85% of Jobs That Will Exist In 2030 Haven’t Been Invented Yet

A few years ago, Harvard Business Review published an important and interesting article about talent acquisition: 21st Century Talent Spotting by Claudio Fernandez-Araoz.  The article contained valuable research about the nature of potential and the need to hire for potential:

Research points to five markers of potential: a strong motivation to excel in the pursuit of challenging goals combined with the humility to put the group ahead of individual needs; an insatiable curiosity to explore new ideas and avenues; keen insight into connections that others don’t see; a strong engagement with work and people; and the determination to overcome obstacles.

Recruiting talent with an eye to potential means no longer simply relying on core competencies. Recruiting for the new landscape of work means finding people based on their potential to develop. This requires the vision to see who someone is becoming. Organizations routinely ask recruiters to survey the market to find the “A players,” but the scarcity of the talent pool is apparent. Looking for “A players” can be limiting; we end up looking for “special” people (or privileged people from “top schools”).

Four years later we are faced with the fact that 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet according to research from Dell Technologies.

Among other trends, the very nature of work will change. Today’s gig economy will transform so that “work will chase people.”

Instead of expecting workers to bear the brunt of finding work, work will compete for the best resource to complete the job.

This raises both challenging and positive developments in how technology will impact talent acquisition and how recruiters will have to approach our work:

Work chasing people could also reduce personal biases and stereotypes in the job seeking process. Integrating VR technology into recruitment protocols, for example, enables the prospective worker to demonstrate competency by showcasing skills without revealing gender or ethnicity. Hiring through immersive technologies could improve the dismal representation of women in computing jobs (currently, in the United States, only 26% of them are held by women), and open more doors to people who, historically, have not had equal opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.

In the meantime, the more that organizations can create development opportunities for their workforce – especially for those in talent acquisition – to do what they don’t know how to do, to perform ahead of themselves, to take risks – the better prepared they will be for what lies ahead.

In today’s ever changing VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, our ability to be see who we and others are becoming is more important than ever.

Recruiting is Career Play

 

Having recently completed a successful assignment as the Interim Recruiting Manager at a financial services advisory firm, I’ve been thinking about the process of recruiting talent into an organization.  In close to 20 years of recruiting it is the rare organization that puts the human equation before all else when it comes to recruiting.   Ironic as it may seem (because it is), all too often recruiters, human resource leaders and hiring managers create a process that works best for them and for their organization, without much thought for the candidates they are seeking to hire.

Sadly, it is not unusual for an organization to have an arrogant posture throughout the interview and recruiting process.  The performance of the interview team is analogous to conversing with a person who is “all about me” — and we all know how difficult it can be to spend time in conversation with someone who disregards “the other”.  Some interviewers will keep a candidate waiting, then s/he will sneak a peek at their emails while interviewing, some interrupt the interview to take a call, or even step out of the room and leave the interviewee sitting there dumbfounded. Of course the underlying message that is being sent to the candidate is, “I have more important things to do.”

A smart organization is thinking about how to create a thoughtful and efficient interview process that allows the team to really get to know the candidate, while conveying a culture that values it’s employees. Not everyone has the capability to do this.  HR leaders and recruiting managers are in the best position to ensure, in every step of the recruiting process, that candidates feel welcomed.  Having the right talent in place is critical for a company’s success; a strong recruiting process will attract the best and the brightest.

Creating and training a strong interview team is key to good hiring.  Not only do interviewers have to know the right questions to ask, perhaps the more importantly, they have to develop  a welcoming performance during the interview.  Learning to perform actions like a strong handshake, making eye contact and a greeting candidates with a smile can make all the difference for the interviewee.  Using emotional intelligence and a willingness to create a conversation that goes somewhere unexpected, tells candidates that the organization has a serious investment in fostering development and growth for it’s people.  Perhaps the interviewer shares something from her/his work experience that didn’t go well as a way to ask about times the candidate has failed and what s/he learned from their failure.

When putting together an interview team some questions to ask might be: Does this interviewer have a high level of emotional intelligence? Will this interviewer make a candidate feel comfortable? Is this interviewer an active listener?  Can s/he create a conversation that might very well go somewhere unexpected? Can s/he frame questions that help the candidate do her/his best at conveying their unique qualities, experience, creativity and ability to add value to the organization?  How are we, as an organization, conveying our corporate culture in our interviewing process?

How can organizations create a better recruiting process?  By putting themselves in the shoes of their candidates.  As one of my recruiting mentors used to say, “It’s simple, treat people the way you want to be treated.”  Using the tools and language of improvisation and theatre, good interviewers focus on “the other.”  Be giving; a good performer always makes her/his fellow actor look good.  Make your candidates look good and see how that changes your recruiting process.

Humanize the Interview Process – Become a Relational Recruiter

There have been some interesting reports about employee retention and turnover that started me thinking about why people look for new opportunities and how that impacts recruiting.  The Society for Human Resource Management recently published a report entitled “Skills Gap, Turnover Are Top Talent Concerns” in which they found:

About one-fourth of employees reported that they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months. They cited unhappiness with current salary (23 percent), followed by looking for a better opportunity (19 percent), not feeling valued (16 percent) and unhappiness with growth opportunities (13 percent).

Indeed.com just published their Talent Attraction Study: What Matters to the Modern Candidate in which they found:

71% of people are actively looking or open to a new job, and 90% of people hired within the past year actively looked for a job within six months prior to being hired. Also, 65% look at new jobs again within 91 days of starting a new job, leading us to believe that no one is “passive” about their career in 2015.

Indeed’s conclusion that “no one is passive about their career in 2015” led me to think about what people mean when they say they want “a better opportunity.”  On one hand, there is always going to be a grouping of people who will opportunistically move for better compensation packages.  Resumes that show a new position every 2-3 years are often representative of the person who is moving for better salary.  On the other hand, the more interesting question is what do we need to do to make people “feel valued” from the moment we reach out to them in the recruiting process.

All too often hiring managers and recruiters can forget that every aspect of the recruitment process is an opportunity to let potential hires know they are valued.  Recruitment agencies and internal recruiters ought to convey in their initial outreach that the human equation is what matters, not filling the job; we are in a relationship-oriented business.  All too often the relational aspect of recruiting and hiring is second to the need for speed and efficiency in recruiting which can lead to a commoditized process in which candidates feel like a cog in the wheel, rather than a respected and valued future member of an organization.

Interestingly, I read an article yesterday – The Trouble With Behavioral Interviewing – that is quite relevant to how we recruit talent.  I especially appreciate this comment from author Liz Ryan:

We are human all the time. We are foolish to turn job interviews, such potentially fun and fizzy human processes, into tense and grovelly affairs.

As a recruiter who is also an improviser, the activity of creating conversation is where I put my focus.  Again, I appreciate Ryan’s perspective:

If you care about talent, you won’t want to interview people from a script. You’ll want to sit down with them next to a whiteboard and brainstorm like crazy. How else will you know whether your energies resonate together?

Once I’ve established that a person is qualified for the role, I abandon “interview questions” all together in favor of having a wide-ranging conversation.  We can learn valuable information about a candidate when we allow ourselves to explore who someone is in the world, how they express their intellectual curiosity, and discover their goals both personally and professionally.  In the long run recruiting is about building rapport.  It is refreshing to create the conditions that eliminate the hierarchical framework that comes with a more traditional recruiting paradigm in favor of getting to know each other.

Is Recruiting Part of Your Marketing Plan?

Marketing is an important and overlooked aspect of recruiting, so I was happy to see this article in Inc. 5 Ways to Recruit Like a Marketer.  The best recruiters are creative – they function as marketers, storytellers and public relations consultants to their clients at the same time they are assessing talent and culture fit.

Times have changed and if you want to find top talent, you have to be creative. (How Recruiting is Being Disrupted, And Why You Should Care)

In the same way that an outside marketing or PR firm develops a company’s brand to sell their goods and services, a creative recruiter delivers a compelling story/message to the marketplace.

In recent years recruiting has become transaction-oriented rather than a creative, relationship-oriented activity. Having conversations about career opportunities with prospective candidates is, indeed, a creative activity – a performed, improvisational conversation.  Sadly in some cases the conversation between a prospective candidate and recruiter is overly “scripted” and the person on the other end of the phone quickly ends the call.

Marketers carefully study their audience to understand their attitudes and behaviors in order to create the right messages. They create detailed customer personas that profile their typical target audience member, detailing their wants, needs, and everyday problems. To reach the right job seekers, you need to know everything about them. What motivates them? What are their goals? What do they value in a workplace? Draw up the persona of your dream candidate for the job and then target them, based on their wants and needs.

Taking a clue from marketing, recruiters target the right population with our research and craft/deliver a message that will compel a passive job seeker to seriously consider a new career opportunity.  A recent report on LinkedIn stated the following:

Only 61% of global companies have a strategy for passive candidate recruiting. These are surprising stats, since the latest data on the passive/active candidate split shows that over 75% of professionals are passive — they would not proactively seek out and apply to jobs. That’s a huge talent pool to miss out on. (The Global Trends that will Shape Recruiting in 2015)

Marketing is a value-added service that is often overlooked when hiring an outside recruiting firm.  The creative recruiter is a hybrid marketer/public relations/executive search consultant.  Hiring recruiters with this combination of skills, combined with a relationship-oriented approach to recruiting, is the way to win talent in a more competitive hiring environment.

The Myth of Cultural Fit

The New York Times recently published a terrific opinion piece – Guess Who Doesn’t Fit in at Work – about “cultural fit.”  The writer, Lauren A. Rivera, is also the author of a book entitled “Pedigree: How Elite Students Get Elite Jobs” and her valuable insights made me think a lot about the value of working in groups of people who are very different from ourselves. Given our global economy and shifting demographics Americans, in particular, would do well to develop a greater capacity to find ways to build with people who “different.”  I agree with Rivera that the bias towards “cultural fit” might be a fetter to creativity and innovation:

Some may wonder, “Don’t similar people work better together?” Yes and no. For jobs involving complex decisions and creativity, more diverse teams outperform less diverse ones. Too much similarity can lead to teams that are overconfident, ignore vital information and make poor (or even unethical) decisions.

It’s not surprising that the lack of diverse teams made up of people from different economic, racial and gender groupings lead to dysfunction not efficiency. Perhaps this is why confidence in the U.S. Congress is at an all time low!

Rivera is correct that more and more interviews are conducted as “get to know each other” conversations rather than screening for skills and abilities.  “No one asked me a hard question” is a common (and disappointed) response that I hear from candidates when I debrief them about their interviews. The image that comes to mind is a scene from Mad Man, where co-workers hang out an drink together, rather than engaging in the rewarding activity of learning peoples’ differences and then figuring out how to use those differences to build something new together.

Another salient point that Rivera makes reminds me of why I have had a lifelong love affair with the theatre, an ensemble-based creative activity:

When it comes to creating a cohesive work force, managers often discount the power of shared experiences on the job, especially working interdependently on a high-stakes project. The more time we spend with co-workers, the more similar to them we tend to become.

Theatre and performance teach us that we can go beyond ourselves and play and perform with all kinds of people (children do this the best) regardless of whether we have anything “in common.” We get to know each other by working and co-creating together, it really doesn’t matter if we’ve attended the same school or have the same hobbies. The greatness of America lies in our diversity. Getting out of ourselves might just turn out to be more important than fitting in with others!

Performing Potential

Harvard Business Review recently published an important and interesting article about talent acquisition for any of us who are engaged in recruiting: 21st Century Talent Spotting by Claudio Fernandez-Araoz http://hbr.org/2014/06/21st-century-talent-spotting/ar/6

The executive summary of the article is as follows – I bolded some key points:

How can a person who seems so qualified for a position fail miserably in it? How can someone who clearly lacks relevant skills and experience succeed? The answer is potential, the ability to adapt and grow into increasingly complex roles and environments. For the past several decades, organizations have based their hiring decisions on competencies. But we have entered a new era of talent spotting. Geopolitics, business, industries, and jobs are changing so rapidly that it’s impossible to predict the capabilities employees and leaders will need even a few years out. The question now is not whether people have the right skills; it’s whether they have the potential to learn new ones. Research points to five markers of potential: a strong motivation to excel in the pursuit of challenging goals combined with the humility to put the group ahead of individual needs; an insatiable curiosity to explore new ideas and avenues; keen insight into connections that others don’t see; a strong engagement with work and people; and the determination to overcome obstacles. Once organizations have hired true high potentials—a challenge, given the increasing scarcity of senior talent—and identified the ones they already have, it’s crucial to focus on retaining them and on helping them live up to their potential by offering development opportunities that push them out of their comfort zones.

I read this article with great interest as I reinitiate my work as an executive search consultant and engage in the process of developing and interviewing candidates for my clients.  During the course of my search work I have been come keenly aware that the author is correct when he describes what many might already have experienced:

“…your organization will be looking for it in what will soon be one of the toughest employment markets in history—for employers, not job seekers. The recent noise about high unemployment rates in the United States and Europe hides important signals: Three forces—globalization, demographics, and pipelines—will make senior talent ever scarcer in the years to come.”

The notion that we can no longer simply rely on core competencies to recruit talent makes good sense to me.  Executive search consultants are hired to survey the market in order to find the “A players” that every organization wants to recruit; the scarcity of the talent pool is apparent. Looking for “A players” can be limiting; we end up looking for “special” people (or privileged people from “top schools”).  Recruiting people based on their potential to develop requires a new skill: the vision to see who someone is becoming.  We are always becoming (along with being who we are and who we were); seeing potential broadens the discussion about talent to a discussion about human development.

Development opportunities require us to step out of our comfort zones; we step out of our comfort zones when we have development opportunities.  What enables us to step out of our comfort zones?  How can we make these moves and see the moves co-workers are making?  Performance.  We can perform ahead of ourselves as leaders, managers, executives, and business owners.  Innovative corporate cultures use performance to develop potential in their people; we can all perform motivated, curious, insightful, engaged, and determined.

Managers and leaders can create environments that allow everyone to be “a head taller”.   The more that organizations create opportunities to perform as “high potentials”, the more people will begin to develop these traits.  It is difficult to be motivated in a critical environment; the more we see each other through the lens of who we are becoming, the easier it is to perform our motivation to succeed.  People express their curiosity when dialogue is encouraged.  Someone’s insightful observation will be heard when listening skills are encouraged and developed. The more teamwork is encouraged the more engaged people become.  When we play in a level playing field we have that much more determination.

What to do about the scarcity of the talent pool?  Let’s develop!

Recruiting? Make Your Candidates Look Good!

I’ve been thinking about the process of recruiting talent into an organization.  In close to 20 years of recruiting it is the rare organization that puts the human equation before all else when it comes to recruiting.   Ironic as it may seem (because it is), the focus all too often for recruiters, human resource leaders and hiring managers is to create a process that works best for them and for their organization, without much thought for the candidates they are seeking to hire.

I was very glad to come across this article in the Wall Street Journal, “Building a Process for Recruiting the Best” by Scott Weiss.  Although he is describing a recruiting process for startups, I think Weiss’ suggestions apply to any organization that wants to create the conditions for successful recruiting of top talent.  http://blogs.wsj.com/accelerators/2014/01/24/scott-weiss-building-a-process-for-recruiting-the-best/

Too often organizations have an arrogant posture throughout the interview and recruiting process.  The performance of the interview team is analogous to conversing with a person who is “all about me” — and we all know how difficult it can be to spend time in conversation with someone who disregards “the other”.

It’s important to ensure that in every step of the recruiting process the candidate feels welcomed.  Too often I’ve seen hiring managers and other interviewers keep a candidate waiting beyond the scheduled time for the interview.  Of course the underlying message that is being sent to the candidate is, “I have more important things to do.”  Having the right talent in leadership roles is critical for a company’s success yet the process that is often put in place doesn’t conform to the need.

Recently a client told me about an interview he had with HR that consisted of what he experienced as “trick questions”.  Creating an interview process in which the goal is to trip up a candidate rather than bring out the best in her/him is an example of what I see as an “arrogant / all about us” recruiting process.

Here’s where using emotional intelligence and having the ability to create a space for  intimate conversation comes into play.  By intimate I mean creating a conversation that goes somewhere unexpected, perhaps the interviewer shares something from her/his work experience that didn’t go well as a way to ask about times the candidate has failed and what s/he learned from their failure.

A smart organization is thinking about which managers are in the best position to create a thoughtful and efficient interview process that allows the team to really get to know the candidate.  Not everyone has the capability to do this.  Some interviewers will sneak a peek at their emails while interviewing, will take a call or even step out of the room and leave the interviewee sitting there dumbfounded.  I’ve heard this kind of feedback from candidates more times than I’d like to think possible.

Creating and training a talented interview team is key to good hiring.  Not only do interviewers have to know the right questions to ask, perhaps the more importantly, they have to work on their performance during the interview.  Simple things like a strong handshake, eye contact and a smile can make all the difference for the candidate.

When putting together an interview team some questions to ask might be: Does this interviewer have a high level of emotional intelligence? Will this interviewer make a candidate feel comfortable? Is this interviewer an active listener?  Can s/he create a conversation that might very well go somewhere unexpected? Can s/he frame questions that help the candidate do her/his best at conveying their unique qualities, experience, creativity and ability to add value to the organization?

How can organizations create a better recruiting process?  By putting themselves in the shoes of their candidates.  As one of my recruiting mentors used to say, “It’s simple, treat people the way you want to be treated.”  Put your focus on “the other” — be giving.  A good performer always makes her/his fellow actor look good.  Make your candidates look good and see how that changes your recruiting process.

 

Live from New York … It’s a phone call!

This morning I was reading the New York Times article “How Much Technology Is Too Much?” http://nyti.ms/huiNY6 on my iPhone. Now I’m blogging with an app, I’ll log on to my digital desktop, check my emails and then … I’ll make old fashioned phone calls.

In the executive search business the phone call, the conversation, is the key ingredient for success. If you’ve been reading this blog you may know that I’m fairly obsessed with relationships. Search is a relational business and I would say all business is relational. Humans are a social, relational species.

I suspect that my love of theatre and improvisation has everything to do with the fact that it is live theatre. Being in the moment with people is intimate.

Creating a live conversation can be a joyous experience of discovery about the other person (and ourselves). Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of technology but maybe next time instead of an email make a phone call instead,