How you can be part of the Recruitment Revolution with Johnson & Johnson

Today’s guest, Sjoerd Gehring, is the Global VP of Talent Acquisition and Millennial Employee Resource Group leader at Johnson & Johnson. He oversees the company's global recruiting activities (approximately 25,000 hires annually), leads J&J’s talent innovation lab, is a fierce supporter of HR technologies, and is responsible for spearheading J&J’s consumer-centric approach to recruiting.

Sjoerd and J&J are truly reinventing recruiting efforts on a global basis – and he wants you to be a part of it.

“In order for us to effectively and sustainably reimagine recruiting from the ground up, we at J&J believe it’s truly an ecosystem.” –Sjoerd Gehring

If you think about recruiting, as a whole, it really hasn't changed very much since the 1960s. Many of the foundational principles of recruiting date back to that time and haven't really been disrupted, and that's an issue for many organizations today because the rest of the world has since moved on.

The way we consume products and services (and the way they are sold to us) has changed drastically over the past 50 years. Sjoerd is working to close that gap between consumer experiences, candidate experiences, and employee experiences.

  • To illustrate this gap, consider tracking packages from an online purchase. We expect, as consumers, the ability to track the status of an order in real time, and we expect to know when each step within the process begins and ends. Why then, do most organizations not provide the same experience to candidates as they move through the recruiting process?

As leaders, we need to attract talent to our organizations the same way companies around the world attract consumers to purchase their product. To do that, we first need to understand the buying values, drivers, and behaviors of consumers so that we can create a better end user experience. We also need to look forward, in terms of what consumers will expect from those experiences in the future.

So how do we learn more about our end users (candidates), develop a forward-looking talent strategy, and drive change at a massive scale?

  • Be transparent, with both candidates and other organizations. Candidates need to understand the process, and everyone in the talent space will have a better understanding of candidate behavior if they have more data.
  • Be a part of the talent ecosystem. Reimagining recruiting from the ground up won’t happen in a year or in a silo – it will happen as the result of cumulative effort, and it will happen faster if more people are transparent and generous with their experiences. This needs to be a diverse conversation that includes venture capitalists, startup CEOs, academics, and other recruiting organizations.

One issue with the current ecosystem is that the landscape is extremely scattered. We can’t develop a consolidated, strategic, long-term, and sustainable HR strategy if everyone is working alone, on something different, and with different technology.

That’s why J&J is so forthcoming about their efforts in the talent space, and that’s why they form partnerships with other organizations. Sjoerd recently spoke at Google Cloud Next ‘17 about J&J’s partnership with Google.

J&J is integrating Google Jobs API, which uses machine learning and its understanding of language to identify and yield better and more relevant search results. The top talent needs top tools to find the right roles – otherwise, we will lose out on that talent.

You can learn more about the partnership with Google in Sjoerd’s LinkedIn article: “A big first step to re-inventing job search.”

Three Things To Discuss With Your Team:

  1. Focus your efforts on a consumer-centric approach. You need an understanding of the user experience. What is it that candidates really need? Sjoerd spends time with candidates every day to better understand where J&J can improve the experience and where they need to double down. Collecting and understanding the data will also help you make talent decisions more easily.
  2. When it comes to #HRtech, don't grab at every shiny object. Go after specific technologies that will help you address a long-term challenge. Look for the long-term solution, not the short-term.
  3. Be a good ecosystem partner. This is where transparency really pays off – if you share your successes and failures through conferences, networking, or writing about it, then relationships will begin to form organically.

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And remember… Develop. Always.




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