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Forget the Traditional Career Paths in Talent Acquisition – Here's to new age roles

As seen at Tech Rec Conference – Berlin November 2023

"What's next for us in TA - how will emerging trends shape your career?"

This was my invitation for the Tech Rec Conference attendees (Berlin, November 2023) to engage with me in a 3 hour long workshop.

I wanted to understand, beyond my personal experience and my findings from the TRC Conference in Amsterdam, where are we headed.

This post explores the findings of the 3 main questions posed during the workshop.

Workshop delivery method:

  • The workshop ran in 6 X 30 minutes sessions.

  • Each part started from a specific Question with 2, 3 supportive questions

  • Participants rotated between the different workshops being led at the same time, each 30 minutes session having, on average, 15 attendees

  • The data was collected on a Whiteboard and on individual post-it notes, which I later collected

  • In total, over 200 points were analysed, some of which were repeating (they have been aggregated).

I would like to offer you the findings, my goal here being to inform, inspire and empower others in talent acquisition to embrace change and to prompt Executives to allow for further development of our function.

What this article is:

  • An educational piece built on the knowledge and insights of over 90 people in the Talent Acquisition Space,

  • An outlook about the talent acquisition potential career development opportunities,

  • A short idea guide about some cool use cases for GenAI in TA.

What this article is not:

  • A “how do I influence my leaders to allow for alternative career paths”,

  • A Do This not That guide, 

  • A Plug and Play mechanism.

👀 Let’s have a look!

1. 8 Ways how AI can help you and support the (re)design new career paths in Talent Acquisition

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most prominent and influential trends that is transforming the field of TA, starting with 2023 and going on strong in 2024. 

Really now, is anyone reading this, who has not yet played with some sort of GenAI tool?

Such tools offer us many benefits and opportunities, such as improving efficiency, accuracy, and quality of work, enhancing candidate experience and engagement, and providing valuable insights and analytics, etc.

Some of the cooler findings (or use cases) we uncovered during the Workshop, include:

Better agenda management: 

  • AI can help you get more organised and remove some of the unnecessary context switching that you have to deal with daily. Tools can help automate your calendar and scheduling, send reminders and notifications, and prioritise your tasks and emails (think of Calendly, GoodTime, Make, etc.).

Minimising escalations (especially for leaders)

  • AI can help you resolve issues and queries faster and more effectively by suggesting responses, resolutions, and actions (like a customer care chatbot). 

  • It can help us find better ways to communicate, being in writing or otherwise, leading to less conflict in the workplace. 

  • Practical Tip – enable your TA teams, or your teams in general, with knowledge and authority to use Gen AI tools and advise them to seek resolve before escalating. Propose they come forward to 2, 3 proposed solutions or work arounds, and then support them in finding the best solution per case.

Relationship building

  • Helps us build and maintain relationships with candidates and stakeholders by using reminders to reconnect with the, sending personalised and relevant messages, and providing feedback and recommendations.

  • Can help us by using someone’s LinkedIn profile (or other, public, social media) and giving us discussion topics, latest news, etc. about things that matter for them.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

  • We can also use AI to help you identify and address biases and discrimination

  • Cultural education – we can use AI tools to understand the best communication tactics with diverse cultures and / or backgrounds (from ethnicity to gender, etc.).

Design new, modern career paths in Talent Acquisition

  • Constructing a skills taxonomy: AI can help you construct a skills taxonomy for yourself and your directs with ease, leading to becoming better leaders and learners. 

A representation of Skills Taxonomy
Skills Taxonomy Example AIHR

What is this?

A skills taxonomy is a systematic and comprehensive classification of the skills and competencies that are required or desired for a role, a domain, or a career. 

  • AI can help you create a skills taxonomy by analysing your current and potential roles, tasks, and outcomes, and by providing you with relevant and up-to-date information and resources on the skills and competencies that are in demand or emerging in the field of TA. 

  • You can use the skills taxonomy to assess your current and desired skill levels, identify your skill gaps and strengths, and plan your learning and development activities and goals.

  • Identifying and creating new roles: We can identify and create new roles within TA that are based on our skills, interests, and goals. 

  • It can also help us match out skills and competencies with the roles that are available or emerging in the field of TA, and provide suggestions and recommendations on how to apply for or create these roles.

  • Talent Intelligence: It opens doors to new career avenues within TA, such as talent intelligence and talent marketing.

A skills taxonomy is the first step towards a more resilient business and a skills-based approach to work. -

Strategic planning and alignment

  • Plan and align the TA activities and goals with the organisational vision, mission, and values. 

  • Use AI to provide you with data and insights to inform and support your strategic decisions and actions.

Enhanced Candidate Profiling

  • AI's capability to analyse large datasets allows for more accurate candidate profiling, leading to better-matched job placements – this is golden! If you have access to a tool which can perform some sort of Sentiment Analysis or pattern analysis – use it!

Predictive Analytics

  • AI can forecast hiring needs and candidate success, informing or even enabling proactive recruitment strategies.

What ethical considerations or challenges AI may pose in TA career development

1 Replacing human roles

AI can potentially replace some of the human roles in TA, especially those that are repetitive, routine, or low-skill. This can create job losses, unemployment, or underemployment for some TA professionals, and reduce the human element and diversity in TA. 

Solution: double down on skills and competencies that are unique and irreplaceable by AI, such as creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence.

2. Creating biases and discrimination

The use of artificial intelligence can potentially create biases and discrimination in TA, especially if the AI systems and algorithms are not designed, developed, or used in a fair, transparent, and accountable way. 

Solution: we need to be aware and vigilant of the biases and discrimination that may exist or arise in any AI systems at our disposal, and to monitor and audit the systems and algorithms regularly and rigorously (company responsibility mainly).

2. How emerging trends will shape our careers in Talent Acquisition in 2024 and beyond

1 Move from “data driven” rhetoric to being intentional with our data

Who does not like to say that “I am data driven in my decision making”? 😵

I, for one, know at least 5 people, from the top of my head, who can shout this from the rooftops, however, when you look under the hood, you realise that there is no intentionality, a complete lack of due diligence, data quality or storytelling.

So, some of the findings from the Workshop were, to no surprise, in the realm of intentionality.

"Data" here refers to the collection, analysis, and interpretation of information and facts that are relevant and useful for TA, such as candidate data, market data, performance data, and feedback data. That’s all great, however, we need to be intentional, critical, and ethical about how we use data in TA.

Data limitations: please be aware of the limitations and biases of data, and that we do not rely solely on data, and use your judgement to complement and validate the data.

Thoughts on skills to further develop in the Data Category:

  • data literacy, 

  • data analysis, 

  • data visualisation,

  • data storytelling.

2. Flexibility and internal mobility

Internal mobility, in the case of our workshop, refers primarily to the ability and willingness to move and transition within the organisation, either horizontally or vertically, to different roles, teams, or domains.

New skills development - enhance the flexibility and internal mobility skills and competencies, such as agility, resilience, and collaboration.

If not already available, flexibility and internal mobility tools and resources need to be developed, in collaboration to your leadership team(s):

  • flexible work arrangements (or rotation programs),

  • internal job boards, 

  • mentorship programs.

3. Champion Progressive Career Structures in TA

Progressive career structures here, refer to the ways of designing and developing our career paths in TA. These paths have to be flexible, diverse, and fulfilling. 

These can include various aspects, such as horizontal and vertical mobility, role diversification, skill development, and career autonomy and ownership. 

My entire discourse is around this topic, we should be empowered to further develop our careers beyond the “senior recruiter title” and not be pushed into a managerial role in order to “grow”.

Progressive career structures are not yet widely adopted or supported in TA, and we may face some obstacles and resistance in advocating for, and implementing them. My take on it?

We need to be proactive, creative, and confident about creating and pursuing progressive career structures for ourselves, and not wait for them to be given to us.

We also need to be prepared and ready to take on new and different responsibilities and challenges, and to learn and grow from them.

More workshop findings:

1.New skills needed

  • we need to develop and enhance our advocacy and leadership skills and competencies, such as communication, persuasion, and influence.

2. Leverage networks, platforms and mentorship programs

3. All recruiter roles should be elevated to an Advisory role

  • elevate the recruiter role from a transactional and operational role to a strategic and consultative role. Endless literature is already available on this topic.

Actions taken by talent advisors
John Vlastelica - What does it mean to be a talent advisor
  • recruiters would not only perform the basic tasks of sourcing, screening, and hiring candidates, but also provide advice and guidance to candidates, clients, and organisations on various aspects of TA, such as talent needs, market trends, and best practices.

4. The Spectrum of Opportunities in Talent Acquisition

Maybe the most expected part of the Workshop review – what is the spectrum of advanced career paths in #talentacquisition?

We should explore and pursue new roles that are aligned with our interests, strengths, and goals. A few topics were highlighted so I organised them in 3 main categories:

1. Expanding Beyond Traditional Roles in TA

  • Principal Recruiter (of course that I start with this one): this role represents the new height in the recruitment individual track career ladder, combining deep expertise with strategic influence and leadership (read more here),

  • Talent Intelligence Specialist: professionals in this role will harness data analytics and market insights to drive recruitment strategy and talent mapping,

  • HR Business Partnering: transitioning into HR business partnering allows TA professionals to integrate their recruitment expertise with broader HR strategy, influencing organisational development and employee engagement.

2. Nurturing Specialisation and Expertise

  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in recruitment: SMEs in recruitment focus on specific areas such as technology implementation, data analysis, or recruitment marketing, bringing a deep level of expertise to the team,

  • Project Management and Process Improvement specialists: professionals with a knack for project management can lead initiatives to, for example optimise recruitment processes, enhancing efficiency and candidate experience,

  • User Research and Employer Branding: moving into roles focused on user research and employer branding, talent acquisition professionals can apply their understanding of candidate behaviour to refine recruitment marketing strategies,

  • People Analytics: roles focusing on talent intelligence, analytics, and operations partners for tooling implementation will position TA professionals as key strategic assets for the wider People team.

  • Talent Intelligence Analyst: a talent intelligence analyst is a role that uses AI and data analytics to provide insights and intelligence on the talent market, trends, and opportunities. A talent intelligence analyst can help TA professionals and organisations to understand and anticipate the talent needs, preferences, and behaviours, and to design and implement effective and data-driven TA strategies and solutions,

  • Talent Management Specialist: this  is a role that uses AI and human skills to manage and optimise the talent lifecycle, from attraction to retention. A talent management specialist can help TA professionals and organisations create and deliver a positive and engaging talent experience, to foster and maintain talent relationships, and to support and enhance talent performance and development.

3. Innovative Pathways and Career Development

  • Talent Operations Partnership: specialised in tooling implementation and becoming a go-to expert on TA technologies positions professionals as key enablers of recruitment efficiency and innovation,

  • From Sourcing to Sales: the skills honed in TA, particularly in sourcing, can transition seamlessly into sales roles, showcasing the versatility of the TA competencies,

  • Marketing and Employer Branding Specialisation: diversifying into marketing and employer branding enables TA professionals to showcase their unique value in shaping the company's image and attracting top talent,

  • AI and Automation Expert: becoming an AI automation expert in TA showcases technological proficiency and positions you as a forward-thinking innovator,

  • Talent Marketing Manager: this would be a role that uses AI and marketing skills to promote and position the employer brand, value proposition, and culture. A talent marketing manager can help TA professionals and organisations to attract and reach out to diverse and qualified talent, to communicate and showcase the employer story and vision, and to build and nurture talent communities and networks.

I asked ChatGPT to give me a visual representation, this is what we've got:

GenAi Diagram Showing the various opportunities for the TA career spectrum
GenAi Diagram Showing the various opportunities for the TA career spectrum


As said, the scope of the article here is not to educate you on how to further educate your leadership to allow for career development and changes. However, here are some "please remember to bring these up" tips.

For example, we will need to showcase some sort of “value”. As in, “if we are enabled to shift within this career track,, etc.” (or whatever the case may be), you will need to have some indicators which can measure value.

📌You may want to consider: new skills building, improved competence, improved performance and efficiency, NPS, optimised delivery, etc.

Remember that, when advocating for something new, we need to consider the problem we are trying to solve, the reason why we propose innovation, how can we solve it, what will the business gain from it, what’s the time invested, the ROI, etc.

Hoping that this article gave you some food for thought, I welcome your feedback and thought provoking questions.

Till next time folks,


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