Taboola’s Brett Underhill, Director of Global Talent Acquisition and Learning and Development, sat down with ERE’s Vice President of Research, Kevin Grossman, to chat about talent acquisition and recruiting innovation. Throughout the conversation, Brett shares an inside look at how Taboola’s global talent acquisition team is leaning into AI and other resources to enhance talent efforts behind the scenes and improve the experience for all candidates considering a career with Taboola as well as to enhance the partnership for Taboola’s interview clients. Here, Brett and Kevin will help unfold how improving recruiting, hiring, and candidate experience efforts impact the business bottom line for the better.

Priorities in Talent Acquisition

Kevin asked Brett about her team’s current priorities at Taboola, especially in talent acquisition (TA). Brett highlighted two key initiatives: enhancing the quality of hires by raising the talent bar through updated tools and processes and exploring the potential of generative AI to improve efficiency and productivity. These initiatives align with Taboola’s goal of scaling globally while maintaining best-in-class practices and strategies worldwide.

Quality of hire

Brett discussed Taboola’s hiring volume and targets, noting a shift from aggressive growth to a more measured approach due to market conditions. The focus is now on backfill hiring, process refinement, and tool optimization. Quality of hire is assessed through key performance indicators such as performance ratings, retention, promotion rates, and sales quota achievements. This ongoing evaluation process adapts as the company evolves and redeploys resources.

Source of hire & employee referrals

Brett discussed Taboola’s extensive 18-month study on the quality of hires, which focused on the global tech group, including research and development and sales teams. The study highlighted that employee referrals led to the highest-quality hires, a finding consistent with industry trends.

Kevin emphasized the significance of positive candidate experiences in generating referrals, even from rejected candidates. He noted that all individuals, including rejected candidates, can significantly impact referrals.

Brett shared that around 20-25% of hires globally come from referrals, with a target of 30%. Moving forward, Taboola plans to assess hiring cohorts every six months using key data measures to ensure ongoing evaluation of talent quality and interviewer performance. This data will provide insights into how well the company assesses talent and maintains hiring standards.

Leaning into recruitment technology

Brett discussed several technology pilots and innovations in talent acquisition at Taboola. These initiatives include:

  • Automated scheduling: Taboola has embraced automated scheduling to streamline recruitment processes, increasing efficiency and satisfaction for hiring teams and candidates.
  • Talent management tool: The TA team also piloted automated nurture campaigns to build and engage talent pools, although this initiative faced challenges due to timing and volume considerations.
  • Generative AI sourcing tool: Taboola is currently evaluating a generative AI sourcing platform that automates candidate sourcing and communication. Initial results show promising improvements in quality and efficiency, especially in tech and sales roles across global regions.

Kevin and Brett also discussed the broader adoption of AI in recruiting and its potential impact on efficiency and candidate experience. While less than 20% of companies are actively experimenting with AI, Taboola is leveraging generative AI to ideate and enhance various aspects of talent acquisition while ensuring compliance and human oversight.

Overall, Brett highlighted the industry’s evolving landscape and the importance of experimentation and innovation, especially in leveraging AI technologies to drive recruiting efficiency and effectiveness.

Promoting a quality candidate experience

Brett discussed key strategies Taboola employs to enhance and promote a quality candidate experience:

  • Partnership with employer brand team: Taboola collaborates closely with its employment brand team to authentically showcase the company culture and provide insights into what it’s like to work at Taboola, addressing candidates’ inquiries effectively.
  • Service-level agreements and transparent feedback: The TA team has established service-level agreements for candidate communication, ensuring timely responses and transparent feedback throughout the hiring process to avoid candidates feeling neglected or encountering communication gaps.
  • Personalized coaching conversations: Taboola emphasizes turning rejection into coaching opportunities by providing meaningful feedback to candidates about why they may not be moving forward in the hiring process, fostering a positive candidate experience.
  • Streamlined interview process: Taboola sets a goal of completing the interview process within 30 days, regardless of the outcome, to prevent candidates from feeling ghosted or overlooked and work to provide a positive candidate experience and preserve the company’s employer brand reputation.

Kevin praised Taboola’s efforts, highlighting the importance of timely feedback and communication in candidate experience, and encouraged continuous improvement and adaptation to evolving industry trends.

Closing thoughts

Brett reiterated the importance of embracing generative AI and staying updated with its developments through webinars, round tables, and practical testing. She emphasized the importance of leveraging AI tools effectively to enhance efficiency in recruiting, hiring, retention, talent development, and management, staying ahead of the curve in the evolving talent acquisition landscape.

Listen to the full podcast and follow Taboola on LinkedIn to learn more about #TaboolaLife. Considering a career change? Discover your moment with us.

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