By his own admission, he reads over a hundred articles per day related to recruiting and allied topics.
On his speed dial are the some of the finest HR heads,
recruiters and thought leaders of the world.
There is hardly a trade magazine he has not been
published in, but call him a talent acquisition (TA)
expert and he brushes it off saying he stumbled into
the field by accident.
That’s Todd Raphael, editor in chief, ERE media
(@ToddRaphael) for you.
The first thing he’d want you to know is that hiring
isn’t just about filling up a vacant seat. He describes it
as a painstaking process — transforming TA from an
art to a science and creating a community of
empowered professionals along the way.
How is that done?
Simple, by speaking to a prospective employee the
way one would speak to a customer.
He cites the example of shoe major Nike which built a
sleek recruitment website containing images of real
employees, campus, and information that would
resonate with an applicant.
Thousands of applications began to pour in weekly as
more and more people wanted to work at Nike.
“Nike’s value proposition didn’t change. Instead, what it’s doing is articulating it better,”
says Raphael, who handles community development, content development and corporate relationship management at ERE.
Talent acquisition is a people-oriented industry and
the arrival of technology has unsettled some.
Isn’t he worried that technology will downsize
traditional recruiter jobs or eventually even replace
Raphael believes it is actually the opposite.
One industry voice he admires, Raghav Singh, director
of analytics at Korn Ferry Futurestep is a
of cutting-edge technology like Artificial
Intelligence in recruitment.
“As AI becomes more commonplace and cheaper, the demands placed on it increase. The original algorithms created at its inception are unable to keep up, forcing the need for human intervention,” says Singh.
Raphael even goes on to say that the days of
categorizing ‘tech companies’ are over.
“Look at GE,” he says. “Today, GE is more of a digital tech company than any of its hardware pieces.”
Love it or loathe it, every company big or small has
had to turn into a tech company in some form in order
to be relevant.
Naturally, this has affected talent acquisition practices
too. Since the jobs are multi-dimensional, employees
have to be too.Raphael knows a thing or two about being multi-dimensional. With Bachelors in politics and government from Ohio Wesleyan
University, he started his career as a lobbyist. He
followed this up with stints in government
communication, campaign and media management
before moving to editorial roles.
Three key ingredients
With his experience, what does he think is needed to
cook the secret sauce of successful recruitment?
Three primary ingredients, he says.
Soft skills, cultural skills, and fitment to the mission.
In his interactions with leading recruiters, he is always
interested to spot new trends. There is one he says,
that stands out.
Companies looking for the right candidate today are
no more picky about things like a requisite college
degree and are open to a diverse pool of candidates
from places like tech boot camps.
Pioneered by companies like Google and Fidelity, a
tech Bootcamp is designed to bring potential
candidates up to speed rapidly, giving them an edge
over the traditional three to four year degree.
“In addition to taking a hands-on approach to learning, these boot camps organize valuable interactions with industry experts and promote networking, a major plus compared to a college degree with a locked-in curriculum,” he says.
A recent article
, referencing a quote by Google’s
director of education put a few question marks over
the quality of tech Bootcamp attendees.
But for Raphael, where you come from or how you start doesn’t matter. For him, it is a case of “Got a will, will do.”
He cites John Robinson, founder, and CEO of Our
Ability, as the best example of this. A congenital
amputee, Robinson was able to channelize his
experiences into his venture, that provides job
opportunities to the disabled through a job portal, a
digital resume system and webinars.
Like Robinson, he admires many others like football
coach Bill Conley and motivational speaker Molly
Fletcher, whose inspiring ideas set high benchmarks
for the rest of the TA industry to follow.
To give wings to more such interactions, Raphael is at
the forefront of the recruitment conference organized
by ERE media. To be held in April 2018, he says this
the conference will be more about networking and ideas
than PowerPoint slides.
He hopes his efforts will leave a legacy, paving way for
innovations and even better practices in the TA
industry. That’s the dream that motivates him and
keeps him going.