It’s Going to Take a Village to Improve Talent Acquisition

When you hear emerging HR technology companies say, “recruiting is broken” as a way to catch the attention of new customers, you know it has gotten bad. Really, really bad. I’m not surprised though, because, as a corporate talent attraction leader, I’ve been saying this for a while too.  Likewise, I’ve got no shortage of peers saying the same things about our “broken” profession.

We all know that the problems in recruiting span the industry, but instead of finding opportunities to provide thought leadership across the industry, we turn our undivided attention to our own teams to ensure that none of them are being “that” (bad) recruiter.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized how flawed this “me first” logic is. For starters, believing the problems that exist beyond your own backyard don’t impact you is shortsighted. What others are doing or not doing has a very direct impact on your own team’s ability to be successful. From a jobseeker’s perspective, if they can’t get to your manicured backyard without walking through the proverbial wasteland that surrounds it, they’re not coming. In fact, bad recruiting practices have gotten jobseekers so tuned out that there’s a growing movement of candidates publicly dismissing all of us as a unit.

So, even if you want to claim that it’s not your fault because your backyard is looking pretty darn good, you still need to care. We all need to care. This is a classic case of “it may not be our fault, but it’s still our problem.”

The thing that shifted my thinking was the dozens of HR technology companies that promise to fix recruiting. Recruiting may be ripe for disruption, but I don’t believe that any one tool can solve this problem on its own. Now, I’m clearly not a tool hater since I work for a company that uses technology to improve the experience of jobseekers and provides a valuable resource to recruiters. I just happen to believe that no tool can save us from ourselves. We need to own that job squarely.

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So, I’ve accepted the challenge. I’m making the time. I’m participating. I’m working with an amazing team to get our own backyard in order, and I’ve asked them to commit to doing good work beyond our own fences too. I believe that our collective strengths and weaknesses as a profession have a cumulative effect. Now, when I see “broken,” I stop to offer whatever small “fix” I can in whatever few moments I can spare. I stop to help whether it is one of my own or not.

The quality of the talent in our industry and the practices of our industry will matter even more when the disruption apocalypse happens. I want us all to thrive when tools automate the lowest value and the most time consuming recruiting tasks and really start using data to make the idea of true matching of jobseekers to jobs a reality.  Once this shift happens, the only thing that we can continue to count on as a universal truth is that changing jobs is a decidedly human experience between humans. Therefore, those of us who continue to have teams that recruit like robots will soon find those teams replaced by one. Those of us who focus instead on developing our teams into data-driven, tech-savvy professionals who can deliver an exceptionally human experience will be here to stay.

This is why I’ve decided to transform my talk into action. I want to actively participate (and one of the first things I’m doing is speaking in April in Vegas) in the disruption that needs to happen on the human side of this industry. I want to help our collective team of humans get ready for what’s to come. Are you with me?

Barb Bidan is the vice president, global talent attraction at Indeed, the world’s No. 1 job site. She leads a team that is tasked with helping the company achieve its aggressive growth targets while also working to evolve its recruiting practices to influence the next generation of recruitment best practices across the industry. To achieve this, her team of industry influencers is focused on attracting and engaging great talent; driving candidate experience and efficient operations; and building innovative recruitment programs. Prior to joining Indeed, she held positions as the director, sourcing & global programs for talent acquisition at Yahoo, and global head of talent acquisition for R&D at Blackberry.


4 Comments on “It’s Going to Take a Village to Improve Talent Acquisition

  1. Great post. I think we’re starting to see more momentum towards collaboration for the greater good in our field. Open Source HR ( and Google’s re:Work are two flavors, but it’s bigger than any one effort – it’s a shift in mindset. Great to see TA leaders like you leading the way.

    1. Hi Lars — Interestingly, I had a comment about in my draft for this post, but it was edited out to preserve length. I think Open Source HR is exactly what is needed. I’m not sure when we all decided that HR was a zero-sum game: You don’t lose if I win, that’s ludicrous. Maybe that kind of thinking is what landed us where we are and I’m game to help fix it!

  2. I hear you, Barb. Earlier today I had a soon-to-be tech recruiter ask me to mentor him. He’s in Europe, so we’ll work online. He pointed out, with all the “recruiter hate” especially around tech he wanted to make sure he didn’t end up one of “The Hated”. Anything we can do to help change things, one well trained recruiter, sent to into the wild can train others and so on and so on and so on…… We are the Recrui-Tang Clan.

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