The Modern Rules of Attraction

Moses Bar-Yoseph is helping KPMG find the right people faster and cheaper than ever before through digital platforms and innovative assessment programs

According to Moses Bar-Yoseph, the world of HR is experiencing a sea change. “There was a time when recruiting professionals washed their hands after just finding talent,” he says. “Those days are long gone.”

Today, any HR department must align its efforts with the business goals of its organization to help contribute to overall growth, and Bar-Yoseph is working to do just that as the executive director of talent attraction at KPMG LLP, an audit, tax, and advisory-services group whose member firms have more than 150,000 employees in more than 150 countries. With at least 14 years of experience there, as well as in other agencies and in-house corporate settings, Bar-Yoseph has had time to hone his tactics, and these days most of them have to do with increased communication and digital interaction.

To begin with, Bar-Yoseph encourages KPMG’s recruiters to talk to company leaders on “their own terms.” By doing so, they can replace stale recruitment questions with ones about revenue growth, competitive intelligence, market challenges, and attrition, thus improving their understanding of underlying issues while building the HR department’s base of trust. “Anyone who aspires to this work should start having business conversations and use a wider lens to look at formal and informal data,” Bar-Yoseph says. “We need to think more like our business colleagues.”

Armed with greater company knowledge, Bar-Yoseph and his team turn to analytics and technology, including the intelligent use of social media, to better build KPMG’s brand and capture a wider pool of people—many of whom aren’t even applicants.

KPMG has an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, but the company also works to weave the platforms together. “We see online outlets as a connected network, not separate avenues,” Bar-Yoseph says. “Consistent messaging and brand-building is important.” The approach offers candidates a better chance to interact with KPMG and develop the sort of rapport that can lead to the next step.

This is especially important as the paper résumé and paper recruiting continue their prolonged death march. Applicants no longer open the newspaper or go to a physical job site to inquire about openings, fill out an application, mail it in, and await a response. The new process, though instant and fragmented, is often slow and casual, so mobile recruiting has become an essential rung in Bar-Yoseph’s hiring ladder. “We need to have access to prospects when they’re not at their desk,” he says. “Building a relationship between a potential employer and a potential candidate is key.”

“Recruiting is an excellent entry point for aspiring HR professionals and offers a lucrative career path in its own right, but to become a future leader in HR, one needs to adopt an integrated talent-management perspective. This requires breadth as well as depth. I think it is important that the next generation of HR professionals take opportunities to develop skills holistically across traditional centres of excellence—such as compensation and benefits, training and development, employee relations, etc.—in order to advance their careers.”
“Recruiting is an excellent entry point for aspiring HR professionals and offers a lucrative career path in its own right, but to become a future leader in HR, one needs to adopt an integrated talent-management perspective. This requires breadth as well as depth. I think it is important that the next generation of HR professionals take opportunities to develop skills holistically across traditional centres of excellence—such as compensation and benefits, training and development, employee relations, etc.—in order to advance their careers.” —Moses Bar-Yosef

Passive applicants who might be gainfully employed but casually looking can, for example, simply submit their LinkedIn profiles with expressions of interest, and KPMG can then open the process and easily address each new candidate. Savvy HR professionals are learning now to reach out to such applicants on their terms in order to build awareness and start conversations. By doing so, the recruiters develop talent pipelines that may meet future business needs.

Bar-Yoseph is also implementing a new breed of online and simulation-based assessment programming that not only describes a candidate’s characteristics but predicts future success. Known as Virtual Job Tryout (and developed by Shaker Consulting Group), the program presents KPMG’s company culture through testimonials from employees and branding messages from leadership, and it then asks applicants how they would respond to actual dilemmas and problems. The technology prepares candidates for an actual interview and provides insight into working at KPMG.

For years, HR professionals have asked for a seat at the table, and they are now finally finding themselves in positions of influence. Bar-Yoseph wants his colleagues across the recruiting industry to rise up. “We need to do more than hire people,” he says. “We need to analyze data, look at trends, and understand the impact of the data to inform our strategies.” Life in HR is changing, and KPMG is leading the revolution with online tools and complex analytics.