Adrian Thomas is Chair of the RL100 and a Strategic Advisor for the MOD and Fire & Rescue Service: and he will be chairing the upcoming Recruitment and Retention Conference on the 17th October. We spoke to Adrian to find out more about the importance of recruitment and the factors impacting recruiters today.
What is important about your role? What do you enjoy about your work?
I am passionate about the recruitment industry and the role it can play in driving the success of both individual companies and the economy in general. Equally, I feel our industry is divided, agency and in-house, with the different sides speaking different languages and operating to different success measures and even standards. Underlying all of that I really want to turn the dial on the diversity of the industry. Recruitment is one of the least diverse industries and yet we are responsible for fair hiring, ensuring that appointments are made transparently, based on merit and not privilege or ethnicity or gender or sexuality and so on – we need to be as diverse as the candidates we seek!
What factors do you think will impact the recruitment market for top talent in the next 12 months?
Within the UK, we will see the impact of the new trading relationships post-Brexit (or maybe we won’t), but in reality it’s the world economy that will drive the largest impact. Attacks on oil facilities in the Middle East, unrest in the Far East, the climate change agenda and the USA’s approach to international trade tariffs are all likely to have a major impact on the UK’s employment market.
Have you seen an increase in the use of automation and do you feel this can contribute to an enhanced candidate experience?
Huge advances in automation have occurred in the last 20 years – it’s not a recent thing!
From the advent of auto-response, through to AI/machine learning undertaking bias free interviews, each year seems to bring new technology into the recruitment space. But at some stage there has to be human contact – where it occurs in the recruitment or employment lifecycle is the question.
[It could be as] early as during the search, when the potential candidate is surveyed by the ‘sourcer’, or late, when the whole exercise is conducted online, and many appointments in the so-called ‘gig’ economy can be completed with no human contact at all!
What are you seeing as the key areas where in-house recruitment professionals are able to demonstrate positive contributions to company strategy?
Recruiters are the pivot point between the vacancy and the potential candidate pool. Effective recruitment means effective communication of the opportunity to the target candidate population with an attraction strategy that is inclusive and engaging. Studies have repeatedly shown that organisations with diverse employees are more innovative and profitable than those that are not. Recruiters have a key role to play in achieving this.
Finally, as the Chair of the Recruitment and Retention Conference 2019, what are you most looking forward to?
The line-up of speakers and subjects just looks so exciting. As chair I will be an avid listener and challenger!