The Value of Passive Sourcing with AI in a Time of Recession

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At a time when talent shortage is already a prominent concern for businesses, how might a recession affect your company’s ability to attract and retain the top talent it needs?

Although it’s been over 10 years since the last recession, many economists are predicting a global recession by the end of 2020 and a key manufacturing index just hit its lowest point since the end of the last recession. Whether or not you believe we will fall into a recession within the next two years, there are plenty of other factors making it a challenge to find top talent. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prepare for a time when talent shortages turn into talent surpluses. 

Let’s validate the fears that are out there. A recession will only amplify the following concerns. Currently, in the US and Europe, the population as a whole is aging. Improvements in transportation and communications technologies mean that growing populations of workers in Asia are increasingly being integrated into the global economy which adds to the competition many companies and job seekers will face. It’s already a challenge to find talent, so how will companies find qualified candidates? And should a recession hit, how will companies stay competitive if the talented people they need respond to increased uncertainty by buckling down and playing it safe by staying at their current jobs?

Technology, too, is driving a major transformation in the job landscape. The World Economic Forum reports 75 million current job roles may be displaced by the shift in the division of labor between humans, machines, and algorithms, while 133 million new job roles may emerge at the same time. In the same report, critical skills like analytical thinking, active learning, and technology design, in addition to “human” skills such as creativity, originality, initiative, critical thinking, persuasion, and negotiation will likewise retain or increase their value, as will attention to detail, resilience, flexibility and complex problem-solving. Finding talent with these skills will be a major competitive advantage for the enterprise and will require new ways of sourcing beyond active job posting and standard candidate relationship management approaches. 

If you aren’t familiar with the term ‘passive sourcing’, a passive candidate is someone who is employed and not actively applying for new jobs. In the context of a recession, a passive candidate may be an employee hesitant to leave the security of the job they have. They may choose to hang tight until the economy improves.

In the context of a recession, a passive candidate may be an employee hesitant to leave the security of the job they have. They may choose to hang tight until the economy improves.

If you are familiar with passive sourcing, you are most likely familiar with using platforms like LinkedIn. Today, the majority of recruiters say LinkedIn is less effective because it is saturated with recruiters using the same keyword search strings. As skills become more and more critical in hiring decisions, defining an ideal candidate profile is vital to finding the right talent. Keyword search requires human input of assumptions–assumptions that can actually reduce the ability to find the very people who would be most effective in a role. Sadly, in an effort to try and reduce the noise, many hiring managers and recruiters subscribe to the idea that there are certain obvious signifiers of the best candidates, such as that they are from Ivy League schools or have worked at Fortune 500 companies. However, people are multidimensional; screening on a few parameters simply because it is easy is like the old joke about the man looking for his lost keys under the streetlamp, not because he dropped them there but because that is where the light is. 

There is a better way: using the newly-developed methods of artificial intelligence and ideal candidate modeling enables the discovery of top talent by leveraging AI to change the way we search for people, to change behaviors, and ultimately to remove human bias based on a need for over-simplifying human complexity. Whether it’s a recession or even a talent surplus requiring selection of the most qualified talent, we are confident that shifting out of the old paradigm of keyword search and into the application of Talent Intelligence to modeling ideal candidates will be the first step to succeeding in a challenging environment. During a recession, finding the right people at scale and optimizing spend is of the utmost importance.

This is where passive sourcing leveraging Talent Intelligence and candidate modeling needs to become a key tactic in your talent acquisition strategy. Talent decisions shift from manual recruiting processes riddled with unconscious bias to predictive intelligence and automation. Using an automated, AI-driven approach, rather than traditional manual methods or keyword matching means that you can expand the candidate pool to an available database containing 90% of white-collar workers in the world. This combination of automation and big data enables recruiters effectively to source passive talent, which constitutes 95% of the highest quality and in-demand talent in the entire labor market. Talent Intelligence empowers recruiters with instant, automated access to this candidate pool and delivers a ranked slate of highly qualified candidates–no more scouring LinkedIn for candidates with human-biased search strings that lead to the same candidate profiles already solicited by thousands of other recruiters. 

An automated, AI-driven talent Intelligence solution can be integrated into an ATS to instantly match and deliver the market’s highest fit, most qualified, in-demand candidates. By applying the Talent Intelligence approach to your ATS, you can also rediscover candidates already familiar with your company that are ideal fits for open positions. The benefits of this approach are:

Key Takeaway

We recommend that hiring managers align with recruiters and define the ideal candidate using one or more top performers that they know as models. Algorithms use these models to deliberately exclude the attributes that contribute to human bias in hiring, increase the scope of desirable characteristics that can identify top performers, and deliver the best slate of candidates in minutes and at scale, where keyword search can take more than 30 hours. 

In a time of recession, your talent acquisition team must find qualified talent within minutes versus hours. And the best way to do this is through passive sourcing with talent intelligence and candidate modeling. During a recession, passive sourcing, candidate discovery and implementing a solid retention strategy that includes career advancement through internal mobility will keep the organization strong and competitive. Not to mention, the company culture will thrive with positive morale. 

To learn more about how you can leverage artificial intelligence in good years and in bad, join us for a demo webinar on October 29, 2019. Register here. Censia’s Talent Intelligence solution is also available on the SAP AppCenter—Learn more.



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About the author

Joanna Riley
By Joanna Riley
CEO and Co-Founder of Censia. Joanna Riley is a seasoned entrepreneur and passionate advocate for diversity in technology.