Reflecting on My First Year in the Early Talent Marketplace

Having worked in recruitment, assessment, and more recently the field of psychometrics for many years, joining Amberjack, with a laser focus in Early Careers, was a new challenge! It has proved a fascinating and innovative space, that many experienced hire recruiters could learn a great deal from, and many are starting that learning journey, including me! 

Candidate Experience in a Competitive Market 

Let’s take the Candidate Experience first. Future employers are all competing hugely for the best future minds. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, with current demand, graduates can shop around and determine a range of criteria, value or culture expectations, or CSR initiatives that they want to align with before they apply.  

So how do you capture and retain their interest? Effective attraction campaigns are critical and require extensive thought, expertise, and preparation to identify, capture, and engage these minds with a differentiated proposition to your competition. 

Further, the process gets more complicated, and dare I say costly, as a new paradigm is looking to adhere to or shift demographic, gender, and neurodiverse ratios to better reflect who we are or should be and foster a greater and enriching diversity of thought. It’s a tough gig, and yet a fascinating challenge. 

After attending the recent RL100 summit in sunny Whitstable, it’s clear to see that the area of Talent Acquisition software is hotting up. Numerous innovations are coming to the market, with the latest piece of digital footprint tracker software, A.I., or algorithm to cleverly identify the best candidates in the market. 

I absolutely love this technology, and anything that helps speed up or improve a process, but I still always consider the practicalities; the best tech in the world cannot resolve a bad process, and often (not always) these can get carried across into the shiny new toy.  

Having worked in HR tech, I’ve seen exactly that happen. However, screening and assessing at volume remains a constant challenge and needs rigor and robust processes, expertise, automation (yes), and also manpower to do well… 

How do you reject thousands of applicants fairly, professionally and whilst maintaining a positive brand image? It takes a lot of work and effort; we know that because it is what we do well! For some sectors, those rejected candidates are also customers, so there is not a second chance.  

My Experience with Assessing Candidates 

So, to my next passion – that of assessment.  I love assessing people.  I’ve probably taken every personality, aptitude, and behavioural test on the market, and in general, agree with what comes back, as I always say, annoyingly, feedback is a gift, whether you like it or not! Yes, I am a bit assertive, I have some earth green energy deep down somewhere, and I like getting things correct (that’s high conscientious not OCD if my wife asks…) and some would say a tad impatient?  

However, when I first took Amberjacks Future Potential assessment, (I did all right, I got the job) I was quite surprised by the whole experience. What was this funky interactive, immersive experience that captivated me, and asked the occasional tough mental mess with my head applied maths questions? I had not experienced that blend before, I secretly quite enjoyed it, and it mapped me to a future-focused model.  

As an experienced recruiter, I always interviewed and assessed people on experience and abilities. It all became very clear, assessing for Future Potential must be the way forward; many of the candidates have not had those experiences yet, so our research into early career potential and development has really helped address that question differently, and more important scientifically.  

What it all Means for Inclusion… 

My last musing, the topic of Inclusivity, and how we put in place processes and governance that ensures however we measure, assess or screen candidates, we absolutely do this fairly for all represented groups. 

It is a hot topic, and one close to my heart, my daughter has a stereotyped disability, and parenting is not an inclusive sport, trust me as I really struggle here… life is just not fair sometimes, in fact often. Having said that, we are about to jet off to Austria for a ski trip, courtesy of (www.skiing4all.com), Anna’s passion, training, patience and inclusivity focus for disabilities, levels the playing slopes for all, it is a fantastic mantra.  

It’s great to see a lot of energy in this space within the TA community, it’s not perfect but we are all working the problems and moving the dial positively, and again the ET segment pioneers very well here too. 

A Year of Personal Learning 

In summary, a great year, and probably my biggest year of personal learning. Not in terms of content or academia, but in applying what I knew through a different Future Talent lens and appreciating the nuances of the different and diverse talent segments we all enjoy recruiting into. I thought this Early Talent was easy stuff and have quickly come to appreciate it is not whilst developing huge respect for all our employees and my peers that work hard to deliver to a very high standard what we do, the Amberjack way.          

Now, the Apres-ski (and childcare) awaits! 

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