Get Ready for a New Seismic Shift in Talent Acquisition

There have been a handful of seismic shifts in talent acquisition over the years …

… job boards

… applicant tracking systems

… social media recruiting

… LinkedIn answering the “who is” question (for the most part …)

These changes were so effective they were swiftly adopted. Everyone just as rapidly forgot what was being replaced, and the new activity became like breathing.

It may be time once again to grab for the oxygen mask, because the sands are shifting. Talent engagement with our digital focus on email, social networks, mobile apps, and more is about to be turned on its head.

UntitledThe game changer is called “conversational commerce.” It’s an activity common throughout Asia that is just now appearing in America, and I believe will spread faster than Uber’s global domination. It allows for a direct 1-1 digital engagement with consumers at the beginning of their decision-making process. All of this occurs within their mobile messaging or texting tools, and as the name implies, the engagement potential of this as a talent-acquisition application is enormous.

For years, companies like PepsiCo, P&G, and Coke have used big data to learn what motivates specific consumer segments during actual day parts, and then target brand messages to these groups at those times. Conversational commerce side steps this “group” approach by allowing consumers to invite brands and services directly into their messaging dialog in real time to help procure anything that interests them (career options are an obvious possibility).

This is quickly being adopted for the simple fact that:

  • We live on our smartphones
  • Messaging is the most popular smartphone activity by a whopping 97 percent (Pew Research)
  • We’re tired of apps; 80 percent of the time we only use three of them (ComScore)

Getting help for the things we want — in a place where we spend most of our time — without having to down load anything to get it … that’s a change I bet most will easily accept.

If this sounds far-fetched, think again.

Messaging program giants in Asia (like WeChat) have offered this for years and have become giant portals in their own right, connecting billions of users to businesses, on-demand services, games, and more. In addition, the four largest messaging apps in 2015 had more users than the four largest social networks, according to BI Intelligence. In the coming weeks and months there will be a stampede of program releases that will enhance the messaging experience.

Some are already here like, Uber access available on Facebook Messenger, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are programs currently available that access all sorts of experiences for travel, fitness, hospitality, shopping, entertainment, banking, delivery … just about anything. For example, if you’re texting with friends about plans for a night out, within your messenger program you can decide where to eat, ask about dinner specials, make reservations, chat about what show to see, purchase tickets, get your favorite outfit from the cleaners and order a ride to get you there. For career-interested chatters, just think how simple it would be to switch this night out example with a conversation about career interests, motivations, or job openings.

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In the U.S., our largest tech companies, Facebook, Google, WhatsApp (Facebook owned), Snapchat, Slack, and a host of well backed startups (Assist, Magic, Peach, Operator, Fin) are releasing messaging products. Many have text versions of Siri, Google Now, or Cortana, that field requests in real time with texts instead of voice and maintain a database of your interests (consider the impact on prospect cultivation).

“Text is often more comfortable [than voice] even if it’s less convenient,” investor Jonathan Libov wrote last year. “Text-based interaction is fast, fun, funny, flexible, intimate, descriptive, and even consistent in ways that voice and user interface often are not.”

It’s hard to disagree with Jonathon, and his text interaction example is similar to the type of recruiting conversations I strive to have (OK, maybe not so intimate). It would work by using a “chat bot” like “Siri for recruiting” that textually answers simple recruiting questions and directs career consumers to places of interest (like a career page). If the programmable limits of the Chat Bot are met, the text exchange can be routed to a live sourcer or recruiter to continue the messaging conversation by adding the needed human context (Facebook M, now available only in California, offers this today).

As CEO of messaging concierge company Operator, Robin Chan emphatically states, “Messaging commerce is such a mega-trend that almost every large application is moving toward this.”

Even if Siri for recruiting takes a bit longer to arrive than I think, messaging commerce services are here with more coming every day. Your prospects and candidates are being driven further into the messaging universe and this is where you’ll want and need to engage with them.

At the core, our stock in trade is the ability to attract and engage career minded people, and the thought of being invited to interact with organic career conversations that happen every single day in messaging programs is breath taking.

Certainly exciting times for talent engagement. What do you think? Is Convo Commerce a ho hum, “been there, done that” reality for you, or is it so far-fetched you’re ready to call in the guys with the butterfly nets for me? Would love to hear …

 

Love our content? Now you can experience it in person! We’d like to invite you to the ERE Recruiting Conference this April 6-8. Become a data-driven decision maker over two days at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. Sign up today!

K.C. Donovan “Lives life to express, not to impress.” His low-key history of Talent Engagement Leadership has touched every facet of the industry both internally and externally. An eclectic mix of experiences previous to recruiting provides a diversity of knowledge that few can claim. Having held numerous executive positions in Hospitality, CPG, Distribution and Technology (VP’s of Recruiting, Marketing & Sales), K.C.’s dynamic innovation is best seen with the four successful companies he has founded.

His fifth company, DonoVision, launched in Q1 2018, is a Digital Talent Agency employing Advanced Engagement techniques that deliver “quality applicant” outcomes. Focused on engaging with the emerging Career Engineers who are avoiding our ATS’s in droves, recruitment marketing, branding, sourcing and cultivation are used to create a winning formula. K.C. is more excited about DonoVision than anything he’s previously created.

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15 Comments on “Get Ready for a New Seismic Shift in Talent Acquisition

  1. “Investor Jonathan Libov wrote last year. “Text-based interaction is fast, fun, funny, flexible, intimate, descriptive, and even consistent in ways that voice and user interface often are not.”

    This has got to be the most far outstretched opinion I have read in a while.

    Faster than voice – absolutely
    Funner than voice – beg to differ
    Funnier than voice – Depends on the person you are thumbing along with.
    More flexible – No way, I am forced to have my thumbs racing across a minuscule space while someone faster than me does so.
    More intimate – Now that is funny.
    More descriptive – We are in trouble when we think a 2 liner on a phone is descriptive.
    More consistent – again funny one.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts Gareth…I totally appreciate your points about Jonathan Libov’s comments…he is a very thorough researcher by the way…the gist of his comment is that since we message and text more than we talk on our phones, as humans we have adapted to be able to share our emotions (sans emoticons) just as readily with text as with speech – and it is found in all of the ways he describes and you disagree with…reviewing thousands of texts will reveal this…(also reading a good novel with strong character development…just sayin).

      Whether Jonathan is right or not…there is little question that we as humans strive to include these emotions as much as possible in all of our communications – including text…and that we continue texting more and more as a society…

      1. K.C. Donovan for sure we are texting more and we are adapting to how we express our emotions in new communications – great point. There is a place for text with the value added being rapid message delivery and shear volume of communications in a short amount of time. Yes text will impact speed of hire and net a lot of candidates.

        Social media has its place, ATS has its place, the job board is slowly losing its place and LinkedIn will eventually lose its place (but has a big one now). Technology and its trends will come and go as you have alluded to.

        That said the savvy recruiter knows the rightful place of each of these tools and when to use them, and will use a well trained brain and voice to deliver a compelling message when the timing is right to close the deal.

        Voice eats text for breakfast, lunch and supper in all categories except speed and volume.

        1. Gareth, I totally agree that each approach is suited to different recruiting situations and work best when matched well with the appropriate audience…

          As recruiting pros in this ever changing world of communication, we have to be willing to explore new possibilities and take advantage of them where the opportunities surface…I’ve had times in my career where I’ve kept my head down and plowed ahead with what worked so well – only to look up a few years later and realize I may have missed huge possibilities…I usually look for big things and keep tabs on their evolution as they unfold searching for ways to improve my chances…it works for me.

          To your last point Gareth…not so sure that “voice’ has such a voracious appetite! 🙂

  2. Texting is to mobile devices what email has been to desktop devices. As you said, the usage of all other apps on devices (mobile or desktop) pales in comparison to their respective killer app. Personalizing fulfillment of transactions at the time of need to spur impulse buys in a 1:1 way (which is obviously required — you can’t mass-purchase the same size/color of shirt for multiple people, or mass-accept job offers) is fabulous if it works well.

    1. You’ve got it exactly Glenn – thanks for the comment!

      The opportunity to drill down into a small network of say 4-5 close friends who are the only people that you’d have a job/career chat with anyway is priceless…when that chat occurs the messaging platform would recognize the words being used and if say State Street Financial was slotted for “audit” and “job” – your Logo/Icon would appear in the messenger side bar asking to help with their discussion – you’re then being invited in! No more Ms. Buttinsky…

      In addition, if your company’s interaction is done well, just think of the positive candidate experience created and how the others in the chat not currently looking but listening would be impacted when it’s their turn to consider a new job…no question a game changer!

    2. You’ve got it exactly Glenn – thanks for the comment!

      The opportunity to drill down into a small network of say 4-5 close friends who are the only people that you’d have a job/career chat with anyway is priceless…when that chat occurs the messaging platform would recognize the words being used and if say State Street Financial was slotted for “audit” and “job” – your Logo/Icon would appear in the messenger side bar asking to help with their discussion – you’re then being invited in! No more Ms. Buttinsky…

      In addition, if your company’s interaction is done well, just think of the positive candidate experience created and how the others in the chat not currently looking but listening would be impacted when it’s their turn to consider a new job…no question a game changer!

  3. “Text-based interaction is fast, fun, funny, flexible, intimate, descriptive, and even consistent in ways that voice and user interface often are not.” Really?? Jonathan Libov must be trying to sell something in a box that these verbs fit with. Text is neither intimate (unless someone is sending naked pics of themselves and not even then) nor descriptive. Email, which texting is, is misinterpreted by the receiver about 56% of the time. I don’t know about you, but this is totally unacceptable to me.

    Additionally, maybe this will work if you’re 20 something. I don’t know a single professional over 35 that would prefer to do business this way. Maybe I’ll cancel all my appointments for when I’m in Boston next month and replace all those meetings with text…

    1. Hi Carol – thanks for your insightful comment…

      Let’s give poor ol’ Jonathan a rest (his quote is from an exhaustive research about messaging behaviors). Using Messaging tools like Face Book Messenger and others are used by all age groups equally. What started out with our kids texting like mad and pushing up our mobile bills, has dragged parents and parent’s friends into the Messaging world. As of today, 92% of people age 50+ use these Messaging tools. (Carol may be you’re in the 8% that don’t…).

      Email is a different activity than messaging (yes, it’s misinterpreted…intermittent mail is not a conversation and has less context). Messaging is a conversation that is a back and forth discussion with human context, where emotional responses are found in just about every message. A novelist learns to put emotion and intimacy into words for their characters – messaging does the same – at lightening speed.

      I get that it is hard to accept change (this one will be seamless), so at some future point when you’re next in Boston, feel free to send me a text and I’ll meet for a cup of coffee…

  4. Interesting article. This may even have an impact on how online applications are completed. The laborious process of filling out all the fields may be become more appealing if chat/messenger technologies can provide the illusion of not doing it alone.

  5. Looks like the answer is 3 HS girls all cuddling together is the new model. Maybe I can fit in there somewhere, and a job wouldn’t hurt either.

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