trends in the rapidly changing world of talent. Kyle has spent the last several years offering a fresh take on the role of technology as part of an integrated talent strategy, and focuses on providing actionable insights to keep leading organizations a step ahead. Previously the HR Analyst at Software Advice, he is regular contributor on SHRM's We Know Next and TLNT, and his work has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Business Insider, Information Weekly, and HRO Today.

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