Enhancing the candidate experience to become an employer of choice

Mick Bradfield of Adidas to speak at upcoming National HR Summit

Enhancing the candidate experience to become an employer of choice

Australia needs a new influx of talent, and recruitment leaders must expand their horizons if they are to continue to contribute to building a strong labour market.

Adidas’s director of talent acquisition, Mick Bradfield, believes our country has experienced “a real talent drain in the last few years” and cautions the Australian market “is running dry.”

“In the last few years, many organisations here have struggled to engage talent and to provide an environment where those people can grow their skills,” he said. “There’s a gap in their HR strategy – how they are structuring their organisational design for the new world.”

Bradfield heads a team of 70 professionals hiring for global tech, digital, data and analytics across the Asia Pacific and countries including Columbia, China, India, Spain, Portugal and Germany.

He will be a speaker at HRD’s National HR Summit in Sydney in March, where he will share his views on recruitment success.

And in terms of organisational design, today’s employees don’t want to be stuck in their roles. They don’t want to see a glass ceiling and they want effective, transparent communication.

But some HR leaders are still trying to put a square peg in a square hole and a round one in a round hole and it doesn’t always work, Bradfield said.

Looking beyond domestic talent

One of those practices that needs to change is only looking domestically when hiring talent.

If Australia wants to shift its position from “behind the eight-ball in attracting global talent and in elevating the skill set,” HR leaders need to realise employees can be mobile and flexible with change, he said.

“Major recruiters are struggling to get the best talent and there’s a blockage in their ability to look outside,” Bradfield said. “They assume talent doesn’t have a learning agility, which it does, including skills such as relationship management.

He said large organisations needed to get in an uncomfortable position and draw on cultures where English is a second language: “That’s where the highly valued skillsets will come from. There is high-profile talent in developing markets, and Australian companies need a broader view of what talent looks like.”

Enticing talented candidates

But what do talented people look for?

“Talented people look for companies and roles where they can build their skill sets, and they like to go into difficult scenarios and conquer those challenges,” Bradfield said.

“They will dig deep to understand a company’s culture and question: ‘Is it ideal? Will it provide the right opportunities?’”

This is particularly evident when hiring for technology roles, where talent is extremely transient, he said.

“European talent has worked in many GEOs, they are global. They will do anything, anywhere. They chase the technology. If a technology expert is working in India but they are offered a great opportunity with an SAP in Spain, they will jump at it for the experience.”

‘We get a ton of applicants’

And applicants fiercely chase good jobs.

“We get a ton of applicants,” Bradfield said, “and that’s a blessing and a curse. But we have very good systems and tools, and technology provides good enablers. Recruitment is not a long process.”

Generally, there are minimal interview rounds at Adidas, with panels representing diversity. And there’s purpose behind every stage of the interview process.

“We provide feedback, information and engagement throughout the recruitment process so that people are part of the journey — even if they have not already joined,” the director said, adding that HR strategies are focused on attraction and engagement.

“Social media is a fantastic tool to brand Adidas as an employer across the globe, and we use online tools and networks to help achieve that. “

Attending networking events is also an important strategy.

“I’m always curious to see strategy and to hear some of the more advanced thinking in this geography, while sharing some of my global experience,” Bradfield said.

“Providing a global lens on topics is important.”

Bradfield will be hosting the event “Enhancing the candidate experience to become an employer of choice” at the upcoming HRD’s National HR Summit in Sydney in March.

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