Hiring is one the most important functions of Human Resources Management. In today’s fast-growing world, it plays even more than a critical role for the organizations because of the rapid pace of the technology and digitalization. In the field of recruitment, selection and hiring, there are many different but similar concepts such as talent finding, talent acquisition, head-hunting which address this function. Despite that, however, these concepts are not enough to explain this crucial process entirely, especially when it comes to Information Technologies (IT) sector. Therefore, as sHR., we introduce a new concept called “Talent Mining”.

The main motivation behind coming up with such a new concept is related to the talent shortage in the world. Recently, employers experience difficulty to fill job vacancies due to the lack of available talent.  In the market, there is a labor supply-demand imbalance; especially, in the IT sector. Therefore, traditional methods and strategies are neither enough nor valid anymore to solve the global workforce crisis.  For that, some organizations have already started adopting new strategies to overcome the talent shortage like utilizing non-traditional –or previously untried- recruiting practices. In the light of this information, as sHR., we decided to redefine and reshape the recruitment process.

First, we would like to explain what “Talent Mining” is and explain the reasons why we needed to develop such a new concept. Finally, we will discuss how “Talent Mining“ differs from the previous concepts and outstands among the others.

The most important asset of the IT sector is “human”.  In technology business, the quality of the output significantly depends on the human’s technical knowledge, competencies and soft skills. Therefore, organizations should be aware of the fact that human is quite valuable to achieve the business goals and get great results. From this perspective, the way the organizations approach to human should be different and unique. In the Human Resources Management area, it is stated that recruiters are the ones who represent the company to candidates at the first stage. Thus, they are in the critical position to acquire or loss the talent for the organization. In the talent shortage situation, their significance is  increasing even more than ever.  Hence, the classical methods and attitude in the recruitment process should be changed based on these circumstances. HR needs a new mindset and mentality in recruitment process. Having always been a pioneer in Tech HR, that is what led us to introduce “Talent Mining”.

“Shine On You Crazy Diamond”

Mine_sHR_Talent MiningWe describe “Talent Mining” as an analogy to the quite long and labor-intensive process which includes entering the pit, taking our pickaxe, starting digging, finding the “mine” and then, searching the right place where “mine” can be transformed to “diamond”, making the “mine” shine there, and controlling the maintenance of shining . There are four basic reasons behind our need to come up with such a new concept.  First, recruitment process is generally discussed as a linear process including a starting and an ending point; however, `Talent Mining` understands the process as a cycle.  Second, especially IT recruitment is quite different compared to other recruitment processes in other sectors. Thus, the general methods and concepts available in this area are usually not applicable to this particular function of HR. Third, this concept includes an intense effort and curiosity in itself, which is not observed in other concepts.  Last but not least, “Talent Mining” requires professionals who have special expertise in their areas. In other words, people working in the recruitment process should be talented at finding talents; if not, they should always improve and develop themselves to reach the capacity and competencies of the ideal candidate to evaluate them correctly.

Human as a Value

Talent Mining is not Headhunting. In “Headhunting”, there is a “huntee-hunter” relationship. As the name indicates, “Headhunting” is composed of aggressive behaviors. The candidate is regarded as a “victim”. Therefore, it is far from humanistic approach.  However, in “Talent Mining”, people are seen and treated as a “value” rather than “resource”.  Second, in “Headhunting”, it seems that there are specific names in the list, and the hiring decision is given based on the names whereas in “Talent Mining, it is a journey, and labels/ titles are not significant in this journey; the only important thing is understanding and analyzing the people correctly. Then based on the evaluation, “go/not go” decision is mutually given with the candidate. Third, “Headhunting” usually refers to the executive roles while “Talent Mining” is implemented regardless of level/title.

The other common concept is “Talent Finding” which also considers the job candidate as a talent. In “Talent Finding”, however, the main goal is just to find the talent whereas  “Talent Mining” focuses on the ‘right talent for the right position’ match. In Talent Mining, finding the talent, i.e. “mine”, is not enough to complete the process. Recruiters should then find the right job/place/position/company for the talent where talent can be turned into diamond; and starts shining.  Besides, talent does not always mean the best suitable candidate for the job since he/she might be overqualified or may not fit in the company culture etc. The recruiters should be careful in evaluating the candidate and not be mistaken by the high skills of the talent. In Talent Mining, there is no place for overestimating the potential of the candidate.

In the human resources jargon, the closest concept to “Talent Mining” appears to be “Talent Acquisition”.  The main difference between them is the focus area and the human perspective of each. Talent Acquisition is more focused on employer and company whereas Talent Mining emphasizes a more human centric approach.

Purple Diamond_sHR_Talent MiningTalent Mining is similar to the surprising relationship between the coal and diamond. Although these two materials are actually the same thing in reality, carbon, they result in two totally different outcomes due to different processes they have been put through.  To look at coal no one could think that it can be a valuable diamond. To look at a diamond no one would think that it was once just a lump of coal. The relation of coal to diamonds and diamonds to coal is an amazing process which also applies in Talent Mining. The talent shines only then when it has been through the right recruitment process in hands of professional talent miners! By placing the talent in the right place/job and providing the necessary environment (i.e. through training & development opportunities, job rotation, enabling initiative-taking culture), Talent Mining brings coal’s actual brilliance to life in a diamond.

As it is seen, Talent Mining still continues after the talent is hired since recruiters should check the satisfaction of both the talent and the organization, be sure about the sustainability of their mutual performance, and get always feedback to improve the whole process. In other words, the diamond should be in safe hands and willing to shine bright for the job.

All in all, we believe that “Talent Mining” concept will bring a new understanding, a different approach, a creative method, and more importantly a new philosophy to the recruitment process especially in IT sector, which leads to increase in added-value of HR  and, eventually, intellectual properties of an organization.