What is The Future of Talent Acquisition?

As we navigate through the 21st century, technology, spearheaded by Artificial Intelligence (AI), continues to evolve at breakneck speed. In this paradigm, Talent Acquisition must adapt and mirror this progress, keeping pace with the shifting dynamics of the digital age.

What is The Future of Talent Acquisition? - A Keynote Speech by Sudeep Ralhan, CHRO, Upstox

As we chart the course for the future of Talent Acquisition in India, we must first pause to appreciate its past over thousands of years.

The bedrock of talent acquisition was laid during the epoch of Julius Caesar (1st century BCE)  and the Sung Dynasty (11th century), where referrals and entrance exams determined who was fit for specific jobs. Fast-forwarding to the Industrial Revolution (18th century), the focus of talent acquisition lay in harnessing individuals who could operate machinery and mechanical devices, though a significant challenge remained in sourcing the right talent and expediting their onboarding.

The late 20th and the dawn of the 21st century witnessed the advent of the Internet Revolution. This transformational era expanded the horizons of talent acquisition professionals, enabling them to tap into a global pool of specialised talent in an instant. Geographical limitations crumbled, and an efficient recruitment system took form, striving to match the perfect candidates with the right organisations.

As we navigate through the 21st century, technology, spearheaded by Artificial Intelligence (AI), continues to evolve at breakneck speed. In this paradigm, Talent Acquisition must adapt and mirror this progress, keeping pace with the shifting dynamics of the digital age.

At the inaugural Masai tHRive HR Summit, Sudeep Ralhan, CHRO at Upstox, elucidated his perspective on this evolving landscape. His insights from his opening keynote address echoed the need for Talent Acquisition managers to cultivate a growth mindset and extend their vision beyond their current job descriptions.

Decoding Talent Acquisition

Delving into the complex web of talent acquisition, Sudeep unveiled the intricacies of this rapidly transforming domain. He then posed a question to the audience:

“When you think of talent acquisition, what feedback and adjectives come to mind?”

The answers included “numbers,” “employer branding,” “culture,” and “fitment.”

However, Sudeep contended that the modern Talent Acquisition leader's role often entails navigating the labyrinth of contradictory feedback while trying to maintain relevance amidst constantly changing circumstances.

To demonstrate this he shared an anecdote on feedback he received while conducting a performance review for one of his Talent Acquisition managers.

“The stakeholder praised the manager, saying she was perfect, gave him what he needed when he needed it, and hit the numbers precisely. But the HR business partner said she never pushed back and just did whatever the stakeholder asked her to do.”

Staying Relevant in Talent Acquisition

For a Talent Acquisition manager to remain relevant in this ever-evolving landscape, Sudeep advocated for a deep understanding of the business, its challenges, recent developments, leadership, and culture. This knowledge allows recruiters to foster meaningful conversations and build profound relationships with candidates, thereby leading to a higher conversion of passive talent.

Jobs in Talent Acquisition today aren't solely about metrics. In this digital era, Talent Acquisition professionals are expected to don multiple hats, including that of a tech expert and analytics specialist.

“You have to be partially a techie with the amount of recruitment technology there is now. So you have to be a techie there. You have to be an analytics expert. You have to, unfortunately, know the greatest evil of modern times, which is PowerPoint.”

Planning, Not Strategy: A Talent Acquisition Manager's Perspective on Technology

In Talent Acquisition, a detailed plan serves as the cornerstone for success. Ralhan underscored the importance of leveraging technology judiciously, rather than blindly following the latest trends. He advocated for a careful evaluation of opportunity cost, effort, time, and change management before adopting new technology.

Thinking Beyond Hiring

In Ralhan's view, the role of Talent Acquisition extends beyond just hiring. Progressive organisations must focus on retention, workforce planning, succession planning, and strengthening the leadership bench. He envisions Talent Acquisition as a collaborative effort, striving to create an environment with zero attrition over a given period of time.

Further, he encouraged leaders to break boundaries, invest in themselves, learn new skills, and garner new life experiences. Ralhan’s personal anecdotes brought to life his vision of Talent Acquisition not just as a mode but as a thriving function. While the modalities may change, the function's essence remains the same.

“Talent Acquisition, the way we know it, I don't think exists anymore. At least the way I knew it in the last two decades, as they reminded me, it definitely does not exist anymore. But Talent Acquisition as a function is thriving, it is no longer. I would not even call it Talent Acquisition mode. It is a talent function”

Embracing this view, we march into the future of Talent Acquisition, ready to adapt, evolve, and thrive in the changing landscape.

More articles from the tHRive Summit 2023:

  1. The Artificial Intelligence Shift in Talent Acquisition
  2. Skills, Degrees, Certificates: What Works?
  3. Masai tHRrive Summit 2023 - Recap