The intersection of recruitment science and humanity

How is humanity aided by recruitment science?

In the latest edition of The Brief, we sat down with Preeti Bajaj, CEO of The Adecco Group Australia & New Zealand and Managing Director of Modis Australia to discuss why humanity is evolving and how the sector is primed for expansion under a technological revolution. Preeti outlines her unique perspective and distinctive approach to linking humanity and recruitment science.

Preeti Bajaj is a no-frills powerhouse executive whose very voice beckons influence and a command to listen.

Within minutes of sitting down with her for an interview for The Brief, it’s clear this is a woman who knows herself and knows the unique and interesting perspective she brings to the world.

From that place, perhaps, is where she draws such strength of conviction and her fundamental belief in humanity, and the role it plays underpinned by recruitment science.

Now, that might sound odd.

Humanity and recruitment science, but the link between them is as clear as Preeti’s strategic direction.

“The messages leaders need to convey are for a life of hope and sustained excellence. You must make high quality decisions and be courageous,” Preeti said. “The sector is experiencing a transformational moment, and there are ways we can propel humanity forward right now.

“Technology and science are powerful when used together, but when they underpin recruitment, we can really change the conversations we have with customers and our people for a better humanity.”

The newly appointed CEO for The Adecco Group (ANZ) and MD of Modis Australia has led a colourful life of business transformation herself previously holding the CEO role with Clipsal Solar and prior to that was the Vice President of Strategy and Commercial Operations for Schneider Electric.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree (Economics and Political Science) from Delhi University, an MBA in Finance from Swinburne University of Technology, and a Master of Applied Finance from Macquarie University.

Aside from her impressive list of credentials and career history, Preeti sports a well-rounded lifestyle beyond the walls of work enjoying running and boxing, both of which require significant endurance and perhaps have played a role in shaping her leadership style.

Preeti says her move into recruitment was a relatively smooth transition and no different to any other person starting a job with any other company.

“Business skills are transferable,” she said. “I think you need to adapt skills and transform with the environment around you. You need to complement yourself with the right people, have the right technology, and the talent with you for the future.”

A game-changer for Preeti has been her ability to adapt her areas of study and to embrace the workforce solutions market saying the recruitment sector should be considered as an economic environment in line with the demand and supply curve.

“Economics is something that touches our lives every day,” Preeti said. “Today we talk about talent shortages, and in economic terms that means the demand and supply curve of the labour force. Recruitment as a sector, is not independent of that.”

Technology is a passion for Preeti and was one of the biggest drivers when she decided to take the position with Adecco Group.

“I am pro-technology, it is that piece that not only brings humanity together but propels it forward,” she said.

“When you think about COVID and what is actually happening, you start to see that it is changing the way we work. Even the way technology is rapidly being deployed into the world and how that can affect the skills we need to have.”

For years recruiters have succeeded in placing people in the right roles using their own skills and gut instincts, but Preeti challenges this process and thinking about how these two areas can coexist in a hybrid style environment.

“We need to get used to working in a hybrid environment, where technology and humans collaborate and work together,” she said. “Businesses can upskill their staff to use data, to use the technology, and to transform not only their role but also themselves to be better equipped for the future of work.

“It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is, it’s about constructively provoking a different way of thinking.

“Recruitment science holds so much potential for our industry. The ability to use data science to do things like predict future workforce needs – that will be a game-changer in the coming years.

“The science of recruitment should not override the human element; it should enhance it.”

This is where Adecco Group’s Technology Centre in Berlin comes in. It is where product, data, and IT are combined to orchestrate the design, development and adoption of end-to-end experiences using technology.

“While every company may not need an entire technology centre, it is a good idea to put key personnel in charge of technology and innovation,” Preeti said. “These people can keep an eye on changes in the industry and assess new tools and technologies and how they can help prepare businesses for the future.

“Recruitment science can help industry leaders make those tough decisions. Leaders need to make courageous choices, and this is easier done in part with streamlined processes and greater information at your fingertips.

“Using data to make recruitment decisions reduces human bias and enables a diverse workforce. “Top talent can be secured through faster decision making and the talent can be matched with the right role.”

While it is not an official job title ‘recruitment scientist’ is a term Preeti believes the industry should become familiar with.

So, what is a recruitment scientist, and can you become one without a science degree?

“A recruitment scientist is a way of approaching talent acquisition using more scientific methods like data analysis. This data can help assess candidate personalities, get a pulse on employee happiness and predict future workforce needs,” Preeti said.

“Data is empowering people with the recruitment sector to make deliberate and precise decisions based on the information available.”

The Sydney-based CEO says becoming a recruitment scientist relies on collecting the right data and creating frameworks for using it within your own organisation.

“There is plenty of technology available for use at every stage of the recruitment process, but you must select the right technology by understanding what your business needs,” Preeti said. “We are seeing the rise in the types of technologies available including applicant tracking systems, text-based analysis, candidate assessment software, onboarding software, skills-gap analysis and employee engagement tools.”

According to Preeti, all leaders have the power to delve into the world of technology to future proof their workforce and the industry.

“There are large amounts of data and new platforms emerging which make everyone’s lives a little easier; we can also save time and money while producing better outcomes for clients,” she said.

“Technology has become so infused in our lives and it has the ability to create transparency and real sustained change.

“When you think about an industry that has revolutionised humanity, at least in our lifetime, we would have to say ‘technology’. It’s the piece that propels humanity and enables us to become better in what we do and how we do it.”

This is Preeti’s immediate focus for the next 12 months – to use technology and science to underpin the capability of the recruitment sector in strongly positioning businesses for today, and into the future.

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