SmartRecruiters Blog

On the Frontlines of the ‘War for Talent’ with Matthieu Rivière of Devoteam

Finding the right talent for your organization has become almost as difficult as saving private Ryan, luckily we know some TA Generals.

Coined by McKinsey’s Steven Hankin in 1997, the term ‘war for talent’ has become synonymous with the market conditions that have led to fierce competition between companies to attract and retain talented employees. This phenomenon will only increase at a time when too few workers are available to replace the baby boomers now departing the workforce in advanced economies.

A whopping 82 percent of companies don’t believe they recruit highly talented people. For companies that do, only seven percent think they can keep them.

For tech companies like Devoteam, a French IT service company, they are the ones storming the beaches in search of top talent to bring into their organizations. Spread out over 18 countries across Europe, they have developed specific strategies to gain ground in the cutthroat world of Talent Acquisition (TA) where 73 percent of candidates are passive and top candidates only stay available on the market for 10 days.

One of the people spearheading these endeavors is Matthieu Rivière the TA director for Devoteam. He has seen first-hand the fight to recruit talented individuals for his international teams and the importance of having the right firepower like candidate engagement and experience.

We caught up with Matthieu Rivière at  Hiring Success 19, where this TA general shared with us some of his experiences in the trenches of TA and how he thinks his company can win the War for Talent.

If you want to learn more about Hiring Success EU – Amsterdam, September 10-11, 2019, check out our agenda here!

What is it like on the frontlines of the War for Talent?

As a tech company, we understand that it is a war and that means competing for highly skilled technical people with all other types of companies. 

The struggle to attract people becomes even more difficult because we specialize in consulting, so most people would rather work in a startup or one of the well-known tech brands. Therefore our main challenges boil down to being able to engage with passive candidates, start conversations with them, and then create a preference in their minds to choose us as an employer. 

Then, on top of all that, our recruitment volume requires more than 2000 people a year and our average employee turnover is two to four years. In general, it is a very difficult environment to succeed in.

How does your team confront these challenges?

As a service company, providing the best customer experience is our main priority. This idea translates to recruitment in the form of candidate experience. And, at the end of the day, creating a top of the line candidate experience is good for us as well as it allows us to be more selective and acquire the best talent.

As far as the specifics of our recruiting function, each country is specialized in a particular type of candidate profile. Half of our IT specialists are in France so the team there will be made up solely of IT recruiters. In other locations, we have TA  teams focused on finding project managers or Java developers.

In general, everybody is involved – even the sales teams are committed to sourcing candidates and engaging them in the recruitment process – working closely with the recruitment team for sourcing and employer branding.

How do you expect to win the War for Talent?

The strategies to ‘win’ are becoming more and more based on marketing. We have to engage as many people as we can and convert them into candidates – much the same way you would convert a lead into a client. 

Candidate experience will continue to be paramount, and for that, we will continue to use a mix of digital and physical components. From our point of view, everyone who works here is an ambassador of our employee brand, and having everyone involved really makes a difference.

The tools we use and our Applicant Tracking System (ATS) are crucial to our success. Without the system capabilities such as candidate feedback on the hiring process, texting options, and easy integration to social media platforms like LinkedIn, I don’t know where we would be. 

We are lucky to have a tool with such a great user experience that anyone can pick up because, as I mentioned before, even the sales team may source some candidates or hire them for a job. This aspect and a truly flexible solution made it easy to implement the SmartRecruiters technology in each country despite the different offices or recruiting team structures. 

In the end, we are positioning ourselves to succeed with our candidate marketing techniques and having technology that’s adaptable to any situation.

See more from leaders like Matthieu in the next part of the blog series – 10 Things I learned at Hiring Success – where we find out what it is like maintaining a brick and mortar store against the waves of digitalization.

Mark Gregory