EP27: HelloFresh - How Talent Acquisition Can Stay Dynamic (with Ellyas Enda Hadinata Bangun)

All-In Recruitment is a podcast by Manatal focusing on all things related to the recruitment industry’s missions and trends. Join us in our weekly conversations with leaders in the recruitment space and learn their best practices to transform the way you hire.

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The transcript has been edited for clarity.

Lydia: Welcome to the All-In Recruitment podcast by Manatal, where we explore best practices, learnings, and trends with leaders in the recruitment space. If you've liked our content so far, please subscribe to our channels on YouTube and Spotify to stay tuned for weekly episodes. My name is Lydia, and with us this week is Ellyas Bangun, Global Talent Acquisition Partner for Commercial at HelloFresh. Hello, Ellyas. Thanks for joining us today.

Ellyas: Thank you so much, Lydia, for having me on this podcast.

Lydia: So let's jump right in, Ellyas. Tell us about your experience in talent acquisition. How did you decide to be in this field?

Ellyas: So I joined youth organizations. The global youth organization where they teach you leadership on what sort of traits or attributes you need to prepare before you graduate. And then from there, I started to meet a lot of students who do an internship abroad or volunteer and then started to interview them about why they would like to join this opportunity to make a social impact. 

And then that's when I realized I enjoy this. I enjoy talking about people's development, what they want to have, and what they want to gain. That's when I decided to go on this career path right after my graduation. And the good thing is that they gave me the opportunity. They sent me to Thailand to build continuous growth towards the internship from students around the world to the companies in Thailand. 

So from there, I start to understand business needs. It was the time when startups were growing in Bangkok, Thailand, specifically. So a lot of startups were starting to recruit. That's the opportunity for me to introduce talent across the world and bring them in. 

Lydia: And you’re with HelloFresh today. So, what are some of your key priorities for talent acquisition in your role now? Any milestones you'd like to share?

Ellyas: After moving to Germany and joining HelloFresh, I saw a lot of differences in my milestones compared to my time back in Bangkok. So in Bangkok, since it's still a growing and emerging country, there are a lot of companies that are just really looking for people who can work. But here, at HelloFresh, we have a lot of points to work with. 

So, if the hiring is still in high volume, we will try to make a good quality hire within the volume that we have instead of just hiring 1,000 people. 

And then the second point is I am now providing good stakeholder management, both internally and externally. Internally is with the hiring managers and with all of the business perspectives. While external is more about candidates or if there is any partners, vendors, schools, or third party that would like to engage with us. Then focus on candidate experience, and collaborate with the team on how to provide a smooth and enjoyable process. It's not an old traditional way of recording, where sometimes you feel intimidating while you're talking with director levels, then you are ghosted. These are the discussions that we have. 

And also, we really want to make strong data-driven recruitment. So, it's not all about, “When I hire, sometimes I feel like it’s not doing this or that.” We prefer to see it from a data perspective, whether the process is good and the result is good or not. Data like feedback that we have and the Net Promoter Score from both hiring managers and candidates’ side to ensure whether the process is good enough or not. 

And then on top of that, we also have a diversity hiring. We want to bring them on board to add more perspective. And lastly, one of my responsibilities is doing employer branding and talent marketing, coming up with a way to showcase ourselves as a TA. We’d also like to showcase what it’s like to work at HelloFresh - being transparent with our candidates through LinkedIn and any kind of social media platform. The message is HelloFresh is actually a good place to work. We really appreciate our employees, and so on and so forth. 

Lydia: It’s interesting that you say that because as I looked through HelloFresh’s career page, I noticed that the talent acquisition team, every member of the team, is front and center on the page. There are even direct links to talk to you personally through the page. So, any insights you'd like to share about how this has worked for you? 

Ellyas: when I joined HelloFresh, it was quite interesting to see that not only do we provide information about our company, but we also have ‘Hello Community.’ Even though the job that you are looking for is not available at HelloFresh yet, you can get in touch with our team for future openings that might match the position you want.  

So as a TA, we are the first in line to get in touch with the candidates. We would give them the opportunity and say, “Hey, look, do you want to explore and maybe have a discussion? We have our team here that can show you what our business looks like, what kind of qualities of the candidates that we're looking for.”  

So we still put as many contacts as we can get into our system, even though there is no job opening right now. So once we do the job opening, you will get marketing for that, like, “Hey, we are opening for this role, and you've been in our database looking for a specific job like this. So maybe if you're interested, we can have a talk.” 

So we just want to keep in touch with the candidates because we believe that by providing this long connection with everyone, it will be easier. If one day we're looking for some roles, and we don't have enough candidates, we can actually use our connections instead.

The Role of Talent Acquisition & What They Need to Prepare

Lydia: That's great. Because then it also leads to a more evolved talent acquisition role. This leads me to my next question. So, how would you describe the role of a talent acquisition partner such as yourself in today's context? There are so many disruptions. What is the TA specialist need to have or meet?

Ellyas: So, in my personal opinion, the current trend of talent acquisition or among recruiters is an advisory where we actually support the business in terms of what would the talent insight be like and what the market looks like. 

Of course, the hiring managers come to us and say, “I want to have this role open.” And then they might not be aware of what is on the ground. They might not have an idea of what certain talent looks like or whether the role is actually available on the market. 

So we advise them, “Look, maybe there might be a niche skill set or mixed skill set for that role. We have a lot of combined tech and business profiles currently.” So, we, as an advisor, provide them with this kind of like knowledge and then also understand where the company value propositions are compared to other places, especially our competitors. Not necessarily a similar industry to ours, but the industry that might be correlated and have transferable tools and skill sets that we can provide.  

So, talent acquisition plays a really important role here. And one of the most important things when we talk with the candidates is talent acquisition should know what this role leads to within the company because not only do we want to hire one person who is going to be having a stagnant career progression, but we know what this candidate could have in the future. For example, at HelloFresh, what's next after this role in the next two or three years? We can have this kind of conversation. 

Lydia: So we've spoken about the inbound talent coming through the career page, or even those who have applied through the job boards or to you directly. What are some tips you might have on how to identify and even initiate conversations with passive candidates?

Ellyas: I usually approach a candidate, especially for a very niche role, via LinkedIn InMails or any kind of aggregator platform. So, when we reach out to them, what I always put out is key factors about the company - what the company is currently doing, what the company is planning to do, and put a lot of numbers in it because who doesn't like numbers, right? Either it's about the size of the company or the revenue, etc. 

And then also give a little glimpse of how exciting the role is, especially if it's a new role in HelloFresh. I always put out, “Okay, this role will be either managing a team sitting in between high-level management or multiple departments.” And I also tell them about what this role will be contributing to and the growth that this role could achieve. 

And since I’ve moved to HelloFresh, I actually put a lot of emojis on my email outbound. So it's work, but we are also relaxed. We are not like those kinds of stiff companies where you have to be formal every day. This makes it easier for candidates to put down the wall they usually put up when a big and intimidating company approaches them. It’s creating more human-to-human conversations.

Generalists and Specialists in the Talent Acquisition Field

Lydia: And there's this long debated question about whether you should hire generalists or specialists, and it's obviously not as simple or straightforward as it sounds. So, what might be your perspective on this, especially in the context of today's talent pool and the competition for talent?

Ellyas: That's actually still a conversation. Looking back, especially in recruitment, there are a lot of transferable skills that we can do. Either if you want to hire generalists or if you want to hire specialists only. But if you're a generalist, sometimes you are a jack of all trades but a master of none. My take here depends on what your business requires. For example, if you’re in a niche blockchain company and you need to hire 100 tech people but have never done tech recruitment, it is not you cannot do this job. But the learning curve may be too steep for you. You have done recruitment, and you already have the core value of recruitment itself, but not for tech. 

This can affect your lifetime productivity. It will be much longer compared to if I was a tech recruiter from the beginning. So the point being is once you're a recruiter, you can recruit across the board, but depending on the business needs and specialist functions you require to hire as well. 

So, whether you want to become a generalist or a specialist, I think it all depends on the business needs. For now, I can say that I am right a specialist in marketing. But then, if I looked back two years ago, I was more of a generalist. So, I have hired candidates from multiple backgrounds and industries to join my previous company. 

Right now, I only focus on marketing. So, you can either start as a generalist and then become a specialist, or you can start as a specialist. Just start from where you’re interested.   

Challenges In Tech Recruitment Today

Lydia: And on that note, we'll move into a different type of recruitment niche, which is tech recruitment. What would you say are some of the challenges that tech recruiters today face, and how might they be able to tackle them?

Ellyas: For tech recruitments, it's usually hard to make them excited. Because there're a lot of software engineers out there, there're a lot of backend engineers out there. They probably do similar things. What can make them excited about their job? 

So, that's the first challenge. Then the second one is security. Other than the security of the job itself, when we approach a tech profile, we would figure out a way to say, “Hey, this is something that you can contribute to the company's needs as well.” We would let them know this is what we want to bring into this company, keep them engaged and fill them with challenges. Because the technology right now is constantly changing. The candidates would want to learn about new things. If they're only going to do one particular thing, like coding language, for the rest all their lives, that's not going to make them excited to join the company. 

So keep them excited regarding the role of the security itself, what contributions make them feel challenged, and it is not only the talent acquisition role to provide the best talent to the company but also how the company itself can retain them with the role. 

We have to think about the flexibility of the role. As we talk about a generalist or specialist, someone who’s on the front end may be able to switch to the back end if they have a skillset, whether they want to move or whether the company can provide those kinds of like flexibility for them to explore. 

So, I think that's one thing that I see right now -  how flexible the company can hire, can find candidates and then keep them excited, keep them challenged, and keep making them contribute. The company gives value to them, and they give value back to the company.

The Impact of ATS In Recruitment Space

Lydia: And speaking of tech, we now move to HR tech. And there are plenty of recruitment tools and technologies out there, now available for anyone in the recruitment space. And HR tech is booming. So, what kind of impact do you think these technologies, such as Manatal's ATS, will have or have had on the industry?


“I can say that ATS supports us while changing the game of recruitment because it's taking out most of the admin work and small manual tasks that we all used to do in the recruitment process.” 

What we're looking at is how this ATS can be relevant to give more time to the talent acquisition team and to the recruitment team to be more focused on the strategic part of their work. And then automate things. There are a lot of like templates that we can use to keep the candidates engaged. There's a lot of data that we can use for the process, such as the survey. It's really helpful for us to be able to figure out the next strategy based on the data that we have from ATS. 

”ATS can also be a supporting tool to help do yearly planning based on the previous performance of our recruitment - how long the candidates have been in the pipeline, how long we have made a decision to hire a candidate, or all of those things so we can see like this is actually really helpful.”

ATS right now is really relevant in leveraging the data. Not only does it help the admin who is taking so much time with their tasks, but it also gives us support and provides us the ability to connect and integrate with multiple job posting channels from our website to LinkedIn or any kind of third-party channel.  

Right now, ATS is supported by an AI processing that can help it screen candidates based on the keywords that it has. I guess the challenge for the ATS right now is how those kinds of processes help talent acquisition, not only accepting 100 candidates or rejecting some of the candidates but also giving suggestions on which candidates are good or not good to go.

Lydia: You mentioned earlier that part of your responsibilities also lies in the employer brand. And you also mentioned the different ways that you communicate the employer brand, with emojis, etc. So, in your perspective, Ellyas, what might be the role of employer branding to ensure that companies are positioned well enough to attract the talent that you want? 

Ellyas: If we're talking about today's trend, the brand has landed on the consumer's hand. So, people assess and digest in a very quick manner.

It is becoming more important how companies build their own brand. To think of another way and another perspective on how they can do marketing to attract more talent.” 

Because we're not chain stores, we do not provide what the candidates need. Companies have to become the candidates’ first choice of work by showcasing what's inside. How we think about our employees matters. You need to keep showcasing that in daily life. I personally share my experience, what I’ve learned, and things that I think other people might need on LinkedIn. 

Just be simply authentic. All of our talent acquisitions also like to do the sharing in the same manner, like what their lives look like in the company. So, when our candidate wants to know about our company and what is inside the company, they can see it instead of just seeing only product-based information. 

Who are the people that work in that company? Do they actually enjoy working in that company? So, we put out these angles via multiple channels. We have a lot of promotional tools, such as our employees telling stories and what they do. This is a really strong employer branding because when candidates see who's the people that are working there and what they do, they will be more interested in joining that kind of environment.

Lydia: I suppose having the TA team featured on your career page and also directly talking to a person who's actually working in the company are powerful channels to communicate your employer brand or to really showcase what it's like to work in your company. 

So, thank you very much for your time and wonderful insights today, Ellyas. For the benefit of the audience. How can they find you?

Ellyas: Sure, you can find me on LinkedIn, just like typing my name. You can tap into my current company as well. 

Lydia: Thank you, Ellyas. And we have been in conversation with Ellyas Bangun, Global Talent Acquisition Partner for Commercial at HelloFresh in Berlin, Germany. If you like our content, please subscribe to our channels and stay tuned for more weekly episodes from All-In Recruitment. Thank you.

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