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Fighting for talent in a competitive job market: your HR Lunchtime Debate questions answered

On 29 July HR magazine hosted a webinar on how the new realities of remote and hybrid work and changing workplace culture has added complexity to the recruitment process, in partnership with Eightfold. The audience had lots if questions on the topic, so we put the un-answered ones to panellists after the webinar.

A huge wave of change is hitting the talent market. Where job security was once a grave concern, now organisations are feeling more confident and are beginning to hire at a rapid pace.

HR must therefore prepare itself for a competitive hiring market and a potential talent exodus. If they don’t, they risk top talent leaving the organisation for bigger and better things, warned the panellists during the webinar. 

Questions were answered by panellists Catherine Schlieben, chief people officer for talent at National Grid and Jonathan Schipper, global talent management lead at DSM.


How can HR create an engaging and diverse workplace for potential employees?

Schlieben said jobseekers are looking for diverse workplaces and there are a number of ways HR can promote this. 

She told HR magazine: “HR can actively foster a culture that will help them to recruit diverse talent.

“People teams should get an external perspective by encouraging diverse speakers at leadership events or all colleague events from outside the organisation.

Schlieben said the creation of employee research groups (ERGs) and affinity groups can demonstrate to jobseekers that your business values employee opinion and experience.

“HR could do this by inviting diverse talent from within the organisation to speak with executive leaders and the board, as this can raise their visibility and awareness.

“Encouraging listening sessions with leaders and their wider teams is also important, as giving people the opportunity to be heard and for leaders to hear the challenges will make a huge difference and raise awareness,” she explained.


How can you remove bias from the interview process?

Schipper explained the tool DSM uses to remove any unconscious bias during candidate selection.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “The Eightfold tool shows only the first letters of the candidates' first and second name. This ensures that no gender, education or nationality is identifiable during the initial interview stages.”

Schipper said one of the main benefits of machine learning is that it reassures that recruitment processes are fair and transparent.

He said: “The tool has many controls, audits and procedures in place to continuously check the functioning of the AI and it is an ongoing conversation topic between us and them. On top of this, there are still humans involved in final decision making on e.g., candidate selection.”


Watch and hear more of this HR Lunchtime Debate on demand here.

For more detailed coverage of our most recent HR Lunchtime Debates subscribe to HR magazine – a write up of Fighting for talent in a competitive job market will appear in the August/September 2021 issue.