Today on Science 4-Hire, I’m joined by all-star guest Jeremy Tipper, a longtime HR technology devotee, investor and board adviser. He’s here to talk about the future of assessment technology and recruiting through the lens of evolving business needs.
With a robust background in internal recruiting, recruitment process outsourcing and talent acquisition strategy consulting, Tipper is in a good position to help us understand the future of recruiting. He’s also seen talent acquisition and assessment technology evolve in recent years.
Change in this industry is bigger than tech: “The biggest transition and change is actually not necessarily to the technology, but to the whole world of work,” Tipper says. From nontraditional career paths becoming the norm to candidates calling the shots, workplace trends are forcing employers to get creative with talent acquisition and management.
If you’re interested in what the future holds for recruiting and recruitment technology, you don’t want to miss my conversation with HR tech powerhouse Jeremy Tipper.
Listen to “How HR Trends Are Shaping the Future of Assessment Technology With Jeremy Tipper” on Spreaker.
Prediction No. 1: Employers Will Use Recruitment Data Beyond Recruiting
One of the most prominent innovations in recruitment right now is the shift from data silos to thinking across the employee life cycle. “Different parts of the employee life cycle and how we’ve managed staff previously have often been compartmentalized,” Tipper says. “And now data and insight is allowing us … to bring some of those things together more holistically.”
For example, companies generate tons of data during the hiring process. Some of them are starting to realize the value of curating their data using a unified technology system and applying that data more widely, Tipper says. That data’s usefulness doesn’t end at hiring. It can be applied to onboarding, to learning interventions and to performance assessments.
The challenge from a tech standpoint has been that companies rely on multiple platforms to hire, onboard, train and manage. “Often, those various different platforms don’t talk to each other particularly well or provide you with the sort of dashboard that allows to look at the organization holistically,” Tipper says.
There are even opportunities for using data beyond the direct employee relationship. Tipper says opportunity “around referral and alumni. So we’re starting to see some tech that’s specific to alumni and helping you manage relationships even when employees have left.”
A unified platform that captures a range of data across hiring and development processes is an essential part of this trend. HR technology providers are now taking a platform based approach that is shaping this evoloution.
Prediction No. 2: Employers Will Look More Broadly at What Defines Talent
Hiring managers usually kick-start the recruitment process, oftentimes with legacy job descriptions. This process can restrict the employer’s view of what the role actually requires.
“The foundation, often of an organization’s hiring activity is the authorization of a job specification. And in many instances, those job specifications are written in a way where they’re way too narrow in terms of the skills, experience and requirements that they insist upon,” Tipper says.
By designing hiring criteria with a broader scope, Tipper says, employers stand a better chance of finding the right talent for the role. “In many instances, we could be far more, open-minded, flexible and thoughtful about the type of capability that we really need and what that could come from,” he says.
One of the ways employers can begin to take a broader approach is by implementing configurable platform solutions in the recruitment process. Generating job specifications based on historic data from existing employees, for example, supports more flexible and realistic hiring criteria that “is going to bring you to a much wider audience.”
This trend isn’t without precedent: Many employers invest in graduate recruitment, which focuses more on broader skills rather than skills tied to a specific role.
Prediction No. 3: Employers Will Apply Assessments to Nontraditional Hiring Processes
Many organizations are expanding their use of contract and flexible workers as part of their workforce planning strategies. Tipper suggests applying assessments when building those relationships to find workers with values that align with the organization’s — just as you would when hiring a full-time employee.
“We’ve probably been a bit more laissez-faire … in terms of how we engage them and also assess them as part of the recruitment process,” Tipper says. “I think more organizations are coming to the appreciation and understanding that flexible talent is a really important part of the makeup of the overall workforce.”
As work continues to evolve, recruitment and assessment technology is evolving alongside it to continue serving our changing business needs. “There’s a really interesting dialogue to be had about, how do we democratize that science and also personalize it to an even greater extent than has been the case already?” Tipper says.
Assessment technology is powerful, and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing its transformative impact on recruitment — and beyond — in the immediate future.
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Read the Transcript
Welcome to Science 4-Hire with your host Dr. Charles Handler. Hiring is hard. Pre-hire talent assessments can help you ease the pain. Whether you don’t know where to start, or you just want to stay on top of the trends. Science 4-Hire provides 30 minutes of enlightenment on best practices and news from the front lines of the employment testing universe. So get ready to learn as Dr. Charles Handler and his all-star guests blend old-school knowledge with new wave technology to educate and inform you about all things, talent assessment.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Hello out there, and welcome to the latest edition of Science 4-Hire. In our quest to have a wide variety of topics that all kind of tie back to assessment, but there’s so many other things that shape the climate, the implementation, the development of assessments. So we’re here today with an all-star guest, Jeremy Tipper, longtime HR tech devotee, investor, participant analyst, lots of good merit badges on his uniform. So as I always do, I love to let my guests introduce themselves because who knows them better than them. So Jeremy, welcome to the show, and look forward to working with you today to talk about the future of assessment within the nest of HR technology.
Thank you, Charles. Pleasure to be here.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Cool. So tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Sure. So started life post-university in recruitment. So I did a banking and finance degree and had the good fortune to end up working out very quickly that I was going to be a hopeless banker. So ended up running the graduate recruitment program for a bank that I worked with, NatWest, which is quite a significant retail financial institution here in the U.K. And ended up going into agency recruitment for seven or eight years, spent time in the U.K. and then down in Australia and New Zealand running a business down there. Came back to the U.K., and ended up being head of recruitment for Vodafone, a big mobile telecom provider, both here and globally. And that ended up resulting in a first entrepreneurial experience.
It was obvious to me that there were ways of Vodafone recruiting better by having an internal recruitment function. But unfortunately, the HR director couldn’t get the signoff to build that team internally. So I suggested to her that maybe I should do it for her. And that was the start of a business called Capital Consulting, which was an early venture into the recruitment process outsourcing world before that definition even existed, I think. And so built that business over the course of the Noughties, and it was acquired by Alexander Mann Solutions, which I guess some of your listeners will know as one of their sort of major players in the RPO market.
And then in 2010, got the band back together and built a business called The Talent Collective, probably best described, Charles as a company that advised enterprises on talent acquisition and talent management strategy. A lot of the work that we did was focused on tech and how you could build the tech stack to help you manage both the hiring of talent and the ongoing management and engagement of it over a period of time. So we worked with a lot of the big ATS spenders of the day — Connector, Taleo and so on — and then helped organizations think about the additional applications that they might need in order to hire talent in an impactful and effective way.
And it was during that period that I had the opportunity to invest in, well, my first assessment business. So Talent Q, which you may recall was started by Roger Holdsworth, one of the two founders of SHL and often spoken about as one of the godfathers of the industry, and enjoyed the ride with Talent Q. And one of the guys that was part of that business, Talent Q, was Alan Bourne, and he started Sova Assessment back in 2015. And came to me pretty much off the bat and said, “Look, I’m thinking about ways in which we might digitize and shake up the assessment market. This is my idea. What do you think?” And I thought his idea was great. And so was pretty much the first person to invest in Sova Assessment back in 2015. And these days, I have a portfolio of HR and talent technology firms that I work with as an investor adviser and often non-exec director or chair. So today, it’s my world really — HR technology in its broader sense.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Yeah. It’s a good world to be in. We all know that as we’ve seen kind of not only the growth of the industry from an investment standpoint, from a real pure revenue standpoint, but it’s needed stuff. This is not stuff that’s just existing for no reason. People, jobs impact everyone’s lives, impact the economy, and the better we can do in helping people find the right jobs, that’s really good.
And it’s interesting that you’ve come up, too, as a recruiter. I think a lot of people with testing backgrounds have not had much exposure to recruiters. And I know for me, early career, working at monster.com really helped me broaden my horizons to understand hiring’s not just a test. Hiring is the kind of integration of a whole lot of different things and a whole lot of different pieces of data that come together to help people make informed decisions. Because after all, you’ve got an unknown entity that you’re about to let into the castle, essentially, and you really want to be able to vet that person.
But it goes even broader now to finding the right people, engaging the right people, thrilling and pleasing the right people. So that’s harder to do, so let’s just get into it. I’d really like to just start framing our conversation. We’ll probably wander our way around here, and eventually end up on assessment stuff. But in the bigger picture, let’s talk trends in HR tech. I mean, you’re really on the front lines in a little bit of a different way than potentially an internal practitioner or someone who works internally for a vendor of these services.
So I’d like to get your opinion. If we start thinking about just the macro trends that are shaping our world of work — that’s hiring, that’s training, that’s everything — and how is HR technology involved in those. So we’ll just discuss those. I think I’m just going to leave it to you to throw out the first one. What do you got?
Yeah, well, I guess the biggest transition and change is actually not necessarily to the technology, but to the whole world of work and that shift away from everybody’s perspective being that they needed to have a permanent job. And so, I think that transition has made significant changes to the way that enterprises think about talent and have a much more holistic view of that today than perhaps has been true in the past. And I think the technology is there to help facilitate organizations being better at managing that sort of holistic view of the workforce rather than just focusing the vast majority of their energy and effort on permanent hiring trials.
So a lot of that feels to me that it’s actually driven by changes in the workforce itself. So actually a growing proportion of the population, not necessarily taking that traditional view of employment and thinking more broadly about what they want to do with their lives and how work plays a part rather than work being the be-all and end-all, if you like — perhaps as it was when you know, and I first graduated, so I think. We won’t go into the detail of when that actually was. So I think that’s obviously that probably the biggest driver of change and innovation from a technology standpoint. So even if you take it back to the real fundamentals of how organizations have traditionally procured talent, I would argue that in many instances it’s HR and the talent acquisition leads that have driven permanent hiring activity into an organization.
But actually it tends to be a procurement-driven process — or certainly the starting point for contractor and flexible hiring often is driven by procurement rather than HR, which I think for probably most of us would appear to be a bit weird. People aren’t acquiring pencils or other physical aspects of your supply chain. So it certainly feels to me like the last few years have accelerated the requirement of bringing all of the various different components of the workforce together under one roof and for businesses to have much greater visibility to all aspects of their workforce and what they bring rather than the emphasis being primarily on the permanent worker. So we’re certainly seeing that transition to sort of total talent management, where HR and the talent teams are looking at talent holistically. So what you might describe as kind of buy, build, borrow.
So why, the buying bit, the hiring of permanent employees, the growing importance of the flexible workforce and delivering on core components of the business strategy. And also the build, so really focusing more on training and engaging our existing workforce and giving them skills that are going to be helpful in the future rather than necessary just having legacy capability that might be less relevant to the future of the business. So bringing that whole thing together feels like an important trend.
And from a technology standpoint, if you think of it really just in basic terms, we’ve traditionally had ATSs to manage permanent hiring, VMSs to manage contingent and flexible workers, and perhaps core HR systems with some capability around mobility, internal mobility, to help you with the build component, but often those various different platforms don’t talk to each other particularly well or provide you with the sort of dashboard that allows to look at the organization holistically. So I’d say that is a big trend and also something which provides plenty of opportunity for innovation in talent tech.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Yeah, I mean, and I think that’s many podcasts unpacking that entire ball of wax. But I think from my big-picture perspective, which fits really well, we’re talking about people. So to me, the biggest trend that even overlies everything is just the humanistic aspect of how companies are now shifting the focus to their workforce. That’s employee wellness, that’s DEI, that’s opportunity.
And it’s recognizing that people are people. So individual differences in our world of psychology are so important, but at the same time, we have to make kind of broad generalizations. We have to look broadly at abilities sometimes to say, who are these folks that we’re looking at and who are they as humans? How can they grow and help us? It’s a difficult transition to be able to just do that. I think there’s definitely a push part of that where the workforce is demanding that more and more. It’s the democratization that technology has provided us, so career-wise — and I think of course, I mean, I guess we couldn’t do this episode without mentioning the pandemic at least once or twice. I know everybody’s kind of sick of it. But —
I’ve tried to avoid it so far.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Yeah. Yeah. I know. But let’s just say there’s been accelerating factors that have really helped people rethink things and just outside of HR tech, just the ability to fund your life, have a good life even, or really prosper. You put a nice little knit thing over your teapot, right? What is that just like a teapot holder, you would call that?
I think it’s called a tea cozy in the U.K.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Tea cozy. OK. We don’t have those here, but anyway, so you can knit cozies, send them globally to people all over and make good money, and then you hire other people to do that and really blossom. Those kind of things weren’t available to anybody even 10 years ago. So there’re alternatives, and companies really have to meet humans where they’re at, treat them with humanness. And the interesting part to me is that what helps do that? Technology and data. Of course, psychological science, too, but just the data.
Just in your travels, I’m interested in comparing notes, just we merge data sets all the time, and I’ve been working with data sets for 30 years. And it’s changed. It’s changed with the ability to get your hands around data, the cleanliness of that data and all that. So the platform play, the ability to begin to housing things under one roof is a significant thing, I think, that’s accelerating the insight needed for making good business decisions. So what are you seeing out there in terms of the way data is really a critical part of all this stuff? It’s a driver.
Well, I mean, think you mentioned the word “insight.” It’s what “insight” it can provide to the HR leadership to allow them to make more informed decisions about how to help engage, retain, hire talent. And I think the other perspective I would have is that various different parts of the employee life cycle and how we’ve managed staff previously have often been compartmentalized. And now, data and insight is allowing us — and better technology integrations frankly — is allowing us to bring some of those things together more holistically than perhaps has been the case in the past.
So a really great example would be, if you were to take information and insight that comes from the assessment processes — when you’re hiring people — that, if well utilized can inform how you then onboard talent and personalize that onboarding experience based on what you’ve learned in the assessment. Another good example would be if you were to go a little bit further down the employee life cycle, what does that mean in terms of learning interventions that would be helpful to that individual based on what we’ve learned in the assessment. And if you were to take it to the endpoint, what information would be helpful in order for a leader to help with that individual’s performance and the assessment of performance. So what I see is the ability to operate more holistically through the employment life cycle, bringing one data set to inform other aspects of the life cycle in a really effective and helpful way.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Yeah. I think the data flow. So we all know, again, I think the rise of a platform mentality, of platform technology, is really helping house things in one place. Of course, no one platform is really going to cover every single thing. Some big, big providers might have modules that potentially could, but in my experience, it’s rare to see one company or one solution owning the entire thing. But the data flow, I think, across these silos can help break down those walls. Because if we’re passing data, that’s the most important thing to pass on from one node to another, from one piece to another. And of course, the more we centralize functions in a platform like assessment or talent acquisition, the data has more integrity there, and there’s less friction getting the data, which is really important stuff, I believe.
So we could all agree data’s good, it’s just been such a pain to get it. And I feel like there’s a lot that we have advanced. And honestly, I’m just going to be honest, I think the problems more lie on the user side, where you have companies that don’t have the ability to — they’ve invested so heavily in these silos, and they’re sometimes outdated silos, that it’s very hard to quickly update and change. And because all these solutions in my experience have come in different intervals of time, it’s really kind of hard to just slash it all down and start from zero with a bunch of new things. Even though that might sound good, there’s just too much change management. That’s why sometimes startups really have a great opportunity. I think there’s great technology that’s now available to companies that aren’t enterprise companies that are able to democratize some of the big enterprise stuff that you used to get into something that’s approachable and attainable by smaller businesses, that they can then grow on the back of that infrastructure.
In terms of hiring then, so I mean, we know there’re platforms data, humanistic things going on. So obviously, the start of any HR activity is hiring because until you get someone to be an employee or a contractor or whatever, you’re not really dealing with them. So getting people in the door, trends there from the technology side of things, I’ll start this one and say, what we’ve really started to see is a lot of recruitment process automation, a lot of, “hey, let’s throw AI in there, and it’ll solve all your problems. It’ll go find all the right candidates for you, et cetera.” Squeezing the juice out of what’s available and then making things more efficient and all that. I think it’s impossible to ignore those things. But the reality is that there’s a bigger shift in my mind in terms of just how companies are approaching hiring. AI, it’s not the solution, it’s just a component.
What about, and I just came across this term, doing a little research for today’s conversation, reverse recruitment? Reverse recruitment meaning — and I don’t know how widespread this term is and you could probably make up a lot of interpretations, but what I take out of it is really the fact that candidates are now in control. Candidates now are recruiting organizations, and candidates who may not have that traditional portfolio in their pocket of top university or whatnot, or even any university, are still empowered to jump into the mix. And companies need to be able to receive that. They need to be able to say, OK, let’s throw off the chains of convention here. We can’t sit here and complain that we can’t find enough talent when we’re not actually looking for it in a different way and we’re not actually reframing what talent means and has to come to the table with. So to me, that’s the macro thing. And I wonder in your mind, what things are we seeing besides kind of this automation play, which I don’t really think tells the whole story or gets the job done?
Yeah, sure. So I think providing, appreciating you have an audience from all around the world, Charles, just to give you a sort of a U.K. macro perspective, we’re at the lowest level of unemployment in the U.K. since records began. We’ve got challenges in terms of supply of employees, a real constraint on labor, as a result of, if I may say a slightly mad decision to leave the European Union, and also with a whole group of over-55s choosing to leave the workforce and retire earlier than they might have otherwise considered pre-pandemic. Given we have inflation above 10% now in the U.K., maybe that some of those guys and girls come back because their retirement plan doesn’t work out quite as they were hoping. But we have a real problem in that we have so many open vacancies in the U.K. with real constraints in many areas of the workforce.
So that macro issue means that there’s a genuine requirement for organizations to differentiate themselves. And to your point, go hunting and fishing in pools that maybe they hadn’t previously. And I think that the talent tech stack has a big part to play in helping organizations do that efficiently, but most importantly, in a manner which is really engaging. So if we look at that, for example, through an assessment lens — and one of the things that I think we’re starting to see is almost the platform play happen in assessment.
So I would argue that actually the starting point, the foundation, often of an organization’s hiring activity is the authorization of a job specification. And in many instances, those job specifications are written in a way where they’re way too narrow in terms of the skills, experience and requirements that they insist upon. And actually in many instances we could be far more open-minded, flexible and thoughtful about the type of capability that we really need and what that could come from rather than insisting that it’s seven years of experience of doing the same stuff before.
And so, one of the things that I love about the way we’re going about things at Sova is thinking about the job as part and parcel of the platform proposition, where we can help organizations build much more open-minded job specifications that allow them to think more broadly about the talent that comes into that role, rather than just starting the assessment once you’ve got people in the funnel. And so that would be one, I think, really good example of, if you broaden our horizons in terms of the way we actually put the role profile together, that is going to bring you to a much wider audience. And we can use technology to do that more effectively. And, as I say, than perhaps has been when that’s purely been in the hands of a hiring manager with a relatively narrow field of view
Dr. Charles Handler:
And from a U.K. perspective, I mean, I’ve done business with folks in the U.K. for my whole career, and grad recruitment has always been a very, very, almost standard operating procedure for companies. And grad recruitment, it really does focus on broader abilities that someone brings to the table. You have feeder roles, typically, that are pretty open, and then you get data on individuals, and you can help determine where should they go with their career. What do they want to do? What are they good at doing, on top of the raw materials they have to get in the door.
And so I feel like that grad recruitment mentality is now starting to enter into here in the U.S. because it really is more of just a raw talent thing. And I’ve had plenty of people that I love talking to who would almost say it’s the nature/nurture equation that let’s just put our dollars into developing talent once we have them and keeping them versus hyper-focusing on what specific things that they have in detail coming in the door. And the other thing I’ve seen related to this is more and more clients that I’ve worked with over the past, maybe three, four years, even — they’re looking to match people on values.
Yeah, I completely agree.
Dr. Charles Handler:
I don’t want to say “culture.” I don’t want to say “culture” because I think it’s problematic when you think about just hiring a bunch of people that are “cultural fit,” what have you. Sometimes people who aren’t a cultural fit can shake things up and do really good things. But values and work values to me are a little different. That’s like, why are you working? What are you looking to get as a human out of your work experience? Who do you like working with? And so we’re seeing more and more ability to focus on those things pretty quickly.
But when we talk about all these things in the idea of reverse recruitment, hiring in a drought or a perceived drought, and putting processes in front of candidates that may not be super-enjoyable or enlightening for them, you’re more and more getting people to opt out. But automation, you can’t just set it and forget it. I just hope that people understand that you can’t put this really awesome recruitment process, automation technology in place, and just expect that’s going to do everything for you. You have to have programs, processes and a mindset of going out there and finding that talent.
And then you can use that tech, you can use an assessment platform that covers everything. You can use one of these awesome kind of — don’t even know what to call, but they’re products, vendors that are able to overlay the hiring process from the first touch point of more of a social, more of an interactive engagement. And so you’re not just being dumped into an ATS where you have to start uploading things in a very cold manner. There’s branding, marketing and engagement that happens, even places where they kind of take a short summary of information about you and get you into the ACS workflow without you having to really do all the heavy lifting. Then I think it’s just kind of parsed out as you go. So it’s a dialogue. It’s not some robot going and finding you the best, most diverse people from the far corners of the earth. That’s not going to get it done.
So when I ran Talent Collective, we used to talk to TA and HR leaders about “three Es.” And I don’t think the world has changed that much since those conversations were going on. And so the three Es were around engaging your audience in a really effective way. And I think what’s changed in the last few years is through technology, our ability to kind of hyper-personalize the experience that you go through when learning more about the organization and the role opportunity. So engagement should be the first thing that we think about. And how do we make sure that the talent has a really clear understanding of what the opportunities look like in our business and find the process of learning more about that stuff engaging as they go through the activities.
The second thing is around “effective.” So actually, it’s all very well being engaging, but if it doesn’t end up allowing you to land the right talent into the business, then it doesn’t matter how engaging it is, frankly. And so effectiveness is hugely important. And I think a big theme in more recent years is around making sure that effective is effective for everybody, Charles. So that we are living true to the diversity, equality and inclusiveness values of the business. And so it’s really important that the process that you put talent through is effective in that context and doesn’t create any adverse impact at any particular groups as you take them through the recruiting cycle.
And then the third bit is efficiency, so every business is looking to make sure that the way they bring talent into the organization is efficient. So, in other words, it doesn’t take too long so that we can get talent in the right seats at the right time. And that you are managing the cost base of that talent acquisition activity in an effective way. And I’m not suggesting it has to be cheap, but what I am suggesting is that you have to get the talent acquisition leader, like anybody else that runs a cost center, has to make sure that they’re giving value for money.
Dr. Charles Handler:
It is about value, not cost, really, I think. And these things haven’t changed, but I just feel like the technology in the world, circumstances have, and we’re better equipped to deal with these things. And ultimately we’re better equipped to help people enjoy work, and that enjoyment translate into organizational profitability and however you define success. It’s a symbiotic thing. So in the U.K., has there been a tradition of a “Help wanted” sign? You’re walking by a shop and you see a sign, “Help wanted.” I know in the U.S., that’s always been kind of the traditional cliche. And then I don’t know, I stopped seeing them for a while, for years.
I would say absolutely. In fact, there’s probably even more now than ever as that talent shortage that we spoke about really bites. So some examples, pretty much every vehicle that you pass, be it a bus or a truck, will have a recruitment and careers request on the back of it saying, “We are hiring drivers, come join us.” Pretty much any rural public house in the U.K. will have a sign outside saying, “We’re hiring.” And there’s lots of really genuinely live conversations in the hospitality industry here about having to close our doors more days in the week than we’re open because we just can’t staff our outlets to the extent that we would choose. Absolutely in the social care industry, that “help wanted” stuff you see pretty much on billboards across the country. So it’s completely and utterly true.
I think, again, going back to our broader dialogue at the top of the podcast, Charles, I think many organizations need to be more thoughtful about the type of employment offer and being significantly more flexible than perhaps has been the tradition. And so one theme that I think is certainly playing out, if we think about talent technology and assessment, in particular, is how do we engage traditionally contract and flexible workers?
We’ve probably been a bit more laissez-faire about in terms of how we engage them and also assess them as part of the recruitment process. And I think more organizations are coming to the appreciation and understanding that flexible talent is a really important part of the makeup of the overall workforce. And to your point earlier, assessing on values, you shouldn’t be just doing that for your permanent employees. You should probably be doing that for your contract and flexible workers, as well, because they are becoming more and more of an important facet in delivering the promise.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Yeah. Both parties have to value flexibility and autonomy somewhat to make that conversation happen. I brought that up about “help wanted” signs because I hadn’t really seen them for a while. And then, all of a sudden, now I see them everywhere. And I kind of have the idea that companies really are putting out kind of digital “help wanted” signs. And everybody from the smallest businesses to the biggest need them, it’s just the way they go about putting those out there a little bit different. Now you do see chain stores with a little QR code that says “join our team” or something, and they make it relatively easy to engage people right there. But there’s more work even than that has to be done. So I like the idea of people thinking in the hiring game that you’re hanging out a “help wanted” sign now amongst — you’re one of very many that are doing that. So how are you going to catch that right person at the right moment?
Do you know where I still think that there’re many organizations that have an opportunity ahead of them? And that’s around referral and alumni. So we’re starting to see some tech that’s specific to alumni and helping you manage relationships even when employees have left. And I think that’s critically important in going back to that sort of macro perspective that I shared with you earlier around sort of a million people in the U.K. over 55 having left employment in the last 24 months. Is there a way of engaging them again on a more flexible basis to top up their pension pot? Very possibly. And so if you’ve got the technology that allows you to do that, something like an enterprise alumni being a good example of a platform that does that specifically, I think that’s a really significant opportunity.
I often tell the story of when I had a business, Capital Consulting, back in the Noughties, probably the thing that engaged our talent more than anything else was when we gave away, at the Christmas party, a Mini Cooper car — a good British tradition there for you — as a prize. So every person that had referred talent into our business in the course of the year got a key ring with their name on, with the name of the person that joined. And as long as they were still there at the end of the year, the key ring went in the hat, and I drew it out at the end of the year, and we gave someone a car. Now, stuff like that, I mean, I appreciate that’s very analog and not very digital, but those sort of things, where you’re bringing some innovation to things like referral processes, I still think are massive differentiators. And there’s plenty of opportunities out there to do that kind of stuff in a tight labor market.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Yeah. I just think that overall again, kind of a trend in technology in general is connectivity. And with that connectivity, you get a network that expands — exponentially, for sure, almost infinitely, I would say. And so you start to be able to reach people through other people and then be able to collect data as well. So over the length of time, and now I’m shifting more even into employee engagement, surveys and data. One of the things I’m excited about for the future of our space and just in general, HR tech work whatever, is that we now have these new data sources, post-hire engagement survey data, post-hire evaluation data that’s collected in more of these pulse or kind of ongoing distributed systems. Gives us a longer window, gives us some more accurate data to compare how the hiring processes worked and even how an internal navigation has worked.
So that’s exciting, as well. That’s kind of more on the data front, I would say, but it’s something that I’m looking forward to because the more data we get from the more different places and the easier it is to access that, the more we’re going to see the real picture and what works. And I think we’re finding that the stuff we’ve been doing for a long time works, we can just accelerate and improve on how well it works. In the assessment world, if you’re predicting a third of the time the right candidate, you’re a hero. I mean, that’s like the all-time greatest ever. And so it is an imperfect world, we’re dealing with people and their circumstances and their differences.
Well, I think the data is one factor, and you spoke right at the top of the conversation about science, and I think there’s a really interesting dialogue to be had about how do we democratize that science and also personalize it to an even greater extent than has been the case already. So I think the direction of travel is in a Sova context is, we have a taxonomy of science that looks at behaviors or values or competencies that we are able to share with the client. But then they can personalize how those are brought together against a specific role. Add that to some real-life situational judgment stuff, and you’ve got actually a very hyper-personalized assessment and recruitment experience for the candidate that is highly relevant to the role and highly engaging and gives them an opportunity to really understand what it’s like to work in that environment. And that feels like a really good direction of travel for me.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Yeah, for sure. So we’ll wrap it up here. This has been great conversation. I want to leave it, each of us three predictions for HR technology in the next five to 10 years. Don’t elaborate. Just bullet points, three predictions. While you go, I’m going to write down mine.
So a fundamental shift to this kind of holistic workforce, rather than looking at the various different components of it in silos. Very pleasingly from my perspective, a shift where equality diversity and inclusiveness becomes pervasive globally rather than in, sadly, just a few geographies these days. And thirdly, the passporting of data. So going back to your reverse recruitment point that employees can take pensions, benefit, learning journeys with them, and that not just being static in a single employment environment and having to start all over again. So that passporting of kind of personal experiences beyond the gate of the employer, I think is what’s coming.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Yep. Cool. So my quick things, that’s going to be crowdsource data. So as I was just talking about data coming from all kind of places that we can harness. I think we’re going to increasingly see a demand for HR tech to be a consumer-grade experience. So what it looks like when you do your banking or your shopping or whatever. Hiring, it’s increasingly demanded that it looks like that, and that’s harder to do than you might think. And then, I think, regulation, at least here in the U.S., we’re starting to see all kind of new regulation. That’s going to shape a landscape. Tech is going to help with that, but tech can also be problematic to that. So we’re going to have a lot of things to work through on the regulatory side globally — and even more maddening is that those things, the regulations, aren’t the same all the time. So you’ve got a global solutions, which we all can agree that all this stuff is happening in a more integrated global manner because of technology.
So that’s what we have to look forward to. That’s a whole bunch more podcasts, but appreciate your time today. It’s been a great conversation, and I always want my guests to let people know how they can keep in touch with you and what you’re doing as we play it out here.
Oh, well, thank you, Charles. It’s been a pleasure talking to you. You’ll find me with my personal contact details on LinkedIn. I’m just /JeremyTipper on LinkedIn. That’s the best way to get through to me.
Dr. Charles Handler:
Cool. Well, thank you very much.
Dr. Charles Handler:
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