Why it makes sense to focus on attributes over experience

VP of talent acquisition at Scotiabank to speak at upcoming HR Leaders Summit

Why it makes sense to focus on attributes over experience

Having done 19,250 hires so far this year, with a recruiter engagement score in the mid-90s, Scotiabank is in an ideal position to talk about “HR strategies to win the war for talent,” an upcoming session at the HR Leaders Summit.

Mind you, the “crazy market” that people talk about these days — with labour shortages and high inflation — is not necessarily a new phenomenon, according to Paul Cameron, vice president of talent acquisition at Scotiabank.

“In my 22 years of experience in recruitment, the market's always been crazy. There's never been a time where it hasn't been crazy.”

At Scotiabank, it’s not so much about screening candidates out – with the typical seven seconds per resume – but screening people in, he says.

And that means: “And how do you start hiring for attributes as opposed to past experience? Because past experience is not always an indicator of future success.”

Scotiabank is the first bank to eliminate the resume for student-based hiring, says Cameron. The firm has also removed education from job ads, unless it’s a pre-requisite.

“What we find is not only are [recruiters] rushing the process, but they're ignoring great talent that may not have gained their education within Canada and we want to actually focus on diversity, equality and inclusion, and make sure that we're not biased based on where you went to school, the country that you gained your education, so on and so forth.”

Instead, it’s about focusing on attributes, both from the individual and the organization’s needs.

“We can teach banking — I can teach you how to be a banker,” he says.

“When we get into the niche skills, some of the areas of technology or high wealth banking, that might be a bit of a different story, but in many aspects, we can teach individuals the opportunity.”

Finding balance with tech

As for the role of technology in recruitment, it’s about finding the right balance, he says.

“The recruiter role is always going to be needed. But where we can add technology to allow our recruiters to be recruiters… is really what we want to focus on. Because corporations get this so wrong every single time — they load recruiters up with way too many requisitions, way too much admin, and then they wonder why their recruiters are dissatisfied or their time to fill is so long.

“It's that balance between finding AI, the technology, and making sure the technology itself isn't biased, but also then simplifying the process for all parties.”

Register today for the HR Leaders Summit to hear from Cameron and others in a session that will examine how leading employers are adapting their HR operations and value proposition to overcome recruitment and retention challenges, including:

  • Revitalizing your employer brand to boost recruitment.
  • Understanding which recruitment channels are working and which ones need improvement.
  • Developing new strategies to identify candidates with the right skillsets.
  • Keeping your company current with new technologies to attract the best talent.

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