IDC predicts that $2.1 trillion will be spent on digital transformation initiatives by the end of this year, reflecting the fact that virtually all businesses participating in today’s digital economy will either lead, follow, or be left behind.

Digital transformation runs deep; it goes way beyond simply optimizing or implementing technology.  As TalentRISE Managing Director Jose Martinez explains in his recent blog post, it involves a different way of doing things that impacts every facet of the organization and is, in fact, an organizational capability. Tools and technologies are certainly very relevant and critical components of any successful digital transformation…but they aren’t central. This has two major ramifications for anyone with responsibility for recruitment within their organization:

  • Who You Hire. First of all, if your business is on the path to digital transformation, you will undoubtedly be recruiting for talent in possession of a whole new set of skills and experiences than in the past. This “hybrid hire”, described below, represents an employee profile that few organizations have past experience in attracting and/or hiring or retaining.
  • How You Hire. Secondly, how you go about the process of recruitment will continue to change in pretty radical ways. Finding the people you need in the fiercely competitive market for talent within the digital economy will continue to demand significant changes in both your recruitment tactics and tools.

Let’s take a closer look at both of these implications…

Who: The New “Hybrid” Hire
Ultimately, the most important component of digital transformation in any organization is the people involved in leading, driving, and executing the transformation.  These are not, says Martinez, “the typical technologists, versed in the latest buzz words from the cyber world, who build back office or even sophisticated frontend software systems. Nor are they your experienced marketer, skilled in media and print buys, or creatives who specialize in user experience and online consumer engagements.  ‘Hybrids’ possess all of these traits, fluidly transcending functional silos, encapsulated in an entrepreneurial or startup mindset and with a passion for building something counterintuitive to how things are done today.”

We’re seeing this firsthand as companies engage firms like TalentRISE to hire CDOs (Chief Digital Officers) whose role is dedicated to the digital transformation of the entire enterprise as a new way of running the business. Professionals occupying this role come from a variety of disciplines including technology, data, marketing, or consulting.  

How: The New Digital Recruitment Revolution
So, how do you approach finding a CDO or building teams of digital leaders who exemplify this elusive combination of skills, expertise and characteristics? Businesses who have reinvented themselves in this way know that there’s not a single one-sized solution that fits all.  For instance, explains Martinez, some rely on partnering with startups and incubators while others draw upon talent from within existing silos and equip them for new roles through rigorous training and development programs. Either of these options has significant drawbacks, ranging from legacy cultural issues in the latter to intellectual property ownership in the former. That’s why many talent acquisition leaders, ideally with the full backing of their CEO and Board, instead focus on making external hires, either on their own or with in partnership with a recruitment consultant.  Taking this path requires an understanding of how digitization is impacting recruitment, according to TalentRISE Partner and digital pioneer Carl Kutsmode, and figuring out how to:

  • Harness the power of increasingly sophisticated analytical tools to better support changes in business strategy through corresponding changes in recruitment strategy
  • Improving the candidate experience while increasing speed and agility as talent pools shrink and a shift to the Gig Economy for many jobs upends traditional recruitment
  • Using the most effective Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools to positively impact the recruitment process, whether for sourcing, candidate quality evaluations, assessments, overhead costs, decision-making speed, etc.

“There are dozens of new tools being launched every month to ease the administrative burden of recruitment,” explains Kutsmode. “Within the recruitment function itself, among those handling day-to-day operations, the adage, ‘fish where the fish are’ is still the core principle. But now, this new generation of tools finds the best ponds to fish in and then helps us select the bait for the particular fish we want to catch. Technology is helping to implement more comprehensive and thorough sourcing practices, freeing up recruiters to focus on strategic tasks.” As an example, he mentions a recent TalentRISE project which used a chatbot to source, pre-screen and engage potential hires, saving recruiters many hours “knocking out” disinterested/unqualified candidates.  Follow these links for more examples/tips regarding disruptive digital approaches to: (1) ensuring a stellar reputation as an employer, (2) maximizing employee referrals, and (3) re-engaging with past candidates.

Disruption tends to feed upon itself; gaining speed and momentum. Digital transformation is not dissimilar from other business disruptors in this regard: there’s no going back to the ways things used to get done. Those of you who remember job titles like “secretary” or fax machines will agree.  So, what does this future shaped by digital disruption look like? From our perspective, only two things are certain: who you hire and how you hire will never be the same.

Carl Kutsmode

About the Author

Carl Kutsmode has over 20 years expertise in talent acquisition transformation — assessing and optimizing corporate recruiting capabilities for greater efficiency and performance.

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