Cisco Turns Talent Acquisition Professionals into Talent Advisors

Cisco Turns Talent Acquisition Professionals into Talent Advisors

Fourth in the Tech Employers Leading the Way Series

Editor’s Note: Tech Employers Leading the Way recognizes companies that innovate and work to improve the hiring experience for both their hiring managers and the tech candidates they seek. In this series, we’ll dive into what works for them, and what they’ve learned, and share it with our readers. Sharing these stories and learnings supports our company vision to make hiring more equitable, efficient, and transparent.

Hired’s List of 2023 Top Employers Winning Tech Talent highlighted companies across a variety of segments and industries creating tech hiring processes and experiences embracing principles such as equity, efficiency, and transparency. 

Among those leading the way is Cisco, an enterprise facilitating connections through innovative software-defined networking, cloud, and security solutions. Cisco ranked 7th overall, among large enterprises, thanks to scores placing them 6th in Equity, 8th in Efficiency, and 10th in Transparency categories. 

Mian Fouché, Director, Join & Connect (People, Policy, & Purpose), shares the power of transforming Talent Acquisition (TA) pros into talent advisors who act as strategic business partners and enhance the hiring process. 

Tell us about Cisco

Cisco enables people to make powerful connections. Our hardware, software, and service offerings are used to create the Internet solutions that make networks possible — providing easy access to information anywhere, at any time. 

We know that powering an inclusive future starts with us. Because without diversity and a dedication to equality, there is no moving forward. Our 30 Inclusive Communities, which unite people around commonalities or passions, lead the way.

Together, we’re committed to learning, listening, and caring for our communities while supporting the most vulnerable with a collective effort to make this world a better place either with technology or through our actions.  In 2023, we surpassed our goal to positively impact 1 billion people, more than one-eighth of the world’s population through our social impact grants and signature programs outlined in our Purpose Report.

Cisco didn’t just build the Internet. We keep building it. And while our technology helps connect the unconnected, that’s not where our edge comes from. It comes from our people—unique, innovative, and diverse. #WeAreCisco

Tell us about a process you implemented to improve candidate experience and the hiring process

Within our security teams, we implemented a structured interview process. We continue to iterate on it based both on feedback from candidates and hiring leaders. The idea is to create a more condensed and intentional process for mutual exploration of role fit between the candidate and the hiring team. 

This not only improves efficiency but leaves room for all parties to get a clear understanding of the role in question and team alignment. We want candidates to complete the process with an understanding of how the position fits into our long-term strategy, and whether this aligns with their ultimate career aspirations. 

What are some of Cisco’s strategies for maintaining a strong employer brand?

Cisco maintains the WeAreCisco blog where candidates can discover our values and read about real-life experiences from our employees. Cisco’s team of talent advisors and business leaders are also encouraged to maintain a strong presence on LinkedIn and other social media platforms to tell their stories. 

We want people to have the opportunity to understand a day in the life of a ‘Cisconian.’ This allows them to understand if our values align with their needs. For instance, Cisco provides employees with generous volunteer time off so employees can focus on the causes that matter most to them. 

Since the Great Resignation, there’s been a shift in priorities for many, if not most, professionals in tech and other fields. Candidates tell us health, wellness, and work-life balance matter to them

By creating the space for our employees to tell their stories, we hope to provide a behind-the-curtain look at our employee experience. We understand candidate experience doesn’t end with the conclusion of the interview, but spans into what we would hope to be a long and prosperous career with the organization. 

How has collaboration between hiring managers and TA teams improved efficiency?

Here at Cisco, we encourage our talent acquisition professionals to think and act as talent advisors, not only to candidates but also to hiring leaders. We understand that hiring the best people starts with strong collaboration within the organization, and is a team sport. 

We strive to constantly upskill our talent advisors to enhance their competencies in business acumen, operational excellence, and data literacy. That way, they’re able to act as strategic partners to the business as opposed to simply operating as a transactional support function. 

This drives alignment and partnerships, resulting in an expedited hiring process for the candidate. It also equips the talent advisor with information and details to help candidates come prepared when they meet with our hiring teams.

As businesses evolve, talent strategies do too. How have your strategies shifted in the last 12 months? How do you plan to shift your strategies in 2024? 

Over the last few years, we’ve observed a directional shift from education-based hiring to a more skills-based approach. As this continues to evolve, we anticipate the necessity to adjust the way we evaluate talent. 

This is especially true with the rise in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, and a global focus on improving cybersecurity tooling, with a lot of uncharted territory to traverse. 

I foresee this will necessitate that we look at various avenues to address skill shortages in these areas via mechanisms like upskilling and reskilling existing talent with adjacent skill sets.

Related: Hired partners with several organizations offering upskilling and other intensive training programs. See the directory of partners.

How has Hired supported your hiring strategy?

Our partnership with Hired has been invaluable as we strive to build a world-class, technical organization when we have critical needs that require expedited hiring. Hired has a slate of thoroughly vetted candidates who are ready to go to market. 

In providing data and insights on market availability by skills, experience, and geography, Hired has allowed us to influence business decisions based on what the market can provide at any given point in time. They’ve also been able to provide us with exploratory services to determine how we can best leverage the platform for different skills and in various locations. 

With fast and effective training for new users of their highly intuitive and user-friendly platform, and monthly reporting on usage and effectiveness, we can use tangible data to maximize the return on investment we garner from our partnership with them. Offering extreme flexibility on license assignments as our needs and resourcing evolve, their agility is a tremendous asset in the ever-changing tech landscape. 

Finally, the ability to partner with hiring leaders directly on the Hired platform drives efficiency, strengthens our relationships and partnerships with our business leaders, and inspires mutual accountability, for an optimized hiring process.

Interested in sourcing top tech talent efficiently? See all of Hired’s products and services in action with a demo.

Check out all the featured tech employers in the series so far: 

  1. Firstup Puts People First to Help Companies Speed Up
  2. One Medical Focuses on Authenticity in the Candidate Experience
  3. Veho’s Multi-Faceted and Candidate-Centric Interview Process for Better Alignment
  4. AutoFi Showcases Culture & Employee Development to Strengthen Employer Branding