Talent Acquisition’s Biggest Challenges in 2017: Jeremy Eskenazi

The first in a new series, talent-acquisition consultant Jeremy Eskenazi talks about the biggest challenges he’s seeing recruiting departments face in 2017.

Included in the short video below:

  • What some talent-acquisition departments think, sometimes wrongly, about outsourcing
  • The need to do more prioritization of jobs
  • What the first priority of talent-acquisition leaders should be

Learn more about the free two-hour workshop Jeremy is putting on at ERE in San Diego called “Leading consultative recruiting teams” on April 18. Hurry, as the workshop is first come first serve.

(video transcript below)

JEREMY ESKENAZI: Hello and Happy New Year. I’m Jeremy Eskenazi, Managing Principal of Riviera Advisors in Long Beach, California and for the past 17 years I have led a consulting team of talent acquisition leadership consultants that helped global organizations improve and optimize their talent acquisition function. Now what we do is we help teams to be more efficient and consultative while improving speed, quality, costs and stakeholder satisfaction.

Now prior to consulting I actually led a talent acquisition team at such organizations as Universal Studios, Amazon.com and idealab! I’m also the author of the book, Recruit Consult Leadership.

Now my friends at ERE Media have asked me to share with you some of the biggest challenges my clients and our team are hearing from our organizational clients. What they’re facing about in the world of talent acquisition and how they are addressing them.

So here’s my take on those and I look forward to your feedback. The first and foremost thing that I see are similar challenges related to capacity and scalability of the recruiting team, so for example:

  • What is the right operating model for talent acquisition inside of an organization?
  • Does the current team have the right makeup, the skills and capability and capacity to meet the needs of the organization as well as the scalability to fluctuate up and down with the needs of the requisition flows?
  • What are the types of roles needed?

Generally what I see a lot of organizations struggling with is things like:

  • How many recruiters do I need?
  • Are these full-cycle recruiters that I can leverage or can I use specialists like sorcerers and coordinators that can help speed and improve the process?
  • You know, what are these kinds of resources that I need so that I can be effective?
  • Do they need to be employees or can they be outsourced?
  • Can they be outsourced to an RPO?
  • Can they be outsourced to third-party search firms or agencies?
  • Can they be variable labor like consultants that I can turn on and off?

So we see a lot of this and we see a lot of organizations also struggling with the outsourcing challenge as well. So some organizations are starting to use RPO firms really effectively and some aren’t. Some are using RPOs for the wrong reasons. They believe that outsourcing to an RPO is going to save them a lot of money, but in reality many full cycle RPO implementations may cost substantially more than an actual insource team. Organizations are also outsourcing than bringing back in the outsourced model when they don’t work and then outsourcing again later and this causes so much significant credibility and strains on the organization. To solve all of this problem. Basically it sounds simple, but it’s very difficult to do and that is that you have to align the resources you need to the jobs you will need to fill.

That means that all jobs inside the organization should be prioritized by the value of the job compared to others so you really should be focusing on your limited insourced resources to focus on those jobs that are so critical to the organization and those jobs that keep your leaders up at night. Basically prioritize these jobs based on what you need in terms of the the talent for the most valuable jobs as well as how hard is it to fill those jobs and then once you’ve done that prioritization you can then group those jobs by how should you address the recruiting of them.

So do you need insource or outsourced resources?  Do you need full cycle recruiters and then if so how many? You probably need a lower number of requisitions to a recruiter for certain high-level difficult to fill jobs than you do obviously high volume low level jobs. So all of those things basically come from a prioritization exercise.

The other big challenge that we are seeing is the opportunity to really improve the talent acquisition leadership. Those are the people who manage and lead recruiters. The first priority for those leaders should be, in my mind,  leading, mentoring, coaching and developing recruiting professionals, but instead a lot of organizations are finding this trap where recruiting leaders are basically customer service people. They’re basically handling lots of issues complaints and escalations from hiring managers, HR partners and other people inside the organization. So what happens is that the recruiting team starts to look at the leadership team as, you know, a negative. They’re not seeing them when they have positive issues. They’re seeing only with negative issues when they’re coming to complain to them about a problem that they heard. So this has to change in order to improve the organization’s effectiveness. Just because somebody was a great recruiter doesn’t necessarily mean they should be promoted to be a great recruiting leader, unless they have leadership skills. So the leadership skills issue is a gap and many of our clients are seeing that and this is something that really needs to be focused on.

There’s a lot of other issues to as you can imagine things like administrative and processing that is taking a lot more precedence over the strategic and the high-value work. Things like systems not being implemented effectively. Metrics and reporting that are being done only to provide reports, but they’re not  being used to make any types of changes.

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There’s an issue with lack of executive commitment and buy-in, internal reputations and business relationships and a lot of other issues like external vendors that are not being able to be responsive change management and things like that. As you can see a lot of the issues that i’m talking about today aren’t really all of the tactical things that have to do with sourcing and things like that. They’re sort of broader, more significant changes.  

I would look forward to hearing your feedback about how these issues that I’m addressing today are affecting you and what you’re doing about them. It’d be very helpful to hear that.

In addition, I want to give you a little plug here and talk a little bit about the fact that I hope to see you at the upcoming ERE Recruiting Conference. That will be held in the spring on April 18 through 20 in San Diego. That’s a great opportunity to come and participate with your peers. I will be personally giving my popular workshop on leading recruiting teams for more consultative environment and I hope to see you there. I personally have been at every single one of the spring recruiting ERE conferences and I’ve gotten huge amounts of value from it. All the relationships that I’ve learned in the content that I’ve been able to achieve have been outstanding and extraordinary.

I hope to see you there and thank you much for listening to this presentation on a video feel free to give your comments and Happy New Year!

  • https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jacobsmadsen Jacob Sten Madsen

    So….stuck in a quagmire and not really much change of issues and considerations to those of 2014, 2015 and 2016 and that is quite extraordinary given market conditions, that the TA function by now ought to be at a mature stage and subsequently everybody far further down the line. All while everybody is running around talking about all the new shiny tools and the future of TA …….hmmmmm !

    • Jim

      Well stated Jacob. I’d even suffice to say you could go back as far as 2011 and the issues remain the same while, depending on which report or survey you want to believe, the overall perception of HR/Recruiting/TA by business leaders continues to be average at best.

      Perhaps it’s time to change the lens i.e. instead of dedicating the majority of our time, resources and dollars to tools and processes that focus on those who are NOT current employees (candidates)….we work to build relationships and credibility with those who already ARE employees….our internal clients.

      • Howard Flint

        I’d agree with that. There needs to be more emphasis on building great relationships with hiring managers, and developing metrics that measure how good hired candidates and the recruitment process really are.

  • Erin O

    Agree with you Jeremy. Managers need to be true leaders, reporting needs to be useful- metrics need to coincide with the business and be used effectively – if companies have sourcing functions- there needs to be very clear swim lanes as to what the recruiter does vs the sourcer and the plan/strategies need to be outlined to management so there is no confusion.