Diversity and Inclusion: How can Technology Help with Recruiting the Right Balance of Talent?

Jennifer Gabrielle-Chapman, Group Talent Platforms Partner, EMEA, GroupM

Jennifer Gabrielle-Chapman, Group Talent Platforms Partner, EMEA, GroupM

1. Give an outline of the trends and challenges in the recruitment space.

I have been in the industry for just over 15 years, both as an external consultant and an internal talent acquisition director. During this time, recruitment has undergone a significant paradigm shift which has led organisations to deliver on their Talent proposition with entirely new ways of working. Candidates are also demanding more from any business they are approaching for employment and it’s increasingly apparent that they are seeking more than just a 9-5 or “job”. Candidates are looking for an organisation which will offer them clear career growth, ongoing learning and development and to partner with an organisation with a clear sense of purpose. In the UK it is also evident that the impact on our economy post-recession and the current tumultuous political discussions around Brexit are making a lot of candidates more considered when deciding to change career.

In the UK market, there is an increasing demand for emerging skillsets and we have found it challenging to locate these candidates within an ever-decreasing pool. An example would be when hiring for GroupM’s addressable TV company Finecast - which requires an entirely new candidate profile as we lead the way on targeted TV advertising solutions.

We have an incredibly smart and collaborative in-house talent acquisition team comprising of best-in-class recruitment professionals. We leverage our technology to bring in the best talent for our group of media agencies and ensure every candidate has a positive experience throughout the entire hiring process.

Working within a global organisation, I have observed a substantial shift in how the recruitment team is positioned within our own business - we have scaled from a team of five to fifteen in the last two years alone. We have a keen interest in delivering data-driven insight from our recruitment function. This means that hiring has evolved from a formerly transactional model to “informed intuition” where data and business insight is at the core of our strategy. At GroupM, we use a data-led approach with every hiring process. For example, if we identify a particular format, content or external partnership which yields a high calibre of candidate, we look to dial-up that approach and leverage it to support other hiring efforts across our group. We do this by investing heavily in our technology solutions, such as our global talent platform: Jobvite. This platform is the heartbeat of our team and allows us to instantly see how our recruitment campaigns are performing in real-time.

2. What are the challenges in the recruitment space?

The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is one of the biggest challenges that has impacted recruitment across Europe. Any technology we use needs to be robust enough to manage the demands of GDPR and the management of personal data. At GroupM, we have been focusing on critical changes to our processes and technology since May 2018. It’s been a huge project which ensures every single step in the process is compliant.

Another challenge we have addressed internally is change-management. Change is never easy, and any new ways of working will have an impact that needs to be managed carefully and considerately. Fortunately, at GroupM, we have a collaborative team that is agile and capable of supporting our hiring teams and their changing needs.

3. Can you list some of the discussion points that you have amongst your leadership team?

Within our management team the first question we ask ourselves when considering using new technology for recruitment purposes is “how will this affect the candidate journey?”. The UK market is seeing a boom of AI, machine learning and automation platforms and we’re seeing some impressive new solutions to our repetitive tasks such as CV sifting, assessment or shortlisting. The question we ask ourselves most often is how these platforms will positively or negatively affect the candidate who is applying for a position. Often an innovative and exciting proposition, there is still a lack of data and awareness around how, for example, a new facial recognition assessment solution may limit accessibility for non-neurotypical applicants.

4. Is there any checklist that you follow to find the right solution providers in the market?

Since we are a global organisation we look to ensure any new solution can be applied across multiple regions. The next thing we consider is how user-friendly it is because our technology needs to be intuitive and accessible to a wide range demographic of users. We are insistent that our technology is always accessible, inclusive, and meaningful for everyone.

Diversity and inclusion are key touchpoints we always consider. Recently, we have increased our partnership with Applied ( which leverages behavioral science to remove unconscious bias in the selection and assessment process, as well as monitoring the diversity of the candidate pool we are attracting. The candidate journey is at the heart of everything that we do, as is offering fair and equal opportunities to all candidates looking to join our organisation.

5. Can you draw an analogy between your personality trait, hobbies, and your unique direction and how it reflects on your leadership strategy?

I’m a driven individual and I have a clear view of the challenges ahead in the field of talent acquisition. I am a self-confessed tech-geek and I’m excited to explore where talent and technology will overlap in the coming years and shape how our roles will look. I think we’re due for a radical shake-up in how the future of work and the workplace itself will look in the next ten years.

6. A piece of advice to a person who is starting a journey in the same industry?

Don’t be afraid to try something new – and fail. It is a universal truth that you never learn if you fail to experiment. You can learn and adapt if something doesn’t work and try something new again. In my opinion, it is perseverance that breeds brilliance.

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