July 6, 2022

Intelligent Hiring: How to Recruit and Adapt in the Era of the Open World Workforce

Dylan Kopf and Jenny Zhang | Marketing Student Assistants

Our June 17th Human Resources Special Interest Group meeting discussed the topic of intelligent hiring. More specifically, how to recruit and adapt in the era of the open-world workforce. Participants heard from knowledgeable speakers on how forward-thinking companies are adapting to new recruiting realities.

Many companies are starving for elite talent. The top 20% of Knowledge Workers are only available to those who think differently to attract, obtain, and retain in the open-world workforce. Additionally, it has been found that 65% of employees said that the pandemic has made them rethink the role of work in their lives. This mixture of uncertainty and competitiveness has made recruiting and retaining employees more complex.

Rob Thorp, Technology Speaker and Director of Specialized Recruiting at Jefferson Hart, kicked off the discussion. His experience as an elite recruiter and hiring manager at Fortune 100 clients prepared him to understand the most challenging questions facing modern recruiting. He identified key ways that employers and companies can attract and retain needed talent. In the workplace, there are new ways of measuring talent now. The days of measuring talent using time are now over as people prefer to be measured on results: growth and achievements. This not only keeps workers engaged but may also increase productivity. He also stated that although Wisconsin may not beat San Francisco or New York on salary, we have different strengths: family values and good people who are nice to work with. We need to lean into our strengths to effectively compete.

Following Rob’s presentation, the event attendees split up into breakout sessions to discuss ideas they heard and apply those to their own companies. The key ideas such as talking about ways to lean into company strengths and ways remote workers engaged were shared with the broader audience so everyone could benefit from these peer learning experiences.

The meeting concluded with a presentation from Nancy Lightfoot and Angie Adler, employees of UWEBC member company Lands’ End. Nancy and Angie discussed how Lands’ End is working to create more agility especially for the rapidly shifting hiring needs and critical skills. Nancy explained the growing idea of working fully remote. Nine percent of Lands’ End corporate staff are now working remotely, and this number is expected to keep growing. Their company assigns a team member to research the trends on remote research and continues to learn about how this will impact their company going forward. Lands’ End’s application process is also 100% remote. Seeing that losing candidates due to competitive wages is a big possibility, they offer positions immediately to encourage candidates to accept positions while they’re still engaged. Additionally, like many other companies, they are implementing different ways for employees to have a closer mentor/mentee relationship with frontline managers.

There is nothing more crucial to a company’s success than the people they choose to hire. Today's employees are more willing to jump from one job to another in pursuit of better opportunities, and this is something companies need to take into consideration. As the difficulty to find top-level talent grows, recruiters must adapt and make changes in order to build an agile hiring process.

View the full meeting video and presentations here (member sign-on is required).

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