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.
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