Tap­ping tal­ents is se­ri­ous busi­ness

Find­ing the per­fect fi­fit for ev­ery staffff po­si­tion is never an easy job for cor­po­ra­tions, but Alexan­der Mann So­lu­tions aims to help them ful­fi­fill their true po­ten­tial. Chai Hua re­ports in Hong Kong.

China Daily (Canada) - - HONG KONG -

The pop­u­lar 2004 movie A World With­out Thieves, di­rected by Feng Xiao­gang, had a line made fa­mous by the char­ac­ter played by the ac­tor Ge You, who says: “This coun­try’s most ex­pen­sive com­mod­ity is tal­ent.”

And in or­der to ef­fi­ciently at­tract in­tel­li­gent peo­ple in an in­creas­ingly chal­leng­ing en­vi­ron­ment, Hong Kong em­ploy­ers need to start a process of change, urges Caleb Baker, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for Asia Pa­cific and emerg­ing mar­kets at Alexan­der Mann So­lu­tions (AMS).

With over 3,000 em­ploy­ees around the globe, AMS is one of the world’s lead­ing providers of tal­ent ac­qui­si­tion and man­age­ment ser­vices.

“Whether a com­pany can move quickly to take ad­van­tage of op­por­tu­ni­ties is largely driven by tal­ents,” Baker says.

How­ever, tal­ents in Hong Kong are some­what less likely to proac­tively look for new job op­por­tu­ni­ties than peers in other parts of the world, he points out.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2015 Tal­ent Trends Re­port by on­line pro­fes­sional net­work LinkedIn, 74 per­cent of pro­fes­sion­als in Hong Kong are pas­sive can­di­dates, while the global av­er­age is 70 per­cent.

The re­port de­fines pas­sive tal­ents as “com­pletely sat­is­fied and un­will­ing to move”, but ac­tive can­di­dates will be ca­su­ally look­ing for new po­si­tions a few times a week.

To re­cruit new staff amid such a trend, Baker sug­gests that Hong Kong em­ploy­ers “per­son­al­ize” the re­cruit­ment process.

He prom­ises that if a com­pany of­fers a per­sonal and en­gag­ing re­cruit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence up front, the prob­a­bil­ity of hav­ing can­di­dates ap­ply­ing for the po­si­tion be­ing a good fit for the com­pany could go up to 80 per­cent.

“We need to per­son­al­ize the mes­sage and the en­gage­ment,” says Baker, “not just post job re­quire­ments in the news­pa­per or on­line.”

He says com­pa­nies need to per­son­al­ize their en­gage­ment with tal­ents in the way they want to en­gage and en­sure that they feel ev­ery step is about them. He ex­plains what tal­ents are look­ing for is “some­thing about them”, rather than re­spond to “some tech­ni­cal terms that have got noth­ing to do with them­selves.”

“In other words, they want to know that the com­pany that wants to hire them has gone through the trou­ble to know who they are and speaks the same lan­guage.”

Baker also sug­gests us­ing dig­i­tal­iza­tion and “gamification” to in­crease per­sonal en­gage­ment for grad­u­ates, es­pe­cially in the era of mo­bile In­ter­net.

Baker says the mo­bile In­ter­net has be­come a key chan­nel to re­cruit young tal­ents, but most com­pa­nies ne­glect its reach.

“About 87 per­cent of mo­bile users will look for jobs on their mo­bile phones, but only 30 per­cent of com­pa­nies ac­tu­ally have a mo­bile-en­abled re­cruit­ment plat­form,” he notes.

The LinkedIn re­port also shows when tal­ents in Hong Kong want to find new job op­por­tu­ni­ties, they mainly use on­line job boards and pro­fes­sional so­cial net­works.

Baker’s com­pany once lever­aged WeChat vir­tual red en­velopes and tools that are rel­e­vant to the grad­u­ate com­mu­nity to in­crease in­ter­est among them to ap­ply for var­i­ous po­si­tions and cre­ate in­cen­tive for re­fer­rals.

“We group can­di­dates on WeChat and post job open­ings, which has cre­ated a high vol­ume of to­tal page views (nearly 5,800 be­tween Feb 19 and Mar 3 this year alone) and (seen us) re­ceive a large num­ber of CVs,” Baker says.

“It also al­lows the cor­po­ra­tions to un­der­stand what the grad­u­ates are look­ing for.”

Can­di­dates un­der­stand more about the com­pany and whether they can fit in by en­gag­ing in game­play, which is sig­nif­i­cant to em­ploy­ers be­cause it also cuts the cost of hir­ing by up to 35 per­cent.

“Hav­ing an ex­pe­ri­ence of the com­pany and de­cid­ing whether they like it be­fore go­ing into the ap­pli­ca­tion process can mas­sively cut the cost of hir­ing,” he ex­plains.

“Com­pa­nies can save the cost of peo­ple who de­cide to leave af­ter the ex­pe­ri­ence but be­fore the ap­pli­ca­tion process, such as the in­ter­view.”

“It be­comes re­mark­ably cost­ef­fi­cient for com­pa­nies plan­ning to hire about 300 peo­ple and maybe 500 ap­plied (for those po­si­tions).”

To em­brace the dig­i­tal era, Baker ob­served the tal­ent ac­qui­si­tion in­dus­try is also evolv­ing.

“Ten years ago, the in­dus­try was about good peo­ple who knew how to re­cruit and hire good peo­ple, but that is only a small part of the value now,” he says. “Now (it) is about how we uti­lize tech­nol­ogy, so­cial me­dia and data analy­ses. How we use the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to get the great­est peo­ple and de­velop them to be the best they can be.”

As ma­jor main­land cities, such as neigh­bor­ing Shen­zhen, rise in sig­nif­i­cance, many Hong Kong and in­ter­na­tional tal­ents are drawn to do­mes­tic main­land com­pa­nies.

In ad­di­tion, the main­land govern­ment is also keen to at­tract in­tel­li­gent for­eign pro­fes­sion­als.

Au­thor­i­ties ini­ti­ated the Re­cruit­ment Pro­gram of Global Ex­perts, known as “the

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