Published on 19-06-2024

Robindro Ullah: ‘Talent Intelligence is no magic bullet; it creates transparency'

Talent Intelligence: a magic bullet, or simply a key ingredient to a future-proof recruiting model? Robindro Ullah is one of Germany’s foremost experts on all things related to the labour market. In this interview, he shares his view on the current state and future trajectory of Talent Intelligence. ‘From the perspective of the German market, we still do not even use 1% of the potential.’

Robindro Ullah has received his fair share of awards. He has been recognised as the German HR Innovator of the Year on three separate occasions. Additionally, he has been awarded the HR Excellence Award three times, and his recruitment efforts in China earned him the German Online Communication Award. Over the past three years, Ullah has authored several books. His first, ‘Praxishandbuch Recruiting’ is the foremost comprehensive guide on talent acquisition in Germany. With over a decade of experience in recruiting, his career highlights include managing more than 1,400 national hires annually at Deutsche Bahn as Head of Recruitment for the South Region.

In 2018 he started working for Trendence Institut, which is renowned for developing high-quality studies, statistics and trends on the German labour market for over 20 years.

He later took on an international role at VOITH, focusing on key markets such as China and Brazil. As Head of Employer Branding and HR Communication Global, he successfully implemented a global application tracking system and restructured the company’s recruitment organisation. In 2018 he started working for Trendence Institut, which is renowned for developing high-quality studies, statistics and trends on the German labour market for over 20 years.

‘Talent Intelligence creates transparency’

Whether active as the head of Recruitment at Deutsche Bahn or in his current role at Trendence, Ullah has seen both the labour market and the way the world approaches recruitment change rapidly. In the past couple of years, more organisations have adopted data-driven approaches, in a way to differentiate between good and bad hires. In one term: Talent Intelligence.

“For me personally, Talent Intelligence means to make existing data usable in such a way that relevant decisions can be made in the area of talent but also in the business”, Ullah says. “This can be employee data, skills data, external data sources, et cetera. There is much more to data than companies currently realise, especially in the HR area. Nevertheless, it is not a magic bullet. It creates transparency and reduces bad decisions.”

‘Power of data is not yet recognised’

But we’re at the onset of Talent Intelligence. While Fortune 500 companies may have grasped the idea, Ullah says that in his own labour market, the topic still stands at the very beginning. “If I may speak for the German market, I see that the power of data has not yet been recognised here. Recruiting Analytics is being approached step by step, but Talent Intelligence is much more. Internationally, I have not yet come across so many top examples.”

Robindro Ullah

“I have the impression that in Asia and the USA, the topic is thought about much more holistically than we do.”

With experience all over the globe, does Ullah see any differences in the way Talent Intelligence is approached? “From my point of view, the non-European market is more advanced than what we see here”, he says. “I have the impression that in Asia and the USA, the topic is thought about much more holistically than we do. In particular, they think more in terms of advanced AI analysis and technology. The approaches are not all directly and easily transferable due to the GDPR and the way data is handled in Germany.”

Data is everywhere

To successfully formulate a ‘winning approach’ within the boundaries of the current European labour market, requires a different approach, Ullah says. “If we limit Talent Intelligence to the area of talent acquisition and retention, an essential step is to look at the market from different perspectives, in the form of data. Analysis is one thing, but understanding that each market player — such as target audience, other companies and multipliers — all have their own data sets that tell its own story, is another.”

“What also helps in the current job market is a data-based analysis of the potential for re-entry and a detailed description.”
“They may also be mutually reinforcing”, Ullah observes. “It makes a difference whether I advertise a vacancy in parallel to my competitors or whether I advertise it acyclically. What also helps in the current job market is a data-based analysis of the potential for re-entry and a detailed description.”

‘TI will influence business decisions’

So, where does Ullah see it all headed? Will an approach similar to Talent Intelligence trickle down to many of the continent’s SME’s — or will it stay somewhat niche? “From the perspective of the German market, we still do not even use 1% of the potential”, Ullah says.

Robindro Ullah

“That is why I believe that Talent Intelligence’s career has just begun.”

“We have not yet sufficiently understood that talent will be the most scarce resource our companies will have. Whether we are successful or not will almost exclusively depend on this factor: do we manage to attract and retain people? That is why I believe that Talent Intelligence’s career has just begun. TI will influence not only HR decisions, but also business decisions in the future.”

Join the Talent Intelligence Conference 2024

Due to the success of our first conference, we are excited to announce that we will be organising the Talent Intelligence Conference once again in 2024. The conference spans from 23-25 September in Amsterdam. We invite you to join us as we continue to explore and advance in this fast-growing discipline. Our goal is to reconnect over 200 professionals from around the world again. Register here.