Mino Thomas, Senior Director of Talent and Global Head of Talent Operations at Adobe on how technology, especially Artificial Intelligence, is reshaping the recruitment process within GCCs.
Traditionally, the world of recruitment revolved around the human touch—where decisions were anchored in personal connections, deep understanding, and mutual rapport. Yet, as we usher in the era of technological advancement, particularly with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), a seismic shift is discernible in the recruitment realm. This change is most prominent within Global Capability Centres (GCCs), hubs known for their extensive reach and diverse talent reservoirs. They stand as vanguards of this recruitment renaissance. Mino Thomas, Senior Director of Talent and Global Head of Talent Operations at Adobe, shines a spotlight on this transformative journey, offering us a peek at how AI and contemporary technologies are revolutionising the very fabric of talent acquisition.
Navigating a Segmented Market with Hyper Personalisation
Thomas observes, “The hiring landscape we navigate today is immensely segmented. As we stand at this crossroads, the pressing challenge is to introduce hyper-personalisation at scale.” The nuances of today’s market demand strategies and tools proficient in sculpting content not only captivate prospects but ensure their transition to becoming integral parts of an organisation. As Thomas explains, “To effectively draw interest and commitment, the narrative needs to be woven with precision. The magic lies not just in the story’s telling, but in its crafting—ensuring that every facet of our content strategy resonates, leading to a higher click-through rate and, ultimately, a successful hire.”
Adobe’s proprietary tools are instrumental in defining the company’s ‘Customer Zero’ paradigm. This unique approach synergises cutting-edge technological solutions with a deep, insightful understanding of audience engagement. Expounding on this, Thomas says, “Within our candidate engagement framework, the ‘Customer Zero’ methodology empowers us to leverage a plethora of Adobe solutions, dissecting and mapping out each candidate’s unique journey.” It’s a philosophy that champions active, forward-thinking engagement, a fervent drive to remain on the cusp of technological evolution, ensuring that both products and methodologies evolve based on tangible user feedback. Thomas adds: “It revolves around harnessing data insights, discerning which campaign strikes a chord with different audience segments, and ensuring the content they engage with not just captivates but also drives them to take meaningful action.”
He adds, “At Adobe, we’re not merely content curators; we’re content creators. Coding, with the advancements in technological tools, can be automated. What remains irreplaceable is the role of the architect. They’re the visionaries who tailor and construct these digital frameworks to resonate with a specific customer’s needs. When curating content, we amalgamate diverse pieces from various sources, refining them to resonate with our audience. Our outreach strategy is anchored in a dual approach: ensuring it feels personalised and human, while simultaneously possessing the capacity to scale.”
Ultimately, the aim is to tap into a diverse and expansive pool of talent.
Broadbasing Outreach: Bridging the Divide
“Our tools facilitate precise filtering, thorough evaluation, and efficient delivery of coding tests, enabling us to assess potential candidates effectively,” Thomas says, pointing out that leveraging technology in this manner allows Adobe to successfully tap into talent from varied backgrounds.
“In our university outreach philosophy, we don’t confine ourselves to a handful of IITs. We’re eager to comb the entirety of India, evaluating potentially 100,000 candidates to select a mere 400. This ensures that a deserving individual, from a tier 2 or 3 city perhaps, equipped with the skills to thrive in a dynamic organisation like Adobe, isn’t overlooked. The tools at our disposal enhance our capability in this selection process. It’s been incredibly rewarding; witnessing numerous talents emerge from these regions who have seamlessly integrated and excelled within our structure. India’s diverse landscape demands that we look beyond just a few premier institutions. It’s not representative of the vast talent pool the nation possesses, and technology plays a pivotal role in helping us connect with top talents as opposed to just top schools.”
Building Talent Communities
Thomas talks about another strategy that Adobe is weaving into the fabric of its recruitment process: the cultivation of talent communities. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill talent databases. Imagine a dynamic ecosystem, a nexus where professionals with congruent skills and passions assemble, engage in meaningful dialogues, collaborate, and map their trajectory in the expansive professional universe.
Such vibrant communities aren’t restricted to any one domain. They may, for example, encompass individuals from globally recognised consulting powerhouses like McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, and others. The compelling force drawing these experts into a collective is a blend of self-reflection and aspiration. Their shared objective? To benchmark their capabilities against peers, discerning opportunities for both personal and professional growth.
In sculpting these communities, Adobe doesn’t just rely on conventional means; they harness cutting-edge technology. Phenom, a talent experience management platform, aids in architecting these specialised hubs. Whether it’s the coders scripting the digital future, financial maestros crafting fiscal strategies, HR mavens shaping workforce policies, or customer service aces enhancing user experiences, Phenom can categorise them with finesse. Platforms powered by artificial intelligence, such as Phenom, not only streamline talent management for HR teams through automation and effective screening but can also forecast an individual’s future performance trajectory. Yet, amidst this tech-driven renaissance, it’s crucial to keep an eye on the ethical compass. Adobe stands vigilant. “The application of generative AI shouldn’t be to predetermine hiring decisions,” stresses Thomas, underscoring the essence of prudence and responsibility. Nevertheless, the horizon might see generative AI sculpting job descriptions, he says.
Elaborating on the manifold benefits of the talent communities, Thomas says, “The talent communities approach offers a multi-faceted advantage. Companies can get a sense of potential candidates even before the formal interview process begins. This not only leads to greater transparency on both sides but also results in quicker hiring, fewer declined offers, and smoother onboarding processes as recruits are already somewhat familiar with the company culture and ethos.”
This strategy deviates from traditional recruitment practices where organisations might look to direct competitors as their primary sources of talent. Adobe’s approach allows them to explore talent from more diverse sources. By not restricting themselves to the typical channels, they widen their talent funnel, accessing individuals who might have been overlooked in more conventional recruitment practices.
“In our university outreach philosophy, we don’t confine ourselves to a handful of IITs. We’re eager to comb the entirety of India, evaluating potentially 100,000 candidates to select a mere 400. This ensures that a deserving individual, from a tier 2 or 3 city perhaps, equipped with the skills to thrive in a dynamic organisation like Adobe, isn’t overlooked. Technology plays a pivotal role in helping us connect with top talents as opposed to just top schools.”
Striking the Balance: Technology and the Human Touch
In a post Generative AI age, it’s essential to preserve the human element, especially in processes as intimate and significant as recruitment. As Thomas states, “Studies show the greatest stress a person experiences is when there’s a death in the family, and the second is when you’re choosing a job, so you cannot leave it completely to technology.” Recruitment strategies should find a harmonious blend between automation and human engagement.
For instance, while the sheer scale of talent pool evaluation might lean towards automation, the ensuing stages demand the nuance and warmth unique to human interaction. Delving deeper, Thomas says, “The way we look at the whole process is to examine the workflow and engagement points – or nodes – especially where multiple parties are involved. While certain nodes can benefit from automation, others need the human touch.”
He continues, “It’s imperative to inject human intervention at those pivotal junctures. Think about any professional making a transition: tools can facilitate a smoother exchange, saving time. But while evaluating, say, 100,000 applicants might not need a human’s discernment, the subsequent phase absolutely does. There’s an inherent warmth that only a human can bring.”
Thomas also emphasises the need for a tailored approach depending on the candidate’s experience level: “Analyse the experience at each interaction point. Determine where automation can enhance the experience and identify where the human touch delivers unmatched value. It’s a balancing act. Address critical nodes individually, discerning what can be automated versus where the human element is indispensable. At certain levels, such as with senior executives, it might be more human-centric throughout. But for fresher recruits, perhaps a 70% tech and 30% human mix is apt,” he says.
Highlighting the iterative nature of implementing these strategies, he shares, “We’re in an era where autonomy is preferred. However, every node, every interaction point, needs careful scrutiny. And as we implement these strategies, it’s an agile process. We integrate learnings, run pilots, and then roll out globally based on these insights. Perfection can never be achieved immediately. It’s through this trial and error that challenges are met head-on and rectified.”
Thomas’s insights serve as a testament to the ongoing evolution and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. While technology offers efficiency and scalability, the human touch remains invaluable, reminding us that at its core, recruitment is about connecting with individuals and helping them find their place in the ever-expanding global workspace.
About the expert: Mino Thomas, a seasoned Talent Acquisition expert, has shaped global recruitment processes and was honoured as one of the 101 Top HR Tech Minds in 2019. Currently, he serves as Senior Director Talent and Global Head Talent Operations at Adobe