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Ep 376: Recruiting In Challenging Markets

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Recruiting is a challenge for pretty much everyone at the moment, but how do you continue to recruit effectively in a market with long term skill shortages in a country whose borders have been shut for more than 18 months and where applications rates are down by 75%?

My guest this week is Lorraine Carr, Talent Acquisition Manager at Class, an Australia based FinTech. Lorraine is using a combination of strategies to recruit successfully in an incredibly challenging market and has some high-quality insights and experiences to share

In the interview, we discuss:

• The current challenges in technology recruitment

• How talent acquisition at Class has evolved

• Creating a diverse pipeline

• The importance of optimizing job ads

• Candidate experience and the Circle Back initiative

• Hiring managers and executive stakeholders

• Preboarding

• The humanization of EVPs

• What does the future of talent acquisition look like

Listen to this podcast in Apple Podcast.

Transcript:

Matt Alder (1m 52s):
Hi, everyone. This is Matt Alder. Welcome to Episode 376 of the Recruiting Future Podcast. Recruiting is challenging for pretty much everyone at the moment, but how do you continue to recruit effectively in a market with long-term skill shortages in a country whose borders have been shut for more than 18 months and where applications rates are down by 75 percent? My guest this week is Lorraine Carr, . Lorraine is using a combination of strategies to recruit successfully in an incredibly challenging market and has some high-quality insights and experiences to share.

Matt Alder (2m 36s):
Hi, Lorraine, and welcome to the podcast.

Lorraine Carr (2m 39s):
Hi, Matt. Thanks so much. I’m an avid fan. So, yeah, great to be here.

Matt Alder (2m 43s):
An absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Please, could you introduce yourself and tell us what you do?

Lorraine Carr (2m 50s):
Yeah, absolutely. So, I’m Lorraine Carr. I’m a Talent Acquisition Manager at Class Limited and based here in Sydney, Australia.

Matt Alder (2m 58s):
Tell us a little bit more about Class and what the company does.

Lorraine Carr (3m 4s):
Yeah, for sure. So Class, we’re a young FinTech business. So we’ve been around the last 12 years with the first cloud-based SMSF. SMSF is Self-Managed Super Fund Solutions in Australia. So we’re an Australian business and what our software does is it uses, I suppose, a powerful combination of complex rules-based software and data aggregation from sources across the finance sector, which includes your banks, your foreign exchanges, your platforms, et cetera. So I suppose we’ve grown quite quickly in the last two years.

Lorraine Carr (3m 44s):
We’ve had a new CEO join us and management team, and I joined the business two years ago when kind of this happens. So I suppose we’re probably seeing more the financial services company back then and our CEO who came from a digital background, came on board really to revolutionize a business and to make us more of a technology-led innovative business. And not just, I suppose, as SMSF superannuation we call it here, for our business. So I suppose creating that software where we can simplify operations across the accounting, financial services sector, and particularly in that wealth accounting space.

Lorraine Carr (4m 25s):
So, yeah, it’s a bit back to business, Matt.

Matt Alder (4m 29s):
Tell us how talent acquisition has changed since you came on board. How has it developed and what kind of initiatives have you put in place?

Lorraine Carr (4m 37s):
So I suppose my role was complete Greenfield opportunity. I came in to really set up a function going from your manual Excel spreadsheets to really high recruitment agency spend and really just put some solid processes in place, and develop the employment brand and the EVP on top of that. So probably the first thing I did was really kind of understand what are our values, our cultural values, to really kind of understand, are we hiring based on cultural values or is it just that kind of technical skillset? Because we had quite high attrition, put a good cultural side to the business.

Lorraine Carr (5m 22s):
So, yeah, first step I did was really kind of deep dive with the hiring managers to understand how they hired for their roles. And of course, it was all based on technical skill set. And then that’s why kind of there was a high attrition rate. So again, those cultural values really played into effect, so I created a scorecard. So we did some training around how we could really understand why we have those cultural values in place and how conduct really needs to kind of match our four different values. Next step was really to introduce an application tracking system.

Lorraine Carr (6m 3s):
I get that buy-in from the leadership side of things. Did a review of some ATSs, build a solid business case, and caught the investment upfront from our executive leadership team and their buy-in on why we need to automate and simplify the recruitment process and how much time that’s saved on our side of things. So that was a key driver in terms of building that kind of turn-back position, reducing the time to hire, and just creating that seamless feedback process for hiring managers. So I can feed that back to candidates in due course.

Matt Alder (6m 42s):
Tell us a bit about the candidate market that you’re recruiting in now because, you know, obviously markets are difficult all over the world, particularly difficult in technology, particularly difficult in FinTech. And as I understand it particularly difficult in Australia at the moment. Tell us about what’s going on.

Lorraine Carr (7m 1s):
Yeah, absolutely. So right now, we are in, as they call it, the war for talent. So they’re what they’re calling is the great resignation. So the status is at 41 percent of the population globally will resign from their job, which is a massive amount of people. So it’s creating that war for talent. All the borders are closing. We just don’t have enough people to fit into our jobs. And on particularly, the challenging area for me is in your kind of development technology area. So your developers, your testing automation engineers, and really kind of creating that diverse pipeline as well.

Lorraine Carr (7m 42s):
So we’re really seeing some really kind of shortfalls there. The application rates have decreased by 75 percent. So our major platform that people would advertise over here is called Seek. And, yeah, it’s a 75 percent reduction in people applying for roles. So really, it’s all about your employer, employee brand, number one, and your EVP as well.

Matt Alder (8m 3s):
And how are you addressing that in terms of marketing and advertising? You’re doing things differently? What are you doing to stand out and get your employer brand out there and find the right people?

Lorraine Carr (8m 15s):
Yeah, absolutely. So step one, what I’ve done is I’ve done a redesign of my ads. So I’ve done some measurements in terms of who’s been applying for my ads in terms of gender. So I found that there was a lot more, we’re a technology business so we’ve got a lot more male applicants to our roles. So I decided to redesign all of our ads on the markets. So we all know men apply for a job when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet a hundred percent. So I decided to do some AP testing and change that in our job ad design, just include more inclusive language.

Lorraine Carr (9m 1s):
So we use a gender decoder tool to just to neutralize our language. So it’s more either neutral or feminine coded, which really creates a non-biased approach to recruitment. I’ve also avoided using the years of experience, for example, five-plus years of experience needed for a role and I’ve replaced that with relevant experience. And that’s kind of putting, excluding that kind of age discrimination there. Number three, I’ve been limited the dot points in my ads in terms of requirements. So I put that down to five or six dot points and really kind of highlighted kind of our DNI approach in our ads as well.

Lorraine Carr (9m 42s):
So, for example, if you don’t feel you’re a hundred percent right for this role, we’d still love to hear from you. Tell us what you’re interested in. You might have a skill that we didn’t realize we needed. So really just that commitment to keeping them engaged. And we are still interested in their profile and just really kind of understanding, gosh, we are kind of diverse as well, and we’re looking for that. We’re not looking for that technical skillset. It’s all about cultural values as well. So those redesigns in my ads have been really kind of surprisingly we’ve had some great results.

Lorraine Carr (10m 25s):
So the last six months we’ve increased our females to the by 40 percent. So I’m really, really proud of that.

Matt Alder (10m 31s):
How important is candidate experience in all of this?

Lorraine Carr (10m 36s):
Look, I’m really passionate about candidate experience and making sure that every single candidate gets a reply from me or my team in relation to their application. So we’ve committed to an initiative here at Class. So we’re a 2021 Circle Back initiative employer, which is the commitment to responding to every single applicant. And we pride ourselves on that. So we’ve probably taken a bit more of a personalized high-touch approach to recruitment right now, and candidate experience. So I’ve taken step back from advertising and job boards to understand kind of what candidates really want.

Lorraine Carr (11m 21s):
What would I want if I was looking for a job and again, not replying back to a candidate, not giving them feedback because they didn’t get the job really doesn’t do anything for your brand. So just give them kind of that extra kind of heads up if they’re not, especially, you know, speaking about gender again, but especially females I’ve noticed they would say, “Oh, I don’t think I’ve haven’t got XYZ,” but it’s okay. If there’s a certain technical skill set, we can potentially train them up in that area. So really given the full experience in terms of the breadth of the role, they’ve got the cultural side of things, yeah, we’re happy to move on that.

Lorraine Carr (12m 5s):
So hiring really for culture ad, I suppose, rather than the culture fits side of things.

Matt Alder (12m 11s):
And in terms of that very comprehensive, getting back to everyone, real sort of high touch candidate experience, how have you had to work with the hiring managers to achieve that? Is it something that they’ve embraced or have you had to do some kind of awareness building and training in that area?

Lorraine Carr (12m 31s):
Yeah, for me, it’s more about kind of going from the top down. So the Executive Leadership Team, the ELT team, and just advising them of what’s going on in the market, giving them the data, the reporting, the LinkedIn reports, the Harvard review reports on what’s happening in an office, and then really kind of any hiring manager briefings that we do, we will kind of go through the strategy in terms of how we will approach this recruitment in terms of, okay, and if you need to get back to me ASAP in terms of feedback.

Lorraine Carr (13m 14s):
On my application tracking system, it’s quite automated. So as soon as an interview is finished, you’ll get an email to include your feedback on the interview, just hot. So the line is just quite good in relation to that and I get the feedback straight away, which I would feedback to the candidates. But, yeah, I would definitely do a top-down approach for awareness. So will really kind of, it’s known in the business how hard it is to attract candidates right now.

Matt Alder (13m 45s):
So obviously, onboarding, pre-boarding is something that’s very, very important as well, making sure that the candidates that you’ve worked so hard to look after and then take through the recruitment process and select actually turn up on day one. What do you do in those areas?

Lorraine Carr (14m 3s):
Good question. So soon as we have a contract signed, sealed, and delivered, I straight away get my colleague to get on board with the pre-onboarding. So you have to remember, they’ve still got four weeks in that current role. You’ve got every single recruiter kind of hitting them up on LinkedIn with messages. So you really need to engage them in that pre-onboarding process. So what we would do is really focus on getting the hiring managers to get in touch with them, inviting them to any events in the meantime in the four weeks, so they’re truly engaged in the process and in the company.

Lorraine Carr (14m 45s):
Make sure you have all their paperwork. We also get them to send us through a bio of themselves, their likes, who they are, and what they like as a person. So it really engages them in some of the processes as well, and then when they start, obviously we’re all working remotely at the moment, so we send them an onboarding pack with a t-shirt and a pen and some swag to really get them going, to also make sure that we have them set up for day one in terms of all their technology, laptop, Slack, the whole thing, so they’re really engaged.

Lorraine Carr (15m 29s):
They have a buddy. Yeah, set up with meetings for the first two weeks. So I think that’s super, super important to keep them engaged because they’re all starting to work remotely as well, which can be challenging. You’ve never met your peers. Collaboration engagement is super, super important as well.

Matt Alder (15m 49s):
Earlier on, you mentioned your ATS and how you put that in and that sort of the level of automation that you have, how important is recruiting technology to what you do? I mean, how important do you think it is to talent acquisition and how might it develop for you in the future?

Lorraine Carr (16m 6s):
I mean, it’s a no-brainer really before, but I just started in this role. I have nothing. I didn’t have anything to advertise on. And then I calculate the amount of time I was doing running through applications, getting back to people, trying to schedule in interviews with the hiring managers, when all of us in one ATS, one tech tool, it just does it for you. And then it’s always, there’s always evolution your tech tool. So by integrating your referencing tool, I’m now looking at kind of getting a CRM on top of my ATS as well to create more of talent pipelines and text messaging as well.

Lorraine Carr (16m 57s):
So, yeah, that will be the future for it too as well. It will always be a kind of evolution. There’ll be new AI tools. It’s super, super important, I think to really kind of be in the forefront, the forefront of innovation really and forward-thinking. Yeah, I don’t think you’re gonna get anywhere if you don’t have an ATS and you’ve got a busy company.

Matt Alder (17m 20s):
Expanding on that slightly as a final question, tell us what you think about the future of talent acquisition in general? What do you think is gonna happen over the next two to three years? Where do you think we’re heading?

Lorraine Carr (17m 34s):
Yeah, I think really, I suppose employee value proposition needs to be relooked at. At the moment, it’s changed because we’re now living in a remote world. So there needs to be definitely a more human aspect to it. What I mean is people wanna to feel understood and have those deeper connections with their teams, with this hybrid world. There needs to be the whole flexibility, that radical flexibility. You know, we won’t have a nine-to-five world at the moment. We won’t have a nine-to-five job.

Lorraine Carr (18m 18s):
You’re running in and kids, or if you’re solo parenting, carers, et cetera. So there needs to be that kind of flexibility as well. Personal growth is probably really, really important as well, but looking inside it, so looking internally at what staff you have and how you can grow them and keep them really, I spoke earlier about the great resignation. You need to turn that into probably more of an opportunity in terms into, I suppose, looking at us the great opportunity and looking internally and how you can use your employees in terms of their skill sets and how they can kind of move sideways, move up within the organization instead of losing them to another key competitor as well.

Lorraine Carr (19m 2s):
I think a really, really important, employers have to look at the wellbeing of their staff, especially in this world we’re living in as well as there is a lot going on and probably that shared purpose as well. And how, why employers– What we think why employees would wanna work for a company, it’s all about that shared purpose, is this a company I wanna work for, how do they give back to society and not that purely driven kind of profit, revenue-driven. It’s as well kind of that shared purpose, I think is really, really important. So kind of long term, I think that’s where kind of that new employee value proposition and framework will really kind of operate and, yeah, it needs to go, I think.

Matt Alder (19m 52s):
Lorraine, thank you very much for talking to me.

Lorraine Carr (19m 56s):
No worries. Thanks so much. I appreciate it. Have an awesome day.

Matt Alder (20m 0s):
My thanks to Lorraine Carr. You can subscribe to this podcast in Apple podcasts, on Spotify or via your podcasting app of choice. Please also follow the show on Instagram. You can find us by searching for Recruiting Future. You can search all the past episodes at RecruitingFuture.com. On that site, you can also subscribe to the mailing list to get the inside track about everything that’s coming up on the show.

Matt Alder (20m 53s):
Thanks very much for listening. I’ll be back next time and I hope you’ll join me.

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