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Tim Sackett

President of HRU Technical Resources

35 min watch

When Does Automation Remove The Humanity From People´s Funktion?

This week’s episode is hosted by  yours truly, Adways own Sara Dalsfelt, Senior Advisor of Digital Talent Acquisition. Joining her is one of the top 10 global HR influencers, Tim Sackett, President of HRU Technical Resources, author of The Talent Fix and creator of The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim shares his expertise and insights on taking advantage of where Talent Acquisition professionals are right now, and leveraging it to create our own successful future in Talent Acquisition. One that has a seat at the executive’s table. And one that’s backed by technology and data! 

Bonus: Tim keeps it real! Like… Really real. Here’s the link to the full session. 

B**ackground** check 

  • Tim Sackett has spent his entire career in TA and Recruiting after starting right out of college. He has 20 years of combined Executive HR and Talent Acquisition experience, working for Fortune 500 companies and is a highly sought after international speaker on HR Tech, Talent Acquisition, leadership,  and HR execution. 
  • Most people say they have “fallen” into recruiting. Not Tim. He was born to recruit. His mother started a recruiting company when he was nine years old and, as a single mom, she would spend her evenings interviewing candidates, allowing Tim to listen in and learn about the industry.  
  • Right out of college, Tim worked his way up as a desk recruiter in her company, “smiling and dialing” and gaining priceless experience, along with a master’s degree in HR.  
  • From there, he moved into Corporate HR and TA. And after many years spent working in BOTH TA and HR (he has an equal love for each!) he took over his mother’s company. 
  • Tim started blogging in the HR/ TA space about ten years ago at Fistful of Talent and then spun out into his own blog and eventually his own book. 
  • He writes the way he talks and he talks the way he thinks and he’s unabashed about telling it just like it is in HR. 

WHAT IS TIMS PASSION IN TALENT ACQUISITION?

In Tim’s words: “I truly think we all suck at selection.”  

Google’s former CHRO, Laszlo Block, author of Work Rules said that, even at the unicorn that is Google, with the hundreds of millions they put away to perfect their TA process, they’re still only “1% better than a coin flip.” Tim thinks TA pros will never be perfect, so they’ll constantly have to get better, using the best technology possible to get there.  

To Tim, the coolest part of TA is being able to walk into every department— from finance to sales to operations—and being able to have an immediate impact on helping them be better. How? By bringing in better talent.  

“TA can go into every part of the business function and make it better.” 

WHY IS THIS THE PERFECT TIME TO REARRANGE YOUR ENTIRE TA SUITE AND MOVE INTO THE FUTURE? 

Tim: We saw this about ten years ago with the Great Recession. It was the perfect time to reinvigorate our TA tech stack. This is another one of those moments.  

Is the technology and the stack that we currently have exactly the way we need it? Is it working properly? Is it efficient? If not, maybe this is the opportune time, amid the pause from the pandemic, to reassess.  

CEOs, CIOs and CFOs may be currently cutting budgets, but they will buy really great technology that makes us more efficient and better. Especially if it’s going to mean we spend 25% of the cost of one head to make a process that will actually be unbiased and better.  

We finally have the technology that allows us to truly automate, and it’s more efficient than a normal human in many aspects. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE HR “FEAR” OF DATA AND MACHINE LEARNING? 

Tim: About five years ago, I felt stupid about recruiting technology. A good friend of mine, William Tincup, President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily, told me to just start demoing products and writing about them on my blog.  

And what I found is: I can be in a room of Talent Acquisition leaders and ask who is using X product or Y product. And there’s always a wildly different answer about whether or not they love it or hate it. Your product use depends on the maturity level of where you’re at in your tech stack for TA.  

I always tell people to ‘go demo!’ because here’s the cool thing that happens when you demo a Talent Acquisition product: they’re going to show you the tech, teach you the tech so you won’t be fearful of it, and let you in on better ways to do your work. They can’t wait to educate you and they don’t make you feel dumb at all!” 

CAN YOU SUMMARIZE HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS TIMEFRAME WE ARE IN AND START WORKING TOWARD THE FUTURE OF HR? 

Tim: So many of us don’t even know what our most effective sources are and what we’re paying.  We know the many different platforms we’re using (LinkedIn, Indeed, etc.) but we haven’t really broken down our data to understand what is working and what is not. Once you look at the data, you can start to eliminate a lot of the products that aren’t working for you. And that gives you some runway and some budget to go out and start A/B testing products that do work for you.  

We’re in a really cool time when there are so many technologies, especially around Automation in Talent Acquisition. You can spend a little bit of money and get some really good technology. Start testing! 

Interested in starting with data-driven Talent Acquisition?

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HOW DO YOU GET A SEAT AT THE MANAGEMENT TABLE AS A TA PROFESSIONAL OF THE FUTURE?  

Tim: Every senior leader I work with is looking for two things: 

  • Hard data numbers that show them exactly what’s going on in TA. 
  • Competitive data TA acquires by constantly interviewing people from similar companies and trying to hire them.  

By listening to competitor candidates in interviews, TA leaders find out exactly what their competitors are doing, what’s working and what’s failing.  

When TA leaders bring competitor-based data to a manager or VP, 100% of time, they’ll make room on their calendar to meet with us. 

HOW DO TA PROFESSIONALS AIM FOR A MORE STRATEGIC, BUSINESS-PARTNER LIKE POSITION? 

Tim: Start by going to the part of the business that’s having the most pain. Whether it’s sales, operations, etc., TA professionals can create a critical Talent Advisor relationship with that particular peer, and they will be the TA professional’s champion when it comes time to approach management for more resources.  Get out from behind your desk. Build relationships. You can get more resources if you have more relationships. 

IS IT THE TECHNOLOGICAL STACK OR THE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT THAT’S STANDING IN THE WAY OF TA SUCCESS?** ** 

Tim: Nine times out of ten, when asked to consult with global enterprise HR companies, I’m told it’s the technology or the stack that’s standing in the way of TA success. But it’s actually the performance management function. They’re not managing in a data-driven world. They’re people pleasing and failing to put their peers in a position to be successful. TA leaders aren’t acting like leaders. If we’re better leaders, our teams will follow. Let your people fall in love with their jobs. Find people whose crazy matches your crazy. Make it a true fit for every person on your team. 

HOW CAN YOU SAVE TIME, AUTOMATE, AND PERFORM YOUR PROFESSIONAL WORK? WHERE DO TA LEADERS START? 

Tim: Increase efficiency first. When we look at funnels and funnel metrics (which are critical for success and rarely used) what we know is that screened candidates being sent to a hiring manager matters. Focus there first. As you look up and down the funnel, you’ll see pieces of opportunity. 

Questions from the Audience 

Mischa Walmsley, Recruiting technology leadership @Spotify

“When does automation remove the humanity from people functions? “

Tim: The humanity side of automation happens when TA professionals get a candidate who’s actually invested. Ask them to do some heavy lifting as a candidate. At that point, the automation can remove the humanity, so we must determine how to add the humanity back into the process. 

One great example: we’ve added a text nurturing campaign from end of interviewing until day 1 start. We continue to send out calls to action and the candidate feels like the human component is involved.  We’ve actually eliminated day 1 ghosting by using nurturing text campaigns before the candidates start. 

Mischa Walmsley, Recruiting technology leadership @Spotify 

“What can´t or shouldn´t we automate?”

Tim: I always ask people “would you ever accept a job where you’ve never talked to a real person?” When I think about the Future of Talent Acquisition, if you’re a recruiting professional, you’d better get great at actually building a relationship in real time with a candidate. And it can’t just be through texting or e-mail. It must be through a live interaction. 

Maciej Wolski, Country Manager - Poland @Adway

“Do you think TA will become so automated with AI sourcing, chatbot screening, automatic candidate pipelining, etc, that the role of the recruiter will become obsolete?”

Tim: No, I think it’s the opposite. The role of the recruiter becomes even more important. But we’ve put so much other stuff on the recruiter’s plate, they’re not as efficient as they can be. There are too many recruiting operations. By automating that function, the recruiters will have more capacity to have better interactions with candidates and ultimately be able to deliver a better candidate to the organization. The best candidates actually want more of a relationship with a recruiter. Automation can’t replace relationships. 

The Most Important Takeaway: A Final Word from Tim 

As a TA leader, you have to ask yourself one question constantly: who owns talent in your organization?  

If your executives come back and say, “it’s you, TA,” that’s never going to work. We don’t make the ultimate decision; the hiring manager does. That’s why it’s up to us to lead the process by building the right relationships along the way.  

Understand your power. Become a talent magnet. Own that role for yourself.  

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