No matter which way the job markets may swing, the best of the best are always in high demand. Do you have a strategy for finding top-tier talent?
There will always be stiff competition for the best job candidates, no matter the industry you recruit for. And in more competitive environments, like tech, your options as a recruiter become more limited as fewer candidates have the skills needed to fill roles. In fact, a staggering 73 percent of hiring managers say they struggle to find qualified talent.
The old ways of recruiting are no longer enough to find the right candidates. Recruiters need to take a proactive approach to sourcing talent. Many are choosing to turn to talent acquisition strategies to create a more holistic approach to the recruiting process.
What is talent acquisition?
Talent acquisition is the process of identifying and hiring skilled candidates to fill open positions. This strategy is often used to build a recruitment pipeline that fills talent gaps within an organization. Talent acquisition teams handle every part of the process from recruiting and assessing candidates to hiring and onboarding new talent.
The core of talent acquisition rests in predictive hiring. It’s a process that involves constantly monitoring talent needs for a business and working to fill the gaps.
The job of a recruiter is to know what roles a company needs to fill, usually before a hiring manager ever posts a job listing. This includes strategies like passive recruiting, social media recruiting, and more.
Talent acquisition vs. recruitment
For many recruiters who are new to the idea of talent acquisition, there’s often the question of how it differs from traditional recruiting. Traditional recruitment focuses on filling an immediate vacancy, whereas talent acquisition is a proactive recruiting strategy where a company forecasts company talent needs before openings are posted.
It’s important to note that these job functions can often overlap and for smaller companies, recruiters may be tasked with managing both strategies. There will always be a need for both traditional recruiting and talent acquisition. Let’s look at an example of when each strategy might be needed.
Example #1: Your top performing salesperson has just told you that they are planning to leave for another job and turned in their two weeks notice. You didn't plan on having to fill this vacancy because you didn't expect this employee to resign.
In this situation, traditional recruiting is the only way to fill a sudden and unexpected vacancy on your staff. The focus in this scenario is finding a replacement for an existing staff member quickly.
Example #2: Your CMO has just announced that your company is planning to invest in video content creation within the next year. Video was never a priority before now, so there are no videographers currently on your staff.
In this situation, talent acquisition would be more appropriate because of the extended hiring timeline and the need to create specific roles that don’t currently exist at your company.
Both traditional recruiting and talent acquisition have a special role in your organization. One cannot exist without the other, and both are needed for a healthy recruitment strategy. The key is knowing when to use each of these strategies to find the best candidate for the job.
Talent acquisition requires dedication to building solid processes. Because talent acquisition is so different from traditional recruiting, you’ll want to build a special process for your team to follow.
This strategy should include processes on building your team, formalizing your outreach strategy, and more. Here are seven steps you can use to build a successful talent acquisition strategy.
Choose the right internal talent
The foundation of an effective talent acquisition strategy is the team you create. Your talent acquisition team will manage the process of sourcing and hiring your future talent. Be sure to pay extra attention to creating a talent acquisition team that is well-rounded and experienced.
Here’s who to hire to build your talent acquisition dream team:
Talent acquisition specialists
For larger enterprise companies, it will be beneficial to have multiple employees that do the same job. As a larger business, you’ll likely receive more applications than smaller companies. Be sure that you have a talent team large enough to handle the high volume of requests.
Define long-term company needs
Talent acquisition is all about working ahead of company needs. A good talent acquisition strategy is proactive, not reactive. This will take a lot of foresight and planning.
Communication is required to build a solid foundation for your talent acquisition strategy. Talk to other departments and C-suite executives often about the needs of your organization.
Think about the most technical position at your company. This could be a role where only one person does it, or maybe it requires very specific skills. How badly would your team be affected if the person in that role put in their two weeks notice today?
Many of these high priority roles take time to fill, some can take months to find the right candidate. Talent acquisition is about planning for how you’ll fill high-priority roles before they need to be filled. One key difference between recruiting and talent acquisition is the ability to plan ahead for jobs that don’t need to be filled yet.
Here are strategies you can use to forecast future job needs:
Consider future company goals
Talk to hiring managers about departmental goals
Track and consider attrition and turnover
Create a succession planning strategy
Monitor industry trends to forecast future needs
Consider planning hiring needs about six months out in advance. Give your team time to research the right titles, compensation, and skills required for the job.
Never rush this process. Do the work ahead of time so that when it comes time to make hiring decisions, you can focus solely on finding the right candidate.
Create candidate profiles
Once you’ve identified the jobs you’ll be recruiting for, it’s time to create candidate profiles. A candidate profile is an organized list of the skills, experience, and education of your ideal candidate.
This doesn’t mean a candidate needs all of these requirements. A candidate profile simply helps recruiting teams find job seekers that are the closest fit for a position.
Here are some things to consider when creating a candidate profile:
What qualities would make someone an ideal company culture fit?
What skills or qualifications must this person possess?
Does this person have any extra certifications in their field?
Has this person done a similar job at another company?
Creating candidate profiles will help guide your team on who the right candidates are for the job, which questions should be asked during interviews, and more. They’re also a great way to standardize your recruiting practice.
Candidate profiles help ensure that all of your recruiters are on the same page. This will improve the quality of candidates sourced and expand your talent pool.
Formalize your recruiting strategy
Going out and actually finding qualified candidates is the trickiest part of the entire recruiting process. Especially if you work in a competitive field like tech or SaaS, candidates who check all the boxes are hard to come by.
Developing a multi-channel recruitment strategy will increase your visibility and create more opportunities to find the right candidates. Don’t limit yourself to traditional recruitment platforms. Explore options like social media recruiting, college career fairs, and others.
Here are some more tips you can use to improve your recruiting strategy:
Develop a clear employer brand and voice
Standardize all HR and recruiting communications
Create job postings that reflect your company values and mission
Focus on making your job postings inclusive
Introduce an employee referral program
Companies can take this one step further by improving the processes they use to recruit. Recruiting on more than one channel won’t matter if the message doesn’t resonate with candidates.
Take the time to reach your talent acquisition team with the best practices for recruiting in your industry. Arm them with the information they need to make a great first impression on high-quality candidates.
Streamline processes with recruiting software
As the job market gets more competitive, recruiters rely on recruiting software to automate their recruiting pipeline. Many companies choose to use recruiting software because it allows them to spend less time on administrative tasks and more time finding quality candidates.
Here are some of the benefits of using a recruiting software:
Streamlined recruitment process and more efficient tracking
Tailored application materials to improve the quality of applicant submissions
Automated job postings to reach a greater number of candidates
Reduced time-to-hire for new employees
Improved communication with candidates and new hires
Investing in a recruiting software is no longer the optional luxury it was just a few years ago. More companies are embracing technology that makes it easier for them to do their jobs.
On average, each corporate job offer attracts a minimum of 250 resumes. That’s a lot of paper to go through manually. Utilizing software that screens and streamlines the recruiting process are designed to save you time.
There’s a misconception that only enterprise businesses that handle thousands of resumes a week should be using an applicant tracking system. The truth is that ATSes do a lot more than just toss out the goose eggs among the resumes your team receives.
In addition to screening resumes for keywords, job skills, and experience, an ATS also allows your team to create custom workflows to review and manage applicants. It also allows your HR manager, hiring manager, and recruiter to all view applications and communicate about who you want to interview.
This part of the process is important because it’s the first step your team takes in interviewing potential new hires. ATS software is the kind you can “set and forget” once you post a job, allowing your team to explore other recruiting opportunities.
Tips for recruiting top-tier talent
Building the process will give your team a blueprint to follow as you seek to recruit exceptional talent to your team. But that’s just the beginning. Talent acquisition is a competitive business that rewards innovators. Never get comfortable with what works, and always try new things.
Top-tier jobseekers deal with plenty of recruiters every day. Don’t be afraid to try stand out from the crowd by pioneering new recruiting strategies. Here are three tips you can start using today to do just that.
Recruit for open roles internally
Recruiting focuses on bringing outside talent into your organization, whereas talent acquisition puts an equal focus on nurturing internal talent. The benefits of hiring internal talent are many. Internal candidates already know your business and they understand your team dynamics. The onboarding process is also much faster than traditional recruiting.
the average amount of time it takes to fill a new role. That number increases if you're hiring for a more technical position.
Internal recruiting practices like succession planning allows you to identify key players in your organization that are ready for a career change. the onboarding process is much faster than traditional recruiting.You can provide them with a mentor, train them on the job, and prepare them to step into these highly technical roles when they become available.
Succession planning also has the added benefit of creating solid career paths for your current employees. This improves employee retention and happiness, while allowing you to prevent talent gaps in your workforce. It’s a win-win!
Use social media to tap passive interest candidates
Over the last few years, social recruiting has become a popular way of finding and connecting with new talent. Social recruiting refers to the practice of recruiting job candidates through social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
What makes social recruiting great is that you can use your corporate social media to tap into candidates with passive interest. They use the information about candidates provided on these sites to gauge compatibility for open roles.
Oftentimes, top-tier candidates aren’t actively searching for new work. Seventy-three percent of candidates are passive job seekers. These people might be comfortable where they are in their career, but your message online could entice them into exploring new options.
Social media is a low-stakes, conversational way to introduce yourself to a candidate and offer them something new. These candidates can be won over with the right approach and the right opportunity.
Use your current employees
By now, your company probably already has an employee referral program, but are you using it to the best of your ability?
Simply letting your employees know about open positions isn’t enough to beat other talent acquisition experts. You need to strategically dictate which positions you’re hiring for and let your team know about the gaps in talent you’re trying to solve.
Here are four ways you can use your current employees to find new talent:
Create a list of high-profile positions you’re recruiting for every month
Host hiring happy hours and encourage employees to invite interested candidates
Offer a referral bonus to your employees
Ask employees to share open job postings on their social media
Tracking employee referrals can be a pain point for some HR managers, which is why you should employ the aid of an employee referral software. This type of software tracks which employees referred which candidates, allows you to list high-priority positions and connects job postings to social media for easy sharing.
Employee referral platforms provide a centralized location for employee referrals, provides employees with options for job sharing, and can track and manage employee referral bonus payouts.
Acquiring talent takes...well, talent!
There’s an art to stepping outside of the normal recruiting tactics to become a master of talent acquisition. It requires big-picture thinking, planning ahead, and the willingness to try something different.
But with the right tools and tactics on your side, you can become the ultimate talent acquisition recruiter.
Recruiting and talent acquisition don’t have to cost a ton of money. Learn how to reduce your cost per hire while still maintaining a high-quality candidate pool.
Lauren is a Content Marketing Manager at G2. You can find her work featured on CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and on the G2 Learning Hub. In her free time, Lauren enjoys watching true crime shows and spending time in the Chicago karaoke scene. (she/her/hers)