Talent Leaders On Solving Top Talent Acquisition Challenges Using RPO

by Lamees Abourahma

Lance and Paula

Various talent acquisition challenges vexed employers in 2023. With the phenomenon of "ghosting," the maturity of artificial intelligence, and sourcing top talent, employers scratched their collective heads, looking for solutions. An increasing number of employers turned to recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) for strategic talent solutions.

To help you understand how RPO can help solve recruitment challenges, the RPOA interviewed Paula Antonelli, Sr. People Director at Trafilea, and Lance Sapera, Global Talent Acquisition Leader. They shared valuable insights on their talent acquisition challenges in 2023 and how RPO can help address them. In this Talent Leader Council blog series, learn their valuable insights and what they’re excited about for 2024.

RPOA: What Are The Top Talent Acquisition Challenges in 2023? 

Antonelli: The AI revolution is definitely one of them. It keeps us all on our toes, following trends and trying to learn quickly to incorporate AI into our processes.  AI is transforming recruitment by making it more efficient, data-driven, and objective. However, these advancements come with challenges and potential DEI impact. For instance, AI algorithms can inherit biases present in historical data, leading to discriminatory outcomes. It's crucial to regularly monitor and adjust AI models to ensure fairness and mitigate bias in recruitment. Privacy and Data Security can also be compromised. Handling sensitive candidate data requires strict adherence to data protection regulations, such as GDPR in Europe or the CCPA in California. AI systems are not always designed with candidate data privacy in mind.

Over the past year, the recession has profoundly affected numerous industries, impacting large and smaller enterprises. The ability to make accurate forecasts in this volatile climate has never been more challenging.

Sapera: The top challenges for TA in 2023 were hiring talented people in a hyper-competitive market and delivering an outstanding candidate experience. 

Finding new and/or sticky ways to connect with talented people when it seems every company is also after them is tough.  To deliver for our business leaders and hiring managers, our TA Team focused on the following three talent pipelines:

  1. Internal Team Members (25%): These people are proven performers. We helped them grow their careers and retained them in one action. 

  2. Referrals (30%):  With top candidates overwhelmed by InMails and other reachouts, we focused on leveraging our employees to “cut through the noise” and refer people who they know will accelerate the company’s growth.  Moreover, they know things about the candidate’s performance and values that are difficult to assess in the recruitment process.

  3. Nurtured Candidates/Silver Medalists (10%):  When we engaged with a talented candidate, if the time was not right for whatever reason (comp, late applicant, etc.), we stayed connected for a future opportunity (just like sales professionals do).  We also leveraged our alumni network and celebrated Boomerang hires.

Taking advantage of these three pipelines, we delivered two-thirds of our hires, improved retention, and “knew” much more about them – and they knew us better.

Ultimately, delivering an outstanding candidate experience (measured and shared with the business) helped us close top candidates and nurture candidates for future hire.  With “ghosting” so prevalent, focusing on treating all candidates like we want to be treated helped build our brand and nurture pipelines.

How Does Outsourced Recruitment (RPO) Help Solve The Challenges in the Current Environment?

Antonelli: I believe that one of the paramount advantages offered by RPO lies in its scalability. The capacity to swiftly adapt to market fluctuations, whether it entails scaling up or down, is of immeasurable significance in the current environment.

RPO offers additional value through its ability to provide almost real-time market research and data insights. This feature gives companies the possibility to stay ahead of the curve, anticipate shifts in the industry, and make informed decisions. In today's fast-paced business environment, having access to up-to-date market intelligence is indispensable. RPO can assist in sourcing the right talent and serve as a strategic partner, enabling organizations to proactively adjust their recruitment strategies in response to evolving market conditions. By leveraging the power of real-time data, companies can position themselves strategically, anticipate more, and maintain a competitive edge in an ever-changing environment.

Sapera: Research shows TA Leaders have an enormous opportunity to leverage RPO as they build (and rebuild) their TA Teams.  Given the massive layoffs over the past 18 months, the combination of FTEs and RPO contractors provides a powerful lever to support the surges all companies experience.  The ability of TA Leaders to quickly scale and downsize recruiting functions with efficiency and efficacy has economic and personal advantages.  What leaders wouldn’t appreciate not having to lay off strong performers for business reasons, and RPOs can often shift talent from one project to another, enabling the recruiters themselves to stay gainfully employed.

Download Free Report: 2023 RPO Trends Buyer’s Guide

What Are You Excited About For Talent Acquisition In 2024?

Antonelli: I am excited about the AI-driven recruiting scene of 2024; it's safe to say we're in the midst of a recruitment revolution. With AI evolving so quickly, we can expect the benefits to keep on expanding in the coming year. As we embrace the AI-powered tools for hiring, we're ready to step up our game, making recruiting more efficient, fair, and elevated.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning extend beyond efficiency; they also elevate the precision of decision-making. These technologies possess the capability to scrutinize extensive data sets, resulting in more precise forecasts regarding a candidate's suitability for an organization. This predictive capacity reduces the likelihood of making a suboptimal hiring choice, leading to time and resource savings while enhancing the overall caliber of the workforce.

Sapera: I’m excited to see TA leverage new technologies to reduce the administrative requirements of all recruiting professionals to increase their bandwidth for activities best accomplished by people, like recruitment partnership meetings with hiring managers and meaningful feedback calls with candidates.

Want to hear more insights directly from talent leaders? Watch global talent acquisition directors and RPO executives share market insights at the RPOA annual conference that took place on September 25-26, 2023. 

Watch Videos: RPOA Annual Conference 2023


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