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Using Phone Robots At The First Interview

It sure is efficient in asking the same first questions and determine which candidates are a good fit, but there is a risk that they will not feel treated “human”.

1. Is it easier to identify and acquire talents with social media tools today? Or has it become more of a challenge to acquire the right people?

Social media has been a true game changer in the recruitment industry for the last 10 years. We clearly have a better understanding of our target audiences, where they are active and what makes them tick. Other aspects, however, (lowering entry to exit ratio on labour market, co-botisation, new skills requirements, etc.), make talent acquisition more challenging than ever and chances are high that it will even get worse for the companies. It forces us to rethink how we source talent to cover our needs. I foresee a future where companies apply for talents to convince them to work for them, in different kinds of contract setups.

Using phone robots at the first interview – What is your opinion on that?

As a principle, it is wise to try to automate the steps in your recruitment process where a human cannot add value. The first interactions are usually used to ask the same questions (why would you like to work for us, what is your ambition …) and quickly decide whether to continue or not with a candidate. You also need to consider the candidate experience. What is the story you are telling to your audience? They might not feel like being treated as humans when being processed by a bot, but if you want to push the image of an innovative tech company, it could make sense. Luckily, there are many other options available, like video platforms, where these questions are asked by a pre-recorded recruiter and the candidate can answer easily on his cell phone or tablet. We do see this kind of approach work with certain profiles, but certainly not all.

How do you ensure that the right talent wants to work for your company and not for your competitors?

Make sure you know what you are standing for: clarify your EVP and ensure it can be experienced throughout the whole process, up to onboarding (if possible, even within the company afterwards). Employer Branding looks a lot like marketing, but you need to keep in mind that the process is far more emotional for the candidate than buying a candy bar. Make sure you deliver on your promise, throughout the process and afterwards, or else they will feel cheated and leave you in a heartbeat (or stay and become disengaged, which is actually even worse). Talent Acquisition is somewhere in between a science and an art. You need to measure as much as possible to see what could be enhanced, but start experimenting from a creative belief to differentiate yourself from your competitors on the labour market.

Christophe Vanden Eede is a VP Talent Acquisition & Development at ING, but he has change written all over his career. After his studies in Law and general management, he started at Electrabel (now Engie), a Belgian electric company, to help shift the mindset from servicing delivery points to servicing customers. Later, he joined the HR department to build the employer brand and set up a channel strategy for the sourcing of new recruits. This is where he got the digital microbe. After 5 years he became L&D manager and set out to implement a new learning culture. He also participated in a project to help boost digital transformation, first for Belgium and later for all European units. From January 2016 to April 2017 he was the Chief Learning Officer at Engie (Benelux), After changing to the Telecom sector at the Telenet Group (part of Liberty Global) as the Chief Talent Officer, he decided to go into banking at the ING Group. He currently holds the position of Global head of Career Management. He is co-author if the book social technologies in business and president of the Belgian HR digital community.


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