Q&A with #SHRM18 Speaker, LinkedIn’s Eric Owski

Eric Owski, self-confessed sports nut, a voracious reader, traveler and above all else, a committed dad to his eight-year-old boy, leads Talent Brand & Talent Insights for LinkedIn – before that incredibly impressive role Eric was an executive at Bright (acquired by LinkedIn) where he led sales and marketing. Eric is leading the #SHRM18 session ‘Talent Intelligence: Building the Workforce of the Future’ which is getting into the detail of what we all know – your company’s cutting edge isn’t product, tech or services – it’s your people.

Eric’s passion for getting talent right comes across easily and I for one am excited to hear him speak – particularly for the passion that comes across when he discusses companies which get talent intelligence right!

Eric-Owski

What makes you tick? 

First and foremost, I’m a dad to a wonderful and curious eight-year-old boy. When I’m not hanging out with him or at LinkedIn HQ, you can find me watching a game, rooting on the Tigers, Lions, or Pistons (I’m a diehard Detroit fan, win or lose) or somewhere reading a good book. Some of my recent favorites include The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa. Traveling is also on top of my list of favorite things to do. I love to discover new places and often seek out the art these cities have to offer.

 

What work experience has influenced your career path the most?

At my first professional job, I held six different positions in six years. It allowed me to learn many different sides of business, and to see the whole strategic picture. What I learned during that time has helped inform decisions to this day.

 

What company (other than LinkedIn) do you think uses talent intelligence the best? Why?

Using talent intelligence means that companies are leveraging real-time insights about the movement and development of talent to inform strategic talent decisions. On average, LinkedIn sees about 10,000 requests per year for insights on talent pools, competitors, and more as the pressure to leverage data to make smarter decisions, is on.  As data reaches a maturity level where even more analytics are possible, we see companies making great progress with their talent intelligence strategies.

Take Intel for example. They were facing a shortage of software engineers at Intel’s offices in Gdansk, Poland. When searching for specialized tech talent, LinkedIn Talent Insights revealed large populations of this talent pool in neighboring cities Krakow and Warsaw. Competitive insights further revealed that professionals in Warsaw were working across many different companies, whereas in Krakow it was largely concentrated in a few top organizations. Using these insights, Intel built a strategy to run a highly targeted billboard campaign in Krakow and received buy-in from engineering leadership. This campaign, coupled with a recruitment event in the area, led to a 20 percent increase in visits to Intel’s careers site.

Atlassian is another great example. Their talent marketing team was tasked with developing recruitment campaigns that target both designers and developers. Atlassian wanted to understand the size of their talent pool in desired locations, so the team turned to LinkedIn Talent Insights. They learned that for every 25 developers in the markets they were targeting, only one designer was available. Using this insight, the team was able to recommend investing a greater amount of money in a talent brand campaign targeting the designer talent pool, in order to hit their hiring goals.

 

Do you think what Intel and Atlassian have created is transferable?

Absolutely.  Over the past year, I’ve talked to a few hundred talent leaders and the questions I hear are universal. We’ve talked about using data in talent so much that we’ve almost mythologized it. The reality is, every talent leader wants to make more informed decisions. When you’re trying to figure out where to open an office, no one wants to be endlessly debating the merits of each stakeholder’s anecdotal evidence. The right insights can quickly prove or disprove someone’s thesis and it leads to more efficient and more confident decision making. I think the vast majority of talent organizations are on their way there.

 

What do you think attendees will get the most excited by with your session?

The HR industry is feeling the pressure to use data and insights in their decisions, whether that be finding talent, or retaining and understanding the talent they currently have. Ultimately, talent intelligence can help empower talent acquisition teams to tackle both the simplest and the most complex issues. Attendees will walk away understanding how they can dig into their own data and use these insights to help build and deliver a winning talent strategy.

 

You can hear Eric speak at #SHRM18, in Chicago June 17-20 (Tuesday 19th June 2.15pm). I’ll see you there!

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