Makers of Tomorrow: CareerBuilder CEO Irina Novoselsky
As unemployment surges, millions are scrambling to adapt and figure out who is is hiring, while also trying to navigate what it means to work in predominately remote environments — uncharted territory for many Americans.
One of the organizations on the front lines of this battle is CareerBuilder, the quarter-century-old talent-acquisition giant. We recently caught up with CEO Irina Novoselsky about what her team is doing to help the sudden rush of job seekers in need, how her industry is evolving and the importance of maintaining an eye on inclusivity.
How has CareerBuilder championed businesses and job seekers during this period of historic unemployment?
We sit at the epicenter of the labor market, seeing supply and demand trends from both the job seeker and employer side in near real time. We feel strongly that it is our responsibility to use our data and technology in ways that help individuals and organizations quickly pivot as needed during this unprecedented time. Our team quickly mobilized to create a dedicated resources center — one for employers and another for job seekers. Anyone affected can text COVID to 51893 to access job support and see which companies are hiring. We’re providing employer resources, including hosting webinars, and are working with our clients to determine which tools best support them in this environment. For example, by shifting in-person hiring events to virtual environments, we are able to continue to help our clients find qualified top talent quickly to keep their vital operations running. Additionally, data and information is being shared on social media to provide real-time labor-market insights using the hashtag #CareerBuilderCovidData.
What are the primary challenges your industry faces now, and how do you confront them?
This quick and dramatic economic swing has had impacts on nearly every industry, including the talent-acquisition space. Only a few weeks ago, we were in the tightest labor market that we had seen in more than 50 years.
As with any crisis, transparency and prioritization is key. We have been helping our clients leverage our data and range of solutions in ways that best help them respond to meet their needs. Some of our clients are in a position where they need our tools and technology to help them hire and onboard talent quickly to address market demands, while others are seeking support in elevating their employer brand and building a strong talent pipeline so they are prepared to quickly ramp up as the economy rebounds.
During this economic downturn, women and minorities are being disproportionately displaced from their positions, negatively impacting gains we had seen in this area. As companies look to build their talent pipeline and bring back their workforce, hiring managers would be smart to utilize tools we have developed that are geared to specifically address gender bias in the hiring process. Additionally, by focusing on skills-based matching in addition to experience-based matching, companies will bring a wider, more diverse set of candidates to the table. I am proud that we are leading by example with an inclusive culture and diverse workforce, where 60 percent of our leadership team is female or ethnically diverse.
How do you expect the hiring process to evolve, and how are you preparing for that change?
The skills gap has led to employers more frequently asking candidates, “Can you do it?” vs. “Have you done it?” This drives up the importance of job seekers listing skills on their resume in addition to experience. Candidates will continue to demand greater flexibility from employers in support of desired work-life balance, with companies needing to adjust and promote their company culture in an effort to stand out from competition. Candidates increasingly look for employers with strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. We will see successful companies embrace technology and hiring processes that support efforts to attract, retain and promote a diverse workforce.
From an employer side, there has been an increase in the number of vendors who serve clients in various aspects of the talent-acquisition process. However, as clients look for cost-savings and ways to consolidate vendors, they will seek partners that can meet a range of needs in a one-stop shop. Partners who can offer end-to-end solutions will be powerful players in the market, as they can provide clients with data and information to support a range of needs in the hiring process.
What are the most important characteristics of a good leader? And the most overrated?
The most important characteristics of a good leader are integrity, decision-making capabilities, passion and strong communication skills. Each of these characteristics build upon the other and are critical for fostering a strong team mentality. Individuals want to work with someone they feel has conviction and is willing to make the hard decisions for the benefit of the greater organization. When a leader is passionate about an organization or a cause, it is infectious and often drives their ability to be an effective communicator. Leaders who keep their teams engaged, provide an understanding of where an organization is headed and insight into how individual roles can impact its future and see high productivity and improved business results.
Leaders should not be afraid to admit when they were wrong. As new information is made available or situations are reassessed, do not be afraid to change course if necessary.
What is the most powerful piece of advice you would share with existing or emerging leaders?
Lean on your team. Build a team with diverse talents, skills and experience that balance and even challenge your own. And then listen to them.