Treating talent like customers: How Vodafone is upping its talent game

Sophie Clifford, Global Head of Talent Acquisition, shares how the telecoms leader is strengthening its workforce with AI.

Treating talent like customers: How Vodafone is upping its talent game

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Treating current and potential employees like customers may seem like a novel idea, but for Sophie Clifford, Vodafone’s Global Head of Talent Acquisition, it’s a concept that’s right at home with her organization’s goals.

Join us this week for our episode featuring Clifford, who has a holistic perspective to attracting and retaining the right talent. She joins hosts Ligia Zamora and Jason Cerrato for an insightful conversation about how Vodafone, with nearly 100,000 employees in 25 global markets, completely overhauled its HR processes and recruitment strategies with talent intelligence.

Clifford shares the critical lessons she learned along the way, including the need for collaboration, how to make skills a universal language, and the unavoidable but invaluable investment of time.

Listen to learn more about:

  • Why AI-powered automation is the new recruiting standard, with internal education and collaboration being key to adoption.
  • How real-time skills intelligence creates a common language among different HR functions, enabling a cohesive, end-to-end talent strategy.
  • Why collaboration — and giving your employees a voice — is essential to implementation.


[00:00:00] LIGIA: Welcome to The New Talent Code, a podcast with practical insights, dedicated to empowering change agents in HR to push the envelope in their talent functions. We’re your host. I’m Ligia Zamora.

[00:00:18] JASON: And I’m Jason Cerrato. We’re bringing you the best thought leaders in the talent space to share stories about how they are designing the workforce of the future, transforming processes, rethinking old constructs, and leveraging cutting edge technology to solve today’s pressing talent issues. It’s what we call the new talent code.

[00:00:38] LIGIA: So if you’re looking for practical, actionable advice. To get your workforce future ready, you’ve come to the right place.


[00:00:47] LIGIA: Well, guys, we’re in for a real treat today. Sophie Clifford, the Talent Acquisition Operations and Employer Brand Lead from Vodafone is with us. In just 30 minutes, Sophie shared a ton of incredible learnings from Vodafone’s deployment of talent intelligence software. Vodafone has about 95, 000 global employees, and they had the immense task of hiring and engaging their workforce.

[00:01:13] They also mentioned their strategy aligns directly with the organization’s three priorities, the CEO’s vision, customer simplicity, and growth.

[00:01:21] JASON: Sophie said they took a collaborative approach to adopting and scaling talent intelligence, including getting buy in from leaders and recruiters alike, with skills as the common language driving it all.

[00:01:32] Since adoption, they’ve reduced time to hire globally by an amazing 50%. And that’s just one result. We were all smiles by the end of this conversation. Sophie’s can’t miss advices up next.


[00:01:46] LIGIA: Sophie, welcome to the podcast.

[00:01:48] SOPHIE: Thank you so much. Thank you for that really kind introduction as well. Really appreciate it.

[00:01:52] JASON: Sophie, as a way of introduction on this podcast, we’re always fascinated with people’s career paths and nonlinear career paths. So we’re firm believer that people should try new things in their careers. Can you tell us a little bit more about your career path and how you found yourself to where you are today?

[00:02:07] SOPHIE: I actually started out as a recruiter. So when I left university, I met somebody at a careers fair and they sold me the dream on recruitment. I was actually a marketing graduate and I think it’s one of those age old stories of I fell into recruitment, but they really did sell me the dream on being able to use all of those skills, all of those marketing skills in recruitment and just marketing people.

[00:02:31] So that is your product at the end of the day. And I’ve never left. I’ve stayed in recruitment my entire career. So yes, started with a recruitment agency and then actually ended up moving in house to my biggest client at the time, who even to this day, I still have really great friends from and great memories of, which was Burberry.

[00:02:51] Yeah. Still have a bit of a love for fashion, if I’m honest. Although I am very much now in the telecoms and technology sector, but yeah. So I think moving in house was a kind of. different career to the agency side. You’re not, you’re no longer in that sales aspect of recruitment. You’re very much in the talent world.

[00:03:10] Yeah. I think that’s where my skills have developed over time. And yeah, you mentioned my job title at the start, have a very broad remit where I currently am in that I look after everything operations for Vodafone from a TA perspective, but I also have employer brand. So it is quite that breadth of arena.

[00:03:29] My role at Vodafone. is the global sort of lead. So we support 25 different markets. That’s for us, different countries where we have operating companies in our role as the global team is to build that consistency, that governance, that structure, even in the technology we use, which is obviously what’s brought us here today because we are using eight fold and we implemented that around two years ago.

[00:03:56] But a lot of what we’re doing as a global team is working with. All of those markets, we have around 250 recruiters across the markets. And we have also some markets that are outsourced. So we have RPOs that would support us as well. Yeah, that’s a bit of it in a nutshell.

[00:04:12] LIGIA: Just to set context, what is going on in the market? What brought about this move to skills? Who is it you were recruiting for? What kind of talent and what challenges were you facing?

[00:04:23] SOPHIE: We recruit for a lot of skills. As I’ve mentioned, we have 25 different markets and probably those markets are all hiring slightly different things. So in one market, there’s a real drive to hire technology talent or cyber security in another market.

[00:04:38] They might be quite focused on more what we call frontline. So actually we are a telecoms business with retail stores. We also have customer care. So there are some markets where there’s more of a focus, I would say, on frontline recruitment. What has brought us to this point, which I think is back to your question, we have three key strategic priorities, and that’s across the whole organization, aligned to our CEO’s priorities, and that is customer, Simplicity and growth.

[00:05:07] So everything we’ve been doing over the last year, when these real key priorities took shape has been focused around those key strategic pillars. I think what that means from a TA perspective and why we started this journey is because we did a study a few years back that the business told us talent acquisition or recruitment as it’s known in the business is probably one of the most important HR processes.

[00:05:35] We were being seen internally as an inefficient function. So actually, there’s your case for change. We were seen as one of the most important processes in HR, but we weren’t delivering to their expectations. And I think that’s On all fronts, that would be from the speed of which you’re bringing talent into the organization, but also from a candidate perspective, that candidate experience was poor.

[00:06:00] We were so inundated with applications, which I know is a good problem to have, but when you’re operating in a very manual way. To be able to get back to all of those candidates in a timely manner that still gives them a good experience of our brand, because most of the time we talk a lot about candidates are customers and are probably our actual customers as well, hence why they affiliate to our brand.

[00:06:25] And if we can’t give them that good experience, we’re potentially hitting our bottom line. We could be losing a customer and guess what? They’re going to go and tell all their friends and family about this really poor recruitment experience they had. And all of their family and friends that are customers of ours, we could lose those as well.

[00:06:41] So we really saw, as I said, this kind of case for change. I think as well, the other piece for us is around diversity. We are really championing bringing in more diverse people into the organization. And we needed intelligent ways of doing that, ways that we hadn’t been thinking of before.

[00:07:00] JASON: So were you already transforming and thinking about skills before implementing technology? You said this already started a few years back. Can you walk us through this journey?

[00:07:11] SOPHIE: So yes, it actually happened, I think 2019 is the time that we first realized the problem. We were in a state of change anyway. We were looking at CRM systems for recruitment. So we had our core. applicant tracking system, which we knew had severe limitations to what we were trying to do and trying to build in more automation.

[00:07:34] This is a bit before AI was the real buzzword in the industry as well, I would say. And we must have looked at, I’m not joking, about 40 vendors. So we had a real, a real big tender on our hands to try and find the right solution. And I don’t think going into that, we knew what the solution was. So if I talk a bit about skills where I think that kind of led us to where we are now, that’s the path we’ve now been walking.

[00:07:58] It actually also started around the same time we started building a job architecture, a job family architecture in our organization, which. I will just say out loud now is no easy task to embark on. It’s actually really difficult, especially when you have 95, 000 employees across your organization. You’re talking about building something that improves consistency across your organization, where actually you’re recruiting some of the same skills in the markets, but you’re all calling it something different.

[00:08:29] You’re all hiring it slightly differently. You’re assessing it slightly differently. And I think. There was a real need for us to start mapping what are the core skills and then linking that to functions and building what we now call like a job family. So it wasn’t at that point job role specific skills.

[00:08:50] It was more at that broader job family level. And as I said, no easy task. It took us around two years, I think, to have completed the work. Partly because we’re a very collaborative organization. And I think from a global perspective, we’ll start projects and then we’ll start bringing in what we call the markets.

[00:09:08] So we’ve got 25 markets. We want to make sure that they have input. And that we’re getting subject matter experts inputting. So we built some principles around the skills mapping to those jobs or to the job family architecture. And if, for example, we said we had 15 skills identified at the time, four people leader skills, that would have been our high level job architecture.

[00:09:30] And then we started to go more granular. So I think having those design principles really helps so that when we then look to create an automated method in doing that, we had a way in which we could build some rules and some rigor around it, because otherwise it just becomes endless. And I think what we found over time is this keeps growing and growing, but if you’re trying to build something consistent, I think there has to be some rules and rigor around it.

[00:09:58] LIGIA: Was it going through that two year initiative to build the job architecture and really understand the skills you were recruiting for across and drive some standardization? Was that what then helped everyone pivot to we need to find a better way to do this around skills and understanding that skills is the currency that drives the business?

[00:10:18] SOPHIE: Absolutely. And we had an epiphany moment because in, almost in silo, but not completely in silo, you had OE driving the skills work, building the job architecture, you had learning and development, looking into skills to start planning for what learning and development programs do we need? What do we need in terms of?

[00:10:37] There are gaps where have we got no succession plans? Where have we got this kind of misalignment to what we’re training people on, but what we actually need from a development point of view. And then you had what we were doing in recruitment, which was obviously acquiring in those skills. And you had no visibility across the board against these three functions in terms of a tool to say, where should we be applying all of this effort?

[00:11:00] And the epiphany moment was. We need to do this in collaboration, as functions, as a COE. We need to come together and say, Okay, what is the foundation that this all gets built on. What’s that common language that we all can build from? And that’s where skills, I think, really helped align us and helped us form a strategy on how we were going to do it.

[00:11:21] JASON: So this is a journey of massive change and I love the way you walked us through. Initially, it was a discussion of CRM. Right. And it started there and you looked at 40 different vendors and initially maybe just campaigns and pipelining. But now you’re talking about how you have this underpinning of skills, intelligence, and how you have organizational effectiveness and L and D and succession planning and recruiting here on The New Talent Code.

[00:11:49] We talk about how this requires. thinking differently and operating differently. Can you talk about just some of the things that this approach and this new capability uncovered and some of the learnings that having this kind of skills based approach and maybe everyone working together more collaboratively and maybe more systemically uncovered and through this transformation?

[00:12:12] SOPHIE: And it actually started with a tribe. We started building a tribe of, okay, so these people in OE that are working on this job family architecture, these people in talent who are working on development plans, whether that be looking at re skilling opportunities, et cetera. And then my side was, okay, from the recruitment perspective, what do we need?

[00:12:31] So we did start thinking about CRM, but we also knew we needed automation because actually, even if we’d have put a CRM in at that time, We wouldn’t have been able to do it properly. All of our time and effort from a recruitment perspective was spent on manual tasks. We worked out that a recruiter was spending over 16 hours a week just screening CVs.

[00:12:53] And that was based on them having 25 that they were managing. We know in cases and even today, we’ve got some recruits managing 50 jobs that was on average. We had recruiters globally managing 25 roles. What time have they got to do exciting CRM stuff, thinking about attraction campaigns when we can’t actually get past the manual admin tasks of, I need to screen every CV.

[00:13:13] I need to get back to every candidate. I need to keep my hiring managers up to date. So we had this underlying layer of. We want a CRM. We’ve got to fix some of this other fundamental issues we’ve got. And at the same time, what was happening in these other COE functions was we were coming together, seeing we had some common goals, and that’s where the skills brought us all together.

[00:13:35] So the common goals being around how do we mobilize talent internally better, even from what we’ve been doing. When we’re talking about screening CVs, you’re still screening internal applications. We’re still very reactive to talent management and how we mobilize people across the organization. So I think that was then where we started getting our heads together as a tribe and saying, what are our common goals?

[00:13:57] How does that link to skills and the work that OE has been doing? And without OE having done that work. We probably wouldn’t be where we are right now with what we’ve delivered with eightfold to be quite honest with you. And I’m not saying you need that to any of the people who are out there thinking about getting Eightfold.

[00:14:13] You don’t need to have that architecture because what’s happened along the way is that because we are recruiting now through eightfold. And this is where the beauty of the system kicks in. That AI is learning all the time, right? So every time we’re hiring someone, every time we’re moving talent, We’ve integrated our learning platform into Eightfold and what sits at the foundation level is still our ATS, right, so we still have success factors.

[00:14:37] That’s still our core learning system, so everything is sat on the same foundation, even from an OE skills perspective, so you’ve got that baseline. Once you inject the skills into that, AI starts learning from it. So then when we start hiring, and I’m sure we’ll get into this, but calibration is the key for us in recruitment that has unlocked.

[00:14:58] Calibration is what in Eightfold is essentially moving a job description into the system to tell the AI what you’re going out and looking for. And then what the AI starts to beautifully do, and I’m selling this all for you, is match people to the jobs. And that includes people in your organization. So by having that job family level of skills, we’ve unlocked something.

[00:15:20] We didn’t realize we were even going to unlock, if I’m truly honest, at the time that we started this tender of 40 vendors looking for a CRM.

[00:15:29] LIGIA: What challenges did you face getting buy in for bringing in an AI technology in house? As you look back, what did you have to overcome? What hurdles, just for our audience, in terms of education?

[00:15:43] SOPHIE: I think you’ve got to put value to things, and I think when we built the business case, it was very much around the numbers. What are we projecting in terms of savings? How is this going to bring some value to the business? Why does the business need it? Not just us as a recruitment function, but why does the business need this system?

[00:16:03] And what we’re doing together as a COE, because that also helped us unlock the piece, because I think what it enabled us to do was create a new work stream in our organization, which we call future ready HR. So it’s about the tomorrow. It’s about actually, how do we get ourselves ready for what’s to come?

[00:16:20] And at this point we were going like it was COVID times, right? So you’re also in this really strange, era of everybody’s working from home. You don’t have quite the same visibility of collaborating in the office. There was, I would say, less movement of people around that time as well, bit of job insecurity, especially in the UK.

[00:16:41] And I’m sure broader speaking, the market became a bit shaky. I think it was just before the great resignation and it was very much that. Difficult time to find skills, to hire the right people into your organization. You also had the massive technology boom. So you, we in as an organization have been for the last five years, had a plan to hire 7, 000 software engineers.

[00:17:05] So when you start linking these things, these business problems to what you are delivering and how it’s going to solve it at this point, software engineers. It was like liquid gold. Hiring a software engineer was the one thing everyone was trying to do. And I think that’s across not just the technology sector, every sector, all of a sudden, everybody wants coders, everybody wants backend, front end, every kind of coder you can find.

[00:17:33] And so, You’re in the war for talent. And if you want to get ahead of that, you’ve got to be able to link your strategy to how it’s going to impact the business. And that for us was, we need to get out of this reactive state or we can do right now is be reactive because we’re so manual in our ways of working.

[00:17:50] We’re also having to hire more people. Because we’re so admin driven. Actually, do we need as many people as we have? Or do we need more automation? I think when you start adding those kind of layers to things, you can put a value to it. A financial value and a business value. And I think that was the biggest journey we were on.

[00:18:08] We were quite lucky because I think of all the factors I’ve just mentioned, people could immediately see what we were trying to do.

[00:18:18] JASON: So along the lines of operating and managing differently, a lot of people will ask, how have your metrics improved? But I’m going to ask, are there any metrics that you’ve added or been able to track now that you were never tracking before?

[00:18:34] Especially when you say now you’re trying to figure out how are you enabling the business versus maybe in the past focusing on how you were enabling HR?

[00:18:43] LIGIA: And if I may piggyback on that. How quick was time to value? Because I think it’s crucial, as you were saying earlier, to come back and measure against the business value that you said you were going to deliver. So I’m curious how quickly you were able to get, it sounds like you had a bunch of epiphanies along the way. So how quickly were you able to get people to start adopting?

[00:19:03] SOPHIE: Adoption, I think we should talk about as a whole different kettle of fish. Because the success of this is around adoption. And I don’t think we’ve mastered that yet.

[00:19:12] So we can talk a bit about that because I think that’s one of our biggest learnings, which I have some thoughts around. Our major metrics are the age old time to hire, right? So from a recruitment perspective, we’re measuring ourselves against how quickly we hire into the organization. I can openly say that we’ve reduced our time to hire globally by 50%.

[00:19:31] Which is significant. Yeah, so it’s massive. I think in terms of metrics we’ve added, we had to add a metric to help us measure adoption. So talking a bit about adoption, the calibration step has been the critical point. To make sure that Eightfold is getting the data it needs from our recruiters and what we’re recruiting to enable it to do all of the magic in the back, right?

[00:19:56] So we had to add that as a metric to say what percentage of our jobs are being calibrated. Because if it’s not being calibrated, then the candidate’s not going to benefit from the AI. So what happens currently is the candidate drops its CV, their CV into the career site. And the AI is going to suggest roles, relevant skills to what we’re hiring.

[00:20:14] And then in the back end, what’s happening is the system is stack ranking those candidates in order of suitability to the job. So I think from that perspective, if we are telling the system what we’re hiring, we’re not going to get all of those benefits. So that was a metric we had to introduce that also was telling us the success of how well we delivered the implementation.

[00:20:35] JASON: Now, I love you sharing just a few of those. Are there any others, maybe some specific to how it’s helped with diversity or inclusion?

[00:20:43] SOPHIE: Yes, I think diversity is an ongoing piece of work that we have to continue to work hard to drive. And I think there’s lots of interventions with diversity. So it’s not just you implement a system and it solves your diversity struggles or where you’ve got underrepresented talent pools.

[00:21:00] But we have definitely seen because of the functionality of Eightfold, for example, masking CVs, it’s been able to really remove some of the bias that people don’t even know they have in the process. And we have seen an increase diversity is a metric that we have, and we have seen an increase, probably not as much as we would have liked, but I think some of that is also issues probably within certain areas we’re hiring that are broader than us and where I think there’s more that needs to be done around reskilling, upskilling, development of talent and talk about females coming back to work, for example, how do we, you know, improve that? How do we make that kind of a more regular occurrence?

[00:21:45] LIGIA: How about the candidate experience? How has that improved?

[00:21:49] SOPHIE: Yeah, we, we actually had a candidate survey at the time that we were measuring. We were around, I think we ended up, 43 plus on our NPS score from where we started. So that tells you a bit about the candidate experience prior, given the real workload of our recruiters to where we ended up.

[00:22:10] We have stopped that specific candidate survey because we’re moving to a new provider. So don’t have more up to date data. But I think that was after around 12 months of having the system live. We saw, I think we were at minus 15 as an NPS when we went live, which is going to make everybody cry. And we ended up at plus 48 by the time we’d stopped that candidate survey.

[00:22:32] So. We’re hoping when the new one goes live, we’ll see some further improvements to that score.

[00:22:40] JASON: I love language and I think the phrase you used was that adoption is a different fish. A kettle of fish. Isn’t a different kettle of fish. Can we talk about that a little bit? Is there anything that you do differently around adoption or lessons learned or things you’d share with the audience around maybe some best practices or things to look out for?

[00:22:59] SOPHIE: I actually want to share a phrase that’s my boss’s phrase, which is, you can have the fastest car in the world, a Ferrari, but if you don’t put petrol in it, you’re never going to win the race. And I think that is eightfold. If you don’t invest the time, if you don’t invest in the steps like calibration, you are never going to fully transform your process and get all the benefits of that tool.

[00:23:20] And I think that for me has been the biggest learning because when we went live with the system. We were very focused on, okay, we need to train everybody. We need everybody to know how this tool works. All of the recruiters need to understand from the moment this system goes live how it works. That doesn’t mean they’re going to use it though.

[00:23:39] So I think the other saying I would throw in there is, you can walk a horse to water, doesn’t mean they’re going to drink it, right? So, we also had to tell this story of why. Why is it worth you using this system? How is it going to benefit you, Mr. Recruiter, Mrs. Recruiter, in your everyday tasks? What is in it for you?

[00:23:58] And because we didn’t remove our ATS success factors, so if you think eightfold is layered on top, we didn’t get rid of the old. So we hadn’t removed the old ways of working. We couldn’t. We still needed that. So actually they’ve always got an alternative option and one that’s comfortable for them because that’s the way they’ve always worked.

[00:24:18] So then it’s been even harder to get them to really invest the time and energy. And I think the way that we’ve been able to do that is actually by key steps. So, as I said, engage. I think it’s about informing, but also telling the story. The why message is so important to that transformation journey.

[00:24:36] We’ve also looked to co design where possible. I definitely see that when recruiters feel they have a voice, the business feels they have a voice, and they’re inputting into the decision making, they are far more willing. To try it and to move forward with that and to use it, then if we just do it in isolation and then go, here you go, here’s your tool, it’s ready made, go and use it.

[00:24:58] I think it helps to build that breadth of understanding. So I think that’s really been a way to help us unlock some of those conversations, even for them just to tell us what they think, what they like, what they don’t like, what works, what doesn’t work, what would they change? And then we can have a bit more of an open dialogue with them about, okay, let’s look if we can work on those.

[00:25:17] Because there’s a process that sits behind this and we are able to change our processes. So let’s see how we can simplify and I think, especially in those engaged stages, we were definitely told this is getting very complicated. We’re having to do certain tasks in one system, other tasks in another system.

[00:25:33] So I would really encourage anybody looking at this to just simplify as much as possible. Go with your simplest approach. process to help the adoption along the way. You can add complexity later, but start simple. I would say the second stage is about communication. We don’t have a technology stack that just comprises of Eightfold.

[00:25:53] Our technology stack comprises of many systems, all integrated together. We have an ATS, we have success factors. We have an assessment tool called Sova and we have eightfold. That’s not even bringing into the loop what we’re doing on the learning side and all the other integrations that we’ve been building within Eightfold, but as I mentioned about the simplification, I think it’s really important to bring your community in early and to communicate with them on what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and actually bring the leaders in, and what we found as well is that we need them to feel like they own this change in their market.

[00:26:27] So it’s not just coming from group as a global decision. We are deciding this is the new way of working. We as a global team are showing you why this is going to benefit you. All of those business values we’ve spoken about. This is going to help you source talent. The system is actually going to source the talent for you.

[00:26:42] It’s going to free up your recruiter’s time to spend more time with their business areas, with their line managers, sitting in on the interview, being that real. talent business partners. Actually, the more that we could educate them around all of those benefits, the more that we saw it shift and they were taking a more active role in the change themselves.

[00:27:00] Because if you just try and drive the change from your seat as the global function, I think what you end up is losing people along the way. You need them to feel like they own it and they’re accountable for it. So I think that’s been a real key. I think the other piece is listening. We’ve been continuously listening from when we started designing this, even to now.

[00:27:21] So we went live with an MVP in. 2022, January, 2022. And from what we went live with then to what we have now is actually quite a different system. And it’s because we’ve been continuously iterating it to meet the needs of our business. And that includes more brilliant functionality that Eightfold has been bringing out along the way, but we didn’t go live with everything from day one.

[00:27:42] We started simple. We just wanted to see the core benefits and how they would work. And then we’ve added more complexity, more layers in as we’ve gone along the journey. And then the fourth one is around support. How do we support the functions? How are we ensuring that they’ve got training? When something goes wrong in the tool, how quickly does that get fixed?

[00:28:02] How quickly can we escalate to make sure that one day not in the system is a big deal for a recruiter? So how do we minimize those types of events? But also, We did something else, which I think is a big learning and definitely a key to success. We actually asked each market, so as I said, we’ve got 25 countries, all with recruitment teams, nine languages.

[00:28:27] We are not going to be able to train you as well as you can train yourself. So we asked for every single market to put forward a subject matter expert. What we would then do is give those individuals a breadth and a depth of understanding about how the tool works beyond just what the recruiters know is there every day.

[00:28:44] So that you have an expert in your market who knows a deeper level of What that system is capable of doing and how it operates so that also if they wanted to, they could give more deeper training on certain topics that were more relevant for that market. So example, talent communities. That’s all about talent pipelining for the future.

[00:29:04] There were certain markets that wanted that much quicker than others, because others were still catching up on what had gone live, whereas others were running ahead and saying, we need the next thing, we want the new thing. So you were able to then go, okay, if you’re ready for the new thing, we can train you on that.

[00:29:18] And suddenly cater a little bit, bespoke what you’re doing a little bit for each market and what their priorities were. And also it meant we got a lot less queries as a global team, because they were actually able to be a bit more self sufficient.

[00:29:31] LIGIA: What kind of adoption have you achieved and what’s your long term goal?

[00:29:35] SOPHIE: We’re a hundred percent calibrated, but partly that’s because we’ve also gone live with the jobs intelligence engine. So in the back end of the system, we listened to our recruiters. Our recruiters were saying, actually, This is quite a lot of work on top of what we’re already doing. So we calibrated in the back end 700 critical roles based on that job families we were talking about.

[00:29:57] We added a next layer to that with business experts, fed that into the system. And now what the recruiters have is a baseline calibration for pretty much every single role we have. I think we have around. Over 2000 roles, but not all of those 2000 roles being recruited all the time, right? You’ve only got one CEO, you’ve only got one chief finance officer, etc.

[00:30:17] So we took the roles where there’s high volume and there’s critical skills, and we calibrated those in the back end. So the system’s doing a base level of calibration for us. I think we’re still on a journey in all of the rest of the functionality and the recruiters using it. I think we’ve got certain markets that are way ahead and are coming to us saying, wouldn’t it be cool if the system could do this?

[00:30:41] And you’re like, yes, it would, but we need resource money, et cetera. And then you’ve got other markets coming to you saying, I’m just, I’m still at the very start of our journey using Eightfold, and I’m still very much. Bit by bit. And that’s because they might be small and the recruiter has three other roles.

[00:31:01] They’re also the employer brand person. They’re also doing a bit of learning and development and an OE. And so it’s a capacity thing, I think sometimes.

[00:31:11] JASON: Well, Sophie, thank you so much for sharing the Vodafone journey with us here on the new talent code, you have. been very generous with sharing some real talk around what it means to think differently and operate differently and manage differently in a very transformative function for the future of work.

[00:31:31] To wrap up, we want to know from you personally, you’ve been in this space for some time. What do you think is next for talent acquisition professionals? How do you see the function and their roles evolving? What should we be on the lookout in terms of trends and innovation? What is ahead for the role of recruiting and talent acquisition?

[00:31:51] SOPHIE: I feel like this is the hot topic on the market because as AI is becoming more and more prevalent, not just in talent acquisition across every possible job role and all businesses are looking at where they can introduce AI.

[00:32:08] And I think what that’s doing is creating more need for the people person. And that is something that I think that TA needs to be ahead of the game with is we add value. Giving that excellent candidate experience, really getting under the skin of a candidate, what’s their motivations, why they’re looking to move, guiding them, helping them understand how they might fit to the culture that they’re looking to work at.

[00:32:33] And I think we need to become more business partners. So I think the more that AI is relinquishing us of some of the admin that’s shackled us as a community for quite a long time. Because, and I’ve heard many others on your podcast talk about this, the role of a recruiter is like 20 different roles all into one.

[00:32:52] And so actually, I think this gives TA an opportunity to think about what becomes our new role. If AI is doing all of this stuff in the back for us, how do we become a recruiter? A slightly different business partner to the one we’ve been before. One that is the scout for talent that knows somebody will fit into the organization because they’ve sat in on interviews with their business managers and they understand what the wider context is and how that fits to the strategy.

[00:33:18] And I think you become a slightly different expert. I think it also gives you the opportunity to really focus on your diversity and inclusion, your attraction, your EVP and be less focused on, Oh my gosh, I’ve got so many jobs. I just need to keep my head above water and answer that hiring managers question and get back to that candidate and look ahead and go what’s coming.

[00:33:40] What’s the business doing? Okay, they’re looking at investing heavily in cyber security. Okay, great. I’m going to go in town pipeline and I’m going to go to all these events and I’m going to go and build it. a community already warmed up to the business that you’re going to be hiring them into. And I think that’s what our focus should be on.

[00:33:56] LIGIA: Excellent.

[00:33:57] JASON: I love that.

[00:33:58] LIGIA: Thank you so much, Sophie.

[00:34:00] SOPHIE: Thank you for having me.


[00:34:02] LIGIA: Thanks for listening to The New Talent Code. This is a podcast produced by Eightfold AI. If you’d like to learn more about us, please visit us at www.eightfold.ai and you can find us on all your favorite social media sites. We’d love to connect and continue the conversation.

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