In November 2016, Cisco System’s Natalie Gray, Manager Talent Acquisition APJC, and Chris Mead, Head – Talent Acquisition APJC and ChapmanCG co-hosted a gathering of Talent Acquisition Heads from some of the major global brands to discuss how technology is affecting Talent Acquisition in APAC.

In the not-so-distant past, Recruitment Specialists faxed CV’s to their clients. In the world without the Internet or mobile phones, most of the talent-related interactions were face-to-face. We used libraries for research and paper directories to get contact details and we sent letters or faxes and made phone calls from landlines.

However, in today’s Social Media- and Technology-driven world, all the information we need is literally in hand’s reach: Market Intelligence, Predictive Analysis, Social Profiles, Automated Processes, and Assessments are readily available to us. No longer do we have to “raise requisitions” and wait for weeks for a reply. We can run queries from the airport lounge or on our phones in the back of a taxi. This immediate availability of information has changed how we relate to one another: candidates have become our customers, which means that Talent Acquisition Teams must be able to understand their “customer base”, as well as their competition, in a way like never before. We have more data and metrics available to us, which will help us, in theory, make more informed talent acquisition decisions. But with all this “automation”, Talent Acquisition leaders have to ask themselves, are we losing the “human” touch and is our future resigned to artificial intelligence? When we talk about AI, we’re not talking about actual robots. Instead, we are referring to computer-generated guidance that is designed help us to do things better. The participants in the meeting discussed how AI can help HR in surfacing hidden patterns and anomalies by predicting outcomes of situations based on millions of data points. It can prescribe solutions and interventions in Talent challenges, such as how do we hire better and more effectively? Or how do people want to learn and develop?

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Major brands like Google learned that people armed with data make better decisions. So the question is, how can we keep up with technology? A few participants suggested that we should read more. Be more aware of and follow trends so that we are more aware of technological changes and advances. But a few noted that was passive learning and agreed that Talent leaders needed to take it one step further by analyzing how the available data can improve employee experience, which will ultimately impact business performance

Technologies already in use by Talent leaders to help improve communication are WhatsApp and WeChat, which are already in conventional use. There is also Crystal and Traitify, two apps that focus on personality and individual traits, which can provide another level of candidate understanding. And from a prospective employee perspective, there’s Switch and Glassdoor.

Technology is enabling TA experts to gather more candidate intelligence, but as everyone agreed, it’s important to practice common sense and non-discriminatory judgment. The question is to how to use the wealth of data out there, not only for internal KPI management, but also to improve the candidate experience.

Every abundance creates new scarcity. And while we are becoming more and more reliant on technology, everyone stressed the importance of not losing the human touch or the relationship part of the process. Technology should be an enabler, not a replacement.

Here’s what participants had to say

What I always enjoy about the ChapmanCG roundtable meetings is the high caliber of the participants, the fact that—unlike most other events—no one is trying to sell you something. And the informal atmosphere allows open sharing, and therefore meaningful discussions and learning.

Kerry O’Shea , Staffing Lead at Google

The event provided great opportunity for knowledge sharing and hearing different perspectives, as well as validation of some shared challenges and good practices.

Rachael Pogson, VP Global Talent Acquisition & HR Central at Seagate Technology

Recruiting is hard. To be in the company of the smartest leaders of this function, in the region, is to be in good company, indeed.

Michael Wright, Head of Talent Acquisition, APAC at GroupM