Win the War for Talent: How Recruiters Can See More by Looking Differently
19 Jan, 2023 •
The Netherlands is full of talent. Whether or not effectively schooled. Nevertheless, alarming reports weekly appear in the media that point to the scarcity of talent in the labor market. The ominous concept of war for talent has still not been reduced to a cease-fire. There is no lack of suggested directions for the solution. However, it goes wrong in the execution. Successful redistribution of talent on the labor market stands or falls by accepting a generally accepted talent currency.
“If you don’t recognize what you are looking for, you will never find it”
The numbers don’t lie. According to the UWV, no fewer than 140 professions in the Netherlands have serious shortages. In addition to the well-known problem sectors such as IT, healthcare, and education, the number of positions that are difficult to fill in the legal sector and in the government is increasing at the same rate for the first time in years. The real problem? The basic principles of job matchmaking as we know it are under attack.
The toolbox for quantifying and qualifying talent dates from the last century. The weapons used by the majority of recruitment departments in the war for talent are intelligence tests, personality questionnaires, interviews, and CVs. Sometimes supplemented by a reference check or, in the case of internal mobility, job evaluations. The 3 shortcomings of that toolkit are of great concern: high level of subjectivity, lack of context, and focus on the past (and therefore a lousy predictor of the future).
It is precisely in the talent twenties that performance in previous functions and roles of yesterday no longer provides a basis for performance in the future. The toolkit to qualify talent must be overhauled. There’s the rub. In the year 2020 the assessment industry supplies either casual-looking games or role-playing games based on VR technology; it is almost always old HR wine in new bottles. The form is modern, but the underlying basic principles are still outdated. And therefore no longer sufficient. Result? The massive unutilization of potential valuable matches in the labor market.
Not only traditional companies are guilty of using assessment methods and recruitment tools from the last century. The inability of Facebook’s talent acquisition department to recognize atypical talent led to the rejection of both Brian Acton and Jan Koum. The CVs and interviewing skills of this largely autodidactic duo did not pass the extremely expensive talent test of the social media giant in 2007. Both IT professionals took sweet revenge 6 years after their application rejection by selling their mobile messaging platform Whatsapp to Facebook for almost $20 billion.
Due to extensive automation, the irreversible breakthrough of AI, and digital transformation, the traditional function house is under pressure in every organization. Tasks are increasingly lapsing, traditional functions are changing, the required knowledge changes and distinguished skills are no longer necessary. Once an accountant, always an accountant? That time has passed. By continuing to do what you did, you get what you got: a huge waste of talent.
Every self-respecting HR professional knows that the expiry date of the traditional recruitment toolkit is behind us. The recruitment system is leaky and needs a structural fix. If you are no longer able to detect new talent with the glasses that you previously put on, then you have to literally and figuratively adjust your vision of talent – or have it adjusted. The war for talent requires other weapons and the adjustment of your search scope.
It sounds so simple. Discover other talent pools. Go for untapped potential. The problem – overfished pools – and the cause – labor market shortage – have long been crystal clear. The solutions – selected differently – are presented at the “eat healthier” level. The why, what, and when is named. The how not, and that makes the difference between a failing and successful recruitment strategy.
The key to a balanced labor market is all in our heads. Quite literally. If achievements from the past, school grades from years ago or tests that measure the now but not measure the future, cannot tell you whether a talent will deliver the performance you desire in a certain context, you will have to dig deeper. That means that you have to look for the underlying human performance processors at brain level. The building blocks of behavior and therefore of performance in the workplace. Voila: brain functions. An objective, accurate blueprint of a person’s neuro-cognitive abilities provides a reliable indication of, among other things, thinking capacity, thinking style, thinking speed, attention, planning, control & anticipation. This gives you insight into the potential and you can look at pure talent beneath the layer of knowledge and skills. You will find out by using a brain-based assessment.
The advantage for recruiters? Only in this way can you give a person who does not yet have the required (prior) knowledge or skills a fair chance in the application process. This “look under the hood” allows you as an HR professional to recognize atypical talent. Talents who are rejected elsewhere, get the opportunity they deserve at your organization. By looking at talent like this, you give yourself access to countless talent pools that previously seemed incomprehensible. You assess your workforce of the future primarily on growth potential. Now you know the how. How you can see more by looking differently.
Do you want to win the war for talent and are you open to looking at talents differently? Please contact us, we will be happy to discuss this with you.